What else do I need for my Head swap...


New Member
Jan 12, 2007
I have a '93 Notchback with...

Stock Motor
Long tubes/BBK X-Pipe/Pypes Exhaust
Cold Air
Pulleys (minus alt pulley)
185 Stat
Electric Fan
Timing Bumped to 12 deg
B303 Cam
New plugs wires ect
(HAD a superchips "chip" until it went bad and had to pull it off
I ALWAYS run 93 and FULL synthetic in it even though its not really needed yet

Sitting in my garage (Will go on with the heads)
Edelbrock Performer U/L Intake
65MM BBK Throttle Body
Holley FPR
AND a CRAP load of gaskets

Here's the question. I am installing AFR 165's. Do I need anything else in order to do the swap correctly?
Fuel Pump?
Mass Air (obviously if I get injectors)
Computer? I Plan on getting it dyno tuned when im done

Any help would be great. I've learned ALOT about this car from the work ive done to it so far (all new suspension with 5-lug swap) but now its time to give the engine some attention and I'm not the most experienced mechanic but anything has got to be easier than getting lower control arms off of a mustang that has spent its entire life (over 100k miles) on the east coast. The person who owned the car must have been a real hack because im always finding something on the car that makes me question what the hell the guy was thinking. Anyway thanks

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have car, will race....wait, it doesn't run
Nov 29, 1999
I'd say a minimum of a 155, but probably 190+ LPH pump and 24-30lb injectors. Did you get the pedestal, or stud mount version of the AFR heads? The MSD isn't necessary at this point, but couldn't hurt anything. Otherwise, it looks like you're pretty well set, so far. What are you doing for pushrods?


have car, will race....wait, it doesn't run
Nov 29, 1999
Not to derail, but did you check your piston to valve clearance mustangfan? The AFR 185's need a bigger notch in the pistons for clearance, and I'm not totally familiar with your combo to know if you addressed that issue. If you're getting a light strike on the valve, I could see it popping rocker studs if the hardened pushrods aren't deflecting enough to bend instead.

5spd GT

"the 5.0 owns all"
Founding Member
Aug 7, 2002
Visit site
For H/C/I install help, try clicking on the link in my signature.

It includes part needs and tool checklist.

Good Luck with it.


StangNet's favorite TOOL
SN Certified Technician
Mar 10, 2000
Dublin GA
Cylinder head removal & replacement

Plan on 3 days to do the job if you haven't done it before.

Day one gets the heads off in 4-6 hours. Remove the A/C compressor mount bolts and move the compressor out of the way. The A/C compressor swings out of the way without disconnecting any of the lines or losing any refrigerant. Mark all the electrical, smog and vacuum lines with tags to help you remember where to re-connect them.

Day two gets all the gasket surfaces scraped off extra clean and the heads dropped off at the machine shop if you are going to have them reconditioned. Time here is another 4-6 hours. Whatever you do, don't skimp on cleaning the gasket surfaces. New gaskets need to seat against bare metal and not the residue left from the old gaskets in order to seal leak free. This is the most time consuming and tiresome part of the job. Look for little things that need to be replaced like the short hose from the thermostat hosing to the water pump, damaged vacuum lines and hose clamps that are rusted or broken.

Day three starts when you get the heads back from the machine shop. This is the time to pick up all the little odd pieces you found needing replacement on your day two inspection/cleanup. Plan on 6-8 hours to reinstall the heads and reconnect everything. Plan on an additional 2 hours to troubleshoot/adjust everything.

Now for some practical tips:

Plan on cutting the thermostat to water pump hose, or removing the thermostat housing. Also plan on removing the distributor to get clearance to remove the intake manifold. Remove #1 spark plug, stick your finger in the spark plug hole and crank. When your finger gets air moving past it, stop cranking. Turn the engine until the timing marks line up with the pointer. Make a scribe mark on the distributor base and engine block. Now you can pull the distributor out. When you re-install the distributor back in the engine, make sure you are still on TDC compression for #1 and then line up the scribe mark on the distributor and engine. You will be very close to where the engine was timed when you took out the distributor.

You'll need new head bolts - get ARP bolts ($40) or studs ($93, maybe more). The ARP bolts have a radius under the heads. The washers that come with the bolts have a chamfer cut in them. The radius under the bolt head mates up with the chamfer on the washer. Fail to do this and the bolts will never torque down properly. All the bolts get antiseize under the bolt heads, and everything but the short head bolts get it on the threads. You need Teflon pipe dope or ARP sealant to coat the threads of the short head bolts. The short bolts go into the water jacket and will seep coolant if you don't use the sealant.

My favorite trick that saves time and effort is the stay in place gasket. Be sure that you scrape (don't use a wire brush) all the old gasket material off, then clean all the surfaces with acetone or MEK.

When the surfaces are clean, use weather strip adhesive on the head to manifold surface, and on the side of the gasket that mates to the head. Follow the instructions on the tube or can and when it gets tacky, press the gasket down on the head.

Clean the area where the rubber rails mount to the block in front and in the rear with more acetone or MEK and do the same trick with the weather strip adhesive that you did to the heads.

Coat the rubber seals and the gasket area around the water passages with lots of Blue Silicone gasket sealer and put it together. Walla! No leaks and no gaskets that shifted out of place.

If you reuse the injectors from your old setup, a repair kit is available from most auto parts stores if needed. Coat the injector body "O" rings with oil before you use them and everything will slide back together.

For iron heads, clean the combustion chambers with a wire brush in an air or electric drill. I used a scraper for the pistons. I don't like to use the wire brush on pistons because it will remove metal very easily.

Change the oil once you get everything back together. Once the engine is up & running, run it for 1-2 hours and change the oil.

Tools: a good torque wrench is a must have item. A razor blade scraper that holds a single edge razor blade from Home Depot or Ace hardware is another handy thing. Get a Chilton or Haynes shop manual - you'll need it for the bolt torques and patterns. The intake manifold has an especially odd pattern. You'll need access to a timing light to set the timing after you re-stab the distributor.

Consumable parts:
Fuel injector seal kits with 2 O rings and a pintle cap (Borg-Warner P/N 274081) are available at Pep Boys auto parts. Cost is about $2.74 per kit. The pintle caps fit either injectors with a pin sticking out the injector end or 4 with more tiny holes in the injector end. The following are listed at the Borg-Warner site ( http://www.borg-warner.com ) as being resellers of Borg-Warner parts:

http://www.partsplus.com/ or http://www.autovalue.com/ or http://www.pepboys.com/ or http://www.federatedautoparts.com/

Most of the links above have store locators for find a store in your area.

Head gaskets
upper manifold gasket
lower manifold gasket set.
Exhaust manifold gasket set
Rocker cover gaskets - look for the rubber ones with the steel bushings - Summit has them
Short formed hose between thermostat hosing and intake manifold
6 ft 7/64" or 1/8" vacuum hose
2 ft 1/2" heater hose
1 1/2 ft 5/8" heater hose
Blue Silicone sealer
ARP antiseize or equal for the bolts
ARP thread sealer or Teflon pipe dope for the short bolts.
4 each 3/4" hose clamps (spare item in case the old ones are bad)
4 each 1/2" hose clamps (spare item)

Machine shop charges will vary - figure $275-$350 to have heads checked for cracks, cleaned, surfaced, valves ground, valve guides reconditioned, valve springs checked and bad springs replaced.


New Member
Jan 12, 2007
I actually havent bought the heads yet. I have the cash burning a hole in my pocket but didnt want to buy them until I figured out what else I would need.

What would you recommend? Pedestal or Stud? i dont really know the pros and cons of either.

I have no clue what kind of push rods I need to get. I def dont want to be snapping them that often though.

Do I need injectors? I ve heard from some guys that the fuel systems (minus the fuel pump) are good for a lot of power. But i dont want to go and starve the motor.

Thanks for all the advice/tips so far... I was REALLY surprised at the detail of some of the write ups


it sucks (I know) to be on the receiving end
15 Year Member
Nov 11, 2003
Northern KY
I like 7/16 stud mount just because it's going to be the strongest and most accurate option unless you go with shaft mount, but that's expensive. If you go that route you'll want to run pushrod guide plates and hardened pushrods, which depending on what you get are about $100 a set. I'm in the same boat right now, i just need pushrods, head gaskets and i'm gonna put a new harmonic dampener on it while i'm at it.


New Member
Jan 12, 2007
Wow this is sounding like a pretty expensive install. Im having second thoughts on this. Sounds like I have to spend another $800.000 or so on...
Fuel Pump
Mass Air
Push Rods

There is a guy around here that is pretty good with heads. He did my friends car and he went 12's with a similar set up. Im wondering if I should just go that route. ill save about $650 b/c ill be using my stock heads instead of AFR's. Not sure yet. Thanks for the info though.


it sucks (I know) to be on the receiving end
15 Year Member
Nov 11, 2003
Northern KY
If you get the 165s they're going to be stud mount so you're definitely going to need pushrods and new rockers. Don't believe too much of the hype about ported heads...they work pretty good but they're nothing compared to the 165s.
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