'87 Shelby CSX
#321 of 750
davidr at shelbycsx.com
Cylinder Head Buildup
A lot of the parts I needed for this engine were available from Cindy Lindsay at FWD Performance. Other parts I picked up, just for convenience, at a local Chrysler dealer. The braided turbo oil and coolant lines from Lyle Reid at TurboNation are first-rate.
Since I'm going for durability above all, within the limits of my budget, I decided to use a thermal barrier coating on the valve faces and a dry film lubricant coating on the valve springs. While the new valves and springs were off at High Performance Coatings in Oklahoma to be coated, I started on the head work. I originally planned to coat the piston tops and skirts, but information from Dave Zelkowski on Gary Donovan's Web site convinced me that it might be a bad idea.
I began with the head that I removed from my '88 Sundance 2.2L TBI in 1999. It needed valve guides and it showed the usual small cracks between the valve seats of cylinders one, two, and three. Cylinder two also had what I thought was a casting flaw. According to Gary Donovan, however, it is a location marker for the machines that process the head. I degreased the head with engine degreaser and rinsed it off with high-pressure water. This removed about half the gunk and grime. It probably could have done better, but it was cold outside where I did the cleaning.
I did a little bit of porting work on the head before deciding that I really should use a tapered-shroud head instead. I started over with the head from my '87 Shadow ES parts car. On this head I decided to only gasket match and smooth the exhaust ports and the exhaust manifold. I used a porting kit from Standard Abrasives. They have an excellent online Do-It-Yourself Porting Guide. Porting the exhaust manifold is not hard at all. Doing the aluminum head is more difficult because the softer metal tends to gum up the stones and rolls. I don't have an air compressor and I couldn't find an electric die grinder, so I just used my drill, and that worked fine.
The machine shop welded the cracks between the valve seats, installed new seats and guides, and installed the rest of the new parts, which I've listed below. Three of the lower exhaust studs had to be drilled out and Heli-coiled. When I tried to torque down the exhaust manifold, one of the Heli-coils pulled right out of the head! I took the head back to the shop, and they replaced it with a solid insert instead. Those lower stud holes go into a water passage, so you want to be careful with them.
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