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Beer me!!
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my opinion, save a few bucks and get a good aluminum. not much more. vortecs are decent, but can be prone to cracking
Unfortunately this is true, although, there are plenty of good castings out there. We have a couple Vortec headed 350's in trucks here on the farm, very reliable, make good power, and no cracking as of yet. One of the two I put together when I was a senior in high school, ten years ago, engine still runs great.

Have never used them on a car engine, really want to play with them to see what could be done.
 

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Go to my web page. www.3vperformance.com and under customer rides we have a 358 with the bowtie vortec heads. Turned out well.
 

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Swedgin
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The cracking you guys talk about is due to folks thinking they can run them at 200 degrees. Keep the temp below 180-185 and they will live.
My 65 had a nice vortec headed 355 making just over 450 hp and over 460 tq and it ran very well. I sold it in 2009 and it is still running strong up in WA state. As with any race engine keeping temps in check can mean the difference in how long an engine lives and the vortecs need to remain cool.
More misinformation about them cracking just gives them a bad name when they can be made to make excellent power and tq when you know what your doing.
 

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We have built a few. They will need some work to perform great, valve guides need to be cut down and thined.

We have ran 11.7-11.8 @ 117 with 355ci, @ 3580lbs with pump gas and 26 X 8 slick. It had a very small stall-3000.
Ported heads and intake (Vic. Vortec) 250 dur @.050, .660-.640 lift in this car. But had great results with same duration with .600lift as well. Over all great head for the buck.

T-flow
 

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Look at them in the 602 crate motors... they warp the heads before they crack and I have seen guys run them to 230° or more. I'm not fond of the things but they are a decent OEM iron SBC head and they really wake up with a VJ and blend.
 

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I built a friend a Vortec headed 355 SBC-- Flat top 2eye Speed pro pistons, Eagle SIR 5.7 rods, decked to 9.005, Howard hydraulic cam-.510/.510- 246*/246*-106L/C, in at +2* Adv., Scorpion 1.6 Roller rockers, Port matched Edelbrock RPM Air Gap, 750 Holley D/P. I did a nice port job on them, intake valve still 1.94, but opened the exh to 1.60 valves. Motor is in a 83 Buick Regal, 3400# w/ driver, 4:10 GN rear, 28X9 slick, 4500 stall conv. Car runs consistent 11.50-11.60 w/ 1.56- 60'. We just use the thermostat shell, with the guts removed, and temp is always a consistent 160*. They are the best bang for the buck you can get, for an iron head @ $550.00 complete. Just my experience, and $.02-- Good luck with ur decision.
 

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Bracket racer
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The car in my Avatar has a stock bottom end 400 with vortec heads, a 216/228, 454/480 lunati cam, GM dual plane intake and has went a best of [email protected] with a 1.63 60 foot. It's a torque monster! Still 3500 lbs too.
 

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They don't crack until 230* or better if you don't take too much out of em. I've seen em flowing as high as 300cfm but they're too thin and will crack. I've done several sets that flow 275 and have no problems. With a good valve job they'll flow 235 unported. If you run a line from your water pump to the center of the head under the exhaust ports they won't crack until you lose all the water. Most of my experience with them is dirt racing so the rules dictate them but I think they are a good bang for the buck head, esp. if you gotta buy a intake either way.
 

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THE REASON THEY CRACKED IS BECAUSE OF THE INTAKE GASKETS LEAKING ALL THE COOLANT OUT AND OVERHEAT.

my car is a 383. srp flat tops. small trickflow hyd roller cam http://www.trickflow.com/partdetail.asp?part=TFS-31403001&autoview=sku . summit dual plane intake. 4.10 gears 5 k stall. goes 7.0's at 93mph in the 1/8th. stock valves and stock studs with correct springs. nothing else done to the heads. just thrown on there and ran. 906 castings. car is in my sig pic
 

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see sig, fun as hell! I built it my senior year of HS and was a DD for years til I broke the trans lol
 

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Have a buddy .060 over 400cid .650 lift @ 260 howards solid roller, victor vortec, touched up bowls, guides, screw in studs 2.00 1.60 valves in 2700# 3 speed car 11. teens on motor and will pick up a sec on a 100 shot.. Same heads on a not so well combo of 385 cid in a mustang 11.8`s so far
 

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Ran them on my oval track car per rules.Angle milled .100 ,ran 200 to 210 all the time finished a few races at 230.We did crack a head once in a while.
I think they are very good heads for the money.One problem I found was not all the heads would be the same.Some would flow better before you ever started on them or the cambers would be smaller on some heads.
 

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You should see the 383 with teh bowtie vortec heads Rick and Randy Ferbert just built for Engine Masters. Really nice power. Look for a feature article in PHR in the next couple months.
 
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