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Old 09-06-2010, 04:25 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default 351 Heads on a 289

Hey all. I am currently am running a 289. Looking for a slight change in things. I recently acquired a pair of 351w heads. Wanted to go with the boss type setup but was wondering if ti would bolt up to my edlebrock performer intake. I believe it should but im wondering if anyone has done this and if they were successful or not. Engine is rebuilt and before i started on the heads I figure i should just triple check. Im pretty sure the edlebrock said 289-302-351

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Old 09-06-2010, 04:29 PM   #2 (permalink)
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The 351 heads will fit on your 289 and the Edelbrock will fit too.. Then the question become are they worth putting on?

The 69/70 are the heads you want otherwise forget it. After about 1975 the 351 heads were the same as the 302 heads.
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Old 09-06-2010, 04:53 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Well I have a pair of 69 heads and I have a pair of 73 heads. Thought they were the same. Currently running a 65 289, heads and all. Just looking for some more schwoop w/o spending a ton with aftermarket heads.
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Old 09-06-2010, 05:30 PM   #4 (permalink)
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The 351W heads were the trick setup in the early days. Ford still carries the special head bolts needed for this conversion. The only downside is the chambers are pretty big for a 289, so your compression ratio will drop. Ford had pop-up pistons to compensate, such pistons are still available from Summit etc. if you want to go that far. These heads, with slightly larger valves, and screw in studs, were part of Fords upgrade system. The 351W head came back years later, only then it was called the GT40.
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Old 09-06-2010, 05:47 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Classicstang1965 View Post
I recently acquired a pair of 351w heads. Wanted to go with the boss type setup but was wondering if ti would bolt up to my edlebrock performer intake.
Boss 302's used 351C style heads, not 351W heads. With all the aftermarket heads out there today, it's not worth trying to put 351W heads on a 289/302.
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Old 09-06-2010, 06:22 PM   #6 (permalink)
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With all the aftermarket heads out there today, it's not worth trying to put 351W heads on a 289/302.
I don't think that's his point. Swapping these heads is easy and quick, and if you don't mind the compression drop, it'll improve performance. Sometimes it's the nostalgia of the thing. Sure, newer heads are superior, but then so are newer Mustangs. If "better" was the only thing that mattered, all these old Mustangs would be crushed, not to mention all the street rods, rat rods, etc.
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Old 09-06-2010, 06:28 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I read "boss type setup..." that to me implies 351C heads.
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Old 09-06-2010, 06:28 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Tongue they bolt right on....

Classic, the 69 and 73 351W heads will bolt right on. You can get the special bolts from Ford, or you can get the shouldered washers from Edel, ARP, others, and use the original bolts. But, the combustion chambers are going to be larger than your 289 chambers, so you will lose compression. IIRC, the 65 289 heads have something like a 54cc chamber. The 69 & 70 351W heads have a.........62 ? cc chamber, and the '73s have a 70+cc chamber. Sooooooooo the 351 heads will breathe better, but you lose compression, maybe lots of compression. Is that an acceptable trade ? If it is, you can do it. Does either of the sets of 351W heads have hardened seats under the exhausts ? if so, thats good. If you do it, keep those 289 heads, some of us are looking for them for the small chambers . As Max said, the 351W heads are nice, but Boss heads they are not. I'm going to put a pair of 69 351W heads on my 69 302, but the biggest reason to use the W heads for me is that i already have them, and my 69 302 doesn't have the small chambered heads you do, so I won't be losing compression. LSG
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Old 09-06-2010, 07:03 PM   #9 (permalink)
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he did say "boss type" didn't he?
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Old 09-06-2010, 08:03 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Yes, he did and that was noted
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Old 09-06-2010, 08:18 PM   #11 (permalink)
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I Have a 65 289 GT FB with 351 Windsor Heads, Dual quad Cobra Intake, Pusher pistons, 11.5" clutch with shatter proof bell housing and 4.11:1 Limited Slip rear end. Anyone interested in the accessories - am converting it back to an "A" code. Dale 512-657-7000
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Old 09-06-2010, 09:02 PM   #12 (permalink)
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I don't think that's his point. Swapping these heads is easy and quick, and if you don't mind the compression drop, it'll improve performance.
You're right about being easy and quick since he had the heads. But will it improve performance if he just bolts the heads on and has a large compression drop? I doubt it. Heads and compression are where an engine makes a lot of it's power. Crappy flowing heads or low compression and you're not gonna make much power. Bigger isn't always better. So if the OP spent the money to have the 351 heads freshened up, bought high compression pistons in order to maintain his compression with the larger chamber heads, and had all the machine work done to install the pistons, would he still be ahead $ wise than if he just swapped a set of aftermarket aluminum heads on that will out flow the 351w heads, have bigger valves and smaller combustion chambers? I'd say not.

I know you've been around Mustangs and Fords for a long time. Remember the whole reason the 351w head swap for the 289/302 engines came about in the 70's was due to the fact there were no aftermarket heads for the 289/302 engines (unless you counted the exotic Gurney Eagle heads and those were super high dollar). Nowadays, even the "inexpensive" aftermarket heads will outperform stock 351w heads. As far as nostalgia, they don't look any different externally than 289/302 heads. So with all that, why spend all that money and mess with factory heads?
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Last edited by Maxum96; 09-06-2010 at 09:09 PM.
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Old 09-06-2010, 09:12 PM   #13 (permalink)
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I don't think that's his point. Swapping these heads is easy and quick, and if you don't mind the compression drop, it'll improve performance. , .
If you don't mind the compression drop?......

The loss of compression basically nullifies any extra power you might get from the increased air flow..Thats why ford offered the pop up pistons back in the day..
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Old 09-06-2010, 09:29 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Remember the whole reason the 351w head swap for the 289/302 engines came about in the 70's was due to the fact there were no aftermarket heads for the 289/302 engines (unless you counted the exotic Gurney Eagle heads and those were super high dollar).
You're forgetting the Crane Fireball heads. They used service replacement 289HP (later 302 J code) heads and wildly ported them into real breathers. Special headers were required.

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Old 09-06-2010, 09:37 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Classicstang1965 View Post
Well I have a pair of 69 heads and I have a pair of 73 heads. Thought they were the same. Currently running a 65 289, heads and all. Just looking for some more schwoop w/o spending a ton with aftermarket heads.
Couple hours work on the 65 heads you have will give you a substantial improvement. Port match them to your exhaust. The openings were always cast too small, and the pocket rough and restrictive. I'd say "$0" is less than a ton. Well, a gasket set, which you'd have needed anyway.
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