Home 1968 Shelby Cobra GT350, GT500 & GT500KR My 1968 Shelby Cobra GT350 Edelbrock E-Street Aluminum Heads 6 Small Block Ford Cylinder Heads that Work

6 Small Block Ford Cylinder Heads that Work

by Jeff Smith HotRod.com Feb 1 2013

This is the key article that helped me decide to go with Edelbrock E-Street heads. Below I discuss a few more specifics and reasons.

I was having to rebuild my 302 engine. I had blown head gaskets on both sides of my engine. The heads had to be removed at the minimum.

How bad can a blown head gasket be for your engine?

Real bad. When the mechanic drained the oil out prior to pickup for the engine builder, the first fluid that came out was milky water. I probably don’t have to tell you that is a real bad indicator. It means the head gaskets were leaking water into the oil. Water is a very poor lubricant. Good thing I did NOT try to drive it when I started it from winter storage and it was making a knocking noise.

A member of my car club had the same issue only he didn’t realize how bad it was and continued driving it. Coolant got into the cylinders because the head gaskets were leaking. The engine threw pieces of the pistons out the bottom of the block. Basically his engine was trashed. Last time I talked with him he was shipping it to a firm out east to see if they could re-weld the block. It was a numbers matching early Shelby engine.

My choices were to fix it, or park the car or sell it. My wife thought it was time to sell it. Nope, time to make it better.

I was expecting the worse. Dan, the engine builder, called me up and said there was nothing wrong with the engine. It needed some fixing, of course. Dan said the block was fine and could be rebuilt.

So if that engine needed work, it would be basically dumb not checkout the rest of the engine while it was being opened up. And if parts are coming off, why not replace and/or upgrade those parts? I might as well replace the basic things like the water pump, fuel pump and oil pickup and check for other worn parts.

Turned out the crank shaft was fine and could be tuned. But the cam and valve train were worn. The timing chain was loose and needed replaced. One of the exhaust headers was also leaking. And the old Holley carb wasn’t working.

What can I end up with on my budget? I invested a huge amount of hours learning all about the Ford 302 and this year engine in particular.

My engine builder told me those existing heads could use some work. I had replaced the stock 68 heads with a set of 2 barrel heads I had. The thought was to bump up the compression a bit. I also knew those early Ford heads limited what that engine could be. They might have done what they were supposed to do back then, but by today’s standards, you can do much better. Doing my Google research I discovered there were too many options available. When it comes to heads you can spend from $500 a pair to $1,000’s. But they are not all the same. Apparently the cheaper heads are made in China and tweaked here. I happened across this excellent article from Jeff Smith on HotRod.com. This helped to decide to spend a couple hundred dollars more and get Edelbrock’s E-Street aluminum heads. If you are in the market for heads or want to know some specifics on why I picked these heads, read this article.

Link to Jeff Smith @ HotRod 6 Small Block Ford Cylinder Heads that Work from Hotrod.com

Since it is such a great article and the basis for me selecting these heads, I am going to make a copy of the article for this web page, just in case it disappears like so many other web pages have. Click to see a copy of that information.