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Old 03-12-2014, 08:12 PM   #1
Wulff45
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Question SPI head source

I recently purchased a '02 SE sedan (cheap) with a valve seat issue. Not dropped, but showing signs that #4 is about to go. I am well aware of what can happen should it drop, and want to avoid it. Pretty nice car, aside from the looming grenade inside the engine......

In searching for a replacement head, I find sellers on ebay that list both reman and new heads.

Anyone have any good or bad dealings with these ebay sellers? The 3 main sellers are CHI/headsonly, Odessa, and J&C.

What about the "new" head castings? These start at about $50 more than a reman (without cam/lifters/rockers), but are they any good?


Thanks for any info you can pass along.


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Old 03-13-2014, 09:23 AM   #2
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I have heard a lot of positive things about headsonly. But I have no first hand experience. I have not heard of odessa and j&c. you can try to search for them, to see what you can find.
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Old 03-13-2014, 07:05 PM   #3
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Headsonly offers a reman, without cam/lifters/rockers for ~$250. The other 2 places are offering a new casting, also without those same items, for right at $300. They also offer reman heads.
They claim the new heads are thicker in crack-prone areas, and have the improved seats installed. I am kinda leaning towards the new casting route.
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Old 03-14-2014, 11:52 AM   #4
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some reman heads apparently don't correct the valve seat problem, but headsonly does. But if a new cast makes you feel better, go with it. I am sure it will be great. I have not heard of a lot of problems with cracked heads on the remans, but I guess it is possible.

Not trying to talk you out of either, just sharing what I have seen on here.
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Old 03-14-2014, 10:16 PM   #5
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I used the search function, and found a few threads where odessa and J&C were mentioned, including the new aftermarket casting. seems like everyone who has bought the new casting was pleased with it.
Think I am going to go that route. Just don't want to chance getting a used head that has a lot of cosmetic damage from a previous valve seat explosion. Some of those look quite nasty......

The cost difference is minimal enough for my taste, considering how cheaply I purchased the car. $400 for a running/driving 02 model was a bargain, since the rest of the car is in rather good condition. Should be well under a grand when done.
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Old 03-17-2014, 06:45 PM   #6
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Placed an order today for this head http://www.ebay.com/itm/350998600428...S:3160&vxp=mtr

And this gasket kit http://www.ebay.com/itm/190598414031...S:3160&vxp=mtr

The gasket kit seemed to be rather highly reccomended in most threads here, so I went with it. The head and gaskets are coming from opposite sides of the country, and both are due to be in my possession by friday.
I contacted the seller of the head prior to ordering, and he described the new casting as "this NEW casting is so much nicer and improved over the Ford casting I don't know why Ford just didn"t fix their problem before the after market did." We will see in a few days.....
If all goes to plan, I'll be doing a head swap this weekend. I work in an auto repair shop, and have access to it anytime. Comes in rather handy......
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Old 03-20-2014, 09:00 PM   #7
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Head set arrived today, and the head made it's way to town this afternoon, so should be here tomorrow.
That said, it should be going into the shop for the head swap sat morning, unless all heck breaks loose tomorrow. In which case, it'll be put off till sun.
Timing belt and tensioner seem to have been recently replaced, according to the old parts in the trunk. Will look them over good, as well as water pump, and replaced if not like new. Belt likely replaced anyways, since it's never a great idea to reuse, even if it's less than a year old.
Fresh coolant, oil filter and synthetic oil also going in, and the accessory drive belt & tensioner/idler(s) if needed.

I figure that should be more than enough to keep this car running good while I have my truck torn down for a Cummins swap.
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Old 03-21-2014, 09:27 PM   #8
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The head arrived today, as schedualed. I took it to the shop and opened the box. I must say, I am impressed, which is not easy to do. I honestly cannot tell if this head was assembled with all new valves/springs/retainers/keepers, or if they are (very well) cleaned used parts. They all look good as new. Fit and finish looks great all over. The only difference I can see between an original casting and this new casting, is the lack of the ford casting number.
I am a mechanic, both auto and diesel, and I've seen a lot of stuff that left me underwhelmed. This certainly is not one of those items.

For the price, I don't think a person could go wrong with this head. Under $300 shipped, can't argue with that.
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Old 03-23-2014, 12:22 AM   #9
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Got the head installed, along with timing belt tensioner and water pump. Fit and finish on the head is excellent. Was a bit surprised to see brass core plugs used in the new head. A nice touch.
When I went to put the head gasket in place, I saw something that will make anyone drop an F-bomb. Number 4 piston has a shiny mark around the intake valve relief where it had been kissing the loose seat. I took pics, but left the camera at the shop.
Didn't quite get it finished up, still have the wiring loom, valve cover, and motor mount left to put on, as well as refilling the coolant and an oil/filter change.

Ordered an OEM fog light kit yesterday. Figured for $80, it was a good buy.
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Old 03-23-2014, 07:33 AM   #10
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I saw something that will make anyone drop an F-bomb. Number 4 piston has a shiny mark around the intake valve relief where it had been kissing the loose seat.

Did you install a new piston?
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