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I've been intrigued with the Arao Engineering 32 valve pushrod heads for several years. (they are also known as Dominion Heads).Their website tells of fantastic performance gains. I like them because they're trick.

My question is, have you heard anything good or bad about these heads and would they be suitable for street use on my 421 with 10 to 1 compression and whatever cam they recommend? The car is a 3400 lb. '53 Studebaker with 5-speed Richmond (3.27 first gear and 3.00 rear gear).

What advance curve would you recommend for this combo, assuming 91 octane gas?

John Weidler


I have heard of the cylinder heads in questions and have been to the website. It appears that these guys have spent a lot of time and money.

As well all know, the Europeans have been using multi-valved cylinder heads with great success for years. Utilizing overhead cams, even the "General" had a go at it with the ZR1 program. I had a chance to work with some of those heads and saw great numbers on the flow bench.

My concerns with the heads in question are valvetrain geometry (not overhead cam), valvetrain oiling, combustion chamber design, and piston to valve clearance. Also, why aren't any of the big name shops picking these up?

I guess the bottom line is, if you have the resources and the time to play, these are definitely something trick. If it a matter of being different, have you thought about S-B2 heads?

As for the timing curve, I would keep it tight, with a max of 32-34 degrees total.




I have a '73 Nova with a carbureted 350. I can get a repo '89 Firebird with a locked up motor. I have seen some articles on adding newer EFI to an older 350. Do you know if I will be able to drop in my good 350 and use the heads and EFI on the Firebird? What are some issues I might run into with this swap?

Robert Gibbs


It looks like you have the makings of a good swap. One concern is how much cam is in the 350? This could cause problems with the computer. If this is the case, "Hyper-Tec" makes a self programmer to help sort out the combination.

Be sure to get the proper head gaskets to adapt the newer heads to the older block, and pay attention to the starter and flywheel combo.

Good luck.




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