I picked up a Waukesha Ricardo head that looks great on the outside but three of the 4 combustion chambers have some decent pitting in them. The profile of the chamber is essentially still there.
I was wondering if a head like this is still useable? I know the "performance" of the original may not be there but I still like the look and history of the head.
These are tough to come by in good shape so if anyone has one they're willing to part with that is sound, please pm me.
I have pics but need to transfer them to my computer and will post a little later.
Most important is that you have a proper sealing surface for the gasket. The wall thickness from the combustion chambers to the water channel is probably enough to hold it together even if it's heavily pitted.
You won't notice the minor difference in compression between cylinders. The Waukesha Ricardo will still be slightly higher in compression than a std high head, more like a mid teens low head (4:1)
And if it cracks in use - then you'll probably notice before anything really bad happens. Just remember to pull the head as soon as possible, so NO water is allowed to sit in the cylinder and rust. .