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1965 2door HT Helena, GA 31037
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm moving closer to buying a set of aluminum heads for my 355 sbc and have been looking at the
Trick Flow TFS-30210002 head. I was wondering if anyone has a set of these and if so, how well
are they working for you? Any problems?
 

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I'm moving closer to buying a set of aluminum heads for my 355 sbc and have been looking at the
Trick Flow TFS-30210002 head. I was wondering if anyone has a set of these and if so, how well
are they working for you? Any problems?
I did a set of them on a build recently, customer brought them, I told him we should send them out to be checked over even though they were new, he reluctantly agreed. Good thing we did, several very tight valves and 1 seat issue that would have been a big problem, they straightened them out nicely but it did cost the customer. If you like the heads my suggestion (with any head today) is buy them bare and have your (or any reputable) machine shop set them up properly. I had an even worse issue with a set of Pro 1 Platinum heads, it will never happen again. In the end it won't cost much more and the shop can set you up with the right springs ect for your cam, proper valve guide/valve clearance, quality valves and valve job. I do not want to see anyone else get burned (literally) on something like this.
 

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I did a set of them on a build recently, customer brought them, I told him we should send them out to be checked over even though they were new, he reluctantly agreed. Good thing we did, several very tight valves and 1 seat issue that would have been a big problem, they straightened them out nicely but it did cost the customer. If you like the heads my suggestion (with any head today) is buy them bare and have your (or any reputable) machine shop set them up properly. I had an even worse issue with a set of Pro 1 Platinum heads, it will never happen again. In the end it won't cost much more and the shop can set you up with the right springs ect for your cam, proper valve guide/valve clearance, quality valves and valve job. I do not want to see anyone else get burned (literally) on something like this.
Nothing like shelling out a couple thousand dollars for something that needs work right out of the box... Sometimes significant work. I watch Eric Weingartner's videos on head flows and valve job comparisons all the time and the new in the box crap he gets from all the big-name cylinder head mfgs is disgusting! They should be backcharged!
 

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Check this out and you'll be even more disappointed:


Imagine buying these thinking they're perfect from the factory... Fing sickening!
It is beyond maddening, my big wake-up call on this was a top of the line head, complete out of the box, seemed ok when setting up the valve train, soon as it got hot during break-in a valve hung up, destroyed a band new piston and tweaked the rod, I called the company furious. Their recommendation....even out of the box assembled heads should be checked for defects such as that!! So never again, all my Brodix, AFR, Dart, ect heads are bought bare and I have Scott Foxwell at Straub set them up for whatever application I'm using, they are perfect. In fact the last 434 I built Chris had what pretty amounts to no-name bare cores, yes from China but are excellent quality and then they set them up for me, they are excellent and the price for both I recall was 1200.00 with the best valves, springs and Chris' valve job, worth checking out.
 

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It is beyond maddening, my big wake-up call on this was a top of the line head, complete out of the box, seemed ok when setting up the valve train, soon as it got hot during break-in a valve hung up, destroyed a band new piston and tweaked the rod, I called the company furious. Their recommendation....even out of the box assembled heads should be checked for defects such as that!! So never again, all my Brodix, AFR, Dart, ect heads are bought bare and I have Scott Foxwell at Straub set them up for whatever application I'm using, they are perfect. In fact the last 434 I built Chris had what pretty amounts to no-name bare cores, yes from China but are excellent quality and then they set them up for me, they are excellent and the price for both I recall was 1200.00 with the best valves, springs and Chris' valve job, worth checking out.
For sure, ANY head needs a thorough check prior to putting to use. I do know some of the China heads are actually not too bad after a little work and they tend to flow well even as cheap as they are. Most are just total knock-offs of a name-brand head so in theory, as long as the casting is solid, they should give good numbers after a good guide / seat job and some light bowl and port work. I have no qualms against buying anything as long as it is good. American-made products have fallen flat on their faces for the most part these days. Buy American means nothing anymore in this global economy except that it keeps the people employed. Most American-based corporations (bigger ones at least) are owned by foreign entities or are such large corporations, the profits go to the CEO and the like, not the consumer or workers... Sad but true.
 

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It is beyond maddening, my big wake-up call on this was a top of the line head, complete out of the box, seemed ok when setting up the valve train, soon as it got hot during break-in a valve hung up, destroyed a band new piston and tweaked the rod, I called the company furious. Their recommendation....even out of the box assembled heads should be checked for defects such as that!! So never again, all my Brodix, AFR, Dart, ect heads are bought bare and I have Scott Foxwell at Straub set them up for whatever application I'm using, they are perfect. In fact the last 434 I built Chris had what pretty amounts to no-name bare cores, yes from China but are excellent quality and then they set them up for me, they are excellent and the price for both I recall was 1200.00 with the best valves, springs and Chris' valve job, worth checking out.
Scott is the man when it comes to head work. I’ve got all my cams and valve train components from Chris. And my AFR heads. Setup by Scott as well. My huge solid cammed 421 is super streetable and as responsive as an electric motor. Couldn’t be happier. Runs 10s on pump gas…and can drive it to work every day.
 

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1965 2door HT Helena, GA 31037
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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
Well now. That's not encouraging, especially for what these heads cost. At that price they should be ready to
bolt on. I was wanting to buy the TF heads mainly because of the double hump insignia and no acc. bolt holes.
Now I'm not so sure that is wise.

I looked up Scott Foxwell at Straub Tech and will read up on them more. Do they sell heads outright or can you
buy and ship heads to them? Curious.
 

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'72 Nova - long term small tire project
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I've had Trick Flow 195s on my '70 L-46 350/350 small block motor for years. Very good value & performing heads. The machine shop inspected mine pre-installation then verified valvetrain clearances & geometry once the heads were installed on the motor. Everything checked out. Don't be discouraged by this. It is a very common practice for most experienced motorheads, including me, before they fire up a motor with new heads.
 

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on my '70 L-46 350/350 small block motor for years
Quality control has hit rock-bottom in the last two-three years... Like plummeted to bargain-basement levels... I just sent back a pair of Brodix heads after CCing the chambers and int/exh ports and they were all over the board on consistency. 64cc, 63cc, 69cc, 209cc, 187cc, etc. Total friggin crap!
 

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I did a set of them on a build recently, customer brought them, I told him we should send them out to be checked over even though they were new, he reluctantly agreed. Good thing we did, several very tight valves and 1 seat issue that would have been a big problem, they straightened them out nicely but it did cost the customer. If you like the heads my suggestion (with any head today) is buy them bare and have your (or any reputable) machine shop set them up properly. I had an even worse issue with a set of Pro 1 Platinum heads, it will never happen again. In the end it won't cost much more and the shop can set you up with the right springs ect for your cam, proper valve guide/valve clearance, quality valves and valve job. I do not want to see anyone else get burned (literally) on something like this.
This is fantastic advice!
I’ve never taken my out of the box heads and had them checked in my high horsepower builds.
I think my Afr heads have a burnt valve which may not be the fault of afr but it does make me question just how right or wrong they were built.
I will do a leak down to confirm then plan to send to Chad spieir to clean them up.

Thanks for the suggestion.
It makes sense
 

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Harleys are no better. Ive seen valve seat concentricity out .015” on a brand new “performance” head. Whatever you plan to install, set some budget aside to have them gone through as stated.
 

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Harleys are no better. Ive seen valve seat concentricity out .015” on a brand new “performance” head. Whatever you plan to install, set some budget aside to have them gone through as stated.
Don't get me going on the Harley heads lol, I love my bikes but I've actually had valve guides pull right up through the head resulting in major issues. Sadly the guy who was my go-to for strokers and incredible head work out of Westerly RI retired a few years ago, I was sad to hear that. Still looking for someone who really knows how to do this stuff right and reasonable priced. Any suggestions I'd be happy to check them out.
 

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1965 2door HT Helena, GA 31037
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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
I did a set of them on a build recently, customer brought them, I told him we should send them out to be checked over even though they were new, he reluctantly agreed. Good thing we did, several very tight valves and 1 seat issue that would have been a big problem, they straightened them out nicely but it did cost the customer. If you like the heads my suggestion (with any head today) is buy them bare and have your (or any reputable) machine shop set them up properly. I had an even worse issue with a set of Pro 1 Platinum heads, it will never happen again. In the end it won't cost much more and the shop can set you up with the right springs ect for your cam, proper valve guide/valve clearance, quality valves and valve job. I do not want to see anyone else get burned (literally) on something like this.
I was looking at the TF website today and it seems they only have one bare TFS-30210002 head left in stock and only 8 populated heads left. That's not encouraging either. I like the look of the head without the acc. holes but nobody else sells a head like that. Another thing that I found was due to manufacturing, the rail where the valve cover sits is raised 3/8" higher so I might would have a clearance problem installing my Vintage Air IV compressor. Also found a write up stating they are not compatible with stamped rocker arms so that pretty much took these heads off my list as I am wanting to run an original GM valve train setup.

Installation Tips
  1. Stock stamped steel rocker arms will not clear 1.437” diameter valve springs on these heads. Must use aftermarket roller tip or full roller rocker arms if using large diameter springs. We recommend 57533501or 57523501. Heads feature valve cover rails that are raised 3/8” so you can use roller rockers with original '59-up Corvette valve covers (note - some factory A/C brackets may have interference issues). Rocker arm studs should be torqued to 45 ft.-lbs.
  2. Intake port measures 2-1/16” x 1-1/8” which works with Fel-Pro 1205 style gaskets. Exhaust ports are square and work with Fel-Pro 1404 style gaskets.
  3. Champion 271RC12YC spark plugs (14mm thread, 5/8" hex, flat gasket seat, .750" reach) are what we recommend as a starting point. This is a straight plug head (not angled plug). Ignition timing should be between 35 to 38 degrees total. Set the timing with the vacuum advance hose disconnected and rev the engine up until the mechanical advance is fully in, then set it at 35 degrees to start with. You can experiment with more timing later to see if the engine runs better at closer to 38 degrees, but we don't recommend exceeding 38 degrees on most applications.
  4. Valve guides are machined for modern positive stop stem seals. Measures .540” OD where the seal is pressed on.
  5. Heads are not drilled for steam holes that are required on SBC 400 engines.
  6. Recommend head gasket for 4” bore engines is the Fel-Pro 1003 style gasket.
  7. Head bolts such as 50542171 and washers 50542102 are recommended. Torque to 50-65-80 ft.-lbs., with 75 ft.lbs. torque on the bottom. Use Permatex 80631 style sealant on the threads.
  8. If wanting to run power steering, you would need to utilize the Corvette-style "Ram Horn" Exhaust Manifolds 9300328, along with both 91603050 and 91067850 to mount the generator/alternator up on the driver's side. Then you might be able to use a lower power steering pump bracket such as 91332902 or 91033727, depending on your pump and frame/steering box clearance, to mount the P/S pump low on the driver's side.
  9. If running domed /pop up piston you will need to check for clearance.
So here I am. I want to run the old style original valve lifters, push rods and stamped rocker arms. I don't have a need for expensive rockers, push rods, etc. as this engine will never see a track. The only reason I want to go with aluminum is for heat dissipation to avoid spark knock and the hardened valve seats. 😟
I was hoping to use the 64cc chambers and maybe a flat top piston to get around 9.5-10 CR along with an Edelbrock C3BX intake with the AFB 3721 carburetor on my 355ci engine. Nothing fancy just a good street driver.

I'm disassembling the engine now to take to the machine shop to be cleaned and talk with some degree of intelligence with the guy about what I would like do with it. I am multi-tasking galore right now trying to get a lot done during this winter coming up. Any suggestions you guys can give me will be appreciated.
Sam
TopTop
 

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I was looking at the TF website today and it seems they only have one bare TFS-30210002 head left in stock and only 8 populated heads left. That's not encouraging either. I like the look of the head without the acc. holes but nobody else sells a head like that. Another thing that I found was due to manufacturing, the rail where the valve cover sits is raised 3/8" higher so I might would have a clearance problem installing my Vintage Air IV compressor. Also found a write up stating they are not compatible with stamped rocker arms so that pretty much took these heads off my list as I am wanting to run an original GM valve train setup.
Did you look at the Speedway Motors "Camel Double Hump 461" aluminum heads?
Appears they are made by the same source as Flo-Tek.
Chevy SBC Assembled Aluminum Camel Double Hump 461 Cylinder Head (speedwaymotors.com)

You can always change to a smaller spring, you don't have to run what is sent on a complete head assembly, change them out if you want to run stock rockers. Spring, retainer, and spring seat along with maybe needing a different shim thickness
The Speedway head is also available bare if you want to pick all the parts yourself.
Chevy SBC V8 Bare Aluminum Camel Double Hump 461 Cylinder Head (speedwaymotors.com)

You can always mill the valvecover rail down shorter if you need to, or have it done.
 

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1965 2door HT Helena, GA 31037
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Thanks for the link to the 461 heads. I hadn't seen those heads on the Speedway website before. It looks like the
populated heads are not available but they show the bare heads that I would be interested in are. I did notice a
difference in these heads as compared to the Trick Flow heads and that was the exhaust ports. The TF heads show
the Ex. ports to be D shaped and the 461 heads have square ports which is what I would need to run my rams horn
manifolds.

Reading the literature makes me believe the only reason for the raised rail for the valve covers was to accommodate
roller rocker arms and stronger springs, which I don't want to use, so taking the 3/8" off would be what I'd need to do.
That means I will have to have a good conversation with the guy at the machine shop to see if he has the capability
to do that kind of work.

Changing to shorter valves, springs and shims is beyond me and I really don't have a clue where to start to find what
I would need. Give me the parts and I can build an engine but I'm no good at knowing what I would need to order to
get to that point.

I'm not building a race engine and am shooting for maximum revs to be limited to around 5500 rpm or so. Maybe I
need to find the specs for the standard GM valve train and compare it to the specs of these heads to see if the
original parts would work to build these bare heads. Probably going to have to change the valve guides too.

Any suggestions on where to look for a set of valves and springs that would be suitable for my purpose and what I
need to be looking for?
 
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