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Tech: Pontiac Engines

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by axle, Nov 22, 2007.

  1. cfmvw
    Joined: Aug 24, 2015
    Posts: 710

    cfmvw
    Member

    Years ago I had a '72 Lemans with a '71 455 from a Grand Ville...the block was a YC code, had 2.11/1.77 valves, Q-Jet, and around 8.5:1 cr. Bored it .030 over to 462 CID, added a set of headers, an HEI (also drilled the oil galley plug to squirt oil on the cam/distributor gears), Brad Urban Q-Jet kit, a mild dual pattern from Competition Cams, and backed it up with a switch-pitch TH400 from a Cadillac (rebuilt with a shift kit) and a 2.75 Ford 9". Even with the tall gears, it would roast the tires until I let off; I was even able to get 19 mpg out of it on the highway! Had a Hurst dual-gate shifter from a '68 GTO - that sure was a lot of fun!
     
  2. GRX
    Joined: Mar 28, 2014
    Posts: 68

    GRX
    Member
    from MD

    The pre-1960 pontiacs were reverse flow where coolant is pumped directly to the front end of the heads by way of bolt on water necks. Known as “gusher valve cooling”, the heads have an internal sheet metal water distribution tube with openings which directs coolant onto valve seat areas, and around the exhaust passages. So I'd say you are pretty much restricted to 55-59 style heads.
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2015
  3. 30panel
    Joined: Sep 12, 2007
    Posts: 129

    30panel
    Member

    Running a 59 block with 62 heads, using a reverse coolant flow water pump 57 vintage , always runs 180 never had a problem, may not be absolute correct but works for me. 225 cam a couple Quads runs clean.
     
  4. draggin'GTO
    Joined: Jul 7, 2003
    Posts: 1,772

    draggin'GTO
    Member

    You're best off finding another '55 287 head, or possibly a pair of '56 317 heads.

    Reason being you need the proper combustion chamber volume so you don't end up with a very low compression ratio.

    Any of the later heads will have larger combustion chambers, so they won't work for you. Even though any Pontiac head will bolt on doesn't mean you can just use any Pontiac head. You need to find the right ones to suit your particular engine.

    Find some '55 or '56 heads, they're likely the only ones suitable as replacements for your '55 287.
     
  5. 30panel
    Joined: Sep 12, 2007
    Posts: 129

    30panel
    Member

    Pontiac's due have the mix and match combo possibles, but do they all work NO.
    Take draggin'GTO suggestion and go for it.
     
  6. PontiacPower67
    Joined: Mar 24, 2015
    Posts: 43

    PontiacPower67

    Excerpt from hotrod mag:


    As you may have already guessed, I DON'T LIKE CHEVY ENGINES! It's not that I don't like Chevy's, hell, I can respect any make of car except for maybe AMC! It's just that I'M SICK AND TIRED OF BEING TOLD HOW GREAT THE CHEVY ENGINE IS, by those who have never had, or worked on anything else! I fail to understand why they became so popular. One might say that they are popular because they are cheap to build. This can be debated. First off, they had to become popular before aftermarket parts became cheap. Thus coming back to the original question, WHY DID THEY BECOME SO POPULAR? Second, if you are building a bone stock engine, sure, I'll be the first to admit, you cant get any cheaper. But, if you are trying to make some real power, then they no longer are cheaper. You can build a 400-420 H.P. Pontiac for about $1500-$2000. To make a small block Chevy stay together at that kind of power it costs $3000-$4000.

    In all my years of working on cars I have found that there are few engines that are harder to make on-the-car repairs than the Chevy engine. I haven't yet found a V-8 that was easier to work on than a Pontiac. For this reason along, you would think that a Pontiac should have been more popular in the racing circuit. The Chevy engine has a LOT of downfalls. Here are some reasons why I think Pontiac's are better engines.

    #1: Pontiac had performance on their minds with every V-8 they built in the 60's. Even the so called 'low performance engines'. Example: every engine from 65-68 had a full length windage tray. Even the 2 barrel 326's had them. And from 69-72 they all had a 4/5'ths windage tray. Only the 'ultra high performance' Chevy's had a windage tray, and it was a joke compared to Pontiacs.

    #2: Pontiac machined the combustion chambers in thier heads which provided a much smoother surface than a cast chamber like a Chevy. This makes for much more accurate chamber volume, as well as making less 'hot spots' in the chamber.

    #3: Pontiac used screw-in-rocker studs on all performance heads from 67-up, and on all heads from 75-up.

    #4: Pontiac had some of the largest valves in the industry. 2.11 inch intakes and 1.77 exhaust. Only special high-perf. BB Chevy's with 2.19 intakes and 1.88 exhaust, and Ford 351 Cleveland 4 barrel heads with 2.19 intakes were larger. The 351c engine had 1.71 exhaust valves. Except for really old Pontiac heads, 1.96 intake and 1.66 exhaust valves were the smallest valves used.

    #5: Pontiac had the brains enough to put a valley pan cover over the lifter valley. That way the intake manifold didn't have hot oil splashing up on it [another performance thought from them Pontiac engineers]. Also you don't knock dirt into your engine every time you pull the intake off.

    #6: Pontiac intake manifolds are so easy to change since you don't have to pull the distributor to change it. Unlike those Chevy's.

    #7: Pontiac timing chains are a breeze to change since the balancer, and timing gears come off without the use of pullers. Also installing the timing cover is a breeze since you don't have to loosen up the oil pan [like you do on a Chevy] and break the seal. Chevy balancers and timing gear are pressed on and can take quite a bit if time to remove and replace. I can do the whole timing chain swap on a Pontiac in the time it would take to install the balancer alone on a Chevy.

    #8: Pontiac bottom ends are much stouter and beefier than a Chevy. The only weak point and the only thing I feel Pontiac did wrong was they started casting their connecting rods. These cast rods may have been stronger than their old forged rods, but when something goes wrong [like a seized rod bearing] these cast rods tend to break instead of bend. Although I have still seen about 5 blown-up small block Chevy's to every 1 blown-up Pontiac. Put a set of good rods in a Pontiac and you pretty much have a bullet proof bottom end.

    #9: Pontiac centered their main caps with dowel pins, Chevy's just snap into a recess in the block and can be moved from side to side. Pontiac main caps go in one place only.

    #10: Pontiac heads, although port size is small, out-flow just about any head from .050-.300 lift. And not by just a little, but by as much as 20-25 cfm @ .100 lift. This kind of flow really builds lots of torque. BB Chevy's only outflow Pontiacs at lifts above .300. Their port size is about twice that of a Pontiacs.

    #11: Pontiacs build so much low and mid-range power that you don't have to run the crap out of them to make them fast. Pontiacs make all the power you could want under 5500 rpm's.

    #12: Pontiac blocks are real hard and last much longer than other engines.

    #13: Pontiac uses big, strong, bolts to bolt on the main caps and heads.

    #14: Pontiac uses only 20 head bolts instead of 34, and the bolt holes are blind, thus creating much less cylinder distortion compared to Chevy's 'into the water jacket' design. WHAT'S UP WITH THAT! Why on earth would anyone design an engine where you need to seal the head bolt threads in order to keep water from seeping up the bolt threads into the oil! Chevy cylinders distort about 5-10 times more than Pontiac cylinders do when the heads are torqued on! What were those Chevy engineers thinking!

    #15: Pontiacs are so much easier to change spark plugs on. No ex. manifold in the way.

    #16: Pontiac uses a retainer plate to hold the cam in. Chevy uses the timing cover and timing chain to hold cam in.

    #17: Pontiac uses some of the longest rods in the industry. 6.625 inches long center-to-center.

    #18: Pontiac did so many things far superior to Chevy's. I could go on all day and use up a lot of space on the net trying to cover them all. I think you get the picture though so I will stop for now until I get the urge to pick on Chevy's again. WHICH WONT TAKE TOO LONG!

    For now, lets all keep that Pontiac fire burning bright.
     
    32Stoker likes this.
  7. GRX
    Joined: Mar 28, 2014
    Posts: 68

    GRX
    Member
    from MD

    Not to turn this into a Pontiac vs Chevy discussion. Because Pontiacs have and always will be my favorite. They do have several advantages, however, the SBC does have some superior aspects in my book.

    #1: the water pump. Much easier to change than a Pontiac. Four bolts vs eight or eleven. And no steel to aluminum corrosion potential in the Chevy. Which brings me to the next one.

    #2: timing cover. Pontiac's pump and timing cover are married. True the oil pan on the SBC must be lowered to pass the lower lip on the cover. But the Pontiac has the long steel stud passing through an aluminum housing. Sure most of us have dealt with the corrosion issue having to heat & beat the cover off.

    #3: exhaust flange angle. The SBC design makes it easier to access the manifold bolts. Unlike the Pontiac which is angled downward and has some holes open to the back which can corrode the bolt ends making them that much harder to remove.

    And why did the SBC survive where the Pontiac V8 did not? Besides the fact GM execs had a hard on for Chevy from the 50s, we have to consider production costs in the 70s emissions & economic environment. Not only was the Pontiac v-8 larger which required more iron, and thus weight, they were more expensive to machine than the Chevy v-8. As previously mentioned, Pontiacs have a much more complex timing cover & water pump design, an air gap intake plus valley pan, machined combustion chambers, machined valve cover rails, and when we got to the ubiquitous 6-X heads, screw-in studs & guide plates as well. Great in regards to performance, yet the Chevy v-8 had none of that. No wonder GM decided to go with a cheaper and lighter "corporate" engine given the corporate financial and economics environment at the time.

    With that said. I will choose a Pontiac any day of the week. Great to see them finally gaining some well deserved respect while displacing the small block mind set where you need high RPMs to make horsepower. Fact that more aftermarket parts are available, and cheaper than ever, is attest to their new found popularity.
     
  8. dimitri89
    Joined: Jul 20, 2014
    Posts: 33

    dimitri89

    Ya you can, but luckily I found one thanks to another members suggestion on a parts yard!
     
  9. axle
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 3,892

    axle
    Member
    from Drag City




    Didn't know my old thread would turn in to a Poncho vs Chevy thing ;-)
     
  10. axle
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 3,892

    axle
    Member
    from Drag City

    Update:

    Just thought I'd list some of the new aftermarket aluminum heads that are available.



    Edelbrock(Round Port) (Round Port)
    Edelbrock(D-Port) (D-port)
    Edelbrock Victor "Pro-Port" (round port, HIGH-performance)
    KRE D-Port (Kauffman) (D-Port)
    KRE High Port (Round Port)
    KRE Warp 6 (square exh. port, canted valve, HIGH-performance)
    KRE "Billet/Warchief" line; Hemi, Ram 5 (Maybe Warp 6 falls in this category as well?)(HIGH-performance)
    AllPontiac.com Tiger Heads (Round port)
    Roland Racing CV-1 (Round port, Canted valve)
    Lynn McCarty RA-V head (Round Port)
    Wenzler Series II (Round Port)
    Wenzler Super Chief (Round Port, HIGH-performance)
     
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2015
  11. ROADSTER1927
    Joined: Feb 14, 2009
    Posts: 2,907

    ROADSTER1927
    Member

    Thanks for the update and the list of heads. Gary
     
  12. axle
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 3,892

    axle
    Member
    from Drag City

    You're welcome
     
  13. Pontiacsven
    Joined: Jan 1, 2016
    Posts: 14

    Pontiacsven

    Hi i hope i can ask here.... my Name is Sven and i write from Germany. I have a Question. I drive a 1960 Pontiac 389 2bl. I need a littlevmore Power and buy two 1964 HO Heads with Intake and Carter Carb. Will fit this 64 Heads without Problems on my 60 ? Thanks a lot and sorry for my bad english
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2016
  14. if you use 61 thru 64 heads you must use a 61 thru 64 intake. and it will all fit.
     
  15. Pontiacsven
    Joined: Jan 1, 2016
    Posts: 14

    Pontiacsven

    Yes the intake and Carb are from the 64 Heads ... Great . Big Thanks. I hope it will bring me a little more Power
     
  16. draggin'GTO
    Joined: Jul 7, 2003
    Posts: 1,772

    draggin'GTO
    Member

    Hello Sven,

    As already stated above by Old wolf they will fit as long as you use the '61 -'64 intake that is compatible with the intake port and water port design of the '64 heads. However you will need to plug the thermostat bypass passage at the very front of the intake since the '60 timing cover has no provisions for sealing the bypass, simply tap it for the appropriate size pipe plug which will be either 1/4 or 3/8 NPT.

    You will also need the '64 rockers and pushrods as well, the 1960 pieces are not the same.

    A question on your '64 heads, what is the casting number on the two center exhaust ports? If they are '64 HO heads then they will have casting # 9770716 on the center exhaust ports.

    '63 -'64 421 HO head casting # 9770716 was shared with the '64 for that year . These big-valve (1.92"/1.66") heads were the best Pontiac production passenger car heads available at the time. The standard '64 389/421 heads only had 1.88"/1.60" valves, the same size valves as your current 1960 389 heads.

    Good luck, Bart

    [​IMG]
     
    CGkidd likes this.
  17. Pontiacsven
    Joined: Jan 1, 2016
    Posts: 14

    Pontiacsven

  18. draggin'GTO
    Joined: Jul 7, 2003
    Posts: 1,772

    draggin'GTO
    Member

    I can't read the numbers very well either, but it looks like the last 3 digits are '345' which would indicate they are just a common '64 low-performance head with the smaller 1.88"/1.60" valves. Not worth swapping.

    Measure the valve sizes to be sure. Otherwise you just might be buying heads that really aren't really much better than what you have now.

    You might find that a cam swap to a factory Pontiac performance cam will buy you more power, even keeping the 1960 2-barrel intake and heads.
     
  19. Pontiacsven
    Joined: Jan 1, 2016
    Posts: 14

    Pontiacsven

    Thanks a lot but that sounds not good. The buyer tell me that this Heads are the closed Chamber HO Heads with 10.5:1 .


    I will mesure the v Valves

    I hope they are the bigger ones. But i want the 4bl too
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2016
  20. draggin'GTO
    Joined: Jul 7, 2003
    Posts: 1,772

    draggin'GTO
    Member

    All Pontiac heads were closed-chamber until after mid-year 1967, so there's nothing about the closed-chamber that makes them special in any way. Common low-performance heads also had a factory rated 10.5:1 compression back then too.

    You might be better off looking for a '59-'60 4-barrel intake.
     
  21. Pontiacsven
    Joined: Jan 1, 2016
    Posts: 14

    Pontiacsven

    Thank you so much...but i will mesure tomorrow the Valves. I hope that this Heads are the "Ho "Heads. Now i have buyed the Heads and Intake....and i will swap this Heads and Intake to my 60. I think a swap will bring me a little more Power and i can drive the 4bl. And i dont want to search longer for another 4bl Intake who will fit my 60 Heads. The Intake, shippin cost to Germany ect. are verry high. ;)
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2016
  22. Pontiacsven
    Joined: Jan 1, 2016
    Posts: 14

    Pontiacsven

    Sorry again but my 60 Heads are listed with 10.25:1 ....is that right?
     
  23. I have an extra 59-60 4bbl intake here. Shoot me a PM.
     
  24. Pontiacsven
    Joined: Jan 1, 2016
    Posts: 14

    Pontiacsven

    OK. the valves measured 1.88 and 1.6. if I understood it correctly, there are no HO heads. But there are heads with 10.5:. 1 Or can it be low compression heads? my 60 heads have 10:25: 1 ... right? Only replace the bridge is of course easier. Do I have no benefits if I swap the heads? Do I have the same power with 60 heads and 60 th 4bl Intake like 64 Heads with 64 4bl Intake? Thank you for your support and help.
     
  25. You wouldn't notice much difference between the 64 heads and the heads you now have. Just swap to a 4 bbl intake and that will be just as good. Im surprised your 389 doesn't have enough power to suit you? A properly running 389 will smoke the rear tires all you want even if its a 2 bbl engine.
     
  26. Pontiacsven
    Joined: Jan 1, 2016
    Posts: 14

    Pontiacsven

    OK, too bad. now I'm frustrated and annoyed that I bought the heads. The seller told me that one has noticeable performance increase. The flow would be much better.
     
  27. draggin'GTO
    Joined: Jul 7, 2003
    Posts: 1,772

    draggin'GTO
    Member

    Your seller didn't know what he had and sold you standard 326/389/421 heads, not HO heads.

    There's absolutely no performance increase to be had running them, just a bunch of unnecessary hassle and expense to install them.

    Seems most sellers know very little about Pontiac heads but always seem to tout them as being HO heads or GTO heads.:rolleyes:

    Demand a refund.:mad:

    Yes your 1960 heads are high-compression closed-chamber heads, with the same valve sizes and essentially the same ports as the standard 1964 heads. All of the heads from that era would make somewhere around 10:1 back in those days, the factory would use dished pistons to achieve 8.6:1 for regular-gas engines or as low as even 7.6:1 for export engines.

    Buy a compatible 1959 or 1960 4-barrel intake and install a factory performance cam. The Mellings SPC-7 cam and lifter set sold by special order from AutoZone would be perfect and would slide right in with no mods needed or valvetrain issues, it the same as the factory 9779068 cam used in HO and Tri-Power engines from the mid-'60s through early '70s. I would suggest installing a fresh set of stock replacement valve springs.

    With the cam change and the 4-barrel you'll see a noticeable performance boost, using just the HO heads and a 4-barrel probably wouldn't have bought you much. The HO heads are better but maybe by only 5 or 10 HP at the most over your standard heads, keeping the stock 1960 cam.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2016
    Bowtie Coupe likes this.
  28. Pontiacsven
    Joined: Jan 1, 2016
    Posts: 14

    Pontiacsven

    Wow ...thanks a lot for your Informations and Knowledge
    Yes i think i will search for a 4bl Intake. Thats too much trouble for me ,for little more HP. I think i will sell these Heads and Intake and buy me first the 4bl Intake ..when i find one ;) . My engine is overhauled with new Parts. I was stupid and heared of other People who tell me for a lot Power with little trouble. But now i know its Bullshit :):):):) thanks a lot
    [​IMG]
     
  29. Pontiacsven
    Joined: Jan 1, 2016
    Posts: 14

    Pontiacsven

    Ah Sorry again do you have Intake Casting Nrs for cortect Intake and will fit my 60s Heads. Thanks
     
  30. stimpy
    Joined: Apr 16, 2006
    Posts: 3,547

    stimpy

    GTO , I don't think Auto zone will be in his neighborhood ( Germany) , I know summit lists the cam package and will ship . but so will Melling ( bought direct from them many times ) and it might be cheaper to go direct on the shipping as they have overseas warehouses in England .
     

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