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  1. #1
    FEP Member Mgino757's Avatar
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    Default 85 GT head swap time! Got questions though...

    Hi all. I am planning to do a head swap on my 85 GT next year. I'm still trying to figure out what i want to go with. I have 4 heads in mind I might go with. I'm thinking either a set of Trick Flow 170's, Trick Flow 11R, AFR 165's or AFR 185's. My power goal for this car is around 280 rwhp. I want to still use the stock H.O. cam for now. I know all four heads are excellent options, but what I'm concerned with is PTV clearance. I would like to run 1.7:1 roller rockers and still use the factory "powered by ford" valve covers. I'm definitely looking to bump up the compression ratio and stop burning through all of my oil. My valve stem seals are shot and I still have excellent compression pressures across all cylinders. Any recommendations for what heads I should go with?
    1985 Mustang GT conv. modified 4180C, Weiand Street Warrior intake manifold, equal length headers, true dual exhaust, 3.55:1 8.8'' rear end, 180* thermostat, Ford Racing 10.5" clutch. Garage dweller.

    1998 Mustang GT auto. Stock and slow daily driver.

    1996 Thunderbird LX 4.6L V8. Wrecked, drag racing in heaven. RIP Oct 1995-March 24, 2016.

  2. #2
    FEP Member brianj's Avatar
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    185's will not work without piston reliefs (most likely ), and the flow they produce will not really be used with a stock cam 302. The 11R is a really nice head, but they really come into their own at an rpm level you will not use with a stock cam. To me, in your case, it comes down to the 170s or the 165s. They are both great. The TFI heads will require roller rockers, whild the AFR can be gotten to reuse the stamped rockers. The AFRs come with better valve hardware, but the TFS can be ordered with better stuff for a bit more money to be comparable. It's really your preference at that point. Myself, I'd go AFR 165's because I like the exhaust flow and thicker deck with a blower, but a really good case could be made for the 170's as well. Hell, flip a coin.
    1983 Mustang G.T. No-option stripper- I like strippers.
    5.0, GT40P heads, Comp Cams XE270HR-12 on 1.6 rockers, TFI spring kit, Weiand 174 blower, Holley 750 mechanical secondarys, Mishimoto radiator, Edelbrock street performer mechanical pump, BBK shortys, T-5 conversion, 8.8 rear, 3.73 gears, carbon fiber clutches, SS Machine lowers, Maximum Motorsport XL subframes, "B" springs.

  3. #3
    FEP Power Member Ourobos's Avatar
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    The twisted wedge will give you the most PTV clearance options, and can get you to those levels with a mild cam and decent intake.
    1986 CHP SSP Coupe

  4. #4
    FEP Member Mgino757's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brianj View Post
    185's will not work without piston reliefs (most likely ), and the flow they produce will not really be used with a stock cam 302. The 11R is a really nice head, but they really come into their own at an rpm level you will not use with a stock cam. To me, in your case, it comes down to the 170s or the 165s. They are both great. The TFI heads will require roller rockers, whild the AFR can be gotten to reuse the stamped rockers. The AFRs come with better valve hardware, but the TFS can be ordered with better stuff for a bit more money to be comparable. It's really your preference at that point. Myself, I'd go AFR 165's because I like the exhaust flow and thicker deck with a blower, but a really good case could be made for the 170's as well. Hell, flip a coin.
    That's my thoughts pretty much. Those AFR's are worlds ahead of what any GT40 head can do. When you say piston reliefs, you mean more than the stock valve reliefs, right? Either way, I'm trying to keep my intake valve at 2" or below for the sake of having an abundance of PTV clearance. Going with a Pedestal style rockers head would help the initial cost immensely. I'll likely not have to do so much for dialing in what size push rods I'll need. Best believe I'm going to check it anyways. I do plan on finding a set of Cobra roller rockers, which I think Crane is still making. However, I think the 1.7 ratio would better fit my goals.
    1985 Mustang GT conv. modified 4180C, Weiand Street Warrior intake manifold, equal length headers, true dual exhaust, 3.55:1 8.8'' rear end, 180* thermostat, Ford Racing 10.5" clutch. Garage dweller.

    1998 Mustang GT auto. Stock and slow daily driver.

    1996 Thunderbird LX 4.6L V8. Wrecked, drag racing in heaven. RIP Oct 1995-March 24, 2016.

  5. #5
    FEP Super Member bwguardian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mgino757 View Post
    That's my thoughts pretty much. Those AFR's are worlds ahead of what any GT40 head can do. When you say piston reliefs, you mean more than the stock valve reliefs, right? Either way, I'm trying to keep my intake valve at 2" or below for the sake of having an abundance of PTV clearance. Going with a Pedestal style rockers head would help the initial cost immensely. I'll likely not have to do so much for dialing in what size push rods I'll need. Best believe I'm going to check it anyways. I do plan on finding a set of Cobra roller rockers, which I think Crane is still making. However, I think the 1.7 ratio would better fit my goals.
    The stock piston valve reliefs are typically deep enough, but not wide enough, for larger diameter valves.
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  6. #6
    FEP Member Mgino757's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bwguardian View Post
    The stock piston valve reliefs are typically deep enough, but not wide enough, for larger diameter valves.
    I see. All the more reason to stick with the 1.90" valves of the AFR 165.
    1985 Mustang GT conv. modified 4180C, Weiand Street Warrior intake manifold, equal length headers, true dual exhaust, 3.55:1 8.8'' rear end, 180* thermostat, Ford Racing 10.5" clutch. Garage dweller.

    1998 Mustang GT auto. Stock and slow daily driver.

    1996 Thunderbird LX 4.6L V8. Wrecked, drag racing in heaven. RIP Oct 1995-March 24, 2016.

  7. #7
    FEP Super Member bwguardian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mgino757 View Post
    I see. All the more reason to stick with the 1.90" valves of the AFR 165.
    I have had to fly cut pistons with a 1.94 1.6 combination...but I was running a Lunati street master bump stick. You may be okay with the stock cam, but with the 1.7 ratio rockers I would definitely clay it. If and when you go bigger on the cam, count on fly cutting...
    HAD
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    '00 F350 two tone (white on silver)...gray cloth
    '00 Excursion Limited two tone (white on tan)...tan leather...wifes ride
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  8. #8
    FEP Member Mgino757's Avatar
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    So I spoke with my retired Ford Master Tech/ Race car builder, he recommended the 1.6 rockers over the 1.7 for extra margin of safety for PTV clearance. That's what I'll go with then. The TFS 170 is supposed to be safer for PTV as well due to the different valve angles. My only concern is those big intake valves. If it works, it works though. Going with the TFS will also save me about $300, which can go towards the roller rockers needed to make them work. The TFS also has raised valve cover rails, which will help me reuse my OEM valve covers. All I'll need is longer push rods, the rockers, and new roller lifters.
    1985 Mustang GT conv. modified 4180C, Weiand Street Warrior intake manifold, equal length headers, true dual exhaust, 3.55:1 8.8'' rear end, 180* thermostat, Ford Racing 10.5" clutch. Garage dweller.

    1998 Mustang GT auto. Stock and slow daily driver.

    1996 Thunderbird LX 4.6L V8. Wrecked, drag racing in heaven. RIP Oct 1995-March 24, 2016.

  9. #9
    FEP Power Member Ourobos's Avatar
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    On a stock eyebrowed shortblock, I ran the 170s and a Comp. XE-282HR with over .100" clearance. FYI
    1986 CHP SSP Coupe

  10. #10

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    Never heard of trickflows not clearing with 1.7 rockers, they sell a whole top end kit with more cam then you'll ever get with a stock cam.

    Just my $.02
    2 1986 cougars (both 4 eyed and 5.0)
    1 1987 cougar

  11. #11
    FEP Super Member bwguardian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mgino757 View Post
    So I spoke with my retired Ford Master Tech/ Race car builder, he recommended the 1.6 rockers over the 1.7 for extra margin of safety for PTV clearance. That's what I'll go with then. The TFS 170 is supposed to be safer for PTV as well due to the different valve angles. My only concern is those big intake valves. If it works, it works though. Going with the TFS will also save me about $300, which can go towards the roller rockers needed to make them work. The TFS also has raised valve cover rails, which will help me reuse my OEM valve covers. All I'll need is longer push rods, the rockers, and new roller lifters.
    If you are utilizing the stock cam there is really no reason to get new lifters. When the cam is changed out, then you might opt for them, but still probably not necessary given they are roller units.
    HAD
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    '00 F350 two tone (white on silver)...gray cloth
    '00 Excursion Limited two tone (white on tan)...tan leather...wifes ride
    '08 Taurus Limited ice blue...tan leather...daughter ride
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  12. #12
    FEP Member Mgino757's Avatar
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    I'm more so concerned that the lifters have over 200,000 miles on them. Some may even say it's crazy I'm doing a head swap on a high mileage 5.0. However, if this one lets go, I have another engine I can obtain and put in for relatively cheap.
    1985 Mustang GT conv. modified 4180C, Weiand Street Warrior intake manifold, equal length headers, true dual exhaust, 3.55:1 8.8'' rear end, 180* thermostat, Ford Racing 10.5" clutch. Garage dweller.

    1998 Mustang GT auto. Stock and slow daily driver.

    1996 Thunderbird LX 4.6L V8. Wrecked, drag racing in heaven. RIP Oct 1995-March 24, 2016.

  13. #13

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    Not sure why you are leaving the stock cam in. You are leaving a lot of HP on the table.
    Call up ED Curtis at FTI. He can grind you a custom cam that will outperform any OTS cam with enough PTV clearance.
    I'd also go with AFR 165's. Better hardware and better valvetrain geometry, plus you can reuse your stock rockers if you want.
    1986 GT T Top- stock except for magnaflow cat back
    1990 LX vert- 500hp V3 and all that stuff
    2013 GT- usual bolt ons

  14. #14
    FEP Member Mgino757's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikestang63 View Post
    Not sure why you are leaving the stock cam in. You are leaving a lot of HP on the table.
    Call up ED Curtis at FTI. He can grind you a custom cam that will outperform any OTS cam with enough PTV clearance.
    I'd also go with AFR 165's. Better hardware and better valvetrain geometry, plus you can reuse your stock rockers if you want.
    I know I'm leaving some power on the table for now, I'm not after all the power in the world. This will be the first head swap I do by myself. My current heads are leaking oil past the valve stem seals and valve guides. Since I'd need to pull the heads to fix that situation, I may as well upgrade. I'm also doing this swap while the engine is in the car. I'm just looking for a modest bump in compression and power. The $300 extra that I'd spend on the AFR's, I can put towards the roller rockers. I'm also wanting to retain my stock valve covers, the raised valve cover rails of the TFS over all else will help me do that easily. When the timing cover starts leaking again, I'll pull the intake and do the camshaft while I'm at it. The twisted wedge valve arrangement is said to provide better PTV clearance. I'm looking to bolt and go, then enjoy the stock mill for a while until I'm ready for a new bottom end. Being a convertible that sees street cruising duty, I'm confident that the stock cam will keep me pacified. I'm shooting for 270-280 rwhp. I've run TFS heads with stock cams before, I was more than satisfied with their long term performance. It's been a real tough call on which heads to go with. The kicker was a friend of mine is a TFS dealer, he offered me a deal too good to refuse.
    1985 Mustang GT conv. modified 4180C, Weiand Street Warrior intake manifold, equal length headers, true dual exhaust, 3.55:1 8.8'' rear end, 180* thermostat, Ford Racing 10.5" clutch. Garage dweller.

    1998 Mustang GT auto. Stock and slow daily driver.

    1996 Thunderbird LX 4.6L V8. Wrecked, drag racing in heaven. RIP Oct 1995-March 24, 2016.

  15. #15

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    I just installed AFR185 on my 1987 shortblock with TRW L2482 pistons and the lift seemed ok, but the intakes hit due to the larger radius. Had to flycut/Dremel them. I also kept my 87 Rhodes cam, I want to do one change at a time. In your case the 165 sound like a very good move. I would also keep the stock bolt down rockers. I have a set that has run for 10 years on some iron GT40 heads that turn to 6200 rpm anytime needed.
    Last edited by Oldrd; 12-11-2017 at 07:36 PM.

  16. #16
    FEP Senior Member 854vragtop's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mgino757 View Post
    I'm more so concerned that the lifters have over 200,000 miles on them. Some may even say it's crazy I'm doing a head swap on a high mileage 5.0. However, if this one lets go, I have another engine I can obtain and put in for relatively cheap.
    I rebuilt my stock '85 5.0L motor about 5 years ago now. At the time I had 192K miles on it and have run Mobil 1 10W-30 in it since we bought it with 44k miles on it in 1990. It could have EASILY gone another 100K miles before it needed a rebuild. I still had the factory hone marks on the cylinder walls when I pulled it apart. I rebuilt it with stock size rings and bearings, since everything measured out within factory specs. No ridge at the top of the cylinder walls, so I just honed it. Original bearings had very little wear. I couldn't see any wear on the cam bearings, so I just left them in. Re-used my original stock pistons, but did replace the oil pump. See my sig below for the other mods I did to the motor. I also re-used my original lifters. The only thing that I've had fail was an original factory rocker arm.
    '85 Mustang convertible GT, 5 speed, 4V
    Stock bottom end, Comp Cams XE264HR-14, GT-40P heads w/ Alex's springs, Weiand 8124 Street Warrior
    8.8 Turbo Coupe rear end w/ 3.55 gears, Lincoln 73mm front calipers, SVO M/C

    '68 Mercury Cougar, w/ '88 5.0L, 4V
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  17. #17
    FEP Member Mgino757's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 854vragtop View Post
    I rebuilt my stock '85 5.0L motor about 5 years ago now. At the time I had 192K miles on it and have run Mobil 1 10W-30 in it since we bought it with 44k miles on it in 1990. It could have EASILY gone another 100K miles before it needed a rebuild. I still had the factory hone marks on the cylinder walls when I pulled it apart. I rebuilt it with stock size rings and bearings, since everything measured out within factory specs. No ridge at the top of the cylinder walls, so I just honed it. Original bearings had very little wear. I couldn't see any wear on the cam bearings, so I just left them in. Re-used my original stock pistons, but did replace the oil pump. See my sig below for the other mods I did to the motor. I also re-used my original lifters. The only thing that I've had fail was an original factory rocker arm.
    That seems to be the feedback that I'm getting as well. Everyone says not to be worried about the mileage and that the cylinders should still be in excellent condition. So, I plan to drop a set of Twisted Wedge 170's on it over the spring time. Just have to start hoarding parts every other pay check so by the time I get the heads, it's good to go.

    I've been told that a 6.400" push rod works with the Twisted Wedge heads. I plan to measure and make a decision from there with a checker instead of relying on other's findings. However, I am curious as to what length of push rods everyone is using with these heads.
    1985 Mustang GT conv. modified 4180C, Weiand Street Warrior intake manifold, equal length headers, true dual exhaust, 3.55:1 8.8'' rear end, 180* thermostat, Ford Racing 10.5" clutch. Garage dweller.

    1998 Mustang GT auto. Stock and slow daily driver.

    1996 Thunderbird LX 4.6L V8. Wrecked, drag racing in heaven. RIP Oct 1995-March 24, 2016.

  18. #18
    FEP Senior Member 854vragtop's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mgino757 View Post
    I plan to measure and make a decision from there with a checker instead of relying on other's findings. However, I am curious as to what length of push rods everyone is using with these heads.
    Just take your time and measure after you get your heads installed. Look for excessive wear on your rocker arms and fulcrums to see if the two oil grooves are still there.

    I was considering swapping to roller rockers, but have read too much about how noisy they are. I wasn't willing to spend the $$$ and deal with the noise for the relatively little power gains.
    Last edited by 854vragtop; 01-03-2018 at 06:30 PM.
    '85 Mustang convertible GT, 5 speed, 4V
    Stock bottom end, Comp Cams XE264HR-14, GT-40P heads w/ Alex's springs, Weiand 8124 Street Warrior
    8.8 Turbo Coupe rear end w/ 3.55 gears, Lincoln 73mm front calipers, SVO M/C

    '68 Mercury Cougar, w/ '88 5.0L, 4V
    My photo website:
    http://www.twilightphoto.com/

  19. #19
    FEP Member Mgino757's Avatar
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    If Trick Flow made their 170 heads for pedestal mount rockers, that's what I'd do.
    1985 Mustang GT conv. modified 4180C, Weiand Street Warrior intake manifold, equal length headers, true dual exhaust, 3.55:1 8.8'' rear end, 180* thermostat, Ford Racing 10.5" clutch. Garage dweller.

    1998 Mustang GT auto. Stock and slow daily driver.

    1996 Thunderbird LX 4.6L V8. Wrecked, drag racing in heaven. RIP Oct 1995-March 24, 2016.

  20. #20
    FEP Power Member Ourobos's Avatar
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    ^ They did
    1986 CHP SSP Coupe

  21. #21

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    have you watched the engine masters on roller rockers?

  22. #22
    FEP Senior Member OX1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 854vragtop View Post
    I still had the factory hone marks on the cylinder walls when I pulled it apart.
    Same here. Only 82K orig miles, but had nitrous on for a while, and
    then turbo kit for many years.



    Quote Originally Posted by emerygt350 View Post
    have you watched the engine masters on roller rockers?
    Do you have to pay to watch that, all I could find was a trailer.............
    Last edited by OX1; 01-05-2018 at 06:23 AM.
    86 Capri, 5.0, 5Spd, A9L QH/BE, 47 lb Inj PMAS 3" MAF, Single T44 Turbo, Front Mount IC, TW170,
    Stock Cam, Explr Intake/TB, 1.7 Rockers, CF dual friction clutch, 3" DP, 2.5" full Exh, 3.27, 11.932 @ 115.78
    84 LTD, 331-10:1, TW170/Exprl Intake, 47 lbs inj/80 mm LMAF, Full Duals, Quarterhorse, Vortech 7PSI, Lentech AOD, 5 lug Mk VII brakes/rear, Eibach Sway bars, Cobra HB (dads ride, but I fix it )

  23. #23
    FEP Member Mgino757's Avatar
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    If you could find a link, I'd be interested. I've watched a few other videos floating around out there.
    1985 Mustang GT conv. modified 4180C, Weiand Street Warrior intake manifold, equal length headers, true dual exhaust, 3.55:1 8.8'' rear end, 180* thermostat, Ford Racing 10.5" clutch. Garage dweller.

    1998 Mustang GT auto. Stock and slow daily driver.

    1996 Thunderbird LX 4.6L V8. Wrecked, drag racing in heaven. RIP Oct 1995-March 24, 2016.

  24. #24

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    Shoot, forgot about that. They found no real improvement in any style of roller rocker except at insane rpms if I remember correctly. Biggest thing was having the 7/16 rather than 3/8 post leading to flexing at high rpms.

  25. #25

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    They do mention that of course reduced wear is a value too even if there is not a power increase.

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