Any advice on buying used Vortec heads?

Discussion in 'Engine Topic' started by cubfan226, Jan 15, 2010.

  1. cubfan226

    cubfan226 Veteran Member

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    The guy who worked on my furnace the other day saw my Camaro under construction and during our conversation he said he has a pair of Vortec heads for a Chevy small block. He said they have a little surface rust that just needs to be wire-wheeled, not machined. He said they're in really good condition and includes the springs, rockers, etc. I believe he even said they come with valve covers.

    He needs money for his up-coming yellow pages ad and offered them to me for $275. Any thoughts? Seems like a good price to me, but I won't get around to swapping them out for a while, if I do buy them. So, I'm looking for opinions as to if there's any questions I should ask, or what I should look for if/when I go look at them. If this is a good opportunity, I'd like to go ahead and buy them.

    I still need to verify if my current heads are original or not. My engine is a 350 SB.

    Thanks for any help!
     
  2. z28rod

    z28rod Veteran Member

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    if the need nothing thats fare price, what if they need a valve job done ?
     
  3. AJ_72

    AJ_72 Veteran Member

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    Rumor has it they're prone to cracks across the seats, but I've yet to see that. Some people assume that's true because they're stock deck thickness has always been thinner than aftermarket, but getting them magnafluxed would be a good idea.

    If they do crack I would bet it's because people ask way too much out of these heads sometimes. They are good performance stock heads, and that's about it. They're far from being a true performance head.
     
  4. 74RAT

    74RAT Veteran Member

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    agree with AJ,, have them crack checked first,, and check that they're not the 86-95 year range. those have the curly-q vane in them to enhance swirl at low engine speeds. not for performance use.

    i'd read "dirt's vortec sticky" on here for the casting numbers to be looking for.

    make him drop the price for the crack check amount. otherwise,, they're just core value at best for junk cracked scrap iron. jmo,, but why'd he take them off????? makes you wonder sometimes.
    andy
     
  5. cubfan226

    cubfan226 Veteran Member

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    I'll check into the cost to get them magnafluxed - good idea. Thanks. Can you tell if a valve job is needed without taking the values out? Can you just manually open the valves and tell?

    If there's a better head alternative for close to $275, please let me know. I don't intend to race the car, but I do want to be able to punch it whenever I want and have it respond well. Also, my budget can't go too far beyond the $275 (maybe $400 tops). That's why I figured these might be good for my needs.

    He said he ended up with higher performance (racing) heads - that's why he doesn't need the Vortecs.

    I'll also check out the sticky 74RAT suggested on the casting numbers. Thanks for the suggestions!
     
  6. jakeshoe

    jakeshoe Veteran Member Lifetime Gold Member

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    $275 is too much for used Vortecs.

    I have new ones for $600 a pair complete.

    Used Vortecs go for $150 in this area.

    They are bad to crack. I went through 6 heads and had ONE good one on a SBC build last week. I took them all back and bought new ones.
     
  7. jakeshoe

    jakeshoe Veteran Member Lifetime Gold Member

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    You are looking for heads that the casting numbers end in 062 or 906.

    They will only have 4 intake bolts on each side.
     
  8. pdq67

    pdq67 BANNED

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    Personally, I'd look HARD at the cheap aluminum heads that Skip White sells on his ebay store.

    There's just something about the lightweight Vortec castings that worry me And, I know, I'm all for the 305HO, -601 heads that are lightweight too.

    pdq67
     
  9. 74RAT

    74RAT Veteran Member

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    hi jake,
    and one of those numbers has the sawtooth on the end of the head,, like in the location where the camel hump heads have their trademark bumps.

    i have a set that were given to me with the sawtooth zig-zags,, and they were cracked!! figured i'd pin them one day.
    andy
     
  10. Dirt Reynolds

    Dirt Reynolds Veteran Member Lifetime Gold Member

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    Agreed with Jake, L-31 Vortec heads are prone to cracking, that is one of their Achille's Heels, and the major issue that got addressed with the release years back of the Bow Tie Vortecs. I bought mine from a local core yard that gets Vortec engines in all the time. Every time I've gone in there they had a few L-31s in the "cracked head" area. The reason they crack is because these engines were also offered right up to 1-ton trucks, and not all of the HD applications got the #906 Vortecs with the Inconel (single-angle) exhaust seat. Towing or hauling heavy loads up sustained inclines is the killer here.

    Having said that, if they are not cracked, Vortecs are the key to having a serious powerhouse of a street engine on a budget.
     

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