We piled a stack of aftermarket heads on this Ford Racing Boss 302 crate engine and let fl
Today's small-block Ford street engine builder has it easy. Not all that long ago, the little-block fan's only cylinder head choice was the classic 351W head swap on a 302. Today, the aftermarket head lineup has plenty of castings from which to choose. We'd love to test 'em all, but we decided to line up as many performance small-block Ford Windsor heads as we could find, as long as they were available complete for less than $1,350 for the pair. These heads all feature between 170 and 180cc intake port volumes and offer excellent performance potential over even the best production iron 5.0L heads. To pull this off, we needed a durable mule, so we chose Ford Racing's Boss 302 345hp crate engine that comes with a set of aluminum heads and actuated by a 0.480-inch lift B303 hydraulic roller cam, and 9.0:1 compression. To complete the Boss, we added an Edelbrock Performer RPM intake, a Holley 750 cfm mechanical secondary HP carb, MSD distributor, and a set of open exhaust dyno headers, and we were ready to rumble.
It's also worth mentioning that due to deadline pressures, Dart and Pro Comp Electronics also offer Ford castings that fit within our price prerequisite, but for a variety of scheduling reasons, they didn't make the test. The Dart castings would have been the Iron Eagle versions while the Pro Comp's are affordable in aluminum.
As with our small-block Chevy head test published in the Sept. '12 issue (“Eight-Budget-SBC-Head Shootout”) we will evaluate each of these heads using several different categories in addition to peak torque and horsepower. We evaluated each head on the flow bench, average overall power, and we calculated average horsepower-per-dollar. We'll squeeze all of this into these few short pages, which means we have a long way to go and a short time to get there. So get comfortable, slip on your Ford-colored glasses, and hang on.
The first thing we did was bolt each head on the Superflow 600 flow bench at Jim Grubbs Mo
With six heads to swap, we outfitted the 302 with ARP 1⁄2-inch head bolts. The Boss block
This made-in-the-USA head is Edelbrock's value leader. Edelbrock actually offers two different versions with either 1.94- or 2.02-inch intake valves. Our test heads came with the larger intakes that clearly contributed to these heads' strong showing. The E-street came in second in peak horsepower and a very close third in average horsepower and torque. The heads showed a little weakness in the midrange, something that could probably be rectified by adding a 30-degree back cut to the intake valve. At less than $950 for the pair, these heads may be the best bang-for-the-buck investment of all the heads in this test. Combine Edelbrock quality with excellent power and a highly competitive price, and the E-Street strikes us as an excellent choice.
Edelbrock E-Street 170cc
PN 5025, $935.95
||1.250-inch single, max lift 0.550