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Hi All,

So I got my 65 Gal running GREAT with the 352 that I just rebuilt (thanks in large part to this forum). I put some new wheels and tires on her and paint and body is next. I'll upload some pics with the new wheels and all sometime this week. I had a quick question. I picked up a 390 from a guy who just had it laying around for 100 bucks. When i heard the term "laying around", i didn't realize he meant outside in the elements for what looks like 20 years. I pulled it all apart and folks.....it's disgusting. My question is, how do i know if the heads are still usable? They don't appear broken and the head gaskets were still in actually good condition when i pulled it apart, but they've......i'm not sure how to describe it but "grown rust" is the best way i can think of. Basically there is something hard grown on the bottom side of the head. I may be able to get it off, but my question is should i even bother? Should i just take it to a shop? Or is it just bad and I should shop for aftermarket. I cleaned the block up really well. Next stop is the machine shop to get her bored and honed. I'm not putting the 390 in the 65. My plan is to put it in a newer Galaxie.....68 or 69 I'm thinking. Any help would be greatly appreciated as always.

Thanks,
Dustin
 

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First check the casting numbers to see which heads they are. Same as with the block. There is a differnce between a truck and car crank which could make some things tougher. I once got a 351W that was in the shape you're talking about. .040" over cleaned all but one cylinder up and that one we just sleeved. If you can yourself, tear the heads apart and sandblast them. You'll know pretty much if they're junk or not. If you're going to replace valve seats and guides these are the hardest hit places. That and how bad the head surface is.
Rust usually does the most damage in machined areas but usually only a surface rust in cast areas. Unless it's due to saltwater, then everything gets destroyed.
 

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Whats the plan with the 352? You could just use the heads off of it if they are fresh. However, in the end, some real moldy stuff can be reused, recommend shot peen and full rebuild, they will look like new. As RR said though, get some casting numbers, you need to know what you have before you spend, it could easily be a 360 and you'd be worse than you are now without spending more money
 

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Discussion Starter #6
First check the casting numbers to see which heads they are. Same as with the block. There is a differnce between a truck and car crank which could make some things tougher. I once got a 351W that was in the shape you're talking about. .040" over cleaned all but one cylinder up and that one we just sleeved. If you can yourself, tear the heads apart and sandblast them. You'll know pretty much if they're junk or not. If you're going to replace valve seats and guides these are the hardest hit places. That and how bad the head surface is.
Rust usually does the most damage in machined areas but usually only a surface rust in cast areas. Unless it's due to saltwater, then everything gets destroyed.
The 390 came out of a 68 LTD. I've had to slow down the last couple of weeks because work has really picked up (I guess I should feel lucky based on the current situation). I haven' had time to pull the numbers. The block is obviously stamped 352 and i can't tell what the head castings are because i can't get the damn exhaust manifolds off. I even heated them up with a torch and they still won't budge. I got about half of them off using pb blaster for a week and then the torch but the others are stuck. I may break them off but just haven't had time. I'm considering scrapping them all together and just taking the block to the shop to 1) make sure it's not cracked and 2) bore it over. My plan for this motor is to turn it into a 416-ish. I'm planning on putting somewhere around 6-7k in the motor so might just go new heads anyway. The cost difference between having a shop do the whole process on old heads doesn't seem much different than just going aftermarket. Lots of decisions still up in the air. Thanks for all the help
 

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The head casting numbers are between the center spark plugs, no need to unbolt anything, flashlight and maybe a rag
 

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1968 heads are C8AE-H on Automatic Transm. At least one person claims they are excellent
 

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1968 heads are C8AE-H on Automatic Transm. At least one person claims they are excellent
This advice needs to be taken with a HUGE grain of salt.

First, Tom Lucas is super sharp and super nice, but those heads are ported iron C8AE-H and nothing like a stock C8AE-H and not what someone would choose as a base unless there was a very good reason

The C8AE-H is a small port, lowered exhaust port, emissions, unibody and truck head. Why that is significant is that if you have a 66 and earlier car, the headers will bolt up, but not match the port on that head and likely leak. Unlike the Edels he compared them to, which will fit all early applications as well as Cobra Jet/ The C8AE-H and it's brother the D2TEA-AA have an exhaust port (not bolts) that is .250 lower in relation to the bolts (closer to the engine block), which means the gasket hangs over one side if you try to mismatch headers

Second, the same treatment to a normal FE head (C6AE-R, C4AE, etc) would yield about 20 cfm more, and that, when properly matched and assembled, could yield 40 MORE horsepower, than a ported C8AE-H nothing to sneeze at. What his comparison really showed is that Edels without porting are nothing special LOL

Third, if you run a normal low riser intake, those heads will have a ton of port mismatch going the wrong way.

For a final negative, if NOT ported, they only flow 215-220 cfm, which is the absolute worst FE head ever made, period, down from every single head by at least 20 HP, some as many as 40.

So, why did Tom port them? Well for a truck, a 390GT in a unibody, or a person with 390GT headers, they would allow the owner to reuse his headers and not have to buy new CJ / early FE style flanges. As much as I jabbed these heads, I did that on my F100, ported heavily reached 277 cfm, well above those numbers and still were small volume/small cross section. On my 4x4 truck motor, it made 490 HP at 5000 rpm, and 560 ft lbs of torque, that was with a Victor single plane and a custom 230/236 @ .050 cam, hyd flat tappet with a 112 lobe sep and 9.5:1

However, it's hard to compare them to an Edelbrock, Tom knows that, he was clearly showing that you CAN make them work, but that's over 1000 dollars before shipping and repair. You can't really even swap between them and many heads due to the exhaust port differences, at least without careful treatment to the headers or they'd leak like heck
 
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