Which cylinder heads is the best for 289 CID?

Discussion in 'Classic Mustang Specific Tech' started by KaraKedi, Nov 15, 2010.


  1. KaraKedi

    KaraKedi Member

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    Hi everyone,
    I wanna change my cylinder heads, pistons and rocker arms.
    Could you suggest me, whşch is the best (price/performance) for my 289 CID A code.

    Current Engine Modification List:

    COMP Cams Xtreme Energy Cam and Lifter Kits
    600 cfm Holley Electric Choke Carburetor
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  2. 68RCodeConv

    68RCodeConv New Member

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    That is not a big cam or carb. I would go with the AFR 165. Can't go wrong with them.

    However, if you are going to replace the pistons anyhow you might seriously consider stroking the motor to 347. Easy way to get a lot more HP. But you should upgrade the carb to a 750.
  3. robbz28

    robbz28 Member

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    comp cams has a kit that is 268/280 duration & .509/.512 lift. That cam with some good AFR 185's and at least 9.5:1 compression ratio would make some good power with the rest of your components. If you are going to spend the money on new heads, get some that are going to flow. As listed earlier those 165's are good for a smaller cam, but the only real benefit you get out of those 165's are the fact that they are aluminum and weigh less, you can mildly port your stock heads and get the same results. Also as listed, a stroker kit would be another option, this combo listed above would really come alive on a 330 or 347 bottom end.
  4. rbohm

    rbohm Founding Member

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    the heads you want will have at least 180cc intake runners, and there are plenty of those on the market. world products windsor jr heads in cast iron are inexpensive and bolt on about 50hp. the AFR185s are also good heads, and a good low cost aluminum head.
  5. 68RCodeConv

    68RCodeConv New Member

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    Noticed that you did not mention the tranny or rear axle ratio.

    If you put big heads and a big cam in a 289 in front of an auto with a stock converter and 2.79 rear gears you are going to be VERY disappointed. It won't start pulling until about 30 mph in first.
  6. htwheelz67

    htwheelz67 Member

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    AFR 165's are a great head for a mild 289 BUT the twisted wedge 170cc head is much better, the TW head has 2.02/1.60 valves but has a 170cc int port, because of the design it actually has better flow in the low and mid lift than the AFR 165 and the AFR 185 and will not kill bottom end TQ in fact in most cases even on a stocker the low end will increase, the other plus is you get more piston to valve clearance than an inline head and another plus 2 they are cheaper than the AFR's AND you can have them CNC ported down the road to 205cc or more and be capable of 600+hp, you cant do that with an AFR head, I had mine on a 351w and now 205cc cnc ported on my 408. The T/W is one of the only true bolt on 2.02/1.60 heads with out notching pistons. you can run a 224-230 duration cam with them without much worry about the pistons hitting the valves.
  7. Vinyl66

    Vinyl66 Member

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  8. D.Hearne

    D.Hearne Banned

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    Everyones talking heads, but I see no ones mentioned watching the compression ratio. Piston selection is critical on a 289, more so than a 302. You want a flat top that's going to get you a zero deck height and the smallest combustion chambers to get a 9-10 to one ratio.
  9. KaraKedi

    KaraKedi Member

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    I want to a daily drive ride, not too much power. MAx 350 HP is perfect result for Me.
    In Turkey, i have No chance for try new challanges.
    Proven combination will be the best for Me
    Regards
  10. D.Hearne

    D.Hearne Banned

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    289's use the same pistons aas a 302, and among those, the pin height (also called compresion height) varies from about 1.585 (inches) to 1.620. You want the taller of the two to achieve a zero deck height (piston comes all the way up to flush with the block deck. Most aftermarket heads come in two chamber sizes: 58 and 64 ccs. You want the 58's and possibly mill them another .020-.030 to get the chambers closer to the 289's nominal 54 ccs (what most 289 factory head chambers are)
  11. robbz28

    robbz28 Member

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  12. brianj5600

    brianj5600 Active Member

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    Ported stock heads will have a hard time making equal power as 165AFRs. Even IF, and that is a big IF, they flow the same on a bench they will be down on power. Flow benches measure air flowing at a constant rate. Engines flow air starting and stopping. The AFR heads will have a much more efficient port that will shine in real life. Another plus is that aftermarket heads hold value much better. No matter what you spend on stock heads or how good they work, you will be lucky to get half your money back if you sell them.
  13. ashford

    ashford Member

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    i am going to disagree with the afr heads on a 289.
    at 1 point i time i had 2 of the same cars

    car 1
    82 merc capri rebuilt early 289 bowl blended factory heads, just enough cam to tell it had one at idle, cruis-o-matic, offenhauser 4 bbl and headers. turned 6500rpm happily

    car2
    85 merc capri roller 302, e-cam, home ported 67 289 heads, shorty headers, stealth intake and a t-5. snorty little engine

    car 2 was a stoplight queen it came out of the hole really good and would run upper 13's lower 14's. car 1 would come on strong around 3000rpm. if lined up at the strip(never had car 1 at the strip) car 2 would probaly take it but if from a rolling start above 30 mph, no way.

    car 1 had subframe issues(rust) so i pulled all the good parts out of it and junked it.
    a few years later i decided to buy a set of afr165 heads. so i pulled the rotating assembly out of the 289 and stuffed into a 6 bolt block(had a 5 bolt bell) assembled it with a isky 280 mega cam added a c4 with 3000 converter.
    i shoved it into car 2, broke the motor in and stood on it, nothing but a pig then around 4000 it lit on fire but was short lived torque died off around 5500rpm, wtf. i really did not like the fact it had no low end so i put a different cam in it, it was a voodoo 268 grind. that helped tremendously i could now get 2700 rpm on the torqu converter instead of 2400. still it hit a wall at 5500. figured exhaust needs help so i threw a set of bbk headders on it and 2.5 exhaust kit. it seemed to help it reved to 6000 now and fell off instead of hitting a wall. i then took it to the track it ran low 14's :(

    frusterated with results i built a cheap 347 short block out of the old 302 reused the e cam put the afrs on it and it ran mid to upper 12's, and was much rev happier. seem like 289's just don't like those heads. if you are dead set on keeping it a 289 the money could be better spent elsewhere like maybee a 5 speed.
  14. robbz28

    robbz28 Member

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    I agree with you ashford, a 289, even if its pulling to 6500 RPM, with 9.5:1 cr it can only use so much air and you start to kill your torque if you have too much runner, you want a good mix of velocity and volume. I would save the AFR's (or any other aftermarket head for that matter) for a 347 or 351. Every component has to work in harmony from the intake to the cam to the weight and rear gears. Little tricks to improve velocity include port matching the intake to the heads (free horsepower) and polishing the exhaust runners. Anyway, I just love to build engines, had to chime in again.
  15. brianj5600

    brianj5600 Active Member

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    Wow...just wow.
  16. blown65

    blown65 Founding Member

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    Yup, and you wonder why I dont post tech stuff on here for the most part. LOL!!!!! :lol:
  17. fordmach70

    fordmach70 New Member

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    To the original poster you really need to listen to guys like blown 65 he HAS a fast car and the information he has gathered getting his car to run the times it does is VERY valuable. I highly recommend that you don't listen to the other posters who admit that they couldn't figure out how to make there combination work after throwing tons of parts and money at it. Take the good tech advice from the few guys who have the experience and a car that proves there not just full of :bs:.
  18. Vinyl66

    Vinyl66 Member

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    :eek:


    :eek:

    What has this thread become?

    Wow is right!

    To the OP there is some big time misinformation in this thread. Hopefully you can sift through it.
  19. ashford

    ashford Member

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    failures give just as much info as successes. what i was unclear about was don't just take advice about throwing on a set of afrs on a near stock engine and expect it to be a super engine. to make it effectively make more power you need pistons to get it above 9:1 cr, flat tops are very close to this if your pistons come all the way up to deck height. on top of that you need to rev the crap out of it so a good exhaust system is needed, then you need a big intake, and no a stealth wont cut it, and a cam with a large area under the curve so a roller. by the time the power goal is met the thing is poor driving and horrible on gas. a stroker would be a better route with aftermarket heads
  20. robbz28

    robbz28 Member

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    The OP wanted to know what heads we thought were best for HIS setup, and in my opinon I think some ported stock heads. I am in no way saying ported stock heads are superior to AFR heads, but for this application I think he will have better results. If he had some 10:1 pistons and a camshaft with 280 dur 510 lift then the afr's would definately shine, but the 165's not the 180's...I would save the 180 for bigger cubic inches. The engine is nothing but an air pump and you want to get the air in and out as effeciently as possible and that includes both volume, but just as importantly velocity. A stock 289 bottom end does not need large port heads, its overkill.

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