Used cylinder heads: what to look for, and how much to pay?

Discussion in 'General Tech' started by kenny150r, Mar 29, 2014.

  1. kenny150r

    kenny150r Member

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    Hello! I'm looking into doing a PI swap over this summer, just wanted some opinions on parts:

    How much should one pay for used cylinder heads? And what should I look for when buying used heads, are there any easy places to see signs of wear/leaks?

    Would it be better to just buy new ones for 500 or so? I'll definitely take any used pair I buy to the machine shop to get checked out anyways... just wondering if new ones would be a better deal!


    Thanks!
     
  2. Michael Plummer

    Michael Plummer Active Member

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    Q) How much should one pay for used cylinder heads?
    A) Depends on your budget. There is no hard fast rule here.

    Q) And what should I look for when buying used heads, are there any easy places to see signs of wear/leaks?
    A) Hard to view or see problems thru pictures. Things to ask: Mileage on valvetrain, type of valve springs, open and seat pressure, gasket size for inlet and exhaust, were they shaved, combustion chamber size, etc. In my opinion, unless you know the person, the car or both, I like NEW cylinder heads. Used heads need to go to the machine shop before bolting on and in some cases those used heads end up costing more in the long run.

    Q) Would it be better to just buy new ones for 500 or so?
    A) Not sure of the cost of new heads but yes new heads would be better.

    Q) I'll definitely take any used pair I buy to the machine shop to get checked out anyways... just wondering if new ones would be a better deal!
    A) Again, in some cases used heads may end up costing you more in the long run. Save your money, buy new and you'll thank yourself later.
     
  3. adamv7010

    adamv7010 New Member

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    Fwiw, I've seen new castings need to be machined right out of the packaging...but new is the way to go if your $ will allow it

    sent while driving recklessly
     
  4. DropTopPony

    DropTopPony Administrator Staff Member Admin SN95 Supporter

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    I had luck with used PI's when I was in the market but that was 10 years ago and the heads were relatively new then.

    If they are used ask how long they have been off the car. May need new valve seals, mine have been on a shelf in my garage for 5 years so before I put them back on this summer I will send them into the shop for a check up and swap new seals just in case.

    If you can afford new at least you will have piece of mind.
     
  5. Win

    Win Legend

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    There is a guy on a Facebook page that has an amazing set of PI heads for a ridiculously low price.
     
  6. Win

    Win Legend

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    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  7. DropTopPony

    DropTopPony Administrator Staff Member Admin SN95 Supporter

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    If I were in GA I would probably check them out. Not a fan of shipping heads unless crated though, UPS etc sucks and cannot be trusted :) learned the hard way.
     
  8. Win

    Win Legend

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    Yeah last time I shipped heads I had a full 2" of bubble wrap around every part. Then double boxed. But I tend to over do it on wrapping and shipping. I would rather take a few dollar hit on materials then to have to deal with anything.
     
  9. Michael Plummer

    Michael Plummer Active Member

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    $250 sounds like a great deal BUT you don't know him or his car. If you send them to the machine shop to be cleaned, checked, and forget about repairing them, you're already at the price for a new set heads. Spend a little bit more, and enjoy the peace of mind you'll get with new cylinder heads.

    Good luck with your decision.
    Michael Plummer

    http://www.latemodelrestoration.com...v2&year=2003&gclid=CMX8vLffvb0CFa47Ogod0kQAwQ
     
  10. kenny150r

    kenny150r Member

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    Thank you guys all for your replies!

    +$500 for just one cylinder head? That seems like a lot to me... I guess I might just shell out the money for some quality parts. I was planning on just going to the scrapyard and pulling some heads off, at least then I would know better the condition of the motor they came from.

    I'll definitely post some pics and results from the swap here in a couple months!
     
  11. Pete@FTR

    [email protected] Active Member Preferred Vendor

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    I paid $200 for my used assembled heads w/ cams and intake off an 01 last summer. Get it checked by a shop that knows what they're doing and try to replace your valve seals etc if you can.

    Also look into degreeing the cams. Not something I did but I found out about it later. IMHO try to get as much done as you can when you have all that crap apart, just less stuff to worry about later down the road