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I've heard alot about these vortec heads

Discussion in '1973-1991 K5 Blazer | Truck | Suburban' started by Ryan2286, Nov 7, 2002.

  1. Ryan2286

    Ryan2286 Registered Member

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    I\'ve heard alot about these vortec heads

    Are these vortec heads really that great? Can you pull heads off of say a 1998 tahoe with a 350 5.7 and just get a new manifold from edelbrock or who ever to adapt the heads to say my 1988 block and TBI? Because I'm sure Junkyard heads would be alot cheaper than brand new even if they have some miles on them. also Lately I've seen this echobit shackle flip. It seems like the shackle flip to end all others because of its superior design and use of exisiting bracket. I was considering the offroad design one but now am convinced the echobit one will offer superior flex. That'll work -Ryan
     
  2. fortcollinsram

    fortcollinsram 1/2 ton status

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    Re: I\'ve heard alot about these vortec heads

    Yea, you get the Vortec heads and an Edelbrock intake for your TBI an enjoy an extra 40 hp or so...The SBC Vortecs are a pretty nice miece of work for the price...

    Chris
     
  3. jjlaughner

    jjlaughner 3/4 ton status

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    Re: I\'ve heard alot about these vortec heads

    do you know the part number for the intake? J
     
  4. TX Mudder

    TX Mudder 1/2 ton status

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    Re: I\'ve heard alot about these vortec heads

    Last time i checked prices, the Vortecs were about $450 for a pair, brand new from the GM dealer.
    I doubt you'll get a much better price on used heads from the jyard.
    I say go new on that.
    -- Mike
     
  5. ratlover

    ratlover 1/2 ton status

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    Re: I\'ve heard alot about these vortec heads

    Vortec heads IMO are a deccent deal but for close to the same price you could go for some other stock reworked heads or some dart iron egals or world sportsmans.

    With vortecs you got to get the special intake that costs more $$$ and you got to pay more cash if you want screw in studs(I think scoogs and dickey sell em with studs for about as cheap as anyone). Also valve springs may not work for your application and they really dont respond much to port work. Depending on your application they can be a good move though.

    Basicly a good head but can cost more than people think when they see the initial price. They are a bit overrated as such a cheap fix all IMO.
     
  6. dyeager535

    dyeager535 1 ton status Premium Member

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    Re: I\'ve heard alot about these vortec heads

    You can get a pair of new Vortecs for the same price (almost) as you can have a pair of old heads reworked. (that means bringing old heads up to "brand new" specs, valves, springs, guides, straightening, valve job, etc)

    Add in the cost of having someone port and flow test a set of old heads to even equal the Vortecs as cast, not only are you going to spend more than you would have on brand new heads, but you'd also have an inferior design combustion chamber, assuming anything non-fast burn based.

    Show me a better head (brand new, as complete as the Vortecs) in the same price range. $700 or less, and that price is generous, throwing in the Vortec intake and shipping costs.

    You are right, Vortecs aren't the best choice for all apps as delivered (high lift cams, constant high RPM usage, etc)but I don't think you'll find a better deal when comparing performance for a truck, and the cost.

    http://purplesagetradingpost.com/sumner/techinfo/heads1.html
    (if you want to compare flow numbers. Then go compare the costs of the "better" flowing heads)
     
  7. jms

    jms 1/2 ton status Author

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    Re: I\'ve heard alot about these vortec heads

    My 350 is a whole lot more fun to drive since I swapped to Vortecs heads last spring - and that's even with the stock camshaft. I don't see what the big deal is with the price of the intake manifold. It depends on budget and preference, I suppose.
     
  8. dyeager535

    dyeager535 1 ton status Premium Member

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    Re: I\'ve heard alot about these vortec heads

    I feel the same way. You can get a non-Vortec intake for a bit less ($25-50 less at most for carbed) but if you are going to the effort to change heads, wouldn't you change the intake anyways??
     
  9. ratlover

    ratlover 1/2 ton status

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    Re: I\'ve heard alot about these vortec heads

    A vortec intake(for a carbed motor performer rpm) is 175 as apposed to 120 for a non egr performer rpm. And lots of people already have a intake or can get one from a swapmeet for cheap. The vortec intakes are a bit harder to find used but still not impossible if you look.

    If you have to get a new intake anyway and the supplied stuff will work then they can be a great head. But IMO if you are planning on doing anything more than a mild rebuild down the road you would be better off going with aftermarket like an iron egals or sportsmans JMO.

    I wont ever buy a head assembled anyway(even though it may be cheaper) Too many stories of bad set up and finishing work and I dont like the 1 size fits all springs......I get springs that are matched for my cam perfectly not just close or will work. I buy em bare and have em set up and have the work done by a quality machine shop that I am comfortable with.

    JM .02$ and a handfull of pocket lint /forums/images/graemlins/smirk.gif
     
  10. dyeager535

    dyeager535 1 ton status Premium Member

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    Re: I\'ve heard alot about these vortec heads

    </font><blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr />
    A vortec intake(for a carbed motor performer rpm) is 175 as apposed to 120 for a non egr performer rpm.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Mine was $150 locally, new.

    </font><blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr />
    But IMO if you are planning on doing anything more than a mild rebuild down the road you would be better off going with aftermarket like an iron egals or sportsmans JMO.


    [/ QUOTE ]
    Very true. The Vortecs are a relatively thin casting, and there isn't much room for porting/error on them. Most of us with trucks need low end torque though, and most of the aftermarket heads aren't close when it comes to that alone, but throw in the cost difference, and it just isn't a fair fight.

    </font><blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr />
    I wont ever buy a head assembled anyway(even though it may be cheaper) Too many stories of bad set up and finishing work and I dont like the 1 size fits all springs......I get springs that are matched for my cam perfectly not just close or will work. I buy em bare and have em set up and have the work done by a quality machine shop that I am comfortable with.


    [/ QUOTE ]

    I trust GM more than I trust local machine shops. (any of them) People are people, but GM I hope at least tests them before they get out the door. After all, they were/are intended for production vehicles that have warranties, unlike machine shop heads.

    I know of one machine shop that races customers motors before handing them over, and I just had a block bored .050 over (??!!) by another shop. The last one was "just" a mistake, although not sure how they did that one.

    As to the springs, if you want over .450 (reliably) with Vortec heads, you'll have to do some more work. But AFAIK, at my level of engine building (not NHRA etc.) no one makes springs that aren't one size fits many. All of them are a compromise, but there are a couple of options. At .450" lift max (rated) designed for roller cams, the Vortec springs should be plenty good for any setup under that lift.

    Don't get me wrong, screw in studs and aftermarket heads would have been great (especially AL) but I can't justify $1200 heads vs the $300 deal I got on my new Vortecs. (for the pair, good deal eh? : )

    In any case, it pays to double check EVERYTHING when dealing with other peoples work, which is why it really doesn't matter to me who built it, assembled it, or worked on it, as long as I check out the work.
     
  11. ratlover

    ratlover 1/2 ton status

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    Re: I\'ve heard alot about these vortec heads

    The 175 price I quoted was outa summit. 300 complete was a grate deal, I would be grabbing a pair also /forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif That sux you dont have a machine shop you trust around you. Springs are one size fits a bunch but running more spring pressure than needed isnt the best idea and running to little is way bad. Iron egals come in 180 cc intakes and have great flow velocity for low end torque. If all you are going to do is run a 350 with some mild compression and a mild cam with nothing wild and never do anything else than vortecs are a great head for the money, no reason to spend 800 on a set of assembled sportsmans. But if you are like me and are thinking about building a stroker or a 400 when that lil 355 you built gives up the ghost then the vortecs aint the best ticket. I also wouldnt ever run Al on anything but an all out car were ever # and tenth counted but thats just me because in itself Al dosnt make any more power than Iron and I'm sure thats a flame inducing statement /forums/images/graemlins/smirk.gif

    Different strokes for different folks. What works for some wont work for others. My only point is vortecs arnt the best head for the money in all cases. But your point isnt that they are and I'm sure we are on the same page we just want to get the info out so people can make up thier own mind as to when a vortec is right for them.
     
  12. dyeager535

    dyeager535 1 ton status Premium Member

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    Re: I\'ve heard alot about these vortec heads

    </font><blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr />
    I also wouldnt ever run Al on anything but an all out car were ever # and tenth counted but thats just me because in itself Al dosnt make any more power than Iron and I'm sure thats a flame inducing statement

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Thats the only thing I have a question about, and its not even a flame! /forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif

    Why wouldn't you run AL? I don't run them, but I've run AL intakes, and I'll run AL radiators (though prolly not on my truck) but why not heads?

    My reasoning for AL heads:

    Lighter weight. Better acceleration, better mileage. (both important to me.) Of course the 50 or 100lbs saved isn't significant alone, but still, its weight your motor doesn't have to move. Plus its front end weight, can't hurt to change the front/rear weight bias a bit, right?

    Less prone to detonation. Important when we are talking 9-9.5:1 on 87 octane, which is my goal. Fast burn chambers (vortecs etc.) have a big hand in this, but AL won't hurt. So the *potential* for higher compression and the same octane.

    Of course the downsides are if you overheat I assume, have to be careful with the coolant, and if you strip out any bolt holes.

    I'd go with a complete AL engine assembly if I could afford it, but that AL 427 block GM sells is a little too rich for my blood /forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif
     
  13. imiceman44

    imiceman44 1 ton status

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    Re: I\'ve heard alot about these vortec heads

    I had aluminum engines in european cars all my life, and most were mercedes, and I can tell you they are very tolerant for octane ratings, we had sometimes 65octane, and still ran fine without detonation, but after working with cast iron, and not worrying about stripping a thread, I will not go back to aluminum.
    As I started they are great, but I don't like the fact that they are so soft.
    Some engines I worked on like french engines, had steel inserts so they were OK, but I like my GM cast iron engines and intakes, as well as heads, and another thing, if you want to use Aluminum heads, go with all aluminum, becasue AL and cast iron, don't have the same heat expansion rate so you will have problems when the heat starts rising, and I am not saying overheating but 200 degrees is enough for diferential.
     
  14. dyeager535

    dyeager535 1 ton status Premium Member

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    Re: I\'ve heard alot about these vortec heads

    I know GM used Al heads on Cast iron blocks in the late 60's, but what about nowadays?

    I haven't kept up with the newer GM engines, curious if the AL L98 heads for instance (Vettes and f-bodies IIRC) were installed on iron blocks or not. If GM has done it *lately* I'd say it shouldn't be a problem.

    I believe a lot of foreign cars run AL heads with cast iron blocks (Japanese in particular) but as you mentioned, there could be different head characteristics.
     
  15. HarryH3

    HarryH3 1 ton status Author

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    Re: I\'ve heard alot about these vortec heads

    The L98 'vettes had aluminum heads with iron blocks. /forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif
     
  16. heavy4x4

    heavy4x4 1/2 ton status

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    Re: I\'ve heard alot about these vortec heads

    Not that you really care...but new f0rd Superduty's use aluminum heads and a cast iron block.(Gas engine anyway)
    My neighbors got one, and it's been in the shop numberous times because of problems with the heads. Aluminum, as mentioned earlier, expands and contracts at different temperatures than cast iron. My neighbor was having problems keeping oil off of his driveway /forums/images/graemlins/frown.gif
     
  17. 4x4Freak

    4x4Freak 1/2 ton status

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    Re: I\'ve heard alot about these vortec heads

    I believe the new Chevy trucks use aluminum heads. Not sure about the v6s though, havent really looked at mine.
     
  18. ratlover

    ratlover 1/2 ton status

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    Re: I\'ve heard alot about these vortec heads

    Aluminum heads are used on lots of newer and older motors with iron blocks in lots of OE applications. L88's /forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif and the duramaxes as well as all kinds of regular low hp passenger cars like VW's and civics.

    Lets go over advantages and disadvantages of both and you guys can make up your own minds. All these differences between Al and CI and reasons why CI is a better choice in some instances and Al in others boils down to how the metal reacts to heat and other properties of the metal itself.

    First lets look at the fact that aluminum is softer than CI. This is a disadvantage but also an advantage. You must be more careful about striping bolts and such and be cautious about things like imbeding your gasket into the head.(not a problem if you use the right one) This can be a big advantage though that is demonstrated by anyone that has ported a set of CI and Al cylinder heads /forums/images/graemlins/eek.gif Aluminum is much easier to machine and port if you go that far. Easier=cheaper BTW. Manufactures can machine aluminum for much cheaper than CI. Another nice thing about aluminum is that it is much easier to repair, welding or if you bugger up a thread. Aluminum is more prone to f-ing up if you get it hot but aslong as you dont heat it the heck up youll be ok.

    Next is very obvious. Al is much lighter than CI. Duh. I seriously dont care about shaving a 100 pounds in a 83 4x4 with 35" tires and a dana 60. Shaving 100#s in a 2500# drag car or 100#'s in a circle car=very good

    Aluminum expands quite a bit more than CI and if you are straping 2 dissimilar metals together(like CI heads on a Al block) you have 2 different expansion rates that can make things a bit more of a PITA in regards to evertything from sealing to the gaskets you want to use but if you do everything right especially with todays better alloys you dont really have to worry about aluminum being a bit weaker or expanding funny. Another thing that goes along with the dissimilar metals that makes things a bit more of a PITA but still not a problem really if you watch your P's and Q's is the fact dissimilar metals do funky things when put into contact with each other. Just being next to eachother will cause them to corrode. The cooling system sometimes will eat the Al faster to, but if you do everything right it aint a big deal.

    Next is the fact aluminum absorbs heat faster than CI. This wicking of heat away from the combustion chamber is why <font color="red"> if chamber design and port design and compression ration and everything else is equal aluminum will make less power than CI</font color>. Heat=power. It is said that you can run more compression with a aluminum headed motor. True but all else being equal you have to run more compression to make the same power as a iron headed motor. I have talked to a few manufactures that make both iron and aluminum heads and they all say the same thing. All being equal aluminum will make less power. Why do they sell coatings for aluminum heads to keep heat in the cumbustion chamber if heat dosnt=power??? Everything being equal is the big gotcha. If you bump up the compression you start to get back to were you would be with CI but with added compression you start running into other problems that rob HP when you start trying to bump up the compression. Dome pistons inhibit you flame travel and will rob HP, if you run as small chambers as possible then that can run into other problems. But all this is spliting hairs. The difference between a properly set up Al head and a CI head(or even a Al head with same compression) is pretty small. You wont ever notice it in a street car or truck except in the pocket book.

    There is the next point. Aftermarket Al heads are expensive. The price difference in the heads could be added to the motor otherplaces and do a whole lot more good to adding power.

    Aluminum heads are more comon in the aftermarket and there arnt any extreamly well flowing CI heads. When I say extreamly well flowing I mean like balls out motors flowing. How many 12degree CI heads have you seen? Most of the aftermarket's and OE R&amp;R goes tward Al heads.

    I dont know why the aftermarket pushes the Aluminum heads? Possible because there is more money to be made with them? The fact its easier to sell people what they think they want as apposed to trying to sell them/develope something that might be better suited for them? The carmanufactures like the ability of them to be churned out easy and the fact less wieght=better milage. Look at fullframe cars. Lot of the same stuff applies. The manufactures are in it to make money not to give us the best possible product most suited for us. You see that everywere in every line.

    I look at all the +'s and -'s and in most cases Aluminum wouldnt be the chioce even if the costs wernt so different.

    For me unless its balls out its iron for me. The facts /forums/images/graemlins/deal.gif speak for themselves and all add up to an easy decision for me but different strokes.....some may still chose Al just like some may chose Ferd

    At least I wasnt long winded /forums/images/graemlins/crazy.gif
     
  19. imiceman44

    imiceman44 1 ton status

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    Re: I\'ve heard alot about these vortec heads

    Very well put.
    /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif
     
  20. HarryH3

    HarryH3 1 ton status Author

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    Re: I\'ve heard alot about these vortec heads

    </font><blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr />
    I dont know why the aftermarket pushes the Aluminum heads?

    [/ QUOTE ]

    There are a couple of reasons that I can think of. First, most of the folks that buy aftermarket heads are drag racers and they want to shave off every pound that they possibly can. Second, drag racers blow up a LOT of motors. When you drop a valve or something and bust a CI head, you usually have to toss it in the nearest trash can. /forums/images/graemlins/shocked.gif AL heads can usually be welded up and fixed pretty easily. It's pretty easy to have $2,000-3,000 in a set of heads by the time the drag racers get them ported to perfection. So tossing a head in the trash can gets expensive pretty quickly!
     

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