Dear Jay,

I’m building a small block bracket motor. I’m using a four-bolt Chevy block, stock rods that I polished, and had SPS bolts installed, a stock Chevy steel crank, .030 over KB flat-top pistons, and the biggest, highest lift we can buy in it. Here are my questions. We don’t have any heads so we are considering using a set of Chevy Vortec heads that we are going to port match. Will we have to modify the heads for the springs to fit and what kind of intake would you recommend using with them. We’ve got a four-door ’78 Malibu that the engine is going into and we are going to run radial street/strip tires on the rear.

Dennis Sutton
O’Fallon, MO


Thanks for the question. Your first question pertaining to valve spring fitment really depends on what springs you use. Typically, Comp Cams makes the springs to fit certain types of heads and normally with a hydraulic cam you would use a 1.25" diameter spring with about 120 lbs. of seat pressure and 300 open. The best thing to do is call Comps' tech line and tell them what your intentions are and they should be able to get you set up. If you don't have any heads yet I would recommend giving Racing Head Service a call as they have now taken over what used to be Pro-Top line. One precaution though, make sure whatever heads you use have the proper valve diameters to fit your piston notches. They make excellent heads and the pricing is fair. You can get a hold of RHS through Comp also. For the intake I would recommend going with a Edelbrock Performer RPM Air-Gap because it should give you the best combination of low end torque and high end horsepower with a more than likely portly 4 door Malibu. This should be a pretty good combination for the Bracket wars.

Hope this helps,
Jay Roeder
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