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Newbie 52' Roadmaster 320 cyl. head tips


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Hello all, after bending numerous pushrods on a car that sat for years, I have elected to remove my cylinder head for rebuild. The 52' roadmaster is COMPLETELY stock as it was found in a field.

My plans are to have my machinist magnaflux, replace guides as needed, valve job and possible milling of cylinder head for a bump in compression.

My questions are as follows:

1. Should I have hardened seats installed?

2. Should I mill the head to bump compression up from 7.5:1? If so what is a safe compression ratio (8.5:1--9:1?) I am using stock pistons as i just want to get this thing up and driving reliably. What is a very safe mill measurement for this head and what type of compression bump will it give me. What additional horsepower to expect?

3. I couldn't find the head gasket thickness for this engine. Does anyone know what thickness this engine may have had?

4. If I mill the head, will I have to change the pushrods?

5. Any other tips for this cylinder head rebuild? Thanks to all in advance.

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  • 4 months later...

I milled the head on my 320 .040. My engine is the newer 1950-52 320 with hyd lifters. I installed new lifters and reused my push rods. Runs great. Milled the head on my 1940 Super 248 engine .080 and switched to 1941 pushrods(shorter), don't know if needed, but had em so used them. I've heard much larger cuts can be done, but haven't seen it in person. The need for hardened seats is grossly overstated, light valve pressure and hardness of this str 8's cast iron added to the fact that you would need to run the engine at high rpms for a cross country trip and at worst look for fuel with no ethanol. Unless the you find so much wear that the valves have begun receding into the head from the excessive miles run, and even then I would choose a rebuild able cyl HD to buy and have valves ground, much more cost effective too. Takes a lot more than a clean up head milling to notice power increase combined with other mods. Just my opinions and some experiences of things I've done. Hope this provides some helpful stuff. Message if I can help with more pontificating.Lol!

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