Engine 289 block / 351w heads

chuck gibson

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Aug 2, 2019
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I have started restoring a very worn 1967 coupe. I will probably be wearing you guys out with questions and requesting your opinions.

The first thing I am dealing with is the engine. It had a 289 block with 351 heads. It was also running an HP cam. It ran great 30 years ago and I am thinking about going back with the same set up. I would like some feedback/opinions from you guys.

Thank you all very much and I hope you have a lot of patience....lol
Chuck
 
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jjperf

Member
Dec 6, 2019
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idaho
Hello, Chuck,
Sounds like you're jumping into a fun project, sir! I'm right with you on the whole sticking with the 289, bud. Seems like everyone goes for monster cubes and has forgotten how well correctly massaged factory iron can run, as well as how rewarding it is to make those smaller displacement motors run right alongside some crate motor that's got you out-cubed, and knowing it's all your skinned knuckles under the hood! Of course more cubes are always the easiest route to big power while hanging on to a shred of driveability; I DO GET IT, haha. Anyway... Those are great heads for 289/302 street motors. They worked great 30-40 years ago and still do the trick today. You likely already know this, but knocking the Thermactor hump out of the exhaust port, and working over the short turns on both intake and exhaust, while staying off the floor, and opening & blending the bowls into the new seats you'll need for your nice new 1.94/1.6 valves (see what I did there, lol), and those heads can actually flow well over 210/160 @ .500 lift. They can easily be decked down to 54cc, which puts you at around 10.25:1 with a 3cc flat top and a .040 overbore on a zero deck. Of course a roller is always nice, but will require some more coin spent on head prep/machining, but either way, they seem to like a hair tighter lobe separation in my experience, and I'd go with your favorite brand of cam somewhere in the 266-268 intake, with maybe a six to eight degree split on the exhaust, and stick it on a 108...it'll have the nice sounding idle we all like, hang on to plenty of cylinder pressure, and be good and responsive all around. I'm actually working on a very similar build as we speak, so if I get it finished before you I'll run it on our dyno and gladly share some numbers and other info if you'd like. I'm glad I'm not the only one giving a 289 the time of day! Lol! Good luck and keep us posted, bud...I bet there's some other guys on here with great input that will gladly follow along too. Happy wrenchin'!
 

chuck gibson

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Aug 2, 2019
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You are talking way over my head when it comes to your engine mods. I was building this car thirty years ago when it was totaled out sitting in a driveway. A brand new El Camino lost control driving down the road, took out my neighbors fence and hit my Mustang. It has sit ever since. Are you talking about porting the intake and exhaust ports? I had read back at that time that if you laid a new gasket on the face of the manifold and took a marker to outline the manifold ports on the inside of the gasket openings, that would be your referrence as to how far to grind them out . Is that what you are talking about? And yes, I would love to see the results of your dyno test!
Thank you!
 

jjperf

Member
Dec 6, 2019
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idaho
Hello, sir!
Dang, that stinks... so an El Camino went out of el camino just to smack your car?? Sorry, terrible joke, but I couldn't resist. Seriously though, I'm glad you're bringing her back to her former glory and we'll look forward to a few pics of the finished car for sure. So yeah, as far as head mods... Opening up the port entrances can bite you in the butt in certain applications, and often times the effect on flow is hardly worth the time spent. I don't think I'd put a ton of effort there unless the discrepancy in head port to intake manifold dimension is quite substantial. On a small block Ford using OEM heads, the gasket is quite often much larger than both. There MIGHT be something to gain there if you were in need of more cross section and trying to feed more cubes, and took some out of the pushrod pinch area and worked the entire port, but honestly in this application, I would suggest simply making sure that the head entrance isn't smaller than the manifold exit, which even with most aftermarket street type dual planes, it won't be. If it is, then a guy can blend out the head port to match, yes...you just don't want a dam at the end of the intake port for your charge to collide with. And in some applications, even the effect of that is debatable. Most gains are to be had right under the valves, and the valve job itself, and on those particular heads the exhaust side is the port that needs the help. I guess I got way ahead of myself and I never really asked, which was dumb of me, but what are your actual wants and needs for this motor? I ask because depending on that, those heads may be just perfect as is! I mean if we're talking about a basic overhaul and just making it new and built to cruise and live life easy...run 'em. If we're talking about near duplicating the 271hp motors...run 'em. If you're wanting a max effort little screamer, then yeah okay...you'll probably wanna get out the carbides and cartridge rolls, along with doing some screw-in studs (or get Trick Flow or AFR on the phone;-)). But for mild street, they'll do the trick stock, even with the 1.84/1.54 valve combo. I hope at least something is helpful here...I'm just sharing what I've gathered from my own experiences, but perhaps someone else will weigh in and have totally different info...ya never know!
 
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