Vintage 1960's Ford Head Options - Vintage Mustang Forums
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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-11-2019, 07:36 PM Thread Starter
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Vintage 1960's Ford Head Options

This is my first post on this forum so a little mercy for not searching the forum for the answer to my question would be appreciated! I'm a Mechanical Engineering student in Bozeman Montana who loves vintage muscle and is trying to learn more!

I have been scouring the internet for some answers on performance ford heads in the Thunderbird, Galaxie, Mustang, etc. I did not find what I was looking for but figured you guys could point me in a better direction!

I found some articles on casting numbers for ford heads in the 60's thru the 70's and was trying to figure out:


1) What are the hard to find and more desirable heads that came out of the 60's & 70's for any block, small, FE??

2) Are vintage heads that aren't rusted out worth getting refurbished? Or are you better off buying something new? (edelbrock or Trick flow or something)

3) If they are worth getting refurbished, who will rebuild them for you and what does it cost?? (ball park #'s are enough)

Any help is appreciated,

-Matt
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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-11-2019, 07:49 PM
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A lot of people with the 260, 289, and 302 from 64 or so on up to the early 70s are either machining the heads for stock valves, slightly oversize valves and maybe port-matching the head sports to the intake gaskets and same with the intake manifold all in the name of more flow...or they are installing 351 Windsor heads, which have larger ports then maybe doing the same, or they are installing the later 1980s to 1990s GT40 or GT40P iron heads from the 5.0 liter V8, maybe some tweaking those...or if they have the money buying AFR or Edelbrock etc. etc.. aluminum heads that improve flow and save a little weight...or they are swapping a 260 or 289 for a 302 or 351, sometimes boring and stroking them to as much as 427 or so, then applying heads that will feed those cubic inches. The options are only limited by your budget.
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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-11-2019, 07:55 PM Thread Starter
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Would it be fair for me to assume that just about any 1960's head for a V8 would be a head that would be desirable for someone looking for stock heads?

Especially if it was off of any of the big bore FE blocks? like 390, 427, 428?

Or is the valuation of the heads from the 60's not that simple?

- Matt
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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-11-2019, 07:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mattlinq View Post
This is my first post on this forum so a little mercy for not searching the forum for the answer to my question would be appreciated! I'm a Mechanical Engineering student in Bozeman Montana who loves vintage muscle and is trying to learn more!

I have been scouring the internet for some answers on performance ford heads in the Thunderbird, Galaxie, Mustang, etc. I did not find what I was looking for but figured you guys could point me in a better direction!

I found some articles on casting numbers for ford heads in the 60's thru the 70's and was trying to figure out:


1) What are the hard to find and more desirable heads that came out of the 60's & 70's for any block, small, FE??

From a pure performance perspective, none. From a value standpoint as far as restorations are concerned, 289 HiPo, Boss302, 351C-4V closed chamber, '69-70 351W, '68 302 tunnel port, FE tunnel port, FE "GT" (14-bolt exhaust), I would think.

2) Are vintage heads that aren't rusted out worth getting refurbished? Or are you better off buying something new? (edelbrock or Trick flow or something)

Same applies. From a performance (and dollar/horsepower) standpoint new, aftermarket aluminum heads really can't be beat. For a hard to find head with the right date code, to the right buyer worth some coin. Probably NOT worth rebuilding to sell though.

3) If they are worth getting refurbished, who will rebuild them for you and what does it cost?? (ball park #'s are enough)

Rebuilding the head isn't the hard part. The MACHINE WORK is where attention-to-detail is needed. You only get one chance on a rare head to screw it up during a machining or pressing operation. Depending on condition the cost could be anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars.

Any help is appreciated,

-Matt
hth.

Here's a link to Ford cylinder head info: Heads

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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-11-2019, 08:22 PM
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Originally Posted by mattlinq View Post
Would it be fair for me to assume that just about any 1960's head for a V8 would be a head that would be desirable for someone looking for stock heads?

Especially if it was off of any of the big bore FE blocks? like 390, 427, 428?

Or is the valuation of the heads from the 60's not that simple?

- Matt
Ford heads are NOT simple. Drives Chevy guys nuts. I'm far from an expert, but here are a few data points:

- Here in the 21st century, we have a lot of very good choices of aluminum heads for Fords. When you compare the prices for a complete set of aluminum heads to getting factory iron heads ported and machined for adjustable rockers, things get pretty close. Thus, most people interested in performance heads will just go aluminum. So, not nearly as many people are looking for iron heads these days.

- Ford made millions of heads for the 289/302. The vast majority are pretty lackluster for performance. Very little value here.

- The earlier heads had closed combustion chambers. These heads are more desirable since they result in higher compression and better resistance to detonation/pinging. Still, not a lot of value even for closed chambered 289/302 heads.

- One exception here are the "K-Code" heads. These heads were used on the High Performance 289 from 1965 to 1967 (possibly early 1968?). While the ports are not really any larger than other 289/302 heads, they have adjustable rocker studs and push rod guides. These heads are very desirable for people restoring a K-Code Mustang and can be quite valuable. How much? I don't know. What month is it?

- Sometime in the 80s (??) Ford installed "GT 40" heads into factory vehicles. Ford guys seem to really like these heads. While not rare, they are desirable and have value.

- In 1969, Ford started putting the 351 Windsor into vehicles. This first year 351W had heads with very small combustion chambers. Thus, they result in high compression. So, they are somewhat desirable. Otherwise, these are decent, but not great, heads for for performance. You can find them most anywhere; cheap and plentiful.

- In 1969 and 1970 Ford produced a "Boss 302" engine. These engines were available ONLY in the 69/70 Boss 302 Mustang and 1970 Cougar Eliminator. Contrary to what people tell you, they did NOT have a Falcon, Ranchero or Galaxy with a factory Boss 302. These engines are unique and pretty rare. The heads were basically 351 Cleveland 4V heads with screw-in, adjustable rocker studs, push rod guides, closed combustion chambers and some modifications to make them work on the 302 Windsor block. People restoring a Boss 302 Mustang or Eliminator will pay big bucks for authentic, factory Boss 302 heads. The casting numbers will reveal them to be Boss 302 heads vs 351 Cleveland heads. How much money? Again, what month is it?

- In 1971, for one year only, Ford made a "Boss 351" Mustang. The Boss 351 was a special performance version of the 351 Cleveland. The heads were the same as the Boss 302 heads without the mods for the Windsor block. Again, pretty rare casting number here, again, people restoring a Boss 351 will pay big bucks and again, "What month is it?".

- 351 Cleveland; here's a weird one. Cleveland heads came in 4V closed chamber, 4V open chamber, 2V open chamber and, from Australia only, 2V closed chamber. The latter "Aussie" heads were pretty popular back in the 80s and 90s. (I'm running a set on my Mach 1.) Those have some value, but again, people tend to go with aluminum heads these days. The 4V closed chamber heads are desirable with a smaller market for the 4V open chamber, but racers still want them. Bottom line, you can likely find a buyer for any Cleveland heads, although not for big buck.

- I don't know a lot about the 427s, but I hear the "Medium Riser" heads are rare, desirable and valuable. Can't add much there.

- 427 "Cammer"; these heads were for racing only; never installed in a factory car. Rare, desirable and valuable. Likely, you'll NEVER come across these without looking pretty hard.

- 390 heads are nothing special. Not much value. You can find them almost anywhere.

- 428 Cobra Jet heads are desirable, rare and valuable.

- 429 Cobra Jet heads are desirable, rare and valuable.

- Boss 429 heads are rare, desirable and VERY valuable. Again, extremely unlikely you'd ever stumble on these. They are aluminum and have a "Semi-Hemi" design. The Boss 429 engine was available ONLY in the 69/70 Boss 429 Mustang. Ford also produced Boss 429 engines for NASCAR and NHRA racing, but it's even less likely you'll stumble onto those.

Hope this helps a little.
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Last edited by Klutch; 06-11-2019 at 08:27 PM.
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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-11-2019, 08:56 PM
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Ford smallblock heads have pretty good intake ports, but very restrictive exhaust ports. However, even a first-timer can make these heads excellent with a simple port-matching job on the exhaust. 320 hp is easily possible with these iron heads.

Plain passenger 390 heads are not desirable. A friend of mine recently sent maybe a hundred to scrap. The only significant demand for 390 heads is for Mustangs, and the Fairlane/Mustang head had a unique bolt pattern not present on passenger car heads. On the other hand, those heads, especially CobraJet heads, are desirable.

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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old Yesterday, 08:01 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Klutch View Post
Ford heads are NOT simple. Drives Chevy guys nuts. I'm far from an expert, but here are a few data points:

- Here in the 21st century, we have a lot of very good choices of aluminum heads for Fords. When you compare the prices for a complete set of aluminum heads to getting factory iron heads ported and machined for adjustable rockers, things get pretty close. Thus, most people interested in performance heads will just go aluminum. So, not nearly as many people are looking for iron heads these days...

...Hope this helps a little.
That was extremely helpful!
Just to Clarify:

The K-Code heads would be casting No. C5OE-A?

The 351C '71 Boss heads would be Casting No. D1AE-GA?

The Boss 302 Head Casting No's. would start with C9ZE... or D0ZE...?

What would the code be for a 427 Cammer?

The CJ/SCJ 428 Casting No. would be C8OE-6090-H?

The CJ/SCJ 429 Casting No. would be D0OE-6090-R?

The Boss 429 Casting No. would be C9AE-A?

I know its a lot but getting this right is the most important part to me!



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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old Yesterday, 08:49 PM
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What would the code be for a 427 Cammer?

The official name for the 427 Cammer was 427 SOHC. From the Mustangtek chart those would be C6AE-AC.


If you should happen to run across a 427 SOHC in a scrap pile during your search please let me know first!
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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old Yesterday, 09:33 PM
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I don't know beans about FE heads, but I can share what I know about the Windsor (and Cleveland) heads.

As a general rule of thumb, all Ford smallblock heads are kind of anemic in stock form, up till about 71, with small valves, and restrictive exhaust ports. In '72, the chambers got larger, and the shape of them was also worse, leading to decreased performance and octane sensitivity. In '86, "high swirl' heads were introduced. The science of turbulence and quench areas was not clearly understood yet, and it showed in this abysmal design. Thankfully, in '87, the ubiquitous E7TE heads were introduced, restoring port flow and chamber design to something slightly better than that of the '60s heads, though with slightly larger combustion chambers.

In the mid 2000's, GT40 heads were used on Explorers, Mountaineers, a few trucks, and the Mustang Cobra. They are worth about 20hp over stock E7TE heads.

From 1997-2001 (when the 5.0 production in vehicles was ended) the Mercury Mountaineer and Ford Explorer got GT40P heads, which are considered the best factory heads ever put on a 302 Windsor. They're worth about 30 hp over stock E7TE heads. Due to a change in spark plug angle, and the weak valve springs they came with, they do require a bit of work before using, typically.

The early heads tend to have smaller chambers and higher compression. For custom porting, the '66 heads are considered to be some of the very best, due to generous material surrounding the ports. After being properly massaged by a professional,with larger valves installed and screw-in studs, they can sometimes be superior in performance to even the GT40P heads. E7TE heads can be ported as well, but generally, even at their best, they wind up somewhere in the GT40 to GT40P range, and are not considered worth spending a lot of money to improve.

The Boss 302 was an oddity. It was the first engine to use canted-valve "Cleveland" heads. Unlike Windsors, which have the valves in a straight row, all facing in the same angle into the combustion chamber, the Cleveland valves are splayed so that they open 'inward' towards the center of the combustion chamber. This allowed larger intake and exhaust ports to be used, and larger valves as well. Because the valves also move away from the cylinder walls as they open, high lift does not 'shroud' the flow of the port with the proximity of the cylinder wall.

In '69, a raised-deck version of the Ford smallblock was produced, with a longer 3.5" stroke, displacing 351 cubic inches. It generally shared the same cylinder heads as the 289 and 302 versions, but some had slightly larger valves.

In late 1969, the 351 Cleveland engine was introduced, using the same canted-valve type heads as the Boss 302. The 335 family, or "Cleveland" engines did not last very long. The heads for them were all similar in layout, but came in three basic versions: the "2V" heads had large open combustion chambers that were rather octane-sensitive, but fairly good port design and valve size. The 4V heads had huge ports and valves which were poor for low-end performance, but featured a closed chamber that was much friendlier for cheap gas and high compression. They were very potent high-rpm performers, despite their shortcomings. In Australia, a third version was commonly used, combining the smaller ports and valves of the 2V heads with the closed chamber of the 4V heads, along with a higher compression ratio than any of the other offerings.

The Ford 400 (which was a taller-deck version of the 351C) and 351M (introduced in 1975) were both tall-deck Cleveland motors, and as far as I know, they all came with "open" chamber heads. In stock form, these were all low-revving smog engines with lousy cams and low compression, despite sharing very similar heads to the earlier Clevelands.

Cleveland heads are useable on Windsor blocks, but require some considerations in regard to oil and coolant passages, as well as a special intake. Such combinations are referred to as "Clevors".

These days, there are a lot of heads available, including some excellent aluminum varieties that far outperform even the best ported Ford cast iron offerings. Two brands are generally considered the very best available: Trick Flow's "Twisted Wedge" heads utilize some of the old Cleveland valve tricks to improve flow and performance. Air Flow Research has smaller ports, but through excellent design, offers very similar flow in a more traditional in-line valve arrangement. Their combustion chamber is excellent as well. While TW's offerings may offer slightly more peak horsepower in some applications, I suspect that AFR's heads perform slightly better in street use. It is not uncommon to see either of these brands deliver 75+ horsepower over stock heads with no other changes.
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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old Yesterday, 10:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grimbrand View Post
I don't know beans about FE heads, but I can share what I know about the Windsor (and Cleveland) heads.

As a general rule of thumb, all Ford smallblock heads are kind of anemic in stock form, up till about 71, with small valves, and restrictive exhaust ports. In '72, the chambers got larger, and the shape of them was also worse, leading to decreased performance and octane sensitivity. In '86, "high swirl' heads were introduced. The science of turbulence and quench areas was not clearly understood yet, and it showed in this abysmal design. Thankfully, in '87, the ubiquitous E7TE heads were introduced, restoring port flow and chamber design to something slightly better than that of the '60s heads, though with slightly larger combustion chambers.

In the mid 2000's, GT40 heads were used on Explorers, Mountaineers, a few trucks, and the Mustang Cobra. They are worth about 20hp over stock E7TE heads.

From 1997-2001 (when the 5.0 production in vehicles was ended) the Mercury Mountaineer and Ford Explorer got GT40P heads, which are considered the best factory heads ever put on a 302 Windsor. They're worth about 30 hp over stock E7TE heads. Due to a change in spark plug angle, and the weak valve springs they came with, they do require a bit of work before using, typically.

The early heads tend to have smaller chambers and higher compression. For custom porting, the '66 heads are considered to be some of the very best, due to generous material surrounding the ports. After being properly massaged by a professional,with larger valves installed and screw-in studs, they can sometimes be superior in performance to even the GT40P heads. E7TE heads can be ported as well, but generally, even at their best, they wind up somewhere in the GT40 to GT40P range, and are not considered worth spending a lot of money to improve.

The Boss 302 was an oddity. It was the first engine to use canted-valve "Cleveland" heads. Unlike Windsors, which have the valves in a straight row, all facing in the same angle into the combustion chamber, the Cleveland valves are splayed so that they open 'inward' towards the center of the combustion chamber. This allowed larger intake and exhaust ports to be used, and larger valves as well. Because the valves also move away from the cylinder walls as they open, high lift does not 'shroud' the flow of the port with the proximity of the cylinder wall.

In '69, a raised-deck version of the Ford smallblock was produced, with a longer 3.5" stroke, displacing 351 cubic inches. It generally shared the same cylinder heads as the 289 and 302 versions, but some had slightly larger valves.

In late 1969, the 351 Cleveland engine was introduced, using the same canted-valve type heads as the Boss 302. The 335 family, or "Cleveland" engines did not last very long. The heads for them were all similar in layout, but came in three basic versions: the "2V" heads had large open combustion chambers that were rather octane-sensitive, but fairly good port design and valve size. The 4V heads had huge ports and valves which were poor for low-end performance, but featured a closed chamber that was much friendlier for cheap gas and high compression. They were very potent high-rpm performers, despite their shortcomings. In Australia, a third version was commonly used, combining the smaller ports and valves of the 2V heads with the closed chamber of the 4V heads, along with a higher compression ratio than any of the other offerings.

The Ford 400 (which was a taller-deck version of the 351C) and 351M (introduced in 1975) were both tall-deck Cleveland motors, and as far as I know, they all came with "open" chamber heads. In stock form, these were all low-revving smog engines with lousy cams and low compression, despite sharing very similar heads to the earlier Clevelands.

Cleveland heads are useable on Windsor blocks, but require some considerations in regard to oil and coolant passages, as well as a special intake. Such combinations are referred to as "Clevors".

These days, there are a lot of heads available, including some excellent aluminum varieties that far outperform even the best ported Ford cast iron offerings. Two brands are generally considered the very best available: Trick Flow's "Twisted Wedge" heads utilize some of the old Cleveland valve tricks to improve flow and performance. Air Flow Research has smaller ports, but through excellent design, offers very similar flow in a more traditional in-line valve arrangement. Their combustion chamber is excellent as well. While TW's offerings may offer slightly more peak horsepower in some applications, I suspect that AFR's heads perform slightly better in street use. It is not uncommon to see either of these brands deliver 75+ horsepower over stock heads with no other changes.
What vehicles had the Ford 400? I remember back in the early 90s my grandpa had a 78 or 79 bronco and he replaced the engine with a 400. I don’t recall what it had in it before he changed engines

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post #11 of 22 (permalink) Old Yesterday, 10:51 PM
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What vehicles had the Ford 400? I remember back in the early 90s my grandpa had a 78 or 79 bronco and he replaced the engine with a 400. I don’t recall what it had in it before he changed engines

I had a '78 Mercury Cougar that I special ordered with the 400 engine because the dealerships typically only ordered the base 302 or the 351M for their inventory cars and I wanted the biggest engine I could get. The 400 was also offered in many of the cars, pickups and Broncos.
When I wore out the 400/FMX I replaced it with a 429 Thunderjet/C6 out of a '68 T'Bird. It was basically a bolt-in swap.
FWIW- the snout on the crankshaft of the 400 can be turned down to a smaller OD and the crank will then bolt into a 351W block creating a 400W.
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post #12 of 22 (permalink) Old Yesterday, 10:54 PM
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They were in a lot of full-size vehicles, @Groundpounder17. LTDs, Montegos, Cougars, even Thunderbirds and Lincolns, I think. They got put in some trucks as well. The 1970 400 had a small-block transmission pattern available for that year only, if I remember right. After that, all of them were set up for big-block bellhousings (like the C6). Not a sought-after engine, considering their extremely heavy (but low-compression) pistons, oddball intakes (due to the even-higher than Cleveland decks) and mediocre oiling system. They can produce prodigious amounts of torque if built right, but don't expect them to wind out to 7k without some expensive custom work to the lower end. I've seen a couple builds for these that put out over 400 horsepower with enough torque to make an 8" axle beg for mercy.

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post #13 of 22 (permalink) Old Today, 08:58 AM
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Lots of info here, thanks guys.

I think after reading all this I need to save some money and replace my old stock crappy heads with some aftermarket aluminum heads.

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post #14 of 22 (permalink) Old Today, 09:36 AM
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On the face of it, if you compare having a set of old original cast iron heads rebuilt from the bare cores, having hard seats installed which none of those had and provisions for some thing such as better than stock valve train which would involve milling the studs for screw in studs and guide plates, you have already spent more than a set of aftermarket aluminium heads will cost.



The big BUTT in this is that there is some serious junk in the after market heads arena and particularly if they are "China heads". There are some cheap aftermarket aluminium heads and they are just that, cheap. They have casting shift issues sometimes, generally have junk valves, springs, retainers. The machine work will also generally be sub par and in some cases that can be very costly down the road once you try and run what you have built. If you then factor in the need to get a well built set of after market heads the choice may not be so simple and there is always the question of how much head do you need to accomplish what you are trying to do.


Everything ultimately depends on your build objectives which need to be defined first. What is the thing going to be used for? How much power do you want or do you need and this sometimes has to be a practical decision of 300 or 350 for a driver to pokey around in or make trips in or use as a vintage daily driver and get over 100,000 miles out of versus the extreme end which might be a twin turbo boosted 1000(or more) horsepower thing that isn't very practical doing any of the things previously listed. The other thing regarding this in particular is that at some point you aren't just building or re-building an engine. You might wind up heavily modifying a stock chassis, suspension, braking system, transmission, differential and fuel system to handle the monster engine you just built. After all, building the engine is nice but it is nicer to have something that will run it around. Last thought, with enough money you can build essentially about anything so how much money do you plan to invest in this and do you expect to get more than half of that out of it down the road?



A book could be written on this whole process if one hasn't already been. Yes indeed I have spent not a small number of years in the planning profession, particularly information and communications planning for large enterprises . Does it show? LOL.


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post #15 of 22 (permalink) Old Today, 10:48 AM
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As @macstang said, you're getting a lot of good information, but it is being provided in a vacuum. The gurus here need to know your goal. And what engine family are you working on. Otherwise, a general discussion on Ford engine heads from the 60s and 70s would fill a book.
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