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This article submitted by Dave Gillis

So you have decided that you want to port your cylinder heads, but being on the average hot rodders budget you don't have the cash to lay out to professionally porting your heads, or like me you enjoy the feeling of accomplishment from doing it yourself. I had decided that I wanted to port my heads and began looking on the web for ideas and suggestions and in June of 2000 I came across the article "Porting Stock Heads" which is a do-it-yourself guide on porting your stock heads here on F/M. After I read the article several times I concluded that it shouldn't be too hard to duplicate the results they had achieved. I started out with a simple plan and a basically stock 1990 Lincoln Mark VII with the 5.0 HO which has the E-7 truck head on it. This is the same head that allowed Ford to bump up the HP rating to 225 horsepower in the Mustang and Mark VII's. Like most Ford heads it leaves a lot to be desired in the exhaust area. My initial goal was to open up the exhaust port by removing the EGR bump and smoothing the runner and a basic gasket match. Well as usual with me I was unable to do that and went with a full on port job also adding oversize 1993 Cobra Mustang valves and springs as well as 1.7 roller rockers. The job paid off greater than I had expected as I gained a half second and 3mph at the drag strip off of them, which is very good considering the amount of money and I invested in them. Now before you run out to the garage and fire up the die grinder there are a few things you should know. I will try to detail my experiences as best as I can here.

A clean and well lit work are is a must.
The intake port shown is being matched to the Fel Pro 1262 intake gasket (1.28" x 2.10").The exhaust port openings were matched to a Fel Pro 1415 header gasket (1.25" x 1.48").

Here is shot of the finished port job prior to installing the larger Cobra valves.

This is a shot of the head during removal of the stock valves and springs.

Parts list:

1.) A GOOD die grinder (I prefer to use a rear exhaust pneumatic version) I can not stress this enough, trust me you will thank me later.

2.) An assortment of carbide burrs and cartridge rolls. I bought mine from Eastwood and MSC.

3.) Valve spring compressor. If you don't have one, your local NAPA should for around $20.

4.) Work light (preferably the type with the aluminum reflector shroud as seen below)

5.) A VERY comfortable stool or will be here a while.

6.) A shop vac (You will be making a large pile of metal that seems to get on everything if you don't vacuum it up often.)

7.) Dust masks. This iron dust is nasty to breathe in and will seem to stay with you for days.

8.) Valve grind gasket set from your favorite parts store. This should also include new valve seals.

Optional items:

1.) New valve springs and retainers

2.) Valve job if needed after port work.

3.) New valves

4.) Head surfacing by machine shop.

The fun part:

I began by removing the cylinder heads from the car. (I will not detail the process involved here as I assume you already know how to do this.) I then cleared a large work are on my bench and set up a 2 x 4 to use as a stand which I rested the head on while it was being ported. I began by removing all the valve springs and valves. You need to keep these in order and reinstall them back in their original location if you intend to reuse them. I chose to replace the stock valves and springs with oversize valves from the 1993 Cobra Mustang. After you have disassembled the heads you should clean them really well. I used a parts washer and compressed air to clean them.

After cleaning the heads and allowing them to dry I set the heads up on the 2 x 4 stands I made. I put the intake gasket in place on the head and marked the opening of the intake runners on the head by using a black magic marker, you could use layout dye like Dykem blue if you have access to it. I then did the same for the exhaust side after verifying that the gasket fit my header flange. In my case I needed to open up the gasket a little to match the header flange.

Using a 1" long x 3/8" dia. carbide bit I began to slowly grind away at the opening until I had matched my marker lines. This entailed grinding in approximately 1" or so. I removed material in small steps from the intake side first beginning with the sides, basically just smoothing the walls to remove the casting roughness. I did this to all openings before moving on to the roof and floor. I thought it would be easier to port all the cylinders in steps so that I could be as consistent as possible since I did not have access to a flow bench.

I then moved on to the floor and spent a lot of time smoothing the floor, . I removed material until I had a smooth transition from the port entrance to short turn radius. I then started working on the roof of the port. Here I switched to a 3/8" carbide ball and basically created a tunnel on either side of the valve guide. Use caution here, if you go to far you will have to replace the guide I switched back to the 1" x 3/8" cutter and smoothed the "tunnels" I created until they matched the sides and roof of the port. When I was finished I ended up with a tear drop shape around the guide which helps airflow considerably. Take a look at any professional port job and you will see what I mean. One thing I should make mention of is if you do NOT plan to have a valve job done you should take precautions to avoid cutting into or nicking the valve seat. If you damage one you will have to have a valve job done and possibly replace the seat(s). With the intake side finished I moved on to the exhaust side. One area you will notice that needs attention is the EGR bump in the roof of the port. I spent 50% of my time grinding these flush to the roof of the port. They will and do severely hinder airflow out of the port. Since in stock form the E7 head lacks in the exhaust area and since I planned to use Nitrous Oxide I really concentrated most of my effort on making the exhaust larger and more efficient. I ground the sides even with the gasket all the way into the port. Having cleaned up the port I started working on the bowl area by again creating "tunnels" around either side of the valve guide. I again smoothed the "tunnels" with the tapered cutter until I had a teardrop shape leading out of the port.

After I had finished grinding all the ports, I switched over to an 80 grit cartidge roll and smoothed all the rough edges left by the carbide cutters. All told it took me approximately 8 hours to port these heads. It was more involved than I originally anticipated but the end results were well worth it. I had decided to send my heads out to have larger valves installed and a 3 angle valve job done. When I got the heads back from the machine shop the machinist asked who had done the port work...I sheepishly said "I did why?" And he replied that it looked very good and thought it was done by a pro! I left there with my pride on my shoulder like a badge, but the real test was to come at the track.

Having run this car before the port work I had run a best ET of 16.20 @ 88.40 NA which was totally stock. After porting the heads, I saw a <font color="red">.5 second improvement with a best of 15.7 @ 90.10 </font>NA.I was very happy with the results considering the car was stock with only the head work done to it.

This car has come a long way since it's 16 second days as it now runs consistent 12.6-7s on the nitrous kit and 14.00 NA.

Overall I am very happy with the results, and would like to say thanks to the guys at FM for posting the how to. As I mentioned on my web site I used the how to like the bible when I ported my heads. It WORKS!

For more info on this evolving project please check out my site.


Porting Stock Heads Ford Muscle Webmagazine

Eastwood Company
263 Shoemaker Road
Pottstown, PA 19464
1-800-345-1178 or 610-323-2200

MSC Industrial Supply

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: admin on 12/29/01 9:34am ]</font>

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: admin on 12/29/01 9:35am ]</font>
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