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AFR 205 vs TFS Twisted Wedge Cylinder Heads - Ultimate Cylinder Head Shootout, The Sequel
It's AFR 205 vs. TFS' new CNC-ported Twisted Wedge heads in another epic airflow battle.
It's really amazing that new products continue to emerge for the gone-but-not-forgotten 5-liter Ford V-8. Here we are, a full decade into the modular Mustang era, and manufacturers are still hard at work cranking out not only continuation products that have been produced since the introduction of the 5.0, but brand-new ones. That companies continue to manufacture and actually develop new stuff for the 5.0 is proof positive the foundation that started an entire industry is alive and well.
One of the recent additions to the ever-growing list of 5-liter components comes from one of the originals, Trick Flow Specialties (TFS). The company's name is long recognized in the 5-liter aftermarket, having not only introduced one of the first aluminum performance heads for the small-block Ford, but it followed up by offering the first affordable aluminum head.
The TFS Twisted Wedge heads all but revolutionized the 5-liter market by bringing a true bolt-on performance head into the hands of the average enthusiast. As we know, TFS went on to increase the offerings, bringing us the amazing TFS R heads, reintroducing the legendary High-Port heads, along with a whole series of performance intake manifolds.
In truth, TFS' most recent offering is not so much a brand-new product as it is an improvement on an existing one. The TFS Twisted Wedge Heads have been with us for some time now and have provided the motivation for literally thousands of Mustangs. Impressive even in as-cast form, these heads provided significant gains over the production cast-iron E7TE 5.0 heads. While the Twisted Wedge heads have proven themselves capable per-formers, there are always enthusiasts looking for more power. Sure, it's possible to step up to the TFS R heads, but a great many enthusiasts are looking to combine the performance of the R head with the true bolt-on simplicity of the Twisted Wedge.
For these enthusiasts, TFS has introduced a CNC-ported version of the TFS Twisted Wedge casting. Looking strictly at the numbers, we see that the 205cc casting tested here stepped up the intake airflow from roughly 245 cfm at 0.600 lift to 316 cfm. Obviously, a gain of 71 cfm is always welcome, but the real key to the success of any street (or strip) head is the all-important average airflow. Combine the average airflow gains throughout the usable lift range (numbers at 0.800 lift are meaningless if you run a 0.550-lift cam) with minimizing material removal (meaning as small a port volume as possible) and you have the makings of a real winner.
Loyal readers will remember the as-cast TFS Twisted Wedge heads performed very well in our Ultimate Guide to Cylinder Heads (Oct. and Nov. '03) Not surprisingly, many enthusiasts have taken steps to improve the as-cast performance offered by the Twisted Wedge heads. Head porting (when performed properly) can greatly improve the flow rate of the cylinder heads, and porters (such as Total Engine Airflow) have been working on the TFS Twisted Wedge heads almost since their introduction. Recognizing the potential for a proper CNC program applied to their already impressive Twisted Wedge heads, TFS decided to step into the CNC market. Rather than just providing the raw materials in the form of their as-cast heads, why not provide the finished product?
Who better to provide the ultimate CNC-ported version than people who designed the head in the first place? While our testing centers on the TFS Twisted Wedge heads (more specifically the 205cc version), TFS also offers a CNC-ported version of the majority of its offerings, including the company's reintroduced High-Port heads and the extremely powerful TFS R heads. You will remember that we recently tested the 185cc heads (against the as-cast version) on a 331 stroker, with excellent results. After seeing the power gains offered by the 185cc heads on that mild application, we couldn't wait to see how well the 205cc heads performed on a larger 408 stroker.
Rather than test the new 205cc CNC-ported TFS heads against their as-cast counterparts, we decided to get serious and pit them against what is certainly one of the top-performing 205cc heads available. We can't swear to it, but we'd venture to guess the AFR 205s represented the performance target for the new CNC-ported TFS heads, and for good reason. The AFR 205 heads have proven powerful in our Ultimate Guide to Cylinder heads and on a number of performance buildups. In the tale of the tape (see airflow data), both heads offered over 300 cfm on the intake and over 230 cfm on the exhaust. The new CNC-ported TFS heads offered more intake flow through the mid-lifts right through 0.600 lift.