If you are looking to find the best aluminum heads for small block Chevy, it is easy to break the bank searching for the perfect one.
Their long history makes buying the factory heads very costly.
Chevrolet produced their first small-block engine back in the 1950’s and kept them until the later parts of 2003.
The V8 engine series lasted an amazing 50 years or so due to its simple and highly efficient design, considering the limited resources and materials that were available during that period.
With a wide selection of aluminum heads available in the market, it can be overwhelming to make a final choice.
From the cost to the right model for your engine, it is quite tricky to pick the head that would work perfectly.
The golden rule is to always consider what you actually need before buying anything.
Below is a guide of specifications and comparisons of popular market models these days, which can help you choose the perfect aluminum head for a small block Chevy.
What are the best aluminum heads for small block Chevy?
Ans: Edelbrock aluminum heads are the best money can buy for aftermarket small block Chevy
Why Edelbrock is the best brand for aluminum heads for small block Chevy?
Ans: Edelbrock is an established name in the automotive and motor parts world.
It is a trusted American brand that continues to make innovations in their 82 years of service.
That’s why it is not surprising that they are the most recommended and reliable brand when it comes to aluminum heads for small block Chevy.
Top 7 Best Aluminum Heads For Small Block Chevy Review
01. Edelbrock 5089 Cylinder Head – Best Small Block Chevy Cylinder Heads
- 64 cc Combustion Chamber Volume
- 02 cc/60 cc Intake, Exhaust Runner Volume
- 02 inches/1.6 inches Intake, Exhaust Valve Diameter
- 562 inches Deck Thickness
- Complete Pair for Hydraulic Flat Tappet
- Premium Metal construction
Edelbrock 5089 is a great cylinder head replacement designed to deliver extra top-grade performance for the Chevy engine, this model is our first choice for the best aluminum heads for small block chevy.
The 5089 boasts a 64cc Chamber Volume Combustion with an air intake of 2.02 inches paired with a 1.6 inches Exhaust valve diameter which optimizes maximum intake of air as well as gas exhaust.
This feature allows for a greater engine performance which is highly favorable for many. It is a little on the heavy side but has great endurance in high temperatures.
By using this, one can reduce the consumption of fuel and likewise increase the V8 engine power.
- Easy installation process
- Made of highly durable steel
- Precise valve spring diameters for excellent performance
- Made in the USA
- Needs hardened pushrods
- Requires hydraulic flat tappet cam (does not work with hydraulic roller camshaft)
02. Flotek 102505 Cylinder Head
- 180 cc Combustion Chamber
- 020 inches/1.600 inches Intake, Exhaust Valve Diameter
- 180 cc Intake – 64 cc Exhaust Runner Volume
- Aluminum cast block
- Original design
Flotek 102505 cylinder head for small block Chevy is perfect for those looking for racing performance head.
It is already completely assembled and has been made with every little detail considered which allows for prime engine performance.
This Flotek model has 2.02 inches/1.60 inches polished stainless valve and exhaust runners that operate in 62 cc.
What’s more, is that this model retains the original pre-1986 design cylinder head of the Chevy small block.
Flotek 102505 is equipped with Hi-performance springs, hardened steel guide plates, manganese bronze intake guides, and phosphor bronze exhaust guides.
It also features a powerful 180 cc runner intake and a 64cc chamber for combustion.
- Looks and works great
- Drilled holes have the perfect depth for headers
- No leaks and flows well
- Easy to install
- Does not hold up to a supercharger
03. Edelbrock 5073 Cylinder Head
- Combustion chamber volume 70cc/64 cc
- 9/16 inches deck thickness
- Added horsepower and torque
- More efficient engine capacity
- Modernized combustion chamber
- Made of hardened steel
This cylinder head by Edelbrock is a very competitive upgrade from the stock.
The 5073 cylinder head is packed with a unique combustion chamber design which allows greater efficiency as the intake capacity is increased.
Combined with the upgraded exhaust ports that let air flow more into the engine, Edelbrock 5073 adds greater power and torque to your small block Chevy.
This is ideal for owners looking for a heavy upgrade in performance.
Although this model is not compatible for use with hydraulic roller camshafts, it has an as-cast port system that is specifically built for better street performance when used with hydraulic flat tappet cams.
Per dyno test results, torque is increased to 11ft-lbs while gaining 16 hp in addition. Another selling factor of this model is the valve guides made from manganese bronze.
- Light and durable
- Looks and works great
- Complete pair for hydraulic flat tappet
- The major increase in power and torque
- The USA made
- Does not work with hydraulic roller cams
- Needs hardened pushrods
04. DNA Motoring CYLH-SBC-350 Bare Cylinder Head
- Advanced Port design
- 68 cc combustion chamber volume
- 200 cc intake runner
- Lighter than iron heads
- Made with high-grade aluminum
DNA Motoring’s CYLH-SBC-350 is an aluminum bare cylinder head that boasts a 200 cc port intake volume.
This feature allows major improvements to the output of small block Chevys.
It is made of high-grade aluminum for more durability and optimizes bronze valve guides and hardened seats.
While it improves the 1970 and earlier applications, it also maintains the original stock compression, thanks to the 68cc combustion chamber.
It also rocks a 2.020 inches intake valve diameter paired with 1.600 inches of exhaust valve diameter.
With each head only weighing about 10.33 kg, the CYLH-SBC-350 is a lighter option than other iron head counterparts. It is also seen to increase the efficiency of combustion and airflow.
- Compatible with many Chevy small block models
- Easy to assemble
- Features big ports
- Tight pushrod clearance
- Linear bottom deck
- Thin casting on the combustion chamber
- Off-centered pushrods
05. Replacement for Chevy Small Block Bare Cylinder Head
- 020 inches intake valve diameter
- 60 inches valve exhaust diameter
- 200 cc intake runner valve guide
- Made with top-grade aluminum
- Angled spark plug
In order to enhance the efficiency of a small block Chevy engine, the cylinder head from the Auto Dynasty is a serious consideration for the best aluminum heads for small block chevy.
This aftermarket aluminum head presents high-grade construction materials, including an aluminum body, valve guides made of bronze, and a specialized port design that increases airflow.
The 200 cc intake runner and 68 cc combustion chamber combination give a major enhancement to the engine’s performance while retaining the stock compression capacity.
The improved performance of the engine makes this cylinder head replacement a very viable choice.
It has another great feature of making the gas elimination process faster which in turn allows for better combustion efficiency.
The intake valve of 2.020 inches and exhaust of 1.60 inches in diameter makes better engine performance and adds horsepower.
- Compatible to several Chevy models
- Good machining looks
- Constructed with high-grade aluminum
- incorrect alignment of pushrod holes
06. DNA Motoring LEPOW-038 Aluminum Bare Angle Cylinder Head
- Natural aluminum finish
- Bronze valve guide tips
- High-grade aluminum finish
- Center/Perimeter Bolt Mounting Design
- Accessorized Bolt holes
The LEPOW-038 by DNA Motoring is another aftermarket option that Small Block Chevy owners should take into consideration.
As it is made of highly reliable aluminum materials, it can withstand extreme temperatures while maintaining excellent performance.
It works well with the Chevy series 302, 327, 250, 383, and 400.
DNA Motoring is a well-known manufacturer that is popular for producing power tools and equipment.
They commit themselves to provide top-quality service and items for their customer’s satisfaction.
LEPOW-038 is a great aluminum head replacement overstock. By using this, there is a guaranteed improvement in output power.
- Hardened seats for durability
- Enhances airflow
- Improves performance
- Great horsepower gain
- instructions are not included in the package
07. Speedmaster PCE281.2010 Straight Hydr-FT
- 64 cc Combustion Chamber
- 205 cc Intake Runner
- 020 inches/1.600 inches intake/exhaust valve diameter
- 10-degree lock style
- Small block 350 with Hydraulic Flat Tappet
The Speedmaster PCE281.2010 features an aluminum body with 64 cc combustion chamber and a 205 cc intake runner.
The model is produced using special materials that minimize porosity and make thermal efficiency better.
The cylinder head material made of aluminum and natural head finish is treated with a premium coating.
The package includes an assembled head, valves and springs, and a straight plug. It comes with a set of 2.
This is an ideal choice for improved street performance and even for racing.
It uses hardened seats, bronze valve guides, advanced ports, and the design of valve seats.
Speedmaster is a great upgrade for optimal engine performance.
- Ideal for a performance head
- Comes in the complete package
- Straight spark plug style
- Easy to install
- needs to use quality gasket sets
- Possible vacuum leaks
Before Making a Final Decision You Should Check For The Best Aluminum Heads For Small Block Chevy
Taking into account the pros and cons of various aftermarket cylinder heads, making the final choice can be long and challenging.
While there are many factors to consider, it would ultimately depend on the personal needs of the Chevy owner of which brand and model to go for.
The specifications and various styles can be overwhelming, especially for those unfamiliar with them or first-time buyers.
To help with this, we created this buyer’s guide that can aid you in knowing the essentials before making a purchase.
Below are what car owners MUST consider before selecting the best aluminum head for small block Chevy.
Most of the time, cylinder heads are manufactured using either iron or aluminum materials.
Iron-based heads are a better option for those seeking to save a few bucks as they are cheaper than the latter.
Aluminum models, on the other hand, are more easily accessible, buy, and find. Mainly, the overall budget affects this choice.
The materials used for a cylinder head can also determine the performance.
Aluminum heads can produce more power output owing to their combustion chambers. The science behind this is simply that aluminum handles heat better than iron.
With this feature, maximum compression is increased. This feat is difficult to achieve with iron heads. Many people go for the aluminum one.
Port Configuration Intake
The difference between aluminum heads varies across the different brands that offer them, as well as their port styles.
They could appear oval, round, rectangle, or cathedral. This has to be considered carefully in order to also properly pair with the intake manifold.
One more thing to consider for this point is the location of the intake port.
Many heads available in the market have varied intake and exhaust ports from the original, with some of them raised in order for better flow.
A cylinder head with two distinct ports can cool off and stabilize the engine better.
Port Volume Intake
The abbreviation ‘cc’ that is often seen in aluminum head descriptions stands for cubic centimeters which usually means the dimensions of the combustion chamber, the port flow, and the total volume.
It is an easy mistake to think that larger ports are more advantageous flow conductors but nowadays, smaller ports are designed to compete with this.
Choosing the appropriate head with the correct size can increase torque numbers and allow a better throttle response.
Though RPM can possibly decrease for racing engines. It is also imperative to know what engine type your car has in order to properly choose the best aluminum head for it.
Another port in the head is the Computer Numerical Control (CNC). This shows that the stock head had been cast in a machined way.
This technically means that liquid aluminum and various metals were used to cast the head.
This process of CNC manufacturing is essential to create a lot of heads, though it might be less accurate.
One benefit of CNC porting is getting the precise shape and size of the combustion chamber as well as the intake runner. This improves flow.
Size and dimensions are very important for engines and cylinder heads, and often has a lot of details for this alone.
Large valves mean good airflow and increased performance but many customers seem to forget that blockheads and extra-large valves do not go along.
Many aftermarket versions try to make the original size of chamber valves but several other products make space to get the advantages of large valves.
This allows users to place the intake and exhaust valves in proximity to the cylinder wall. This has to be done and planned carefully so they would work properly as well.
Port Flow is one more point that owners should learn if they want to change the heads of their small block Chevy.
The numbers displayed often implies about the engine performance and the amount of airflow which passes by it.
The port flow is represented by CFM which translates to cubic feet of air per minute. This also affects the flow of combustion rate and performance.
Maximum Valve Lift
Indicated in inches, max valve lift is another important consideration if you are looking to improve the quality of your engine performance.
Coil bind is another term for the limiter of maximum valve lift. Setting this to the appropriate number can prevent damages caused by valves hitting the engine.
Overall, it all falls down to these 3 basic considerations to get the best result when you plan to switch the aluminum head of your small block.
- Capacity for greater combustion
- Proper airflow characteristics
- Small chamber volume enough to get an appropriate working compression ratio
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) For Best Aluminum Heads For Small Block Chevy
Q: What are the advantages and disadvantages of aluminum cylinder heads?
A: Aluminum heads are generally lighter than iron and have a superior heat dissipation capacity that allows better compression.
These two are the main reasons why aluminum heads are preferred more than iron.
On the other hand, aluminum is not as durable as iron so it is more likely to crack especially at its stress points.
For budget-conscious owners, these heads are also more expensive than their counterpart.
Q: What happens when a cylinder head is damaged?
A: Air and gas create a mixture of pressure that makes the engine’s power upon ignition.
If the cylinder head is damaged, this might not be able to make the necessary environment to reach the appropriate combustion capacity.
This could result in engine misfires or combustion failures.
Q: How long does it take to repair a cylinder head?
A: Chemical sealants can be used to repair broken cylinder heads and this takes only a few hours. Ideally, it takes about 2 or 3 days to completely fix the head.
Q: Can cracked cylinder heads be fixed?
A: Absolutely. One of the most common procedures to fix this kind of issue is called pinning.
This repair technique can be done quickly and cheaply. TIG Welding is a more preferable method of repair for broken aluminum heads.
Q: Can I still drive my car even if the cylinder head is cracked?
A: You technically can still drive your car but know that you should not be doing this at all.
This will just damage your car more and unless you address the issue, the damage could just get worse, to the point of completely junking your car altogether.
Q: How important is a cylinder head?
A: It is a very significant part of every combustion engine. It secures the car’s cylinders, along with the gasket.
Cylinder heads are unique to every vehicle and if you are planning to make a change, it is important to do it properly.
Q: Can a damaged cylinder head damage the engine too?
A: Yes and this can be a more costly process.
This is the reason why it is a must to install the proper parts, including bolts and screws correctly when replacing or considering a replacement for your cylinder head and head gasket.
Q: What causes cylinder head cracking?
A: Many manufacturing companies nowadays make use of mixed metals for engines.
Other engines have solid cast iron blocks while aluminum cylinder heads do not.
The point of expansion is different between these two metals so when mixed, may result in the cracking of the cylinder head.
Another common reason is overheating. That is why it is necessary that the drivers maintain vehicles properly to avoid this problem.
Q: Are aluminum heads value for money?
A: Yes, they are. Most of the time, the aftermarket head replacement is worth the price as they generally increase power compared to the original head.
Additionally, aluminum heads are lighter and easier to repair and only cost a little bit more than iron ones.
Q: Aluminum heads or iron heads; which one should I get?
A: For maximum power, and if you are not worried about spending a few more bucks, aluminum heads are recommended to use.
The only takeaway is having to match the head with all other parts of the engine.
They should be compatible to work well. On the other hand, iron heads are more appropriate for street engines with low compression and more cash savings.
Just like the aluminum head, iron heads can perform best when paired with the correct parts. They are highly durable as well.
There are many points of consideration when choosing the best aluminum heads for small block chevy.
The number of aftermarket counterparts can add up to the confusion as well.
It is possible to get advice from experts of the field. Cylinder head configurations are tricky and confusing.
It would not hurt to seek professional help if you are still unable to reach a decision.
Asking around and checking for recommendations are also legit ways to build your understanding of what your small-block Chevy engine really needs.
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