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Pro Comp Head Test - Budget Brute
We Test Two Sets Of Pro Comp Heads To See If CNC-Porting Is Worth The Price You'll Pay.
The CHP 408 stroker started out life as a late-model production 351 Windsor block equipped with 4.03-inch bores. The block was further machined to accept the forged reciprocating assembly from Coast High Performance. The CHP stroker kit included a cast 4.00-inch stroker crank swinging a set of forged I-beam rods and 22cc, dish-top forged pistons. In addition to the dish, the pistons featured valve reliefs for use with inline valve locations. The combination of the 4.03 bore and 4.00-inch stroker produced a final displacement of just over 408 ci.
The 408 was equipped with an XFI stroker hydraulic roller cam that offered 0.579 lift, both intake and exhaust, and a 236/248 duration split. The XFI cam was tailor made for stroker applications and featured aggressive ramp rates to maximize the opening time of the cam relative to the duration figures. The Comp cam was combined with a double roller timing chain, 1.6 ratio Gold Series roller rockers, and custom length pushrods to work with the Pro Comp heads and hydraulic roller lifters.
The remainder of the buildup included as-cast 190 cc Pro Comp heads installed using Fel-Pro MLS head gaskets and ARP ½-inch head studs. Both sets of heads were run with an Edelbrock Super Victor intake and a Holley 750 cfm Street HP carburetor. Also employed were 1¾-inch Hooker headers, an MSD small-cap, a billet distributor, and a CSI electric water pump.
The new CHP stroker was treated to a 20-minute break-in procedure where the load and rpm were varied to properly seat the rings and bearings. We ran Lucas conventional 30W oil for the break in, and then switched over to 5W-30 synthetic for testing. All testing was performed on 91-octane pump gas. Equipped with the as-cast 190 cc heads, the 408 produced 463 hp at 5,600 rpm, and 480 lb-ft of torque at 4,300 rpm. Swapping on the CNC-ported heads resulted in a jump to 505 hp at 5,900 rpm, and 487 lb-ft of torque at 4,600 rpm. The porting resulted in a sizable gain in power, as much as 54 hp at 6,000 rpm, but there was a slight trade off in the lower rev ranges. This can be attributed to the drop in static compression caused by the CNC work performed on the combustion chamber. Ideally, we should have milled the CNC-ported head to equalize the chamber sizes for this test, but it is obvious that the CNC-ported heads from Pro Comp offer significantly more power than their as-cast counterparts. With street prices near $650 for an assembled set of as-cast Pro Comp heads (via the Internet), these look to be pretty popular with 5.0L enthusiasts on a budget.