How much HP would heads alone add?

Discussion in 'Engine Topic' started by Crowsville, May 24, 2013.

  1. hhott71

    hhott71 Veteran Member Lifetime Gold Member

    14,375
    7
    Mar 30, 2001
    Joplin Mo. 64801
    Build a hot rod motor. Without a good exhaust, converter and gears it will be a dog.

    Add gears and exhaust to a stock motor and it will impress the heck out of you. Add the converter when you add the hot rod motor.
     
  2. hutchenc

    hutchenc Veteran Member

    337
    0
    Aug 21, 2007
    Wyoming/Colorado
    You'll be bale to find used Vortecs pretty easily if that's the way you want to go and it probably is the best bang for the buck. Just be sure to check them for cracks before you lay down your cash. In an ideal world, you could find a set with the rockers and the covers all together. I'd start on Craigslist and see what you find.

    Also, this is just my opinion, but if you decide to buy new parts, Vortecs really aren't worth the cost. There are better options out there that are not much more money. The 180cc Jegs branded aluminum heads are a very good head for about a $1000 pair. To save money, find a used Eddy Performer RPM for $50 and a set of cheap perimeter bolt valve covers...you can find that anywhere or re-use the ones you have and you can re-use your current intake bolts and if you're pinched for money, even your current rockers then just upgrade them later.
     
  3. Crowsville

    Crowsville Member

    87
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    Jan 13, 2013
    New York, New York
    1K pushing 1,5k is where I am shooting to spend. I really want to just drop 1k. I already have 600 bucks set aside for it. I have someone who is going to help me install everything which is really awesome. He can put together a 350 with his eyes closed, but being that he does it as a profession he continues to advise me to just do the whole thing... but the whole thing would run me about 3 grand if I machine it, rebuild it, and get a performance package.

    When I told him about the Vortec Heads and self aligning rockers he said that's a walk in a park along with the intake, but he said it isn't worth doing all that because the power gains aren't much without the cam. He also said that if I'm changing the heads and the rockers I might as well go ahead and change the cam. In my head changing the heads, intake, rockers, and valve covers with an extremely proficient mechanic is a few hours being that it's a matter of bolt off, bolt on without having to remove the motor or front end to access anything. The cam would require the motor to be removed/front end to be removed.

    Who's really right here, him or myself? Should I save more and get a summit power package for 2 grand and do exactly what I'm trying to avoid since the vortec heads, rockers, and intake aren't a noticeable difference or should I persuade him to just do pretty much exactly what SpeedAddict said. All I really want is something like 300 HP... if in the future I want to take it to the next level I wouldn't mind to do the cam as well.
     
  4. Crowsville

    Crowsville Member

    87
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    Jan 13, 2013
    New York, New York
    This is a long term project, I plan on buying/working the rear end and getting an exhaust system. Right now though, the car is slow when I can put together some money and change that very easily. I already put in 2 grand into the car on suspension, rust, a racing seat, a quarter stick shifter etc why not save 1 grand-1,5k and do the motor and enjoy the car so much more then worry about the rear end and everything else later?

    That's why I want to just do something now that is not going to cost me an arm and a leg, that I can build on. An exhaust system, new distributor, rear end, strengthened frame, body work and all are things that are going to take place later down the line it's just a matter of tackling things by sections vs a task that is too big for my pockets and skill level to tackle. Your advice is not going on death ears and I do need to hear it. I plan on putting it into play but right now at this moment - I simply can't.

    This is far from the last time I will be on these forums. This camaro is for life.
     
  5. SpeedAddict02

    SpeedAddict02 Veteran Member Lifetime Gold Member

    4,538
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    Dec 31, 2002
    Wallkill, N.Y.
    Doing the cam swap isn't that much more involved with the motor in the car..
    The front accessories need to come off...
    The fan, shroud and radiator need to come out.

    Biggest pain will be the timing cover because you need to drop the front of the oil pan to remove it, and replace the seal..

    You'll need a balancer puller and timing gear puller also. But your mechanic friend should have these if he does it for a living.. Or they can be rented at advance or AutoZone.

    With that said, plan on the car being out of commission for 2, possibly 3 days if you.do it all.
    Dont forget the cam will need to be properly broken in, re adjust.valves, chase leaks, etc.. All that little bs that's why i say 3 days...
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2013
  6. 496z28

    496z28 Veteran Member Lifetime Gold Member

    964
    7
    Sep 23, 2007
    Oklahoma City
    My opinion. If your looking to spend up to $1500 bucks. Save a few more hundred and buy the 290hp GMPP crate engine and have a fresh bullit to drop in and GO!!!!
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2013
  7. SpeedAddict02

    SpeedAddict02 Veteran Member Lifetime Gold Member

    4,538
    0
    Dec 31, 2002
    Wallkill, N.Y.
    True. It's like another $500 plus shipping..
     
  8. Damon

    Damon Veteran Member

    12,937
    21
    Nov 16, 2000
    Philly area
    Compared to your old 76cc smogger heads the Vortecs are night-and-day. Not jsut the considerably better ports and chambers, but the bump in compression from barely over 8:1 to almost 9:1 it's a nice kick in the pants. Not just peak HP improvements, but a noticable bump in torque EVERYWHERE, which is what you will notice most driving around on the street. Plus you can do more with them later when you decide on a full bottom end rebuild and a cam. They are good for ~400HP with no port or valve work- just spring and clearance upgrades for use with a more aggressive cam.

    For what you're trying to do, it's a very good option. Can be done pretty easily just opening the hood and turning wrenches and it'll be considerable faster even without changing the converter and rear gears.

    I wouldn't even consider a cam swap in that motor unless you are going to fully rebuild the bottom end to prepare for the higher power and higher RPM levels that old mill is going to experience when you go that way.
     
  9. hutchenc

    hutchenc Veteran Member

    337
    0
    Aug 21, 2007
    Wyoming/Colorado
    You don't need to pull the motor to do a cam swap. You will need to pull off all the drive accessories and the radiator though. No biggie really. It's a weekend project with a knowledgeable friend.

    Just my two cents here...if the bottom end of the motor you have now is solid and the compression is good, you're not gonna hurt that thing unless you do something stupid.

    Bang for the buck is used Vortecs and supporting components. Get a free-flowing exhaust too. Easily done for $1500 if you shop around for a good deal. Just be patient and you'll find a set of good used heads.

    As far as the cam swap goes, I do think you should keep it tame. Something in the low 220 at .050 range isn't going to tax your motor that much. Keep it under 5500 RPM and you'll be fine. Any SBC will take that kind of abuse. An old L-82 cam wouldn't be a bad option with Vortecs. I had that cam and Vortec heads in a 355 in my '72 for a while. Not a world burner, but it was no slouch either. It was a stock, worn out 2 bolt main 350 with cast everything too.
     
  10. Crowsville

    Crowsville Member

    87
    0
    Jan 13, 2013
    New York, New York
    Alright, I'm convinced I'll tell him to do the vortec heads, intake, and rocker swap with me.

    One last question though because there seems to be controversy on this one. Should I just get the cam done and over with? Is changing the cam a completely different process or is he right in the sense that since we are already doing the intake, heads, and rockers the cam might as well be done?

    I thought that the cam required you to remove the front end and accessories. With this image in my head I figured it had nothing to do with a head swap.

    As for what I'm going to buy I look at speedaddict's kit he mentioned 890 is a good price but summit has for a little over 1,000 that comes with an edelbrock intake manifold and a intake/head gasket set I don't think the Jegs one comes with an intake manifold gasket.

    That's around 1k in heads, intake and gasket sets, and all that's left is the rockers and valve covers. I think I am just going to get the rockers and valve covers through summit/jegs though because I mean honestly they really aren't that much. I just don't know which rockers to get it's pretty confusing on the site. The valve covers are self explanatory but what do you guys recommend I buy for the rockers?

    With all this done minus the cam where do you think I'll end up with HP?
     

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