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Aluminum heads

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  • Aluminum heads

    Hello all, I am a newbie to this so forgive me if this has been brought up before. I have a 33 ford coupe that has a leak one of the cylinder heads, looks like it must be a hole right in the casting. Finding a decent head has been a challenge for me and I've been in touch with a man in Australia and also in California who casts repo heads. Both look real nice but I'm wondering if anyone has had any experience with either company? Thanks for any advice.

  • #2

    Welcome Rod

    What two company's are you considering?
    3~ Tudor's & 1~ Coupe
    Henry Ford said,
    "It's all nuts and bolts"
    "Start by doing what's necessary; then do what's possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible."

    Mitch's Auto Service ctr


    • #3
      Hey RoadsterRod, WELCOME to the VFF!!

      Need a lot more info, like who is making the heads, and where you are located.
      You wana look waaay far up da road and plan yer route because the brakes are far more of a suggestion than a command!


      • #4
        I've talked with Kearney foundry in California and emailed Jim Kerr from "down under". Kearney says their heads are for domed pistons and mine are flat, not sure if that would make much difference. Jim's are for flat pistons. Kearney is about 350.00 more per set. That's about all I have for info. thanks.


      • #5
        BTW, I'm in Michigan


        • #6
          I don't think the head made for a domed piston would give you any problems, It might drop the compression a wee bit, but being made for a domed piston I believe only means he fly-cuts the head a bit deeper to help with the taller pistons.
          You wana look waaay far up da road and plan yer route because the brakes are far more of a suggestion than a command!


          • #7
            I too contacted both sources of new aluminum heads. My original engine has flat pistons and learned that using heads for domed pistons would lower compression and lower the power output. I also learned that the USA company will not be making any more of these heads and whatever you are buying is leftover. I decided to look around for used aluminum heads and found a sound pair for 300 dollars. A lot cheaper than the 1000 dollars price take for the Australian ones. Will they work? who knows but I took a chance. I hope they work, because I like the idea of using antique heads rather than something newly cast. As far as repairing a hole in your head, Ha. I would consider a good aluminum welding shop.
            or if that is a problem. Would JB weld work? I would try these options before purchasing 1000 dollar heads with 200 shipping cost. I had decided that if I really wanted new trouble free aluminum heads I would purchase from the Australian company. They sent me some really nice photos and I was impressed. But I decided to try my luck with the 300 dollar used heads. Have not run them yet, so maybe I will have the same problems you have had.
            If I have too much problem with actual aluminum heads, I will purchase iron ones used on 1933/34 trucks and paint them with aluminum paint.
            Last edited by ClaudeC; 01-16-2018, 09:01 PM.


            • DaWizard
              DaWizard commented
              Editing a comment
              Claude, I don't believe that JB Weld would adhere good enough to aluminum to be a good fix. I do however believe in an good welder of aluminum is the best bet. There are still a few of them left.

          • #8
            Here is a photo of the new Australian heads. They look pretty nice. Notice the cutout area for flat topped pistons.
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            • #9
              Here is a photo of aluminum heads for Domed head Pistons. Notice extra cutout area.
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              This gallery has 1 photos.


              • #10
                I wonder how much the compression is lowered and power output lower as a result of using Dome Piston heads with flat topped pistons


                • #11
                  Probably not enough to even worry or think about.
                  You wana look waaay far up da road and plan yer route because the brakes are far more of a suggestion than a command!


                  • #12
                    True...On these old original engines we that have them are glad they operate at all and are not too interested in getting maximum performance. Still , I seem to remember tales of people shaving the heads down slightly to increase compression, so there must be some effect of the shape of the heads, however small.
                    Last edited by ClaudeC; 01-17-2018, 05:52 PM.


                    • #13
                      Claude, if you were building a flathead dragster, I would say get the Forged True popup pistons and the fly cut heads. But for a street car engine, I doubt you would even notice the difference.

                      In the '70s I ran a full race flathead dragster and while rebuilding the engine replaced the heads with non fly cut heads and banged a piston top into the new head and bent the connecting rod. But after fly cutting the head .050 had the compression chamber the thickness of the head gasket. That thing ran low 10s but I'd never try to use that engine on the street.

                      Damn I miss that dragster!

                      I doubt that swapping between heads would be a noticeable loss in performance.
                      You wana look waaay far up da road and plan yer route because the brakes are far more of a suggestion than a command!


                      • #14
                        One thing to consider is squish between head and piston. As Wiz said .050-60 is ideal. I would think a flat piston in a domed chamber would have terrible squish.
                        Squish affects not only power but driveability and fuel economy.



                        • #15
                          Thanks for all the input! I'm inclined to go with the repo heads from Australia because I'd hate to go through a repair process and have it fail soon down the road. If it's leaking in one place now what about the rest of the head? Should I think about new studs or leave well enough alone? I really appreciate all the comments!


                          • #16
                            Just to let you know, If I have trouble with my 300$ antique heads I will probably purchase the heads from Australia too. I think they are made of better grade aluminum than the original heads were made off. The technology for aluminum casting was in it's infancy way back then.


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