To improve the performance of your vehicle or just to get rid of the old and broken one- there can be a lot of reasons behind getting a new cylinder head. But no matter why you’re getting it, you should pick the perfect one for the purpose.
I know you’re here because you have a Ford 302 and want to change the cylinder head for some reason. So, I’m here with the reviews of the best cylinder heads for Ford 302.
There are several cylinder heads available in the market for this model. As those come with different purposes, picking the one that serves your purpose is a bit confusing. But when I’m here, you won’t have to be confused.
I’ve shown some of the best aftermarket cylinder heads for your Ford 302, suggested the things to focus on before choosing one, and talked about the common mistakes we make while buying cylinder heads.
Also, I’ve answered some randomly asked questions about cylinder heads. So, I guess, this is going to be a helpful article for you.
Have some time and start your journey with me. In the end, you’ll end up learning a lot about cylinder heads and probably selecting the one to pick.
Top 5 Best Cylinder Heads for Ford 302 Review
1. Speedmaster PCE281.2049 Ford SB 289 302 351W 210cc 62cc Hydr-FT
With a 210cc intake runner volume and 62cc combustion chamber volume, it is a great upgrade for the Ford 302. However, it can be installed with your stock intake and exhaust ports too. But doing this won’t allow you to know the actual power it can ensure.
It comes with a rectangular intake port shape while the exhaust port is square-shaped. The maximum valve lift is around 0.550 inches.
It is made of strong materials. For example- the retainer is made of Chromoly steel which has made it stronger for ensuring intense performance.
Intake valves, exhaust valves, and spring sets are included in the package. However, you won’t find lifter and camshafts in the package.
Overall, if you’re looking to replace your cylinder head, this is a good choice. To get the best out of it, you may have to change things a bit. But, it is worthy.
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2. Remanufactured Cylinder Heads Assemblies GT40P 302 5.0L 4
If your budget is a bit tight, you can check these remanufactured cylinder head assemblies. Though these are remanufactured, they work as a perfect replacement for the OEM cylinder heads of your Ford 302.
These are manufactured using strong and sturdy materials to ensure the ability to handle pressure. Besides, the perfectly structured and set parts build an efficient cylinder head set for your Ford 302.
The head sets are completely disassembled and each part is thoroughly cleansed to ensure there is no impurity inside. Besides, these are pressure tested to ensure strength and integrity. Also, new valve seats are added to it if needed. New valve stem seals are also installed.
To make sure that it works properly, CBN and PCD milling is done where necessary. And finally, everything is thoroughly checked. If any issue is found, it is fixed immediately.
Overall, the performance was satisfactory as an OEM replacement. It comes with all the OEM specifications of your Ford 302. So, you won’t have to face issues.
I know that many of us can’t depend on remanufactured parts, but this is a good one for sure. So, if your budget doesn’t let you choose a new one, you can go for it.
3. Speedmaster PCE281.2047 Cast Aluminum Cylinder Head
From Speedmaster, this is another cylinder head for your Ford 302. It is a small block cylinder head that allows you to go for a wide range of applications. If you’re looking to build an engine or change your OE cylinder head, this is perfect.
To ensure strength and keep the weight light, it is made of cast aluminum. Thus you can reduce a huge weight from under your hood. This also makes your Ford lighter for better performance.
It comes with a 62cc combustion chamber along with a 190cc intake runner. Thus, it is perfect as an upgrade for your Ford 302. It sits on your stock intake and exhaust ports with the stock connecting tools. The maximum lift it comes with is 0.580 inches. It is for solid flat-tapped camshafts.
The valve and spring sets are included in the package. But there are no lifters and camshafts with the package.
Overall, this is a great small-block cylinder head that is built for performance and perfection. Also, it comes within a reasonable price range. So, going for it is a good decision in my opinion. If you’re not still sure, check the next one.
Speedmaster Cylinder Head Video Review
4. Edelbrock 45070 E-Street Crate Engine
Looking for a perfect cylinder head for your Ford 302 will bring you to one from Edelbrock when it is about performance. This perfectly designed cylinder ensures great street performance. If you’re interested in it, let’s know it better.
Being made of cast iron crankshaft and cast aluminum pistons, this is a strong and dependable part to sit under your hood. It is heavy in weight, but your car will surely carry it. It comes with performer series camshafts to ensure better compatibility.
To ensure better performance in the street, it comes with larger intake and exhaust ports compared to your stock parts. As a result, your engine gets more air and delivers maximum efficiency. Thus, your street performance gets better.
Overall, this is a strong and durable one to depend on. Also, it comes with a reasonable price tag in my opinion. So, give this a try.
Edelbrock E-Street Cylinder Heads Detail Video
5. Ford Racing M-6049-M50BR Right Side Cylinder Head
This is another cylinder head assembly if you’re looking for a better street performance. It is efficiently designed to deliver stronger and more dependable performance compared to your stock and many aftermarket cylinder heads.
It is manufactured with light and dependable material for easy carrying. The heads are CNC milled for a smoother appearance and better performance. With a 64cc combustion chamber, it ensures wider space for better combustion.
To install it, you may have to bring some changes under the hood. If you’re thinking of improving the overall engine system, you can go for it.
I’m suggesting it because of the performance it ensures. Besides, the manufacturer is dependable. Though it comes with a high-range price tag, it is worthy of the tag.
Buying Guide for Best Cylinder Heads for Ford 302
Buying a cylinder head is very crucial and you have to focus on a lot of factors. Each factor should be looked at carefully. This is a vast area to discuss. Still, here I’m going to give you an idea about the factors you should check before buying a cylinder head.
The first thing you have to focus on while buying any cylinder head is compatibility. It won’t sit properly if it is not compatible. So, I won’t work correctly too.
Compatibility depends on a lot of factors including vehicle model, year, make, engine size, additional engine parts, and so on. Don’t harry while looking at this.
Compatibility is also dependent on the size of the bolts, how much space it needs, etc. If you install a non-compatible cylinder head somehow, it may crack easily and cause problems in your engine.
Knowing your application is important for picking up a cylinder head. If you’re changing your cylinder head just because it is broken or old, you should go for one that is considered an OE replacement for your engine.
But if you have a different intention and you want to upgrade your engine for a specific reason, you should go for specially designed cylinder heads.
Check the internet and you’ll find a lot of expert opinions about it. Study and take information from experts to know which one would be the best for your purpose.
Intake and Exhaust Port
There is no rule that you’ll have to run for bigger intake ports. Bigger intake ports are not always better. It depends on your application. If you want your Ford to be perfect for the street application, go for smaller intake ports. Smaller ones ensure better low-end torque and throttle response.
On the other hand, if you need a stronger engine, go for the bigger one. Those ensure better airflow.
In the case of the exhaust port, you need to focus on the stock exhaust port volume. Also, check the valve size of it. Pick one that matches these two.
Combustion chamber size has an impact on the compression ratio. I suggest picking one that ensures a higher compression ratio. A higher compression ratio ensures more engine efficiency.
But here, you shouldn’t run only for the combustion chamber size. A lot of other things matter too. It should match the other components of the engine, for example- stroke, piston shape, bore, head gasket, etc.
Also, deck clearance, ring location, etc. are matters to consider too.
Matching everything is a bit tough and time-consuming. So, focus and match these carefully.
Other Factors to Match
As the cylinder head is an important part of your engine, a lot of factors should be matched and considered while picking one. Below are some factors that you should match before choosing one.
- Valve size to bore diameter ratio
- Valve-to-cylinder wall clearance
- Peak air speed of the port
- Average air speed of the port
- Average air speed of port and manifold
- The ratio of the runner to cylinder volume
- Ratios of the runner to expansion and contraction
- The shape of the port
- CFM demand for the engine
- CFM flow of the port (ant 28” test pressure)
- Seat angles
- Pressure recovery, sizing, and taper of the throat
So, these are the common factors you should check and match to get the expected performance from your new cylinder head. You need to study more about it. If possible, go to the experts and discuss thoroughly.
Let’s talk about some mistakes we make while buying a cylinder head.
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Mistakes to Avoid When Choosing Cylinder Heads
Not Looking at the Big Picture
The cylinder head is a part of a huge system that contains a lot of components. So, when you’re just replacing your old cylinder head without looking for an upgrade, you’ll find some options that won’t need you to change other components.
But if you’re looking for an upgrade for a specific purpose, there must be a slight difference in the cylinder head. As a result, you’ll have to change other components too to match the upgrade.
And this is the mistake almost all of us do. We forget that we have to upgrade other components too. As a result, in the end, we ended up with a change in the system that we didn’t expect spending a lot on it.
So, when you’re looking for an upgrade, make sure that you know the other components you should change. Discuss a lot with your mechanic about it. This would give you a clear picture.
Looking for Bigger Intake Ports
Most of us look for heads with a bigger intake thinking that picking a big one ensures better performance. I’ve already talked a bit about it.
A bigger intake port is suitable for you if you’re looking for higher RPM and more engine strength. The reason is- a bigger intake port ensures better airflow. However, it is good for you if you’re looking for a stronger engine.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for improved handling, bigger is not better for you. Instead, you should go for smaller ones as those ensure better torque that results in better throttle response.
This is just the basics of it. If you want to know more, talk to the experts. But from now on, remember that bigger is not always better.
While focusing on the intake ports, we almost forget the exhaust. But it is similarly important for your engine.
Your cylinder head should come with both a great intake number and a great exhaust if you want a good performance from it. If you ignore the exhaust side, the time spent on choosing the intake will be wasted.
For this, find out your stock exhaust valve size and volume and use those as references for the new one.
In the case of raised ports in the heads, the exhaust is more important. The raised ports are straighter. As a result, the airflow is stronger as there are fewer barriers in the way. So, the exhaust should have enough capacity to handle the excess pressure of the airflow.
Going for Larger Valves
Another mistake we make is going for larger valves. Larger valves don’t necessarily work as expected. There are some other factors to check.
A factor is the compatibility of the engine. Most engines come with the compatibility of working with specific-sized valves or shorter than those. So, if your engine is not compatible, buying larger valves won’t benefit you. Even if you pick one that comes with larger valves and can be installed with the stock components, it may not work with your engine.
Also, if your focus is street performance and handling, going for larger valves is a mistake. Smaller valves ensure better torque at lower RPM. Thus, these ensure better handling. If you pick larger valves in this case, you won’t get what you’re looking for. Larger valves are better for race applications.
These are some common mistakes people make while buying cylinder heads. So, keep your mind focused and make sure you’re avoiding these.
FAQs About Cylinder Heads for Ford
Does changing the cylinder head increase horsepower?
Yes, you can get increased horsepower by changing the cylinder head. If the cylinder head system comes with a bigger intake port with compatible exhaust and a larger valve, it can add 100hp or even more to your engine.
Increasing horsepower also depends on a few other factors. Also, changing the cylinder head sometimes requires additional changes under the hood. So, when you’re changing it, especially for increasing horsepower, check the other requirements too. This may give you an estimation of how much horsepower you can increase.
Why do cylinder heads differ in different vehicle models?
Different vehicle models come with different specialties. Some ensure better handling, whereas some come with more speed compared to others. Depending on the purpose, the components vary.
So, the size of the cylinder head, the volume of combustion chambers, the size of valves, and many other things differ in different vehicle models. This is the reason you can’t install a specific cylinder head in all the models.
What is the dissimilarity between an open chamber head and a closed chamber head?
Open and closed chambers are two types with specific advantages. The benefit of an open chamber head cylinder is it ensures a convenient flow of power. On the other hand, a closed chamber head cylinder provides better performance.
The choice is yours. I prefer closed chamber heads.
How to Install Cylinder Heads on Truck
The performance of your vehicle depends a lot on the cylinder heads. So, getting the best one for your vehicle is always suggested so that you can get the expected result.
Here in this article, I’ve talked about some of the best cylinder heads for Ford 302 and discussed their pros and cons. So, you know which one to pick.
No matter what you pick, I recommend collecting a lot of information about it. Cylinder heads are connected to a lot of small components of a huge system. So, compatibility matters a lot. Besides, you should make sure that the one you’re picking is suitable for meeting your purpose.