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Old 04-18-2013, 06:11 AM   #1
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Vortec head modifications

Hey guys I got a 90 camaro that im building up an engine for. The bottom end is your standard 350 bored .030 over, a stroker isnt in the budget . As far as the top end is concerned i have a set of 062 vortecs that im going to use. what im asking is what are the most common modifications to this cylinder head? what will give me the best performance? and i do plan on running a bit of a radical cam so what would need to be done as far as allowing for more valve lift and duration? I've never used these heads before but i hear good things. id like to hear from some of you engine builders out there and thanks in advance any advice is greatly appreciated!!
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Old 04-18-2013, 06:43 AM   #2
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Re: Vortec head modifications

the beauty of vortec heads is that they are a good stock head for cheap. Depending on how much you want to do it though, the money adds up and before long you could have spent a little more and had a set of aftermarket heads that work better and have much more capability.

Budget wise: basic machine shop stuff (check for cracks, valve job). As far as more lift, you can have the shop machine the guides down (matched with proper springs) or you could go with a simple kit (alex spring kit). Depending on the size of the cam. Also may consider screw in studs, again depending on cam size.

Anything more and you will start pushing the budget portion and you should research other options.

Also dont forget that vortec heads require a different intake.
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Old 04-18-2013, 08:54 AM   #3
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Re: Vortec head modifications

Thanks for the heads up on the intake and yes if I do use them i will install the screw in studs.

I understand that the cost of machine work to these heads, or any, can get expensive like you said. So assuming i get quoted a price thats somewhere near the price of a set of aftermarket heads, are there any you personally recomend? Maybe ones youve used on your own build? Just curious and one last thing is ive read that vortec heads dont really need port matching, is this true? Thanks again!
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Old 04-18-2013, 09:39 AM   #4
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Re: Vortec head modifications

Im not sure about the port matching part. You can do a search on here and find a ton of information on vortec heads.

As far as recommending a head, need a lot of information on what you are wanting to build, budget, and plans for the car before anyone can really make recommendations.
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Old 04-18-2013, 09:48 AM   #5
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Re: Vortec head modifications

Yeah good point, anyway thanks again for the info brotha very helpful greatly appreciated!
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Old 04-18-2013, 09:48 AM   #6
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Re: Vortec head modifications

Follow this logic.Most of the used Vortecs are cracked.The reason is thin castings.So you mill the hell out of them,(again thin castings),try to port them which destroys the ruff surface suspending the A/F mixture which makes the Vortec effect,(again thin castings),and then after spending all that cash on heads who's history is of cracking near the cost of aftermarket heads and the time,call it all good.You also know going in the power is made in the overheads.Think this out logically,then tell us what you think.
Beyond all that there is a cam/compression compatibly you need to consider.
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Old 04-18-2013, 11:06 AM   #7
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Re: Vortec head modifications

I see what your saying... About those heads being prone to cracking however, does that really happen all that often? I've read about ppl saying they've never had a decent set because they all cracked and the other half of the results swear by these heads. From your own experience can you clear this up for me please? And Im looking for a CR around 10 to 1 and plan to run a hydraulic roller comp cam(however not 100% sure as to which one yet) got any tips?
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Old 04-18-2013, 11:41 AM   #8
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Re: Vortec head modifications

About 50% conservative are cracked or 25% will crack.If they do let go will likely ruin everything. Then this

http://www.crankshaftcoalition.com/w..._compatibility
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Old 04-18-2013, 11:47 AM   #9
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Re: Vortec head modifications

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Originally Posted by 1gary View Post
About 50% conservative are cracked or 25% will crack.If they do let go will likely ruin everything. Then this

http://www.crankshaftcoalition.com/w..._compatibility
Haha not liking those numbers one bit, but thanks for the info I'm gunna continue with some research and i got a swap meet coming up this weekend ill see if i can find something good and as for the link thanks again very helpful
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Old 04-18-2013, 11:51 AM   #10
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Re: Vortec head modifications

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1gary View Post
About 50% conservative are cracked or 25% will crack.If they do let go will likely ruin everything. Then this

http://www.crankshaftcoalition.com/w..._compatibility
Ive magged A LOT of these heads, and no where near 50% of them were cracked. Ive probably checked atleast 30 pairs, and have had no more then 3 pair that had minor crank in the exhaust seat.

To the OP. if you want to go the budget route, Vortec's are great, with a 350. I'd run somewhere in the .470-.480" lift range. and a intake duration around 218 and a exhaust duration around 222 degrees. I assume you are running a carburetor, in which case id run a performer RPM intake. However, I would NOT go sinking a bunch of machine work into them ( I did, the only reason being is I dont pay for machine work...) Take everything you read on the internet with a grain of salt, there are a lot of people out there who regurgitate facts/rumor's that they read somewhere else, without any first hand experience. I know first hand they work, and work quite well depending on your budget and application.
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Old 04-18-2013, 01:24 PM   #11
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Re: Vortec head modifications

You will hear about several junkyard castings being found cracked. Which makes sense to me, because unless the vehicle was just destroyed in a wreck, there is a reason it is in the junkyard. Reasons you will never know. Just my .02 on that.

But if you take one thing from all of this, call up a local machine shop and see how much it will cost you for just the basics. Then look around at prices for good aftermarket heads with a good valvetrain. Just do the comparison.

I love my vortecs, but if I was building fresh, I would do exactly what I just told you to do.

Oh and I think the above poster left out the word "NOT" when he says "However, I would NOT go sinking a bunch of machine work"

Vortecs are great budget heads, but if you want to go beyond that, time to consider options. And if you dont have a 350 block already, just go to the junkyard and get a complete 96-00 vortec roller 5.7.
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Old 04-18-2013, 02:39 PM   #12
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Re: Vortec head modifications

Yeah im not ruling them out and i will call a few shops to check prices and see what works best. Thanks for the specs to btw
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Old 04-18-2013, 02:49 PM   #13
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Re: Vortec head modifications

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1986Z28OWNER View Post
Ive magged A LOT of these heads, and no where near 50% of them were cracked. Ive probably checked atleast 30 pairs, and have had no more then 3 pair that had minor crank in the exhaust seat.

To the OP. if you want to go the budget route, Vortec's are great, with a 350. I'd run somewhere in the .470-.480" lift range. and a intake duration around 218 and a exhaust duration around 222 degrees. I assume you are running a carburetor, in which case id run a performer RPM intake. However, I would NOT go sinking a bunch of machine work into them ( I did, the only reason being is I dont pay for machine work...) Take everything you read on the internet with a grain of salt, there are a lot of people out there who regurgitate facts/rumor's that they read somewhere else, without any first hand experience. I know first hand they work, and work quite well depending on your budget and application.
Just for the record,I'm haft owner of a engine builder business for yrs.I too like the Vortec heads for 350's/355's.But the new performance heads you can buy from GM.Not the used ones.Then you have to buy the manifold for them too.In that there isn't a cost savings then over aftermarket.

Shouldn't be so paranoid about internet sources.There are people like me who earn a living in the business just wanting to help out.And there are guys like you that have deep pockets in experience too.You just kind of know when you read their posts.So you got lucky finding a set.Well as I said lucky for now.Can't trust heads known for cracking.

Last edited by 1gary; 04-18-2013 at 02:52 PM.
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Old 04-18-2013, 02:49 PM
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