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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi guys! I just joined, and I need some major wisdom laid on me. I tried to find this information in a search here, and I found the subject was touched on, but just as I have found in the "real world" there seemed to be firmly different and opposite opinions. It involves a 302 (306) crate SBF and upgrading to 190 cc intake runner or 170 cc intake runner heads (specifically in this case to Trick Flow CNC ported heads). Here is one conversation I found on your website:

"Goody_Seven said:
53cc [170cc Trick Flow CNC ported] makes them very appealing for a 302-306 setup
Yup

rob said:
For the same same price as the 190's I think it would be a waste to get the 170 over the 190.
Application is the key

jmardlin said:
I don't see that much of a point to them unless you are doing a 289
Goody understands

The Anti Rice said:
Fixed that for you.

I just never understood buying aftermarket aluminum heads that were that small.
If all you look at is port volume, this might make sense but there more to this new cylinder head than a certain port volume.

:wink2: "

That is what I am hearing too - some guys swearing the 170 is a waste of money and pointing to the bench flow numbers of the 190, and others saying in the real world the 170 is far better for this engine. That wink there at the end kind of makes me think I need to learn more before I spend money I barely have! I was almost sold on the 170, then drinking a beer with a friend in his shop as he was showing me several heads he was in the process of porting kind of swung me back again toward the 190. Of course he also says just run your Chinese heads until they blow up! LOL

Below are the specifics of my particular case, and what I posted on another Ford forum I belong to but never got a reply. Trick Flow is strongly advising me to go with the 170, old school engine builders have said the 190 is a far better choice. Could someone here possibly set me straight? I know the head is critical, compression and flow (capacity and velocity) is critical to performance. Just trying to study this subject I realized I can likely gain about 4 HP - four absolutely free horsepower - simply by putting the new heads on with a slightly thinner head gasket, thus gaining a fraction more compression ratio. I am just realizing how much I don't know! I don't have enough knowledge to make an informed decision - and listening to discussions like the one above tells me someone has been down this road and could lay some truth on me. The bench data screams 190 - but in the real world things can get complicated:

"I need the advice of someone smarter than me who knows how to build for performance. I figure heads are critical to any engine build, and the subject is complicated beyond my experience level. I have a 1994 Mustang GT with a Blueprint Crate 306ci engine. This engine has had some weird things going on - mainly it is prone to over-revving on its on (it came with a Sniper EFI and I think that is the culprit) - but otherwise it has been a very pleasant surprise. (I found letting the car sit at idle for a few minutes before taking off mostly solved this - along with a bunghole extender for the EFI O2 sensor.) Factory dyno tests show 386.8 HP @ 6,000 RPM and the HP curve was rising at about a 45 degree angle on the graph when the test was shut off, so I think I can assume on a test stand this is easily a 400 HP engine. Has 376 foot pounds of torque @ 4,300 - 4,400 RPM. So this is a huge jump from stock (225 HP). But I have been reading on forums like this the heads are Chinese castings which BluePrint did some finishing work to. I would like to get away from these heads and get something American for such a critical component - and add more performance while I am at it if I can afford to. I am sick of China, and I don't trust it in my most precious earthy possession. To that end after weeks of research I am looking at Trick Flow heads CNC ported heads. So you guys that know your stuff, please share your knowledge with me and help me find the right choice for a fast classic naturally aspirated Ford that is still functional as a daily driver. One that can eat Chevy's and imports, preferably.

This is what I have: 306 ci engine with a cold air intake and a very free flowing exhaust. BBK shorty headers. It is an old car so some things may have fallen off over the years - roads in this country have gotten pretty bumpy - there is no EGR system, and I think the CATs fell off on the interstate somewhere in Ohio. 2.5" H-pipe all the way back and high flow mufflers. No mass air flow sensor. Factory computer is gone and replaced with Holly Sniper EFI. BluePrint dual plane intake manifold (which I am told is a copy of the Edelbrock RPM intake but it sits an inch higher overall). Hydraulic roller cam which Trick Flow told me would work fine with the two heads I am currently looking at: .543 Intake / .554 Exhaust, 218 Intake / 226 Exhaust Duration @ .050 lift, 112 Degree Lobe Separation. The BluePrint heads have 190 cc intake runners, valve sizes 2.02' intake and 1.6" exhaust both @ a 20 degree angle, and a 60cc combustion chamber for a 9.5 to 1 compression ratio, and pretty decent flow numbers.

I made a chart so you can more easily compare the BluePrint head against the two Trick Flows I am looking at. I am going to try and paste it in here so you can easily see an apples to apples comparison.




So this is where I am. The car seems to run great with the BluePrint heads - I can't deny it is far stronger than stock, and it does not seem to be at all sluggish anywhere in the power band. (But I just don't trust the quality of the aluminum casting, or that a faulty spring might make a valve take flight. Not in the good way, like Freebird. More like on the side of the road, looking at a smoldering heap of metal.) It currently has a 190cc intake runner according to BluePrint. Now from my research it seems to me both overall flow and air velocity are critical. If it was just the total flow capacity the choice would be easy - the flow numbers from the 190 Trick Flow crush the BluePrint heads in the mid to upper lift ranges and beat the 170 handily, and when you multiply by 8 cylinders that would seem like a massive gain. (Over 50 more CFM on both the intake and exhaust per cylinder at top end over the BluePrint,) This and the fact the car seems to run really well on the current 190cc intake runner makes me lean in this direction. I don't know what the actual compression ratio would be, but I am estimating about 9.9 to 1 with the 56cc chamber? It seems like my 306 really likes this size intake runner based on feel and my dyno report, but I don't have enough experience with aftermarket aluminum heads to really know.

That said the Trick Flow rep said either would work, but he personally recommended the 170 runner size for my Mustang. He felt like for a car which isn't strictly designed for the track, the 170cc would perform better. He said it would work extremely well from 1,500 RPM to 6,500 RPM, and even with the lower flow numbers I would easily get a roughly 40 HP gain over the BluePrint heads with my existing cam. He looked at the numbers for my current engine and heads. He wasn't very specific - or maybe I didn't know how to ask the right questions - but I think he felt like the air velocity in the 170 would outweigh any advantage the 190 would have. As you can see, the 170 has more modest gains over the Blueprint in the upper lift ranges (much more in the exhaust side though!) than the Trick 190 for overall flow. Trying to understand this subject I have found some guides that say for a 302 a 170cc to 180cc runner would be best, while a 190cc runner would be best for a displacement of 350CI or greater. I actually tried to find a head with a 180cc runner from Trick Flow for a SBF as a compromise between velocity and total flow capacity but they don't make one apparently!

A few final points. The 170 should have 10.25 compression with the Trick 170 and the small combustion chamber. I am assuming that will be a significant gain in power and possibly efficiency over the current 9.5 ratio? (The Trick 190 will have higher compression than what I have now, but less than 10.25 because of the slightly larger compression chamber.) That may bring this old school V-8 closer in line to modern engines in one regard. (I think federal regulations did a lot of damage back in the day when they forced everyone to lower compression to meet national standards.) Both of these heads will be fully CNC machined (street port, not competition). And both will have the Twisted Wedge® design and the [email protected] intake and 13 @ exhaust valve angle - which I understand will be much more radical than the stock and BluePrint 20 degree angle. The Trick Flow rep says these valve angles and the head design will be a huge improvement with either the 190 or 170. Oh and Trick Flow valve sizes - the 170 is identical to what I am running now: 2.02 intake and 1.6 exhaust. The 190 has a larger intake valve - 2.055, and a 1.6 exhaust.

What do you smart guys think? This will exhaust my bank account, so I want to do this right the first time. What is the best way to break my ties with the CCP and get better performance without losing power and torque at lower RPMs? Please consider me an idiot, cuz I have earned that label more than once in life - help me understand what will be best for my pony, even if it is another head altogether. What is most important to the performance of my V-8, or what might I be missing? Any problems switching to Trick Flow I might not know about? (Exhaust ports on these heads will match up with my headers unlike some Trick Flow heads, and the Trick Flow rep felt like piston clearance is not an issue. But I have seen something in the forum about a problem with the length of the pushrods?) And thank you very much for your time. A lot of what I do know about cars and motorcycles has come from amazing forums like this.

Wes
 

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1) We don't race flow benches...

2) Cross section and air speed are much more important than flow numbers...

3) Keeping the shorty headers is your bottleneck no matter which head you choose...

4) Compression is your friend...

5) I think your cam sucks for the application but that's my opinion...

Can't wait for the responses... :coffee:
 

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My 306 made 326rwhp with old school 170s. This was with 1-3/4 longtubes through a C4.

I say leave it and enjoy it. I think you are wasting your money on a 306 with shorty headers by changing the heads. Your worry over the Chinese business is a trap you're subconsciously constructing to ensnare yourself. You're going to drop $2000 on this project- that may or may not work with your pistons- and then have a difference you may only see on a dyno. When the valves interfere with the pistons during mockup you will decide you may as well build a stroker, then all the sudden you're going to be figuring how you can afford to drop another $5,000+ into the car. I say either commit to the stroker with 11r 190s now, or stick with what you have until you're financially able to make that sensible upgrade later.
 

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I think the OP is over-thinking this so much that no matter what he does he will not be happy.
 

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I just like walls of text, "TL/DR" :ROFLMAO:
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
1) We don't race flow benches...

2) Cross section and air speed are much more important than flow numbers...

3) Keeping the shorty headers is your bottleneck no matter which head you choose...

4) Compression is your friend...

5) I think your cam sucks for the application but that's my opinion...

Can't wait for the responses... :coffee:
Well I figured flow numbers weren't everything - and especially with a naturally aspirated motor those wonderful numbers would never be seen, would they?! But you do see a lot of head comparisons, and that is one of the things people go for. The flow numbers. When I got worried about my Chinese castings, that is where people pointed me - to those bench flow test competitions. I was looking at actual race heads because of those articles, and then an Edelbrock expert told me, those heads would scream at the dragstrip. But the guy sitting next to you at the light in his Camero is probably going to beat you every time because race heads are going to suck until around 3,000 RPM. #2 - that is something I am hoping to learn - is that why the Trick Flow guy is highly recommended the 170? The shorty headers went on after the crate engine I got - the stock factory Mustang GT exhaust manifold had such small openings my thumb would barely fit. They have to flow better than stock, and I figure the evened out tube lengths is going to help greatly when it comes to vacuuming out each puff of gas. # 4 - this is kind of new stuff for me as far as actual knowledge. I mean I look at compression numbers in articles and "ewww" and "awwww" appropriately, but I have never tried to design an engine for myself with higher compression. I suspect this will be a major advantage for the 170? Even learning putting on a thinner head gasket would actually help just sort of blew my mind.

May I ask you this - are you telling me you think the 170 would be the best pick based on air speed (I am not sure what you mean by cross section) and higher compression? I just want to be sure cuz a few of the bulbs upstairs have burned out over the years . . . I think that is what the guy from Trick Flow thought - velocity and compression would win the day, and the overall flow capacity would be "enough."

Also, please - why does the cam suck? The current set-up way outperforms stock - it is like a different world of performance (of course that is everything, but I figure the cam can't help but be a part of it). And both an Edelbrock head guy and the Trick Flow guy seemed to think this cam would compliment the new heads nicely. In fact, the Edelbrock guy called it "adequate" for their nice 185 CNC ported heads and I asked him if that meant just OK, and he laughed and said no, when a head guy says adequate it means I would recommend a Comp Cam with almost those exact same specs.

Thanks!! I have been dying to get some feedback on this. I can't wait for the responses too!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I just like walls of text, "TL/DR" :ROFLMAO:
I just hoped anyone who wanted to help could find what they needed to know. Without knowing what someone has how do you know what improvement performance heads might make? How many times does someone ask a question and the reply is we need more information? You could read as much or as little as you like. I put in a graph - you could have glanced at that and got the basic idea if you didn't want to read. And if you just want to laugh at the post, you didn't have to respond. I started out with a copy from this forum about these exact heads in question for this application - a SBF. It seems like a topic with a major difference of opinion and little actual real world data. I was just trying to get information on what I felt like was a valid topic. Maybe I came to the wrong place.
 

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Don't upgrade your heads. It is not the correct choice for you. Anyone who says different is probably trying to sell you something.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Cam is fine. Did you expect a custom cam guy to like your cam?
I didn't know he was a custom cam guy. I joined 3 hours ago because on my old forum no one wanted to wade into this. Everyone there just seems to say go with GT40 heads - which I think would be a major step back from my BluePrint heads. The first person to actually give me any input of this forum said my cam sucked - so I was honestly asking why. You learn by asking, right?
 

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I didn't know he was a custom cam guy. I joined 3 hours ago because on my old forum no one wanted to wade into this. Everyone there just seems to say go with GT40 heads - which I think would be a major step back from my BluePrint heads. The first person to actually give me any input of this forum said my cam sucked - so I was honestly asking why. You learn by asking, right?
Compared to a custom cam, your cam does suck.
 

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I didn't know he was a custom cam guy. I joined 3 hours ago because on my old forum no one wanted to wade into this. Everyone there just seems to say go with GT40 heads - which I think would be a major step back from my BluePrint heads. The first person to actually give me any input of this forum said my cam sucked - so I was honestly asking why. You learn by asking, right?
The GT40's would be going backwards. One thing that I noticed was the GT40's have around a 64cc heads and that lowers the compression.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Don't upgrade your heads. It is not the correct choice for you. Anyone who says different is probably trying to sell you something.
One of the reasons I came to this forum was because the guy from Trick Flow sounded real nice but he works for Trick Flow. So when he told me his 170 heads would be bolting on another 40HP easily I wanted to learn if that was real, and even better why it would work better. I wanted to learn more about cars. But wouldn't you worry if you thought you bought an all American crate motor and found out the heads were actually produced in Communist China? I mean, I know we all own Chinese stuff now. We have no choice. But what is more important to reliability and performance in an internal combustion engine than the heads? I love performance, but it isn't just about performance for me here. I almost feel like this may be preventative maintenance. I have a 1994 Mustang because I love Mustangs. And the technology of the Trick Flow heads does seem to be legend among many people. The combustion chambers and valve angles seem like they could make a huge difference - one you could fell in the seat of your pants. So I was hoping someone with real world experience could enlighten me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Compared to a custom cam, your cam does suck.
Thanks, but "your cam does suck" doesn't really tell me much. Does the lift suck, the duration, the lobe separation? Just the fact it is a BluePrint cam? (I was told Crane Cams made them before they went out of business.) The current cam may be mild, but it is a lot more radical than stock. (I think max intake lift on the stock Ford cam was .444.) What would be better for the two Twisted Flow heads in question? I asked Edelbrock and Twisted Flow, they asked me what cam I had and they both said stick with that. So maybe someone here knows something they don't - I am hoping to learn. But just to hear mine sucks doesn't give me any direction to look in for improvement. That is why I asked the "cam guy" why my cam sucks. That is why I posted a long description with all my info, and why I am asking. I just want to learn from someone with real world experience. This is what I got, this is what I am looking at, what would work best?
 

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Thanks, but "your cam does suck" doesn't really tell me much. Does the lift suck, the duration, the lobe separation? Just the fact it is a BluePrint cam? (I was told Crane Cams made them before they went out of business.) The current cam may be mild, but it is a lot more radical than stock. (I think max intake lift on the stock Ford cam was .444.) What would be better for the two Twisted Flow heads in question? I asked Edelbrock and Twisted Flow, they asked me what cam I had and they both said stick with that. So maybe someone here knows something they don't - I am hoping to learn. But just to hear mine sucks doesn't give me any direction to look in for improvement. That is why I asked the "cam guy" why my cam sucks. That is why I posted a long description with all my info, and why I am asking. I just want to learn from someone with real world experience. This is what I got, this is what I am looking at, what would work best?
I don't think that there's anything wrong with the cam. You could contact Ed at FTI. He's the go to person for information about cams, cylinder heads and intake manifolds. I've noticed that if someone here doesn't like / agree with a part that you have or are thinking about getting they will say something negative about it without explanation and some will give reason why they don't like the part.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
The GT40's would be going backwards. One thing that I noticed was the GT40's have around a 64cc heads and that lowers the compression.
Yeah, nothing on the GT40s seemed to scream "performance." Intake runner I think is only 145cc - I definitely don't want to go that small. I have read the flow is really bad, and the theoretical HP is well below 400. I was really hoping someone here might have real experience with the Trick Flow 170 and that higher compression benefit. I would be jumping up .75 in compression according to Trick Flow from that combustion chamber. That sounds like it could be a game changer? Maybe that alone could offset the 190s much higher flow data? The BluePrint engine moved me from stock 9.0 to 9.5, and I suspect that is one reason why it is so much faster than stock.
 

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Yeah, nothing on the GT40s seemed to scream "performance." Intake runner I think is only 145cc - I definitely don't want to go that small. I have read the flow is really bad, and the theoretical HP is well below 400. I was really hoping someone here might have real experience with the Trick Flow 170 and that higher compression benefit. I would be jumping up .75 in compression according to Trick Flow from that combustion chamber. That sounds like it could be a game changer? Maybe that alone could offset the 190s much higher flow data? The BluePrint engine moved me from stock 9.0 to 9.5, and I suspect that is one reason why it is so much faster than stock.
Myself, I don't have any experience with trick flow heads but from what I've read on them they are a good cylinder head. The GT40's are a good choice over the e7te heads when someone is doing a budget build up of a 5.0.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I don't think that there's anything wrong with the cam. You could contact Ed at FTI. He's the go to person for information about cams, cylinder heads and intake manifolds. I've noticed that if someone here doesn't like / agree with a part that you have or are thinking about getting they will say something negative about it without explanation and some will give reason why they don't like the part.
That sounds like really good advice - do you have a web addy for them? When I googled FTI I am getting a Florida company that looks like they specialize in trannies and such. I don't see any info for heads or cams so I think I am in the wrong place! I am not looking for perfection or anything here, but I am old enough to know when I have made major and expensive decisions I have done better when I talked with knowledgeable people first. I would like to do this once and do it right. And thank you for the help!
 
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