High Compression Head

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Model T Ford Forum: Forum 2014: High Compression Head
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Richard Rimmer on Friday, January 24, 2014 - 05:06 pm:

Hi All,
does anyone know of a source for a high compression head in the early "low" style to fit a brass rad car? Catalogues show that there used to be a "low" Z-Head but the guy that used to make them passed away apparently.
Many thanks,
Richard


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Allan Richard Bennett on Friday, January 24, 2014 - 05:23 pm:

Richard , I have two different Hi comp alloy heads, one on my 1912 van, which is 20 years old. I have no recollection of its maker. The second is Reader head on my speedster. I believe Ralph Reader was the maker and he is the fellow who has passed on.

I know of three Reader heads which have had problems, so be aware of this if you find one. There is a large opening in the head between cylinders 2 and 3. With over heating, the heads will warp and this area gives real problems. The fix appears to be filling this large hole with weld and then drilling a steam hole to match same in the engine block. The large hole is blanked off by the block, so there is no need for it. It becomes the area to suffer most and hollows out when the head gets too hot.

Hope this helps.

Allan from down under.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Mike Walker, NW AR on Friday, January 24, 2014 - 05:28 pm:

Richard -- The head you're probably referring to was made by Ralph Reeder of Performance T Parts. Ralph did pass away a few years back, and the business dwindled away. The Z heads made today are all high-type ones, as you probably already know.

You can mill a stock low head 1/8" or so (check clearances first) and use it in conjunction with pop-up pistons to get similar results. I've done some like that and driven thousands of miles with them, and I can't tell the difference between that setup and a high-comp. head.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Mike Walker, NW AR on Friday, January 24, 2014 - 05:34 pm:

Apparently I was typing while Allan was posting. I just now read Allan's message and don't doubt his observations, but I'll add that I have driven thousands of miles with one of Ralph's heads and had no problems with it. I'd say, based upon Allan's report, that if you do find one of Ralph's heads, inspect it closely for any sign of the damage he refers to. If it appears to be OK, it probably is.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Seth from NC on Friday, January 24, 2014 - 05:36 pm:

Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but the only difference in the heads is how thick the water jacket is - the port in front where the water neck bolts is actually located in the same place. You just use the same water outlet that you have on a high head and you'll be fine. You'll need some high head bolts, but that's all.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Royce in Dallas TX on Friday, January 24, 2014 - 06:13 pm:

I've been running a Reeder head for 12 years and many thousands of miles with no issues.

I think Chaffins might have a few aluminum low heads.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Gary London, Camarillo, CA on Friday, January 24, 2014 - 07:02 pm:

The hardest ones to find are the low heads with the Ford script, Reeder stopped production on those after licensing issues with Ford early on. I have 2, one on my '11 and one I just removed from my '15. I never had a problem running these heads, the only issue at all was self induced...... I let the car sit, it corroded around the bolt holes that go straight through to the water jacket, and developed a pinhole leak into number one cylinder. The repairs are almost complete, welding was done last week and I dropped it at the machine shop late yesterday for grinding and surfacing. Performance wise I absolutely love the head, and I like the fact it looks stock with the Ford script on it.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Gary London, Camarillo, CA on Friday, January 24, 2014 - 07:03 pm:

Seth, functionally you are correct, but the high head doesn't look right on an early car..... at least not if someone is into the details.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Rodney Aspenson on Friday, January 24, 2014 - 07:40 pm:

I put a "Z" head on my 1915 Roadster Pickup last fall... absolutely love it... more power, better fuel mileage. When I was checking on availability, Bob's Antique Auto in Loves Park, Illinois had it in stock.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Seth from NC on Friday, January 24, 2014 - 09:16 pm:

Gary I figure you can't be that into details if you're putting a high compression head on an early car anyway. =P I have domed pistons and a Ford low head.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jerry Dvis on Saturday, January 25, 2014 - 09:47 pm:

Some Reeder heads were cast with the water outlet flange cast too far forward causing the 26 style fan hub not to line up with the crank pulley. The fix was to mill off the flange. The problem was it left a very thin flange and to make a perfect alignment the fan flange had to be milled as well. Been there and done that.....My advise is to shy away from Reeder heads.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Gary London, Camarillo, CA on Saturday, January 25, 2014 - 11:34 pm:

I don't see what the problem with the flange on a high head has to do with the Reeder heads overall. Not saying there wasn't an issue, sounds like you experienced one. I've known many people that do a lot of touring and have used the Reeder low style head for years, and i've never heard of any issues from any of them. I don't doubt some people have had issues, but we've heard similar on axles, bearings, and pretty much every parts. My point is there will always be some issues with some part produced, but it doesn't mean the problems are wide spread or persistent. You will find supporters and detractors for every part made, period.

Just like when you find an original cast iron performance head, check it out for cracks, fit, etc. for instance a head that's just been milled looks great and ready to install, but if it's been over milled it won't last long.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Richard Rimmer on Sunday, January 26, 2014 - 12:04 pm:

Thanks to everyone for their responses.
It sounds like the best bet is to go for a z-head as it seems to be the only one available new. I wasn't sure that the water outlet would align e=with the brass radiator even when using the early type outlet but it seems from the comments above that this does indeed work.
I did try Chaffins and also Langs but neither have stock of "low" style high comp heads unfortunately.
Many thanks
Richard


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Seth from NC on Monday, January 27, 2014 - 10:34 am:

Just as an FYI I have a stock Ford low head that I'm willing to part with if anyone is interested.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Keith Gumbinger, Kenosha, WI on Monday, January 27, 2014 - 10:49 am:

I have two Z heads on T's and I love them. That said, I just wish that there was a Z head made with the low head exterior dimensions = the best of both worlds.

Keith


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Richard Rimmer on Monday, January 27, 2014 - 04:30 pm:

Keith, that's exactly what I wanted!
I measured up a stock "low head and a z head today and there's about 1/4" difference in the height of the water outlet bolts so I think it's probably close enough to get away with fitting a z head on the brass car! Unless anyone has tried this and it didn't work of course........
I have a z head on my '25 Tourer and it made such a difference!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Bob Gruber- Spanaway, Wash. on Monday, January 27, 2014 - 05:06 pm:

What about a P head?
I'm happy with mine.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Joseph A. Stearns on Monday, January 27, 2014 - 08:49 pm:

Richard, I have a Z Head in my '15 no problem. Got it directly from the source. Harlan Zajicek @$310 plus $15 shipping.
Phone 262-662-2622. I have no affiliation with him or his business. The head made a BIG improvement. Joe


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Keith Gumbinger, Kenosha, WI on Monday, January 27, 2014 - 09:12 pm:

Richard - I had a Z head on my '14 and it really performed well, but I took it off. The reason I took it off was because the water outlet was at such an angle that the radiator hose had a sizeable bend in it, and I thought it would eventually get a stress break in it and I didn't want that to happen. The '14 really went though with the Z head! Now I've got one of Chaffin's aluminum low height, high compression heads on it & it runs ok, but not as good as with the Z head.

What makes the Z head work so well is the combustion chamber design with the trough to funnel the ignited charge over to the top of the piston, together with higher compression. Chaffin's head doesn't have that combustion chamber design, it just has higher compression. I'm not faulting Chaffin's head, but the Z head is better in my opinion.

Keith


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Keith Townsend ; ^ ) Gresham, Orygun on Monday, January 27, 2014 - 09:44 pm:

Richard-
The old Reeder head was available in a high compression low head. They are not made anymore, but you can find them every once in a while on T-bay or at swap meets. I have a Z head on my 1919 and Reeder heads on my 1915 and my 1911.

The water outlet locations are the same on any head, low or high, only the outlet connection pipe is different for the high or low radiator.

: ^ )


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