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I'll try and be as specific with my car as I can. It is a 1966 289 with a 3spd. It was rebuilt (or so I'm told) 10k miles ago. It is a healthy engine, but the ignition system could use an overhaul as well as the carb. Everything else is in decent condition. I'm guessing the compression is either stock C code or a little higher. Anyway, the car is 100% bone stock right now. I have been researching mods for the last year and finally may have a game plan. I would love to hear advice and suggestions from you guys.

First off, I want to skip some of the smaller mods and go straight to swapping aluminum heads. This is a budget minded car. I don't want a high end screamer, but want something that will throw me into at least 12's (Lowe's motor speedway's 1/4 track will be 10 minutes away from my house when it's built). :bigthumbsup

Anyways, enough rambling. I want to keep costs down but get the most power out of my setup. I want to swap directly to aluminum heads (trickflow). I want to keep the stock cam, stock intake manifold, and perhaps the stock exhaust manifolds (for now). I know it would be stupid not to upgrade the carb, so cash will be set aside for that. So what do you think guys? Should I skip some of the smaller mods and go straight towards a headswap? I know it'll shave off some weight and hopefully will give me around 30 hp. Is this too much to ask for? Also, I plan on upgrading to a 4-speed toploader (any leads on some that'll fit my 66 289?) and throw a trac-loc with a 3.55 gear.

Thanks in advance for your responses
 

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Actually, you can easily gain 30 hp from an intake, carb, and an open element air filter. With headers, you'll gain possibly another 10-15 hp. Just those alone can shave 20-25 lbs of front end weight. If you need a new ignition system, you may as well step up to an MSD Pro-Billet distributor and 6AL box. Your engine will run efficiently and easily. With all these mods, expect 200 rwhp (stock is 150 rwhp). As for the toploader, any 4 speed originally mated to a 65 1/2 and later small block will fit. I'd personally go for a T5, though.
 

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You're really going to choke those heads with a stock intake and stock manifolds. You can try and port match the intake to the heads, which will help a little bit. It's not fun grinding iron either. I also recommend opening up the manifolds as well. This will help get the most out of your setup without purchasing an aftermarket manifold and headers. I highly recommend spending the extra few hundred dollars on the intake and exhaust, but I know that's not always an option.
 

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I think it might be more like 15 hp gain. I think youll gain quite a bit of torque but its going to be at low RPM, enough torque where if it was at a higher rpm itd be an easy 30 hp but because of the cam its going to be at low rpm. Your stock cam is what I would call a broom stick instead of a bump stick, that is the lobes are very small. If you swap to a different intake and carb it will be much more worth while, and if you plan to do that with a cam swap and headers later then Id say go for the heads first as they require the most work to change and youll be able to just bolt the new stuff up later on. However, a cam, intake, and carb swap will gain you much more than just the heads will, but stock heads are very restrictive. Id say you might gain up to 40-50 hp with the right cam provided the intake and carb are up to it.
 

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I researched this route also for my '67 289 2bbl. stocker.

If you've got a 2bbl intake and plan to do just the carb. I'm guessing you mean a 4bbl. which will need an adapter to mount to the 2bbl intake and choke the extra air from the 4bbl anyway, you'd waste a lot of the advantage of a new 4bbl. by making it breathe through a 40yr. old 2bbl design. The newer 4bbl. alum. intakes are a huge advancement in flow=hp=mpg and you have to remove the intake to change the heads, why do it twice?

Try to add everything up seperately and figure what it will cost to add one piece at a time or together as a component (matched) install. I was going to add an alum. 4bbl + carb, then heads later and realized I would be pulling the intake twice (gaskets, time, mess, $) if I didn't do them all at once. I started collecting parts for a one time top end tear down (head gaskets are $$) I have intake/carb./alum. heads now and am getting cam/lifters/pushrods/tc as soon as I measure my pushrod length for the alum. heads/roller rockers. If you add a cam later you'll still have to pull the intake AGAIN and change lifters/pushrods.

After I get the cam/heads/intake/carb on and running well (one gasket set for all) I will then look at my stock exh. manifolds and 2" dual exhaust for changing to 2 1/4"-2 1/2" duals and better mufflers. The headers will come with new gaskets made for them so I won't even be wasting gaskets.
Just a thought, I know it costs more but will cost more in money and time/aggravation (wish I had done this when I...) in the end than taking longer to collect parts first and do the project months later but all at once. If you don't add the matching components you'll only see 1/2 the hp benefit of each upgrade and will be disappointed in the results for the money.
Jon
 
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