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Old 02-06-2021, 08:52 PM   #1
30-9
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Default Aluminum heads

Hi Gents

I hope this doesnít start a long thread about positive/ negative on aluminum vs stock heads.

But here goes. Iím looking for a project to keep me off the couch. Iím thinking about switching my stock 39 heads with aluminum.

Hereís my questions:

1- Can the heads be installed (without much difficulty) with engine in the car?
2- Iíve owed the car about 15 years. It has dual edelbrocks, not sure what cam. Is there anything special I need to know when buying the new heads?
3- now that Roy (may he RIP) has passed, any recommendations for bolts?
4- what is best gaskets?
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Old 02-06-2021, 09:27 PM   #2
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Default Re: Aluminum heads

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Originally Posted by 30-9 View Post
Hereís my questions:

3- now that Roy (may he RIP) has passed, any recommendations for bolts?
4- what is best gaskets?
Michael Driskell (contact below) has taken-over Roy's fastener business, as well as running one of the best old Ford parts sources going. Michael knows these cars, loves talking on the phone, and will help you any way he can. Give him a ring at 3rd Gen Automotive. He also goes by "35fordtn" here on FordBarn. DD


Third Gen Automotive, Michael Driskell, NOS parts, reproduction parts and component services. (Roy Nacewicz Hardware)
844-327-5988 (844-EARLY V8)
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Old 02-06-2021, 09:51 PM   #3
JSeery
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Default Re: Aluminum heads

Installing head in the car may or may not be difficult. A lot depends on how easy the old heads are to get off. Assuming the engine has studs, they will have to be pulled and replaced. Most aftermarket aluminum heads require longer studs.
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Old 02-06-2021, 11:03 PM   #4
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Default Re: Aluminum heads

I know it's not what you want to hear but,
if your car is running just fine and dandy, let it be.
You won't notice any performance difference with aluminum heads.
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Old 02-07-2021, 04:18 AM   #5
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Default Re: Aluminum heads

If you do swap out to the alloy heads, MAKE sure you check the piston to head clearance , do this over the whole top of the piston, I just been through this on my 99a engine, I removed the cast iron heads, they worked well but one was cracked, replaced them wit a new set of Edelbrock ones, I checked the clearance about an inch out from both edges, they had plenty, ran it down the valley/(160 miles), and when it got hot and reved up there was a knocking noise.Pulled the heads and the head was not the same radius as the piston, and they were just touching right in the centre. an easy fix on the mill, but a rookie mistake on. my part.

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Old 02-07-2021, 06:55 AM   #6
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Default Re: Aluminum heads

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Thanks all.

The car currently has bolts (think it’s a later 239) and would like again to use bolts.
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Old 02-07-2021, 07:55 AM   #7
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Default Re: Aluminum heads

If you use period heads like Edmonds, stock bolts will work. If I remember right they are torqued to 50 or 55 lbs only. You can get new grade 8 bolts at Rural King or order a set or original bolts from Mike but you will need a set of washers to go with whatever bolts you get. I have been getting the washers from the Model T vendors, they are thinner than others and cheaper.
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Old 02-07-2021, 09:14 AM   #8
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Default Re: Aluminum heads

I use bolts on all my heads . I use hardened washers on the aluminum heads. I torque all my heads to 45/50 lbs over 3 heat cycles. I like to use copper gaskets. Although it maybe wise to use a grade #8 bolt, at 45 ft/lbs , any bolt will do. With 24 bolts torqued to 45 fft/lbs that\s more than a 392 Chrysler hemi in clamping force.
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Old 02-07-2021, 09:25 AM   #9
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Default Re: Aluminum heads

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Originally Posted by jimTN View Post
If you use period heads like Edmonds, stock bolts will work. If I remember right they are torqued to 50 or 55 lbs only. You can get new grade 8 bolts at Rural King or order a set or original bolts from Mike but you will need a set of washers to go with whatever bolts you get. I have been getting the washers from the Model T vendors, they are thinner than others and cheaper.
Original style Navarro heads also work with stock length studs/bolts
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Old 02-07-2021, 10:48 AM   #10
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Default Re: Aluminum heads

Ok, might help to establish which engine year we are discussing. 30-9, where are the water outlets located on the heads, center or at the front?

Bolts vs studs makes the swap much easier.
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Old 02-07-2021, 11:05 AM   #11
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Default Re: Aluminum heads

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Ok, might help to establish which engine year we are discussing. 30-9, where are the water outlets located on the heads, center or at the front?

Bolts vs studs makes the swap much easier.
Hi Jerry, they are center. Think/guess 1948, 239. Determined by pencil test.
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Old 02-07-2021, 11:12 AM   #12
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Default Re: Aluminum heads

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I know it's not what you want to hear but,
if your car is running just fine and dandy, let it be.
You won't notice any performance difference with aluminum heads.
I'm with you 100%.
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Old 02-07-2021, 11:23 AM   #13
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Default Re: Aluminum heads

I share the thoughts above.....shiney and chrome don’t get you home.....Mark
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Old 02-07-2021, 11:54 AM   #14
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Default Re: Aluminum heads

The other question you didn't ask...
How hard are the aluminum heads going to be to get back off in several years? Cast iron has fewer issues over aluminum in the long term.
I've learned the hard way several times that "if it ainit broke, don't fix it"
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Old 02-07-2021, 12:02 PM   #15
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Default Re: Aluminum heads

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Originally Posted by 30-9 View Post
Hi Jerry, they are center. Think/guess 1948, 239. Determined by pencil test.
Well then, someone has changed from studs to bolts. I would guess that might indicate that the heads have been off in the not too distant past. That and the the bolts vs studs would make this swap much easier. As to it being a good idea to swap them, it depends on what you want. I like the look, so worth it to me. Others like things more stock.

Last edited by JSeery; 02-07-2021 at 12:55 PM.
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Old 02-07-2021, 12:30 PM   #16
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Default Re: Aluminum heads

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Originally Posted by JSeery View Post
Well, then someone has changed from studs to bolts. I would guess that might indicate that the heads have been off in the not too distant past. That and the the bolts vs studs would make this swap much easier. As to it being a good idea to swap them, it depends on what you want. I like the look, so worth it to me. Others like things more stock.
+one
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Old 02-07-2021, 01:06 PM   #17
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Default Re: Aluminum heads

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Originally Posted by 38 coupe View Post
The other question you didn't ask...
How hard are the aluminum heads going to be to get back off in several years? Cast iron has fewer issues over aluminum in the long term.
I've learned the hard way several times that "if it ainit broke, don't fix it"
Iím 86, Iíll report back.

Have a question. If gaskets are installed properly why would aluminum be tough to get off?
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Old 02-07-2021, 01:07 PM   #18
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Default Re: Aluminum heads

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Have a question. If gaskets are installed properly why would aluminum be tough to get off?
Depends on the gasket type/material used.
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Old 02-07-2021, 01:10 PM   #19
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Default Re: Aluminum heads

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I share the thoughts above.....shiney and chrome donít get you home.....Mark
Please explain why not.
Thanks
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Old 02-07-2021, 01:15 PM   #20
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Default Re: Aluminum heads

I'm with "JSeery" on this. Also, it's about the "theme" of the car; since the O/P already has dual carbs, it's obvious he is leaning more to the modified look rather than strictly stock. I think dual carbs on an aluminum aftermarket manifold looks better with a set of nice finned aluminum heads than some grungy old iron units. I also don't think you can completely discount a noticeable performance increase if the heads are prepped properly (per "Lawrie") before installation and not just thrown on. Optimizing the "squish" helps a lot, especially compared to a set of stock heads and you see an appreciable compression gain. It's a win-win deal (except for the initial cost).

I prefer composite gaskets, as I have never experienced a problem (when the heads were installed properly), and I would like to eliminate any electrolysis problems due to dissimilar metals. Properly prepared and installed, they work just fine. There is one problem that I have run into with current aluminum heads, and that is that they have oversize bolt (or stud) holes to allow easy removal down the road. This allows them to move around on the block which could lead to problems. The late Gary "GOSFAST" always pinned his heads (like modern engines) to prevent this. This is difficult to do with and engine already in the car, and I have developed an alternative method : https://www.fordbarn.com/forum/showt...ghlight=sleeve.
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