Have you ever asked yourself the question “What’s the best small block Mopar heads for my 318, 340 or 360 Chrysler V8 engine? On a budget? Something that will increase horsepower without spending any money on them. A stock replacement cylinder head that will bolt right onto my existing engine block. Out of the Box?”.
Well look no further as I’ve put together a full review of all the pro’s and con’s, of the Edelbrock RPM small block Chrysler LA cylinder head, for use with your factory stock hydraulic flat tappet camshaft. These will fit any Mopar small block engine manufactured from 1968 to 1991.
If you want a small block Mopar cylinder head that you can use with your stock intake manifold and exhaust manifolds. This is it. If you have aftermarket headers installed. This will work with most of them.
Note: This product can be found on Amazon.com . As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
Best Small Block Mopar Heads Overview
The Edelbrock RPM cylinder heads for all small block Mopar engines come complete with valves and valve springs installed. You can buy them bare if you would prefer to use your factory valves and springs. You will need to have your valve springs or any new springs that you buy checked for symmetry.
Also the valve guides will need to be resized in the RPM heads as the guides are too small to fit the stock Mopar valves. The valves have a larger 3/8 stem. The current guides take the smaller 11/32 stem as do most other aftermarket heads. The best bet is to replace your stock valves and springs as they will be 30 to 50 years old. Depending on the year of small block Mopar engine you currently have and how many miles the engine may have done.
We’ll focus on the Edelbrock part number 60779 as these ones come with valves, guides and springs installed. They are a direct bolt on replacement. You can either fit them onto your engine while it’s still in your car if you wanted to.
You’ll need new head gaskets and exhaust gaskets as well as intake manifold gaskets (FelPro head, intake and exhaust gaskets are a good choice), head bolts ( I’d recommend new head bolts from ARP) and exhaust bolts. Using your old exhaust bolts would work. Your current exhaust bolts will be old and well stretched though. New exhaust bolts is recommended to ensure a good seal to the cylinder head to prevent exhaust leaks.
Here’s a link to the FelPro Gasket website to help you find what you will need as well as current prices. You’ll need to select a store near you that has FelPro gaskets in stock. https://www.felpro.com/
Using your original cylinder head bolts is NOT recommended. Once a head bolt is torqued to spec and engine is heated, run as normal and cooled this takes it’s toll on the tensile of the bolt. Many people will make the point that using the original head bolts is ok. I like to use caution and simply replace them. If your budget is really tight and you want to reuse your old cylinder head bolts, I recommend that you read this guide or article here from HotRod.com https://www.hotrod.com/articles/reuse-head-bolts/
Can I Use My Stock Intake Manifold, Carburetor & Exhaust?
You can chose to use your original intake manifold and carburetor as well. Whether you have a 2 barrel intake manifold and carburetor, or a factory dual plane 4 barrel intake manifold and carburetor, along with your stock camshaft, you will notice an increase in power and performance. This is due to the much better fuel flow and combustion of the Edelbrock cylinder head.
You could very easily change or upgrade your intake manifold and carburetor, for better performance as well as economy. Sticking with or opting for a dual plane intake and 4 barrel carburetor is the best option for full time street use. You’ll have good low to mid range horsepower and performance along with a slight increase in top end power. There heads work best within the 1500 to 6500 RPM range.
If your build your engine for some street and drag racing use, then upgrading to a single plane 4 barrel intake manifold is a good choice. I would recommend upgrading your camshaft as well for even more horse power and performance.
The disadvantages of a single plane intake manifold for street use is losing a little bottom end power. From a standing start this can cause a flat spot or bog down until engine speed or RPM is increased. You will find a good increase in mid to top end horsepower though. Which is ideal for a street/strip engine.
If you have the budget I’d highly recommend opting for an EFI throttle body system. Especially with a single plane intake manifold. Holley and Fi Tech are among popular choices. The EFI Holley Sniper system for example, work best with a single plane intake manifold. The advantages for street use as well as drag racing use are:
- Better cold starts
- Far better drive – ability on the street
- Faster throttle response
- Increased fuel flow for more horsepower and performance
- Better fuel economy
- Easily tune able as most applications like Holley and Fi Tech have self learning tuning built into them
- Can be used for boosted applications if you opt for the blow through application
As mentioned earlier, the Edelbrock small block Mopar cylinder heads are a direct bolt on replacement for your factory stock heads. This also means that you can use your stock exhaust manifolds or headers. Hedman and Hooker headers are a popular choice. There are plenty of used sets for sale if your budget doesn’t allow for brand new headers.
A great place to look for used headers, as well as a perfect place to ask any questions that you might have about replacing your small block Mopar, cylinder heads is in this Facebook group right here https://www.facebook.com/groups/548658795265916/. If you haven’t joined as a member already, I highly recommend that you do. There are many more expensive header manufacturers on the market. The old saying goes, you get what you pay for.
Pro’s & Con’s Of The Edelbrock Small Block Mopar Heads
- Made of light weight aluminum, saves weight off the nose of your car
- Allows for up to 0.545 valve lift for increased air/fuel flow, which increases horsepower and performance
- Heat treated steel retainers and locks with heavy duty valve springs suitable for increased valve lift of up to 0.545
- Increased engine torque throughout the RPM range
- Stainless steel high flow 2.02″ and 1.60″ intake and exhaust valves
- 63cc combustion chamber and 171cc intake port for better fuel charge
- Will make 417 horsepower and 397 ft – lbs of torque when matched with the Edelbrock intake manifold and matching camshaft
- Aluminum has a better heat dissapation. This means a cooler intake charge and less chance of detonation. This can potentially allow for an increase of compression ratio on pump gas as well to increase power.
- Pump gas friendly
- You can use your factory stock rocker arms
- For use with pre pollution controlled vehicles only
- Not compatible with the special valve train on a 1970 T/A Dodge Challenger equipped with the 340 small block Mopar engine
- Match with Edelbrock gaskets
- Each sold separately
- As a precaution and piece of mind it is recommended to have the heads inspected for factory defects by a reputable engine shop
Any questions about the pro’s and con’s as outlined can be asked in the comment box below this review article. There is also the recommended Facebook group for further research.
Small Block Mopar Cylinder Heads Features & Benefits
The horsepower increase will be significantly noticeable with these new cylinder heads. As outlined the benefits are better fuel combustion which increases horsepower. This can mean better fuel economy on the street as well as the fuel charge is ignited and used completely.
That was the trouble with the old cast iron cylinder heads, especially the iron smogger heads. The design of the combustion chamber and exhaust manifolds was to try to emit less emissions. Because of this, the burnt exhaust gasses couldn’t escape completely in time before the next combustion cycle began.
This meant the combustion chamber temperature was still very high, so less cooler air and fuel could get in, leading to far less horsepower that could be made with this design. Did you ever wonder why the Dodge Caravan 440 engines only made 200 horsepower, versus the Dodge Super Bee 440 high performance engines? They made about 375 horsepower. The 440 Caravan heads lost power mostly due to port design, lower compression pistons and cast iron smogger exhaust manifolds.
This is where the advantage of having aluminum heads over the factory cast iron heads is noticeably different. Aluminum transfers heat away from hot spot areas quicker. Cooling the combustion chamber. Allowing for more air/fuel mix. The obvious out come is more horesepower.
Parts availability is plenty. If you bought a bare set of cylinder heads you can very easily and simply swap all the existing parts from your old iron heads to the new ones. There are plenty of well known brand name parts products on the market too. Suitable for any budget.
Another great feature is that you can use your stock rocker arms off your old iron heads and simply install onto your new cylinder heads. You can also use your factory push rods, tappets or lifters and camshaft. I would recommend inspecting each lifter or tappet and camshaft lobe as you go.
Be sure to remove only one tappet/lifter at a time, inspect for defects then put back in exactly the same place as you found it. This is because each tappet tends to wear individually. Think of this is like an old pair of shoes. If you were to lend the old shoes to a friend with the same size foot, they would feel different when your friend tried them on. This is because we all have a different walking pattern. Same as the lifters generally speaking.
So here’s a quick look at why the Edelbrock small block Mopar RPM heads are the best bang for your buck. They are lightweight saving you up to 50 lbs in weight. You can use all of your existing parts from your old cast iron heads if need be. You can use any current intake manifold and carburetor that you are already using.
There’s no need to change your camshaft or lifters if they look to be fine with no unusual wear. You can use your pushrods. You can use your exhaust manifolds or your existing headers. Your valve covers will bolt right on. Can easily be installed without removing the engine from your car.
A significant increase in horsepower over your factory heads right out of the box. Even if you ported your old cast iron heads, you wouldn’t make the same power as these do out of the box and ready to run. The cost of porting your iron heads would be the same, if not more than buying new ones. These heads can be ported and polished for even more horsepower gains too.
By using a matching hydraulic camshaft, new lifters and Edelbrock intake manifold you can very easily make 400 plus horsepower. Without tearing your engine down completely. The heads bolt right on and are suitable for heavy towing applications as well. If you have a Dodge Ram truck with a small block Mopar engine, this is a very simple and logical choice.
Of course if you simply want to pep up your old small block that you have in your most beloved A B or E body, or any other body style that you might have, I think this is the best choice. I personally have a set of RPM heads on my 440 that’s in my 68 Coronet. I was lucky, I bought it that way.
There are many choices on the market today. I believe this one to be the best choice in terms of being budget friendly and cost effective. If I were to build a 408 stroker on a budget, this would be my head of choice. More info and prices can be found here on Amazon.com
Thanks for taking the time to read my blog. As mentioned earlier if you have any questions or comments, you can ask or leave a comment in the comment box below. I’ll personally respond to every one.
As we add more articles in relation to small block Mopar heads, we’ll add links to those pages here to make them easy to find.