Are Vortec heads better than 2.02 double hump heads? [Archive] - Team Camaro Tech

: Are Vortec heads better than 2.02 double hump heads?

Nov 15th, 05, 07:21 AM

I am getting two different opinions on which heads I should use on my 350.
The current recommendation is that I change the heads to either Vortec or 2.02 double hump.

Either way the motor is acting as if it is really mismatched parts-wise and I want to wake it up.

Can you all please help me sort this out?

I have:
-GM Goodwrench crate motor
-Stock cast iron heads -- valves (I/E): 1.94"/1.50"
-8.5:1 compression
-Cast Iron 4-Bolt Main

Comp Cams Hyd 280H Cam CL12-212-2
Operating Range: 2000-6000 RPM
Duration: 280 Intake / 280 Exhaust
Duration @ .050'' Lift: 230 Intake / 230 Exhaust
Valve Lift w/1.5 Rockers: .480'' Intake / .480'' Exhaust
Lobe Separation Angle: 110

-Edlebrock 600 cfm carb
-Weiand 8004 dual plane intake
-TCI Sizzler Torque Converter (400 rpm over stock)
-TH350 transmission
-3:73 posi rear

I really appreciate any advice you all can give as to how I can wake this motor up without breaking the bank.

Busted Knuckles
Nov 15th, 05, 07:45 AM
Unless your double humps have been ported by a pro, chances are that the Vortecs will make a bit more power as well as being more efficient.

Nov 15th, 05, 08:03 AM
No question Vortecs. I have a pretty simular combo only with less cam (XE-256) mine runs real well for being not much of a motor. With .480 lift you may have to have the guides cut.

Toy Junkie
Nov 15th, 05, 08:05 AM Here's a good link for flow comparison on both heads.

Racing 68
Nov 15th, 05, 08:11 AM
Compression is a little low for a 230 duration cam should be near 9.25-9.75 on pump gas depending on octane. A stock vortec will usually flow about the same as a double hump with 2.02 1.6 valves.

Nov 15th, 05, 08:25 AM
I agree, 8.5:1 is low for that cam.

Up the compression and get some better flowing heads. Vortecs are said to be better than the old 2.02's (have to remember the 2.02's are old school)

Nov 15th, 05, 08:26 AM
Hands down the Vortechs are better. Just compare the chamber design of both heads. The Vortechs have the modern heart shaped chamber and double humps have wedge chambers. The Vortechs have a higher velocity in the ports and unshrouding of the valves in the chambers.

The only draw back to stock Vortechs is amount of valve lift they will take. Above about .460 -.470 lift the retainer will make contact with the valve seals. To fix this the heads need to be machined for better valve seals and clearance.

The Scoggin Dickey Performance Center in Lubbock Texas sells the Vortech heads with the upgrades needed for a performance engine. :D

Nov 15th, 05, 09:45 AM
Not only do the Vortecs flow a lot better, but you will pick up additional power for two other reasons. 1) the Vortec combustion chamber is a better (modern) design, is more efficient, and will make more power 2) the Vortec combustion chamber is smaller (64cc) and will increase your compression ratio by a point.

Overall, I'd say that the Vortecs would be a perfect swap for your current combo. You will need to check valve guide to retainer clearance though and you will need guided rocker arms and a Vortec style intake (I'd suggest the Performer RPM)

Nov 15th, 05, 10:57 AM
Once I add the Vortec heads, will my set-up be pretty much optimized with the rest of what I have?

I have used Vortec heads that need machined and set-up. I'm thinking it might be cheaper to just buy new ones already set-up...


Nov 15th, 05, 11:50 AM
you can look at it this way .. back in the 60's and early 70's your double hump heads were the hot ticket but now we have much better tech and have the ability to make an entire head in CG and test it before it is even milled. So i would think just by thoes figures alone the Vortec heads would be better. THen compair the flow numbers and there is no question that the combination of Modern combustion chambers and superior flow numbers gives u a better head.

Nov 15th, 05, 12:39 PM
Some of it depends on how much money you want to part with. Vortecs are great if you have the money to buy everything you need to run them. Camel humps work pretty good if you are on a tight budget because there are a lot of them on the market.

Nov 15th, 05, 12:41 PM
I think your engine will be pretty close to optimized with the Vortecs.

The Vortecs actually will work best with a dual pattern cam (more duration on the exhaust than on the intake) and your converter is a hair on the tight side. My guess is that the "perfect" cam would probably pick you up another 10 or 15 HP -- not a whole lot. A looser/better converter would help acceleration IMO.

But if money is tight, you are spending it in the right place with the Vortecs.

Nov 15th, 05, 02:19 PM
I think the 280 magnum would be a good cam choice. The Vortechs will bring your compression up where it needs to be for a strong street engine.

Check out the link below. If you have not yet purchased your heads, check these out. Hassel free installation in a kit.

Good Luck! :beers: :D :thumbsup:

Nov 15th, 05, 04:28 PM
I know this discussion was about the Vortec heads as a solution but I just checked Motorhead62 link. Am I reading that correct that for some Stock Vortec head kits - features stock out of the box Vortec heads that are good for about 0.450" lift. you are paying $679.90 ? I guess this just blowes me away that a STOCK head would bring this kind of money. Especially when you can purchase a aftermarket head designed with:
Screw in studs,
High velocity intake runners on the street versions.
Thats not to mention if you order them complete you get:
Screw in studs,
1 piece Stainless valves usually in your choice of size 2.02, 2.055, 0r 2.08
Aluminum Heads that cost less to ship
Can be repaired in the event of a blown engine mishap,
Better cooling,
Can run higher street compression ratios on pump gas.
Cheaper and or easier to port if you like.

I mean your paying $700.00 atleast with shipping they are Iron right, for a STOCK head with some aftermarket springs. that are good for about 0.450" lift

:confused: :clonk: :confused: I just dont get it can someone please tell me why? I mean for another 100.00 you can have all the good stuff.

Nov 15th, 05, 04:44 PM
I see used sets of vortecs going for $200. If we are only comparing them to used double humps.

Nov 15th, 05, 05:05 PM
For a mild street motor there isn't anything better. We have a different opinion of good stuff. One of my old racing budies used to call aftermarket parts LA garbage. Once you did enough work to get it to right it will break.

Nov 15th, 05, 05:48 PM
I need to hunt up my old mag that has the spec's of the Good Wrench motor in it b/c I think it has -12 cc dished pistons and 70 cc heads and .038" thick composite headgaskets which makes it like 8.5 to 1 CR.??

And even with the Vortec 64 cc's along with .015" shims, you will only be at 9.5 to 1 and at 62 cc's, 9.7 to 1 CR!

Which is still low for a CC 280 Magnum cam that imho needs at least 10 to 1 to run good AND preferably 10.5 to run it's best!!

As always, jmho is all....


Nov 15th, 05, 07:53 PM
You need to also concider that most used double humps are pretty used up and could need a lot of extra expense to update and rebuild. When you add in the price of hard seats, guides and valves and porting it all adds up.

But the vortecs will need self centering rockers, different intake, valve covers and guide maching for your .480 lift cam. That adds up too.

Personally I would go with the vortecs in your case. I believe they flow around 230 cfm stock. It takes some pretty good porting to get a set of the double humps to flow anywhere near as good as the vortecs.

Good luck with whatever you choose:thumbsup:

Nov 15th, 05, 08:19 PM
Vortecs are a good budget head . . . $700 is a bit much to give for them though -- they can be bought cheaper than that new and used is better yet. Personally, if I were looking for Vortecs I would go used and take the rockers and valve covers too. If you have the money great, go for the aftermarket stuff, but there's not much you can get even for $700.

There is more to building a motor than flow numbers too -- 230 cfm is enough to support over 400 HP with the right cam.

67 Plum
Nov 15th, 05, 08:23 PM
Be careful with used heads Vortecs are lightweight castings they do crack.They came out in 1996 that makes some of them 10 yrs. old.Plus alot of them were on 3/4 and 1 ton trucks.A used set with worn out guides or carcks wouldnt be a good deal.

Nov 15th, 05, 08:40 PM
WOW, I can't beleive the differances in opinions on this thread.

The original question was: Vortechs or Double Humps!!!!!

- Have any of yall ever built a small block 350, 383 or 400 with a pair of Vortech heads?

- Have yall ever driven a Chevy truck with a Vortech engine?

- Have yall ever built a small block with 280 Magnum cam?

I can say yes to all of these. Would you guys please stop feeding the poor guy who started this thread a line of of BS. Come on now.

Vortech heads are the BEST stock Chevy small block heads ever built hands down. Double humps DO NOT compare. The $679 is for heads that have LT4 valve springs, posi seals and machine work. The Stock heads are a little over $500 a pair. The last time I checked, a good set of aluminum heads go for $1000 plus. FYI, screw in studs and guide plates DON'T MAKE HORSEPOWER! The SDPC Vortech kit is about $975 for the upgraded heads, RPM Air-gap intake, ARP bolts, rockers, and gaskets. That is a great deal and those heads can make 425 HP with the right combo!!! I have used these Vortech kits and have many satisfied customers to prove it.

The 270 magnum is probably a better choice for a 350 but the 280 is a great sounding and performing cam.

I will apologize up front fro those who will get bent from what I just wrote.

My intent here is to give STRAIGHT FORWARD tech advice to someone who needs it. Lets keep it honest here.

I wish yall well and Happy Hot Rodding!!!!!!!!!! :D

Brentmc, I you want to send me a private message I will be gald to help with your engine choices.

greg moreira
Nov 15th, 05, 10:58 PM
Heres another vote for vortecs hands down no questions asked. They are superior in every way. Its true......they were initially bread to be torquey daily driver heads.....they werent meant for any sorta drag race motor and arent cast super heavy, so if you buy used, have em checked(have anything used checked) cause there is potential for cracking just like with any head. But, as far as performance potential go, they are one heck of a happy accident. Just because they are stock heads doesnt make them bad. The new vette makes 500 horsepower stock.....that dont make 500 horsepower bad just because its stock horsepower.

Like I was sayin, GM didnt really intended these heads to be as good as they are.....they were not meant to be part of a high horsepower equation. They were bred to be put on trucks, but they just so happen to end up being real good heads. Heck, they are putting out better numbers than the LT1 heads of the same era and those heads were supposed to be performers. Go figure! The 40 year old stuff definitely doesnt hang. Vortecs basically are the best 23 degree regular production head and they do better than a lot of entry level aftermarket stuff too. The package with the intake, heads, valvetrain upgrades, gaskets, bolts and stuff all for under a grand is a sweet deal.

Nov 16th, 05, 02:54 AM
I apologise myself for coming across blunt. Just as some feel so strongly for the vortec head I feel just the oposite in certain cases. Other than the Block assembly itself Heads are almost equally important in 2 ways. One is its a big investment in a engine. Two is determines the output. I didnt mean to say the vortec would not perform well. I just was saying that no matter how you slice it your getting a production head not designed for performance usage per say. Yes it can and has proven to be a jewel. I dont deny that they have a great feel, nor do I deny they can make 400+hp. I learned the costly way in my years of messin around. I realise that we all dont have $ to burn that is why I wouldnt make my investment in a stock head then spend more on it to try and convert it for performance usage, when I could have saved a little longer to own a head that was designed from the ground up for performance use. Aftermarket heads can take the addons that in years to come you may want. Im not saying Jim will or wont get the bug for more but in most cases more is the next step if it is doable.
Again Im not arguing its just my opinion. The Vortec will perform well with the right addons and soforth over the Double Humps I agree. :thumbsup:

Nov 16th, 05, 06:51 AM
Fwiw, there are bare 195 cc, big valve aluminum heads down in the $500 to $550 price range too!

Try the Hotrodsusa site!


Nov 16th, 05, 08:03 AM
Hey pqd67,

Have you tried a set of those Super Flow heads from HotRodsUSA? I have used two sets. I like to experiment. Yes, they cost $500, then add the cost of valves, springs, locks, retainers, screw in studs, guide plates, and assembly. It does add up. I found the exhaust port a little weak, so I ported them. Nice heads when all said and done. :D :thumbsup:

Nov 16th, 05, 08:11 PM
I want to buy a set, but don't have the coin! And I really don't need them b/c I have a set of good big valve, -461's, and a set of big valve -291's as well as medium valve -462's and last my -601's!!

I do figure that for aluminum, they are good value for the buck, but are NOT race heads out of the box like the much higher priced Brodies and of course, AFR's!!


Nov 17th, 05, 06:19 AM

I got my Protoplines here and have/had no problems. They also had a head built by Protopline to their specs. (I think it's a 180cc runner ?). I got a deal (ie: cheap)on mine due to end of year inventory ?

Worth a call ?