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1986 Ford Bronco
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Discussion Starter #1
What heads do you guys recommend for a 302 in a Bronco? I don't plan on racing it! LOL! I'm trying to end up with 350+ HP and TQ after the rebuild (basically just mild cam, headers, heads, and intake). The GT40P heads would be ok, but I understand there is a fitment issue with headers. Aluminum or iron is acceptable.
 

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I like the trickflow 11r series. I have the 205s on my 347. Great quality heads that come with good valvetrain train and the revised valve angles give extra piston to valve clearance. They are fully cncd and almost look like a billet piece.

You could get away with the 170s on a 302 or one step up to the 190s, which is a pretty big price bump. I've heard great things about the afr heads as well. 165s or 185s would work well on a 302 with your power goal.

You're talking 350 crank hp right? 350 wheel with a 302 will have to be able to rev.
 

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85 Bronco, 309ci I6 w/4bbl, np435, 4" lift, 37" Irok NDs, 4.56 w/ Detroit Locker and tru trac
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A stock sized 302 needs no more than a 185 head. A 165 or 170 would be ideal. Keep your intake and spend the money elsewhere. The 302 truck intake is plenty for your application. The 351 is the one with the crappy intake. Cam will need to be computer friendly. To get to 350hp you will likely need to raise the compression ratio to 10:1. This will all require a tune to your EFI computer.
 

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1993 F150 XLT 302 Auto 4x4 2.5" Lift on 32's
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I'm looking to do the same thing though IF I get 300 (flywheel) I'll still be happy. I have my build list and when the money gets here I'll start it. Right now I need gears and body work. GT40P heads? Yes they need specific headers. You have these GT40P heads now?
 

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1986 Ford Bronco
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Discussion Starter #5
I don't have GT40P heads, just the stock heads. I've kinda been avoiding them due to the header fitment problem. Anyone have any ideas on that?
 

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In my opinion there is no reason not to go aftermarket aluminum from the start. By the time you buy, rebuild/machine, port and upgrade valvetrain in gt40ps you're just about the same price as a set of aluminum heads.

Even basic aluminum heads outflow heavily ported gt40/gt40ps. Not to mention allow higher compression, better combustion chambers, and much superior valvetrain out of the box.

This is not even getting into the header/spark plug issue. Most aftermarket heads allow all normal headers/manifolds to bolt up.
 

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1993 F150 XLT 302 Auto 4x4 2.5" Lift on 32's
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The GT40 will not have the fitment issue, only the GT40P. When everything is done to your GT40/40P heads (which ever you get), for the price a set of Edelbrock might be the way to go. I have GT40 heads and got them for 2/250 dollars and by time I'm done with them I would have spent 6/650 dollars on rebuilding them. So you figure I would be spending bout 900 dollars, when Edelbrock heads r round that much or little higher.
 

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1986 Ford Bronco
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Discussion Starter #8
That makes sense, for sure. From the things I've read, if you order assembled heads it is recommended that you take them directly to a machine shop to have them done correctly. Often, the valvetrain is improperly setup. I'll probably just buy a set of bare heads and have a shop install the valvetrain.
 

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'92 Custom w/ '95 MAF 5.0, 33's, 4.10 LSD
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From the things I've read, if you order assembled heads it is recommended that you take them directly to a machine shop to have them done correctly. Often, the valvetrain is improperly setup.
I think that's only for the cheap (Chinese) heads?
 

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I think that's only for the cheap (Chinese) heads?
I think AFR, trickflow, edelbrock etc are good out of the box. If you're worried buy them from Woody at fordstrokers.com or flowtech induction.com or TEA (totalengineairflow). These are all good vendors that will ensure your valvetrain is dialed in.
 

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It depends on what you're looking for out of the engine overall.
And $200-300 for GT40 heads doesn't leave you much wiggle room if they need major work. Breaking them down yourself (bag up / label each cylinder / valve) and checking valve clearance and valve stem condition is free. Good valve seals are CHEAP and easy to install. You can clean up the valves yourself - free. You can even water test the chambers. - Free.

For me it's not just the money - it's the fact that I KNOW what's been done do them and what kind of shape they are in. Good machine shops are usually BACKED up for months with work - because they are good.

Take 'em bare to a machine shop and get them bead blasted. Maybe $60 or so. Then put them back together. It all depends on money vs time and what you prefer. I wouldn't spend more than say $500 all in for a set of GT40 heads. Used AFR or other quality aluminum heads can be found used for around that price.

Figure out what you what out of the engine overall - then go from there. If you plan on bigger tires / lift, most that are actually driven a lot would benefit more from a close to stock rebuild and a gear change from the stock highway gears.
 

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I wouldn't spend more than say $500 all in for a set of GT40 heads. Used AFR or other quality aluminum heads can be found used for around that price.
I've yet to see name brand aluminum heads for under $1000 used, and none local.
 

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78 Custom 460 NP435 NP205 Sniper EFI HyperSpark Ignition 4.56 Gears Front/Rear Grizzly Lockers
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My local Ford market is pretty slow, I think I live in Chevy/Dodge country. If OP wasn't 1500 miles away I'd sell him the GT40's I pulled from the JY a couple weeks ago.

From doing my google research on the GT40's, it seems that most of the guys in the Foxbody world are able to get about 250 rwhp via a set of GT40's, cam, and headers on their factory short blocks. That's giving them around 300 hp at the crank if you're figuring a 15% parasitic loss.

If you're wanting much more than that via the path of least resistance, then I guess aluminum heads it is!
 

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I've yet to see name brand aluminum heads for under $1000 used, and none local.
Really? Buddy of mine paid less than a $1000 for a new pair of Edlebrock cylinder heads. I know the local machine shop had several pairs of aftermarket used heads when I was in there. Flo Tek heads have come a long way and they are less than a $1000 new. AFR has the enforcer heads for right around a $1000 - new - ready to bolt on.

GT40 heads are a good upgrade - but they are starting to age. So just like it used be popular to look for certain 327 and 350 SBC factory heads, as the demand went up, the supply started to dwindle and the existing heads out there got older and older - the scale changed a bit.

If you can find a good set that don't need a lot of work (like I mentioned) they are a great upgrade. But unless you hunt local pick a part junkyards (where parts are normally cheap) I see them going for $200-400 used, needing work where I'm at. A decent valve job + machine work is an easy $250 or more at a good machine shop, at least around me. So me personally - and that's just my opinion - I wouldn't sink $600-700 in a pair of production iron heads when a bit more gets me better flowing heads + aluminum.
 

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Really? Buddy of mine paid less than a $1000 for a new pair of Edlebrock cylinder heads. I know the local machine shop had several pairs of aftermarket used heads when I was in there. Flo Tek heads have come a long way and they are less than a $1000 new. AFR has the enforcer heads for right around a $1000 - new - ready to bolt on.
Those are all good new options, but I haven't seen any of them popping up on the used market. Lots of SBC heads around here, but very few SBF's. I follow the listings on corral.net and it's all north of $1k for the good stuff.
 

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1986 Ford Bronco
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Discussion Starter #16
Am I going to have to convert to a roller cam, if I get aluminum heads? Do you guys have a recommended aluminum head for a flat tappet cam? After rethinking this, I'm probably just looking to get around 300 hp out of it.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I may be mistaken, but I think my 302 block is a roller block, but is setup as a flat tappet. Is that correct? If so, then the conversion to a roller should be a bit easier. I'm just trying to figure out the best way to do this. Thanks.
 

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You don't have to convert to roller cam. It's just that a roller cam will let you run more duration / lift with better street manners versus the same numbers with a flat tappet cam. There's also a benefit with less friction in the valve train.

It ALL depends on what you want out of the engine. The big thing with a flat tappet cam - use PLENTY of cam lube on it when you install it and you want to make sure the timing is in the ball park, because you need to break in a new flat tappet cam - here's a decent explanation


Roller cams don't require break in.

If I'm not mistaken, an original 1986 Ford Truck 302 block would be a roller block - but came with a flat tappet cam. If it is a roller block, you can use factory Ford roller lifters and the factory hold down (spider). That would really keep down costs. Use factory replacement lifters etc and then use a cam meant for a Ford EFI roller application.
 

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Here's a fun video for you. Granted, he's testing with a carb, but just for reference on power in general.


 

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Here's a fun video for you. Granted, he's testing with a carb, but just for reference on power in general.


It would be interesting to see the results with factory EFI vs Sniper EFI, vs Other Aftermarket stand-alone EFI systems.

I was really surprised at the HP gain of the GT40p heads vs The worked over factory heads. This makes me wonder if he added springs and did a valve job in the GT40p heads what the power curves would have looked like.
 
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