I look all over the vendor sites and see lots of reproduction aluminum T heads. Why aluminum? I also see numerous Model A heads, cast in cast iron. Why don't they cast T heads in cast iron. It would be good if they would cast low and high heads. I am not familiar with foundry procedures, but if you have a sand casting ready to pour aluminum, then why cant' they switch and pour molten cast iron. Is it because, they are backyard molders with no access to large operation? Who casts the Model A heads? And don't we think, they should get together.
I would not want to see it myself. If it's the head today, it will be the block tomorrow and before you know it, the roads will be full of Model T replicas and everyone will think your real Model T is one of those and down goes the value accordingly. An example is the Ford Cobra, you pay six figures for an original and everyone who sees it thinks you a driving a cheap kit car. I've already had a few people ask me if my car is a kit or an original. I had to correct them that there is no such thing as a kit T.
There are so many original heads that there wouldn't be enough demand to cover the cost.
I agree with Steve, heads and intake manifolds and frames seem to multiply. KGB
I think Kevin is thinking about high compression heads. There have been issues with corrosion in aluminum heads, but with a proper fresh water/anti freeze mix there should be very little risk - many many modern cars has alu heads on iron blocks without much trouble.
But if the anti freeze mix isn't changed every two years in an open system like the T, then the coolant may get acidic and harmful corrosion may start. You can check yourself if there is any danger with a multimeter - Gary Tillstrom wrote this in an earlier thread: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/29/30353.html?1180915566
"Royce is correct that the anode is a scam. Others are correct also in that they have seen a head corroded even with anti freeze.
Ricks pointed out that anti-freeze can go bad and they recommend it be changed in two years. You can have clean green anti-freeze that will float five balls and it still be acidic.
Using a good multi meter with a 1 volt scale, place the negative lead into the anti-freeze and ground the positive lead to radiator. One or two tenths of a volt means you have corrosion taking place, 1/2 a volt means it is really bad.
I saw an International tractor with 740 hours on it that had pin holes eaten right through the sleeves requiring overhaul. It was .7 volts.
If the system is properly cleaned and good anti-freeze is used (and changed as needed) the aluminum head will out last any of us."
my winter car is a 91 honda with an aluminum head. probably 10 year old antifreeze, seems to work fine.
You can buy test strips at any truck parts supply and check the ph of your antifreeze, then add nal-cool or a similar product. Have been doing this for years in the trucking industry. Most now come with water filters that have a slow release additive in them. KGB
The aluminum heads I have seen fit like sh&t. The sealing surface of the headgasket does not even come close to matching the gasket. Lots of room for improvement, in my opinion. Wasn't there someone working on a high compression iron head?
We currently manufacture an aluminum performance cylinder heads for the Model T. Prior to production, we encountered numerous issues when considering to offer the head in cast iron. First, we went through several local iron foundries who were unable to provide a quality casting. In a nut shell, the employees neither had the desire or ability to do a quality job. Specifically, in placement of the water jacket cores. As we went from foundry to foundry, each felt compelled to significantly modify our patterns to suit their individual ideas. The last iron foundry we encountered basically destroyed the patterns and was still unable to provide a quality piece. This particular foundry was back east and shipping iron heads from there to California would have been a logistical nightmare and very expensive. Quality control was another factor.
While rethinking our options, we considered the idea of recreating the patterns to cast the head in aluminum (different gating and shrink factors to consider). There were also other benefits associated with moving in this direction as follows:
Aluminum today is superior to aluminum available when the Model T was produced. Most, if not all of the aluminum heads made today for the Model T are 356, hardened to T6. Basically, aircraft quality. Aluminum cylinder heads are also much lighter than iron. Machining costs are less as most machinists do not like running cast iron on their CNC machines as it is a very dirty process. Aluminum is also great at dissipating heat. The added costs to us was having to add hard seats during the manufacturing process. Lastly, aluminum is used in conjunction with iron heads with no significant adverse effects as long as you pay attention to the anti-freeze requirements and change it frequently as suggested by others.
One eye opener for me was the fact we lack the craftsmanship and pride of production we once had and our foundries are becoming few and far between due to EPA regulations and lack of skilled employees. I also noticed a lack of communication between the business owners and their employees. In some instances the employee doing the work did not speak english. Really sad when considering we were once a leading industrial nation.
Well, I hope this helped answer a few of your questions. Happy holidays!
I have made 12 iron hi compression heads off of the Dan Iandola's patterns that I reworked for the iron head. I sold one on ebay, it brought 368., I sold one at hershey this year, I made a couple others for Forum members that I filled the combustion chamber so they could machine there own. I did this cause I did not like the aluminum to iron seal and head gasket issues? But is there a market for them, I guess not, so that is why I gave up on them. But I have made a few for my close friends!
Joe Bell has made a few iron high compression heads, but I don't think he plans making many more ?
Charlie Yapp made cast iron high compression heads called "leaping lizard" of dubious quality and design some years ago: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/50893/70987.html
Aluminum Z heads often has sealing surfaces not matching the gaskets, still few seems to have actual problem from this mismatch. A more frequently reported problem with the Z heads is knocks from pistons coming in contact with the head. Testing for clearance w/o a head gasket before final mounting is recommended.
Kevin Prus also makes a high compression aluminum head of seemingly better quality than the Z head - the head gasket fit seems fine and the combustion chambers are machined in the area closest to the pistons giving less risk for unwanted contact. It's advertised as having 8:1 compression ratio, actual ratio 5:1, still higher measured power output than a Z head with about 5.3:1 compression ratio. http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/257047/324600.html?1354029640
The most recently available high compression alu head for the T is a version of the famous Sherman Superfire made by Ben Serar: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/331880/393885.html?1381866328
The only report I've seen was from Les Schubert who bought one of the first made - he liked the quality and measured the compression to about 9.3:1, that might be a bit high for the average touring T, just like the $750 price tag
hi joe, now I see you posted while I was writing my post. Maybe there is a market for some more heads if you have found a good iron foundry to work with?
Roger, I have found a good foundry to work with the problem is to machine them that is the time consuming part. The foundry charges me 160. for a good casting but to machine it there is no profit then. My day job takes to many hours and there is better ways to spend my eves! I first tried malleable iron but you had to anneal it and then there was cracks so I went to gray iron and then they worked. Les Schubert made a really neat head out of one but you have to use flat tops, maybe he will post the picture? The compression would be way up there with this one! I do not know if normal T engine would take that compression, but you sure are not going to hand crank it!
Mark, The foundries are few and far between these days from EPA, the foundry I deal with can not pour iron in Cleveland Ohio but they can pour in the little town of Tiffin. But as you say Magill is the man that does the patterns for me and he is from south of the border, what a great worker he is and he likes his Budweiser!
Just a correction of my posting about the new Sherman head. I misremembered the compression ratio, it's 8.8:1. http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/331880/398771.html?1383490071
Obtaining a quality casting is not as easy as it may seem. I cannot tell you how many times we have received aluminum castings that required a considerable amount of time cleaning up. In most cases, it is nothing more than a lack of care when preparing the patterns and cores. Something as simple as brushing the debris off the patterns, prior to use. I have told the foundries numerous times I do not mind paying for the few extra minutes it would take to do so as it would result in a much better casting in the end. Needless to say, in one ear and out the other.
When attempting to cast our cylinder head out of iron, the primary problem was ensuring the water jacket remained intact. In most cases, the water jacket core would break under the weight of the iron resulting in a rejected casting. Because aluminum is much lighter, the likelihood of the water jacket core breaking was greatly reduced; however, it does still occur from time to time.
The likelihood of a stock style cylinder head water jacket core breaking would be less likely as the water jacket core area is less complicated as you do not need to jog around both the intake and exhaust ports present on the overhead cylinder head casting.
The last iron foundry we tried was in Michigan and said to be well versed in the production of iron cylinder head castings. This is the same foundry Charlie Yapp uses to produce his cylinder heads. They also were involved in casting the blocks for the T100 project. This foundry was unable to provide a quality casting and virtually destroyed our patterns in the process. The patterns were sent back to us in a crate (COD) with no explanation given as to why they could not do the job. It cost over five thousand dollars to have the patterns repaired, prior to electing to entertaining casting the heads out of aluminum. Lesson learned I guess.