Choose the Best Aluminum Head for Small Block Chevy
Customer’s Choice: the Best Rated Aluminum Heads for Small Block Chevy
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Nowadays, to keep a low of car owners seek for a way to improve those engines or to install aluminum heads. The market can offer plenty of different models. However, before making a purchase it is important to consider whether you actually need it.
Buying original heads is very expensive. Therefore, here you have a review of five popular models on the market. They are not very expensive, but you need to get the right model and adjust it to your engine in order to have heads working properly. With Buyer’s Guide, you can learn more valuable and helpful information about heads, specifications, and performance of small blocks Chevy.
DNA Motoring CYLH-SBC-350 – Cheapest Option
The combustion chamber of 68cc greatly improves the performance of the engine and it allows users to increase the total output. This model is much lighter than iron models which also reduces the overall weight of the vehicle.
- It will serve you properly for many years;
- Heads are made of sturdy to heat aluminum;
- You can save a lot of money on this purchase.
- The holes are not centered.
Auto Dynasty SBC 200cc – Best Combination of Price & Value
It is compatible with the following types:
The unit is designed to provide excellent combustion and airflow. The bolt holes are predrilled and they have a standard 23-degree angle. This aluminum head you can easily install on various vehicle models up to 1986. It is recommended to use professional assistance if you face any difficulties.
- Creates wonderful airflow;
- Reliable hardened seats;
- It has a long life expectancy.
- Manual is not included in the purchase.
Racing Head Service (RHS) 11011 – Most Powerful Aluminum Head
This aluminum head is suitable for big block Chevy engines. With this unit, you can make your vehicle not only suitable for only roads but also drag and oval track racing.
It offers customers 320cc of intake runner port with 119cc of the combustion chamber. All of that allows you to create wonderful airflow and improve fuel consumption.
- The head is made of sturdy aluminum in a way of clean cast technology;
- Greatly improves the performance of the engine;
- The construction is very solid.
- It is not compatible with small blocks.
Edelbrock 5089 – Best for Quality
It allows you to change the compression ratio to reduce fuel consumption and bring more power to V8 engines.
All the holes are made with high accuracy, what makes valves and bolts fit very firmly. By installing Edelbrick 5089 you not only increase it optimal performance but also improve its life expectancy.
- It is very easy to install;
- The unit is made of hardened steel;
- Valve spring diameters provide wonderful performance.
- It cannot be used with hydraulic roller camshafts.
DNA Motoring LEPOW-038 – Best for Reliable Materials & Build
It is compatible with a list of small Chevy block series:
It is an aftermarket-oriented aluminum head. It means that you will not have difficulties improving the power output of different models. DNA is a popular company that produces wonderful tools and equipment. As it aims to satisfy customers with quality, you will enjoy using this item.
- Hardened seats and bronze valve guides provide wonderful durability;
- Greatly enhance the airflow;
- Improves performance and horsepower of engines.
- Instructions are not included.
The Buyers Guide
Selecting the right cylinder head is not an easy task. The choice has to be very precise according to personal needs. These products can be of various styles and have different specifications. Therefore to make the right choice here is an overview of all important points that you need to know about while selecting aluminum heads for small block Chevy.
In most cases, heads are made of either aluminum or iron. Plenty of customers take into consideration their funds and prices. Iron is a nice option due to its lower prices, while aluminum models are easier to find, buy, and use.
Speaking about performance, materials also matter. Aluminum heads produce much more power output from the combustion chamber as it conducts heat in a better way. It reduces the chances of motor detonation and increases maximum compression. With iron models, it is difficult to achieve the same result. On the market, various manufacturers produce heads for small block Chevy with both types of materials.
Intake Port Configurations
Aluminum heads greatly differ from manufacturer to manufacturer. It greatly concerns the style of ports. It can be round, oval, rectangle, and even cathedral. While buying one it is very important to ensure what type you need as heads need to match the intake manifold.
Another important point about intake port configurations is their location. It often happens that aftermarket heads have different from standard intake and exhaust ports. In many cases, they are risen to increase the flow. Such application is widespread when several exhaust ports are merged into one. Heads with two separated ports improve cooling and stability.
Intake Port Volume
While checking various specifications of aluminum heads for Chevy you could notice `cc` abbreviation in descriptions. It stands for cubic centimeters and is often referred to as the capacity of the combustion chamber, port flow, and total volume. While speaking about intake port volume it indicates the overall volume of the port, not just the port flow.
You may think that heads with larger ports are better as the flow should be also better. However, small ports can easily compete with them in the flow, air, and power. Quite often small blocks of street engines have a small intake port, which has higher inlet velocity.
By choosing the right head of proper size can improve torque numbers to receive a better throttle response. However, in racing engines, RPM can even decrease. Thus, it is highly recommended to know the type of your engine to figure out which one aluminum head is compatible with it.
Among various porting, you can encounter CNC. It stands for Computer Numerical Control. Such specification is used to standard cast heads that have been cast in a machined way. Such a process of products involves pouring liquid aluminum or other metal into the head form made of permanent or sand cast mold.
The CNC manufacturing process is very effective in producing large amounts of heads. However, it is less accurate. The main benefit that you can get from CNC porting is that you receive the exact size and shape of the intake runner and combustion chamber what leads to better flow.
While trying to learn more about aluminum small blocks you will definitely encounter such term as valve angle. It concerns the angle of the valve towards the block deck. Quite often Chevrolet manufacturers release heads with 23-degree valve angle, while aftermarket models can be of various angles. The most popular are from 9 to 18 degrees.
The airflow of the cylinder head greatly depends on the valve angle. By changing it, you can greatly improve performance. In the motion, valve steam exposes the port to more air that flows to the cylinder. It is necessary to mention that non-standard valve angle heads also need new pistons. They need to match to work properly. Most sellers also have them while offering aluminum heads.
Engines and heads have a set of details, where size is very important. With large valves, you can get better flow and performance. However, a lot of customers often forget that small block heads simply do not match very large valves.
Another parameter that goes along with valve size is its spacing. Many aftermarket models are focused on original factory chamber valves. Still, some products offer space for getting the benefits of large valves. There should be indicated a 60/40 shift in specifications.
It provides users with the possibility to move intake and place exhaust valves closer to the cylinder wall. As a result, you can place larger valves and prevent shrouding. To succeed with such improvements reliefs of valve piston have to match in order to work properly.
Combustion Chamber Size
Among various parameters of aluminum heads, combustion chamber size belongs to the category very important. It defines the overall compression ratio of engines. In order to make the right choice of the model, it is necessary to know the preferable compression ratio.
By setting it higher, you can receive much more power for a smaller amount of fuel. Moreover, there will be leas exhaust gases. However, it also increases the temperature engine produces. By adjusting ration improperly, the internal parts will be worn out much faster, and driving in hot weather will be more complicated.
Another point, which you should learn about heads for small Chevy engines, is port flow. Its numbers often indicate the performance of the engine depending on the amount of air that can pass by it. Port flow is often indicated as CFM what means cubic feet of air per minute. As you already know it influences the combustion ratio and performance.
Max Valve Lift
Speaking about engine performance, it is necessary to mention the maximum lift of valves. This specification is often indicated in inches. Even when you can adjust the flow to the maximum lift, you need to leave at least 0.050 inches from the side of the valve spring retainer and top guide valve seal. Such settings prevent valves from hitting and damaging the engine. Coil bind is another name of max valve lift limiter.
Valve Spring Diameter
Valves have springs around them, which play an important role in engine performance. Their diameter is another characteristic that you should pay attention to. Large springs definitely look more impressive and reliable. However, in small blocks, there is no much space for them. Valve springs should not touch each other during the performance or be too close.
Original valve springs have a diameter of 1.25 inches. If you dream about having wonderful output then you should consider 1.437-inch springs. In case you have an aggressive solid roller cammed engine, then springs of 1.550 inches are better for you.