292 "turbo" heads

Discussion in 'High Performance Modifications' started by RePhil, Dec 9, 2009.

  1. RePhil

    RePhil Veteran Member

    Jul 25, 2005
    Lorain, OH
    I'm wanting to upgrade the heads on a very mild 350. There's a pair of 292 heads for sale locally. They are supposedly fresh, not used since rebuilt/worked on. They have been ported and polished as well. My questions are...

    Do you think the 292 turbo heads are a good performance head?
    Will they be too much for my mild 350 engine? 9.5 compression, mild cam.

    I currently have 882 smog heads on the engine. Looking to gain some easy bolt on budget HP.

    Info from ad...

    340292 "turbo" heads
    angle plug
    2.05-1.60 valves
    vasco 1.525 springs
    port and polish by buffulo racing
    fresh not run since rebuild

  2. Damon

    Damon Veteran Member

    Nov 16, 2000
    Philly area
    The heads may not be too much for a 350 but I bet those monster springs are. When you get up into 1.5+" springs the pressures are usually going to be too much for a flat tappet cam.

    I'd also recommend aftermarket performance pistons to assure you have enough valve relief clearance for that big intake valve (I'm talking primarily radial clearance around the rim of the valve since no factory head ever came with intakes that big). Definitely check with clay if you're not planning on or using a performance-oriented piston already.
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2009
  3. tom3

    tom3 Veteran Member

    Aug 1, 1999
    Twenty years ago that would have been one heck of a deal. Maybe not today. I'd really suggest a set of Vortecs. Hardened seats, modern chambers and ports, better suited to a mild built 350. No worries about spending serious money on old unknown heads.
  4. RePhil

    RePhil Veteran Member

    Jul 25, 2005
    Lorain, OH
    Thanks for the info. If I'd have to get different springs and maybe headers to clear the spark plugs, guess it's not worth it. I'll know more about this engine in a week or 2 once I pull the heads, oil pan, and cam.
  5. Mike-78 Z-28

    Mike-78 Z-28 Veteran Member

    Mar 4, 2003
    ElDorado Arkansas
    Those are good heads compared to 882's but you will need to buy cups to use a set of 1.25 springs cause as stated the 1.52's are roller springs.As long as you don't have crazy duration your piston to valve clearence would probably be fine but always check it at least by hand.As a reference, back in the day which was about 80, a friend of mine bought a brand new pair and did a pocket port.Bolted them on a 60 over 283 with 11-1 comp and big cam.All in a 66 Nova with 4 speed and it went a 12.10 first try then blew up the second pass.So I don't know if that means you'll be really fast for one run or not?
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2009
  6. RacerRick

    RacerRick Veteran Member

    Jul 18, 2003
    Toronto, ON, Canada
    Those old 292 turbo heads were the first over the counter race heads from GM. , way back in the 70's! More meat in them for porting, deleted heat crossover, and they were available with both straight and angle plugs.

    If they were ported right, they still make great power. Newer heads like iron eagles, or the RHS heads will walk away from them however. For the minimal price increase I would buy the new heads since you are going to have to do some work to those heads and spend some money to work with your application. I bet the price ends up the same for the new heads, as it would be for those heads then getting them setup for your application.
  7. z28rod

    z28rod Veteran Member

    Apr 30, 2009
    hopewell junction,ny
  8. jester1

    jester1 Veteran Member

    Jan 12, 2005
    Night and day compared to 882's!

    The most hp Ive heard about was 625hp out or a 355, 540 to 575hp was more common. Also must note that this was with expensive $$$ porting.

    If you could get them cheaper they will not be a bad head.
    I still have a set stored away ;)
  9. fueler

    fueler Veteran Member

    Aug 11, 2006
    Get them!
    Don't worry about some of the myths of non hardened seats, not being able to run todays gasoline, very expensive to recondition etc. Those storys were made up back in the day so people would sell them cheap!
    To give you an idea on the power the turbo heads can make, me and my friend built the identical motors a few years ago, same cam, intake, pistons, carb identical. Only difference was he ran the turbo heads and me vortecs. We both had the same cars (75 Nova,78 Nova) same size ET streets and both with 4:10 gearing. He nailed me at the track constantly (bests were 11.91 to my 12.76)
    I recently picked up a set of 292's in rebuildable condition. Can't wait until I can tear into them and have them ready for use in my latest project!

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