Dismiss Notice

Welcome To CK5!

Registering is free and easy! Hope to see you on the forums soon.

Score a FREE t-shirt and membership sticker when you sign up for a Premium Membership and choose the recurring plan.

Vortec heads

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by orangeGMC, Jan 13, 2005.

  1. orangeGMC

    orangeGMC 1/2 ton status

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2004
    Posts:
    184
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Connecticut
    Is anyone running Vortec heads on a 400 sbc? I know you have to run a different intake, but what else do you have to do to run them? How is the power? I am trying to plan out out this rebuild and am looking for any advice. Thanks in advance.
     
  2. 84_Chevy_K10

    84_Chevy_K10 Banned

    Joined:
    May 30, 2001
    Posts:
    17,669
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    IL, USA
    You will have to drill the steam holes.

    Me personally, I wouldn't do it. Vortec heads were designed for 350 CID @ 5000 max RPM. 400 CID will need quite a bit more. They need porting to work right on a 383 in my opinion...and they're beyond their usefullness on a 400.

    Vortec heads are cheap to buy but need lots of extra parts to make them work right (special gaskets, intake, rocker arms, EGR needs work if you want to keep it, etc.)

    I'd avoid them for your buildup. Just not a good match in my opinion. Of course others will tell you what they think.

    Keep in mind Vortecs are also pretty small combustion chamber (60-62 cc) and thus will up the compression of your 400 quite a bit.

    If it was Vortecs vs. any stock 400 SBC head, I'd say go for it. But compared to Darts, World Products S/R torquers or Sportsman IIs, or a number of other performance heads that cost more than that, (AFR, Trick Flow, hell, dare I say even Edelbrock!) they're not even in the same league.
     
  3. 91GMCSuburban

    91GMCSuburban 1/2 ton status

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2002
    Posts:
    318
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    San Antonio, TX
  4. ZooMad75

    ZooMad75 1/2 ton status Premium Member GMOTM Winner

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2003
    Posts:
    1,001
    Likes Received:
    600
    Location:
    Pueblo, CO
    Vortec heads have 64 cc chambers, not 60-62. Yes you will have a higher compression ratio if you run flat top pistons. As for using a vortec head in a mild rebuild of a 400, I'd still use them. They are way better than the stock heads from that era. Keep the cam tame (under .490" lift) and they will live in stock form. They flow just as good as the old Bow Tie performance heads (unported, stock). So with a dual plane intake, mild (but not wimpy) cam, headers and good exhuast you could have a strong reliable engine with plenty of torque. (keep in mind that the stock Vortec head is what is used on the GM 330 deluxe crate engine, the Ramjet crate and the HT383 crate engine so they can work in higher than stock output applications)

    The special intake gaskets are under $30 and they are reuseable so you don't have to pitch them everytime you have to pull the intake. The rockers are of the self guided variety, of which are pretty cheap at the dealer or even cheaper if you scrounge at a machine shop or boneyard (they have been used since the late 80's so it's not just a Vortec thing). As for EGR, if you need one, you can run a port off of your header/manifold to supply the exhaust to it. They are still a bargain even with the special stuff you need to go along with it when comparing to a complete set of aftermarket heads that run at 800-1000 per pair complete or more.

    Tim's right if you are going for balls out HP, as much as you can afford. If thats what your goal is and have the funds to do it, get Darts, Worlds or one of the other aftermarket head companies stuff. If all you want is a mild rebuild with reasonable HP/tq levels and the budget's tight, get the vortecs.
     
  5. 84_Chevy_K10

    84_Chevy_K10 Banned

    Joined:
    May 30, 2001
    Posts:
    17,669
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    IL, USA
    CC a set or talk to someone who has...I've yet to hear anyone say they were 64 cc.
     
  6. TWISTEDJACK

    TWISTEDJACK 1/2 ton status GMOTM Winner

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2002
    Posts:
    882
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Boise, ID
    GM Performance Parts L31 Vortec Cylinder Heads. The best out-of-the-box head for the money. Excellent flow produces broad torque and killer power. Stock springs are good up to 0.450" lift. Requires special intake manifold to fit the Vortec bolt pattern.




    Specifications

    SDPC Part Number: 12558060 Manufacturer: GM Replacement Parts Valve Size : 1.940"/1.500"Chamber Volume CC : 64ccIntake Port CC : 170ccSpark Plug Position : StraightSpark Plug Size : 14mmSpark Plug Reach : 0.708"Spark Plug Number : RS12YCValve Spring Diameter : 1.250"Valve Spring Max Lift : 0.450"
     
  7. ZooMad75

    ZooMad75 1/2 ton status Premium Member GMOTM Winner

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2003
    Posts:
    1,001
    Likes Received:
    600
    Location:
    Pueblo, CO
    Tim, before you go spouting off at the mouth, do a quick websearch. By the way I've got a set of these heads sitting in my garage right now. Plus I had another set I gave to my Dad for use on his Nomad. Every stinking article ever written on Vortecs has provided detail that the Vortecs are 64 cc chambers.

    Straight from Chevy High Performance's Head Flow bench article:

    [​IMG]

    Hmm whats that say there for chamber size???? Hmm, looks like 64 to me.

    I'll even give you the page it's from: http://chevyhiperformance.com/techarticles/41598/index4.html

    So please take the time to think before you open your mouth and insert your foot. I stand behind what I posted before.
     
  8. sweetk30

    sweetk30 professional hooker Premium Member

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2004
    Posts:
    25,538
    Likes Received:
    538
    Location:
    horseheads , ny 14845
    if your looking for some

    i have a set on the forsale area with the edelbrock intake rpmairgap with geskets and the steam holes drilled allready . best offer takes all.:cool1:
     
  9. 1977k5

    1977k5 3/4 ton status Vendor

    Joined:
    May 26, 2003
    Posts:
    9,992
    Likes Received:
    130
    I think Tim is claiming that though the heads are claimed at 64cc, they are more like 60 or 62. I have heard bad things about porting and putting bigger valves in these heads (like they end up with worse flow numbers). They are pretty much maxed out of the box. True, vortec heads do not have the flow to keep up with some really high end heads (like trick flow, brodix, etc.) but they do flow very well and their 170cc intake runners make for very good low end torque. When I did the research for my motor, nothing came close to flowing as well for less than $1,000 (I got mine for just over $500). Downfalls are that the stock valve springs can't take much over .450 lift (require machine work to put bigger springs on) and you have to buy new rocker arms (I don't consider higher compression or switching to the much better designed valve covers and intake a downfall). I made way more power on desktop dyno with vortecs than I would have with an Iron Eagle or Dart head and now that I have them on my 383 I can tell you they pull hard up to 5500-6000 with the cam pretty much being the limiting factor. One last thing, mine makes over 95% of its peak torque at 2000 RPM.
     
  10. Ruthven13

    Ruthven13 1/2 ton status

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2003
    Posts:
    664
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Fair Verona
    A nice set of aluminum Trick Flows can be had for just over $1k... assembled. And will give you much more than vortecs without needing the expensive manifolds and stuff. By the time you add the Vortec manifold you are almost there, and won't have the ability to port too much later on if you want...
     
  11. 1977k5

    1977k5 3/4 ton status Vendor

    Joined:
    May 26, 2003
    Posts:
    9,992
    Likes Received:
    130
    True, but the trick flows are still $500 more expensive and I think the entry level trick flows don't really put the vortecs to shame. They are aluminum though, and can take much more lift out of the box. If you have a stock intake manifold, you will be replacing that either way (the vortec one is like $20 more expensive for an edelbrock RPM). And as I said before, having valve covers that don't leak (centerbolt instead of old design) and reusable intake and valve cover gaskets is not a bad thing. Also, the big valves and intake runners on the trick flows are going to hurt the low end torque. I am not saying that no one should ever go for trick flows but in a truck when you are keeping everything on a pretty tight budget, you can't beat the vortecs.
     
  12. sandy78

    sandy78 Registered Member

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2002
    Posts:
    84
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Utah
    I built my 383 w/ Vortecs. CC'd chambers and they were 62. Motor runs great, lots of low end torque. I built it for 4500 rpm max, and that's where it runs out of breath- probably due more to the cam than the heads. The only issue on the "special" intake, valve covers, etc. is if you already have standard, non-wore out gen. 1 small block stuff that's worth reusing. If you are going buy a top end anyway, you can get all the vortec stuff pretty cheap. When I did mine, I got some very reasonable parts from Scoggins-Dickey in Texas, I believe their web site is www.sdpc2000.com. I also got some new take-off stuff from Salle Chevrolet who I think is in Oregon -- they have a good website too. In the end, you just need to set a budget, decide what you want the motor to do, then find the intersection of your funds, and the cost of parts. Whatever you do, I recommend "matching" your components. Don't just buy parts here and there because they are a good deal. Make and execute a plan, and you will be happy. Just my .02
     
  13. POWERMAD

    POWERMAD 1/2 ton status

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2001
    Posts:
    3,466
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Oregon
    CHP bolted a set of Vortecs to a 9.5:1 406 straight out of the box with no work.
    Used a Lunati single pattern cam with 230 deg@.050" and .480" of lift.
    RPM intake and a 750 carb.
    On the dyno.
    RPM TQ HP
    2400 472 216
    2600 483 239
    2800 488 260
    3000 493 282
    3200 511 311
    3400 521 337
    3600 525 360
    3800 522 377
    4000 515 392
    4200 508 406
    4400 499 418
    4600 480 421
    4800 464 424
    5000 449 427
    5200 430 426
    5400 410 422

    Not to shabby if ya ask me.
     

Share This Page