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Old 02-08-2020, 07:02 PM   #1
ssrcobra
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Smile Need encouragement head replacement

I did a restore on a 1935 4 door a few years back. When I acquired the car it had on it cast iron head not aluminum.
Not knowing any better when I had the engine done I left the iron heads on. I have now acquired new cast aluminum heads and want to change them out with the iron heads but keep procrastinating.
Will I have trouble just swapping them out or are there some tricky thing that I need to know to do this job? Is there a certain way the heads have to be torque. Should I hire someone to do it?
Any thoughts would be appreciated
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Old 02-08-2020, 07:08 PM   #2
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Default Re: Need encouragement head replacement

Don't hire someone. You'll find everything you need right here.
There's definitely a torque sequence that varies slightly with the different generations flathead.
Someone will chime in with the preferred head gasket too.
Here's an example of the torque sequence.
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Old 02-08-2020, 07:13 PM   #3
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Default Re: Need encouragement head replacement

Use Best graphtite head gaskets, and liberally apply nickel based anti-seize compound to every headstud. Run antifreeze in radiator to prevent/minimise electrolysis. Doing all the above will mean that years down the track you'll be able to remove the heads!
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Old 02-08-2020, 08:43 PM   #4
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Default Re: Need encouragement head replacement

I think you gentlemen may have missed the most difficult part of head replacement on early engines, which is removing the old heads. 48 and earlier heads are held on with studs and nuts, which may cause a problem. If you indeed did a complete restore a while ago, it may not be difficult to remove the old heads, which would be the best situation. If it has been a while, corrosion may have raised it's nasty head and could cause problems. It has been shown to be such a problem that special tools were manufactured to assist in their removal. A word to the wise.

If O/P does run into problems removing the old heads, I am sure there are plenty of threads on here that can provide advice and assistance.
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Old 02-08-2020, 08:46 PM   #5
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Default Re: Need encouragement head replacement

Flat top or domed pistons which heads ?
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Old 02-08-2020, 08:54 PM   #6
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Default Re: Need encouragement head replacement

You will need hardened washers for the aluminum heads. The washers aren't needed with the cast iron heads.
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Old 02-08-2020, 08:54 PM   #7
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Default Re: Need encouragement head replacement

I don't believe Tubman has first hand experience with early motors. I think you'll have no trouble removing the old iron heads, it is the aluminum head removal which can prove to be difficult/impossible unless you follow all the steps I posted above. Electrolysis between dis-similar metals; aluminum heads, castiron blocks, steel studs is accentuated by using copper head gaskets. Taking all possible steps as above, when installing ally heads will make life so much easier down the track when you wanna remove heads.

You will certainly notice a performance boost by running the aluminum heads, that makes the bit of extra effort well worth while in my opinion.
Just do it!!
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Old 02-08-2020, 09:07 PM   #8
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Default Re: Need encouragement head replacement

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian View Post

You will certainly notice a performance boost by running the aluminum heads, that makes the bit of extra effort well worth while in my opinion.
Just do it!!
What is the cause/reason for increased performance? I am not familiar, but I have a truck with CI heads.
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Old 02-08-2020, 09:14 PM   #9
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Default Re: Need encouragement head replacement

Check post no 5,make sure heads are compatible with pistons first!!!!
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Old 02-08-2020, 09:50 PM   #10
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Default Re: Need encouragement head replacement

Pardon me Brian, but I have had experience with the early motors including a session removing iron heads that had been on a long time. Please read what I posted. I did not say he would have a problem, just that he might. He asked for advice on what he might run into, and I think I gave him a prudent warning. As I said, just a word to the wise.
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Old 02-08-2020, 10:18 PM   #11
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Default Re: Need encouragement head replacement

Are the heads you are going to use OEM heads or the later remade ones? A friend of mine bought a pair of the remakes (Kearney Pattern Works) which were beautiful looking but one side was horribly mis-machined, the combustion chambers were 1/8" different in depth from one end to the other tapering as it went. The original company (Kearney) sold their stock of heads out to someone else and luckily, the new owner swapped the bad head for a good one. Just saying, if they are the remake heads check them carefully.
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Old 02-08-2020, 11:25 PM   #12
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Default Re: Need encouragement head replacement

drivers side head can be removed on car with little difficulty but pass side head removal interferes with the cowl and it can be difficult to remove because of this. by now you must realize that Ford had so much trouble with aluminum heads that the Ford service replacements were cast iron, usually these replacement heads were cast in the late 40's
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Old 02-09-2020, 02:31 AM   #13
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Default Re: Need encouragement head replacement

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian View Post
I don't believe Tubman has first hand experience with early motors. I think you'll have no trouble removing the old iron heads, it is the aluminum head removal which can prove to be difficult/impossible unless you follow all the steps I posted above. Electrolysis between dis-similar metals; aluminum heads, castiron blocks, steel studs is accentuated by using copper head gaskets. Taking all possible steps as above, when installing ally heads will make life so much easier down the track when you wanna remove heads.

You will certainly notice a performance boost by running the aluminum heads, that makes the bit of extra effort well worth while in my opinion.
Just do it!!
Wise stuff Bryan but you can leave the "Just do it" quote out... grrrrr
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Old 02-09-2020, 09:51 AM   #14
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Default Re: Need encouragement head replacement

Never make a modification without a reason. Astechics is the most expensive modification you can make to a vehicle. I have a great deal of respect for people that restore their cars to their original condition. However, as a daily driver???? This could be a very simple job. It could also be a nightmare.
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Old 02-09-2020, 11:26 AM   #15
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Default Re: Need encouragement head replacement

"Never make a modification without a reason" Have to agree.
What do you expect to achieve by swapping heads?
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Old 02-09-2020, 11:39 AM   #16
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Default Re: Need encouragement head replacement

Denny (tubman),
Excellent reply, not everyone knows what you do !
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Old 02-09-2020, 12:33 PM   #17
ssrcobra
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Default Re: Need encouragement head replacement

Hi all,
Thanks for all the replies and different views.

On the concern of the hard removal of the old heads---I don't see this as a problem since the engine only has a few hours at best on it since it was done, you never know thought but I think I will be ok.

On the questions about OEM or aftermarket---They are Kearney Pattern Works heads and now you have me scared . I was told they take orders for them and when the have 10 sets they produce them but when I called they had them in stock and shipped them right away. I will have to investigate more before I install them.

As for the reason to do the change out---The plan was to keep and make the car original and I want to stick to the plan. The car is not a daily driver and I bought the heads already so what the heck.

thanks again, keep the comment coming
Tom
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Old 02-09-2020, 12:40 PM   #18
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Default Re: Need encouragement head replacement

Hey, the chances are the heads are OK, just saying to check them because errors do happen. I know of several people with them that are fine. I really like how they look.
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Old 02-09-2020, 12:59 PM   #19
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Default Re: Need encouragement head replacement

I really didn't expect you would have any trouble removing the iron heads, but any slab of cast iron held on by 21 3" studs is a potential problem. Good advice on checking the heads first. I do it on all of them, even stockers. Good lock with your project.
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Old 02-09-2020, 03:29 PM   #20
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Default Re: Need encouragement head replacement

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian View Post
I don't believe Tubman has first hand experience with early motors. I think you'll have no trouble removing the old iron heads, it is the aluminum head removal which can prove to be difficult/impossible unless you follow all the steps I posted above. Electrolysis between dis-similar metals; aluminum heads, castiron blocks, steel studs is accentuated by using copper head gaskets. Taking all possible steps as above, when installing ally heads will make life so much easier down the track when you wanna remove heads.

You will certainly notice a performance boost by running the aluminum heads, that makes the bit of extra effort well worth while in my opinion.
Just do it!!
If you have never had a problem removing heads that have studs, you are indeed very lucky. Recently I tried to disassemble a 59 AB engine and I had to make a puller that mounted in the spark plug holes to pry the heads off. I have disassembled a lot of these engines, but this one was near impossible. And they were cast iron heads.
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