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Best Small Block Chevy Heads

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Patriot

The surprise of this test was the Patriot. In a prior test, we had found a set of Patriots to be only slightly better than a set of Vortec heads. Clearly, Patriot has made some intelligent port changes and come up with a solid-flowing head. The Freedom Series 185cc heads tested First in peak horsepower, First in average intake-port flow, First in average power, and Second in average horsepower per dollar. Whew! —it’s difficult to find fault with a performance this strong.

Patriot 185cc PN 2168, $815.00
Peak HP 420 at 5,900
Peak TQ 417 at 4,300
Valve Sizes 2.02/1.60
Intake Port 185cc
Chamber 64cc
Valvesprings 1.430-inch-diameter single

Edelbrock E-Street

As Edelbrock’s made-in-the-USA, price-leader cylinder head, the E-Street testing shows the head to be middle-of-the-pack performer. While it may not deliver the peak horsepower, it was still 27 hp over the stock iron head, and you can bank on the Edelbrock name as a quality part for the price.

Edelbrock E-Street 185cc PN 5089, $909.95
Peak HP 395 at 5,900
Peak TQ 409 at 4,200
Valve Sizes 2.02/1.60
Intake Port 185cc
Chamber 64cc
Valvesprings 1.250-inch single spring w/ damper

Summit

Long acknowledged for offering house-brand cylinder heads for an affordable price, Summit delivered a solid Fourth-place finish in terms of both peak and average power, but keep in mind that, while not a podium finish, the difference between First and Fourth is a relatively small margin. We call out some very small differences that would be difficult to distinguish in back-to-back tests in a car. Plus, the Summit head was worth a solid 34 hp over the stock iron heads. That’s power you can feel in the seat of your pants.

Summit PN 162109, $995.95
Peak HP 405 at 5,900
Peak TQ 416 at 4,400
Valve Sizes 2.02/1.60
Intake Port 170cc
Chamber 62cc
Valvesprings 1.250-inch single spring

Speedway Motors

We were pleasantly surprised at the price of these Flo-Tek heads available from Speedway. This is clearly the least expensive aluminum head, which certainly appeals to some buyers to whom the price difference is a big part of the equation. While the Speedway heads placed further down in the power tests, they are a good, lighter-weight option over the iron Vortec heads and still make roughly the same power. Plus, if you already have a good intake manifold, you don’t have to invest in a separate manifold, rockers, and valve covers, as you would with a Vortec head. That can mean a savings of well over $200.

Speedway Motors/Flo-Tek 180cc PN 7222200, $739.98
Peak HP 381 at 5,400
Peak TQ 409 at 4,200
Valve Sizes 2.02/1.60
Intake Port 180cc
Chamber 64cc
Valvesprings 1.437-inch diameter

Peaks and Averages

These are the numbers that everybody looks at first. Since our prerequisite to entry was any head with a 64cc chamber that came in under $1,000, this left the test open to any-size intake ports with a resulting span of between 170 and 200 cc. As most car crafters know, the bigger the port, the more air it can flow. But a big port isn’t always a guarantee of big power. In this case, Dart swings the biggest ax with its 200cc intake port, but it didn’t win the peak horsepower race. The winning ribbon went to the Patriot by a scant 1 hp, with 420 to Dart’s 419. Third place went to the Jegs head, with Summit close behind, still making more than 400 hp.

Article Attachments
Icon Attachment Budget Cylinder Head Flow Data.pdf
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13 comments
Steve Gray
Steve Gray

not good. Jeff was an Icon to Car Craft!

Backyard Technology
Backyard Technology

No more Jeff or many many other staffers who got cut last week...just another big corporation, not a bunch of "car guys" anymore...

Ailson Amorim
Ailson Amorim

ai sim todas oficina tinha q ser assim no brasil!

Chris Zimmerman
Chris Zimmerman

Jeff Smith was laid off from Car Craft. Car Craft sucks.

Brad Loertcher
Brad Loertcher

Couldn't agree more,John.I have no idea what the logic behind that move was.The magazine has been headed in an unfavorable direction ever since they got rid of Matt King,and with the absence or very minimal writings of David Frieburger,I really see no reason to renew my subscription.16 consecutive years,never would have thought I'd feel this way,but the price continues to increase,while the quality decreases.

John Gay
John Gay

Hey look..there's Jeff Smith who Sourcelink let go this week...bad move guys!

Fuel Injection/Engine Builder/Racer Apps
Fuel Injection/Engine Builder/Racer Apps

Actually there's an iPhone/Android App that helps you find the potential HP a set of heads can produce based on flow data. Look for it at Fuel Injection/Engine Builder/Racer Apps

Roger Perry
Roger Perry

28 years serving the city of Newark Delaware , Newark main street , by the university of Delaware

doughboyt33
doughboyt33

I have a 383 striker with 100 thousands dome top pistons I put 76 cc heads on it I have a lot of value ping. I have tried different timing degree I run race gas nothing has helped. Heads are ew and the motor is new also any suggestion please let know

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