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Thread: Alum. heads or steel heads?

  1. #1
    I am thinking of building a 540 merlin for my new boat want to know the ins and out of alum vs steel heads. The cost diff. is only a couple of thousand.Any help would be great.

  2. #2
    Most of the bigger aftermarket companies, Dart, Merlin, etc. make good heads in both material. I think the aluminum will save you a good deal of weight and are a little less sensitive to detonation due to the fact that they don't retain as much heat in the head. They are also easier to repair in case of the dreaded valve failure. And lastly, they look so cool when you get the outside of them polished prior to installation!
    Iron will save you money.
    My 2 cents, and it might not even be worth that much!

  3. #3
    Thanks Craig every little bit helps!!

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    hey racing rascal where abouts do you live in lakewood.i lived at bellflower and south behind in and out for 13 a divorce this year she got the house and i got the payment.

  5. #5
    Boatnam, Del Amo and Woodruff. My girlfriend lived behind In & Out on Adenmoore Two years ago.

  6. #6
    Alum vs. Steel always a hard question
    Alum does look better and does save weight, but they do cost more.
    Steel can make more power because they retain the heat and what works best depends on your set-up and how you plan to run.
    You have to take in to account your compression ratio, the fuel you will be using, your induction system, and your water cooling system.
    Some boaters will want some more power so they put a bigger cam and headers on their natually asperated engine, change the cooling water to once through, then put on an expensive set of alum. heads and expect massive amount of horsepower. They may make move power over all but becasue the engine is running cool and the alum heads are doing their job and removing extra heat they will be losing power.
    Your combustion chamber needs heat to perform properly and to make max HP.
    If you are upping your compression ratio, or running a blower and close to detonation then you may want to consider alum. heads.
    Good Luck.
    Just my two cents

  7. #7
    aluninum is better for the weight savings but are easier to warp if they get hot also handle detonation easier by better heat tranfer but in my opinion steel is harder and will probably last longer and can take more hp.

  8. #8
    [This message has been edited by jaqquuuz (edited July 23, 2001).]

  9. #9
    I decided to go with the alum. heads. A lot of people think it will make more power with the alum. becuase you can run the compresion higher on pump gas with alum. I am also putting a tunnell ram on the motor now. Any thoughts on the tunnel ram? Thanks with all of the help guys!!

  10. #10
    alum heads below 6000 rpm steel above. tunnel rams are for show victor jnr with 2" spacer will work better. spend a the money on porting and flowing the top end works on the river

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