Chevy Vortec Heads

Chevy Vortec Heads

Hi welcome to another Summit Racing Equipment
Quick Flicks, my name is Norm today we are going to discuss Vortec Cylinder Heads.
Okay so Vortec cylinder heads if you want a nice kick in the pants for your small block
Chevrolet something to consider right here okay. If you are running a conventional cast
iron head this puppy right here will add a nice power boost to your small block. Some
of the differences you might ask; lets cover them. The conventional head, first of all,
cast iron very closed tight pocket on the combustion chamber almost a closed chamber
if you will. The valves are not enshrouded and there is no relief on the back side okay
D shape. The Vortec you get a hear shape or a kidney bean type chamber purposely built
the chamber I mean good research into the chamber from General Motors. They bring the
quench area tighter and closer to the plug, a good quenching head a very powerful head
right out of the box. Also on the back side of the valve up into the end of the runner
where is comes into toward the back side of the valve, General Motors did do some enshrouding
and relieving back there to enhance the flow around the valve as the valve opens and closes.
So you get good flow, good velocity. There is a velocity step or so they tell me anyways
in the intake runner right as the flow the air fuel mixture comes past the curve there
is a step to enhance velocity, give it that boost as it rushes toward the back side of
the valve toward the stem. Okay now that we have you thinking about the Vortec cylinder
head a couple of things you need to know about Vortec, first thing is an intake manifold
you have to have a Vortec specific intake your old faithful conventional style intake
manifold will not bolt on it will fit on but you will not get it bolted down. Vortec has
changed the angle, reduced the number and slightly changed the location of the intake
manifold bolt holes. Vortec comes in at a 72 degree angle off the center line of the
head where the conventional run at 90 degree to the center line of the cylinder head. The
two bolt holes in the middle are notably absent. Also the location changes on the flange itself
so the Vortec bolt holes are raised toward the valve cover rail like so and where your
conventional head is more toward the centerline farther down from the valve cover rail. So
Vortec intake manifold, Vortec intake gaskets also and a Vortec intake manifold bolt set
will be required. The cylinder heads themselves do their geometry guiding and rocker geometry
type guiding through the narrow body self-aligning rocker so if you have fat roller rockers on
your conventional Chevrolet they will not work on the Vortec cylinder head you will
have to get a set of narrow body self-aligning rockers. The rocker does the guiding keeps
the geometry in shape and all of the alignment and stuff like that. Okay so a couple of last
things in closing technically speaking, a 194 and a 1-5 exhaust. Intake and exhaust
can both be upgraded to a 202 and 160. On the flip side you are on press in studs. Do
consider pinning them if you start getting out there on some serious lift range or if
you go to a different spring and add more seat pressure also a screw in stud is a good
thing to consider. In the valve guide to retainer, you want to watch these heads out of the box
are good to about 460 475 lift, General Motors I think calls for four seventy five max due
to stacked tolerances that happen through machining pouring and all of that the finished
product. You may find that you run out of clearance at about four forty. Some heads
might be good to four forty some others at four sixty four seventy five. When you start
getting in that range be sure you check and verify your guide to retainer clearance. Also
on the top side you’re going to need a center valve bolt cover, if you don’t have any
in the shop or laying on the shelf in the garage you will need a center valve bolt cover.
From there a thing to consider maybe in closing Chevrolet started producing Vortec, the name
in nineteen eighty six it appeared on a v six, true Vortec castings as far as the cylinder
heads go did not appear until nineteen ninety six. The Vortec casting has this saw tooth
pattern on the end of the cylinder head so with that hopefully you will enjoy your Vortec
cylinder heads, get some extra power out of your small Chevy. So if you have enjoyed the
Vortec thing be sure to let us know. Please post your comments, your questions, your feedback
down below and we will try to address that in a future episode.

About the Author: Michael Flood


  1. Only putting vortec heads on your chevy want give you any more hp. In 96 GM put a hotter cam in the 5.7 truck engine. That's where the 255hp came from. The heads do flow better but the reason is because GM remove the swirl ramps. Because they went to CPI, the ramps were no longer needed to help atomize the fuel. No, I'm not hating because I just bought a set from Summit with screw in studs .500 lift $670. Both of my 96 Tahoe heads were cracked. I also bought Comp 260H cam. If u want to make hp you can feel without putting your car on a dyno. Change the cam. Will the computer work with the cam? I don't know but I will deal with that bitch soon.

  2. The factory heads are prone to cracking and have a machine shop magnaflux them before installing.

  3. The Vortec 5.7 V8 is a powerful engine for it's size. I have one in a full size Chevy van. I have no trouble running 80 to 85 all day, even up mountains loaded. (The van not me !). A new Vortec engine from Summit is around $2k. Putting one in my van as we speak. My old engine bit the bullet when my wife overheated it at 280,000 miles. If I ever build a small block Chevy for a project, it will be a Vortec.

  4. It's my wish to get Vortec Heads bare and upgrade with Chevy LT-4 valve-train components which are Sodium Filled exhaust valves 1.55 inch, Intake valve 2.0 inch, Beehive Springs with light-weight, smaller retainers using 1.6 Rocker-arms. The brief articles I find in reference manuals indicate all this is possible but I have not found anyone who does this or has done this already. I believe this would be a fun performance upgrade. I have 40 years experience building my own personal engines, was a mechanical Engineer in the Navy (retired), have been to Mechanic Technical Trade schools in my youth and worked at car dealers in the shop as well as working on my grand-father's trucks since age 12 in 1970. I built the engine in every car I have ever owned (about 30 of them) and currently own 8 High Performance cars from the 70's. Cylinder head prep has always been my best specialty but I do not own a machine shop. My question is if you know any sources or reference materials about these Vortec upgrades.? Any information you might provide is of great benefit and greatly appreciated. I am also a Summit customer. Thanks.

  5. i have a L05 350 i want to run vortec heads convert to carb what cam setup would you recommend using.. i don't want anything extream and will be a daily driver hoping to get around 300hp

  6. if you're going to buy these hands you better prepare to buy a whole engine all the different stuff you have to replace

  7. i have a set of vortec heads laying around, can i use the stock lifters push rods and rockers that came with the vortec heads

  8. I am amazed at how much I gained by installing a set of 906 Vortec heads on my roller cam 350. After extensive testing… I learned that they typically don't like a Total Advance beyond 32 degrees with that achieved @ 3,400 RPM. I used an HEI distributor with an Adjustable Vacuum Advance that was limited to 8 degrees and hooked to manifold vacuum to assist with the idle and low RPM highway cruising. This also helps to keep the motor cool. (Never hook the vacuum advance to a port and leave it completely unhooked if you have a radical cam grind that experiences vacuum wobble at idle that will bounce the vacuum advance.) I used the Edelbrock 2116 Intake and a Street Demon carb. I was able to use the stock GM 7.2 length roller cam pushrods and the stock self-aligning 1.5 rocker arms. I would imagine that if you used a flat tappet cam, you would use the stock GM length of 7.8 and, once again, the self-aligning 1.5 rocker arms. I plan on upgrading to the Comp Cam 1.5/1.6 Steel Roller Rocker Arms soon. The Vortec heads flow like crazy at a moderate cam lift of 0.400. I did all of this in my '86 Chevy truck with a modded 700r4 with a 3.08 gear set. The 3.42's will be going back in it soon. The truck pulls like crazy now, with all sorts of usable torque; just what I wanted for my daily driver. I also believe that my fuel mileage will increase, too. I quickly noticed that it is taking less throttle to maintain the same highway speeds. When I build my other little block 350, I am going to purchase a set of new Vortec heads from Summit. For $340ish a head, you can't go wrong.

  9. – Vortec facebook group! Can you share this video there?

  10. Is it possible to have these heads machined by a shop to permit reverse-flow cooling so as to be usable on a second-generation LT1 block? Naturally I won't be able to use the LT1 intake manifold but I am eager to know if a conversion can be done since I would like to use these heads on my block in the future.

  11. These heads shown where the 062's, correct? I don't think the Vortec 906's have the saw tooth, but are still better than the camel humps.

  12. Yeah I have a 96 Chevy Silverado and I'm looking to put a bigger cam in so what one we'll be the best for my every day drive

  13. So if you are going to pin the rockers, what size pin? I'm guessing 1/8? Are we talking just a regular spring pin> Like a split pin?

  14. Hey I have a 96 350 that I have bored .30 over to a 383. I was wondering can I use the stock Vortec 5.7 heads for this build or will I need bigger valves? Thank you.

  15. I'm about to be building a 350 to go in my 1981 Chevy C30 dually. It's going to be for towing. One thing I'm unclear on, how much extra torque would the vortec add?

  16. I have a 1997 Chevy 4×4. And it has the 350 vortec. My question is there a better way of injection than the spider injection? And is there a better upper plenum than what came stock?

  17. I have a stock 95 yukon tbi and would like to install some vortec heads and what not. Would really like to know where I can find some good aftermarket bolt on heads if there is any.

  18. Thanks summit for opening up yalls new warehouse down the street from me in Arlington Texas makes it supper convenient for me. Take notes JEGS lol.

  19. Can you help me out? I've been looking around for info on performance upgrades for my 2002 GMC 4.3l Sierra. I've torn down my engine to replace all gaskets, and would like to go ahead and replace the heads and intake. And because I'm going that direction, I'd love to go back to a carbed engine. So, which heads, carb intake and headers would you recommend? Also, does Summit carry the fuel tank conversion kits for going to carb from EFI? Finally, which performance cam kit do you suggest? I'm done with electrical issues in my truck. I appreciate you humoring me on this one!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *