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Technical best bang for the buck

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by porknbeaner, Jul 31, 2015.

  1. Engine gurus and none engine gurus alike are more then welcome to chime in. Please don't call someone an ass hat unless they really are one, lack of knowledge does not an ass hat make.

    Ok so here's the deal, a couple of recent threads have brought me to this thread. One is a thread asking what the new cheapest engine is going to be and the other was a statement about a set of headers.

    Not to name anyone or single anyone out just to make a statement one of the fellas the other day said that a set of headers were going to cost him more then *5K to have built. I read it and immediately began to clench if you know what I mean.

    We used to say that the single mod that brought the best bang for the buck was a set of headers. Now any single mod that runs over a grand in my mind is not much bang for the buck unless it adds like a bazillion HP to the current stock motor.

    so tell me fellas what single engine mod brings the best bang for the buck these days. Lets try and keep it to mods one may have done before the age of the computer. OK?

    I'll start off I am big on port work, always have been. It is something that all it takes is time even if all that it amounts to is blending the bowls which isn't good for a lot but any whistle head can blend the bowls, and it is almost free.


    *in that price range not an exact quote
  2. trollst
    Joined: Jan 27, 2012
    Posts: 2,098


    Old timers know, it's any basic thing. First, dual exhaust, may not be faster, but sounds faster, next 4 barrel, goes faster, next some timing work or ignition upgrade for bragging rights, then the almighty rumpy cam to make it a handful at stop lights.
    volvobrynk likes this.
  3. malcolm1943
    Joined: Sep 28, 2011
    Posts: 239


    My choice would be a streetable cam, along with exhaust headers.
  4. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 53,482


    Depends what engine you're starting with. Might even be a set of rearend gears....

  5. oldrelics
    Joined: Apr 7, 2008
    Posts: 1,727

    from Calgary

    My dad always told me compression was very crucial to making good power, so I'll go with a good set of pistons/rings.
  6. Saxon
    Joined: Aug 9, 2008
    Posts: 2,157

    from MN

    Flathead - mill the heads.
    flatheadpete likes this.
  7. Turning the air cleaner lid upside down :)

    It's a case by case study with applicable wisdom.

    If the engine/drivetrain package is already in perfect compromise, balance and tune - ANY single modification will make things worse.

    So a study needs to be made as to where the package is lacking. Then you can easily get the best bang for the buck. Knowing where the factory choked up its grip on EPA stuff will help.

    Most every modification needs another to maximize its potential.
  8. Hmmmmn I would have thought that tune up may have been mentioned. I know that for a motorhead a tune up is a given but it is cheap and easy to do and many a dyeing engine has been saved with a simple tune up. LOL

    Ok just being an ass hat here. :D

    W may actually build a hot rod here if we try. ;)
  9. flatheadpete
    Joined: Oct 29, 2003
    Posts: 10,370

    from Burton, MI

    ...I was gonna say a set of hi compression heads on a Flatty. After that, headers and exhaust.
  10. steel rebel
    Joined: Jun 14, 2006
    Posts: 3,604

    steel rebel
    Member Emeritus

    Beaner I'd just advance the timing and put better gas in it. Cheap and fast. Hot coil and a bigger Carburetor. Maybe some hotter plugs.
  11. Yeah, if you're starting with something that has some power that can be a whole different ball game compared to a grocery-getter. But generally speaking, having 'good' exhaust is the foundation for anything that comes after. But I will say that the cost of stroker kits these days makes them a pretty attractive power-adder; there's no substitute for cubic inches...
    Ratrod_Rhysie and volvobrynk like this.
  12. I think a good set of heads will improve a engine's performance as well as anything,,and 5 K for a set of headers is more money than sense...IMHO. HRP
  13. luckythirteenagogo
    Joined: Dec 28, 2012
    Posts: 1,269

    from Selma, NC

    Well since part of the criteria is BEFORE the age of computers, I guess signing onto The HAMB is out. Besides that, depending on the engine you are starting with, a supercharger, granted usually more than a $1k, can make a huge difference on the right engine and setup. I guess the biggest bang for the buck would be a good book on building and modifying engines. Knowing the right part for the right application (and how to correctly set it up) is worth a lot more than just throwing parts at something and hoping it works in my opinion.
  14. 69fury
    Joined: Feb 24, 2009
    Posts: 1,419


    if you are asking for the best bang for buck with NO restrictions on type of engine or other prerequisites is Nitrous Oxide- period. Been used since WWII so yes it's traditional.... -rick
  15. Saxon
    Joined: Aug 9, 2008
    Posts: 2,157

    from MN

    But for the cost of "new heads" vs milling. Milling is much cheaper. Bang for buck. Hey Im cheap! :)

    Then I might go with a 2x2 intake...
    flatheadpete likes this.
  16. My buddy ran some nitrous and blew his engine to pieces. That Wasn't so cheap but man it was a big increase till she let go.
    kiwijeff and volvobrynk like this.
  17. They say there's no replacement for displacement. However there are substitutions - boost and RPM. There's plenty of 4clyinder honda's that will spank a healthy high stepping V8 and take its lunch money.
    chessterd5 likes this.
  18. J. A. Miller
    Joined: Dec 30, 2010
    Posts: 1,916

    J. A. Miller
    from Central NY

    I thought this was a thread about callgirls.
  19. falcongeorge
    Joined: Aug 26, 2010
    Posts: 18,341

    from BC

    assuming you are starting with a 4 bbl motor, curve, headers and gear, in that order. well, yea, and nitrous, but I don't roll that way.
    volvobrynk likes this.
  20. seb fontana
    Joined: Sep 1, 2005
    Posts: 7,989

    seb fontana
    from ct

    Don't laugh, real example..I put a bigger exhaust on my Crosley and can now top one particular hill 7 mph faster than before.:D
  21. chessterd5
    Joined: May 26, 2013
    Posts: 897

    from u.s.a.

    You got to respect fast no matter how you get there
  22. Here's a story from my past. I bought a new 427 FE in '63. It ran about 14 sec flat bone stock with 3.50 rear end first run out of the box. There was a guy with a bone stock '57 Buick that was running 14's. The story was that he had sawed the intake and exhaust manifolds in half and completely polished them inside and welded them back together. I assume he polished the heads too. Can't verify if this is true or not, but it would be quite noteworthy if it is.
    volvobrynk likes this.
  23. PnB ... I skipped over everything ..... in the hopes you blow the dust off of the high compression winder engine hiding in your garage. Almost free counts higher then 100 octane gas tank refills. At least for a little while. Imagine the smile you will have twisting frame with that thing at 7000 rpm.
    volvobrynk likes this.
  24. falcongeorge
    Joined: Aug 26, 2010
    Posts: 18,341

    from BC

    Nothing "low buck" about crack whores, that's a whole nother matter...
    Ratrod_Rhysie likes this.
  25. Got phone numbers?
    Ratrod_Rhysie likes this.
    Joined: Jan 13, 2004
    Posts: 2,770


    Beaner ,one thing I tell people all the time is its all about the combination. I wish I had a buck for every speed part I've seen bolted on and the car runs worse. It all has to work together. Compression, carb size, converter, gears, and the most abused miss applied part ,the camshaft. The wrong choice on any of these will waste the money spent on all the other parts. Just my opinion, I could be wrong.
    X38, cptn60, brad2v and 5 others like this.
  27. saltflats
    Joined: Aug 14, 2007
    Posts: 11,881

    from Missouri

    How about some cold air intake
    I did the poor mans cowl induction on my heap (you know adjusted the hood so the back set up)made a pan to seal to the bottom of the hood and open to the back and my car picked up .20 seconds in the quarter.
    falcongeorge likes this.
  28. 69fury
    Joined: Feb 24, 2009
    Posts: 1,419


    so it's the best bang for the buck for the NEXT guy that put in a smaller pill! Just like a 6-71 that gets a different pulley size next time around. :) -rick
  29. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 9,616

    Rusty O'Toole

    I was going to say tuning. Stock car racers proved in the fifties, you could get 10% to 25% more HP than the factory, using all stock parts, just by careful tuning and possibly a few subtle mods.

    If I was building a mild street engine on a budget I would go basically stock with a good cam, intake, single 4 barrel and headers. And if I had to skimp even harder, would use a stock 4 barrel manifold and used carb.
    volvobrynk likes this.
  30. Jimmy2car
    Joined: Nov 26, 2003
    Posts: 1,707

    from No. Cal

    I'm right there with Joecool. It is always the combination.
    Me. I like gearing, but that often is not cheap or easy.
    I'm also a fan of Overdrives, in that you can have much bettrer
    acceleration and good highway manners.

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