Champion Heads

Jeff Rand

Well-Known Member
Sep 17, 2001
I purchased a set of 14 bolt Aluminum heads from Champion and the first run they cracked at 21# of boost. They were sent back, repaired, and two months later I had my second run at 21# of boost and they cracked again. It has now been 6 months since Tom told me that the heads were defective and a new pair would be sent out. As of one month ago they were in the box ready to be shipped. Over the past six months I have spent well over $100 on phone calls alone to Champion,have heard enough lies to last me a lifetime, and my car continues to sit on stands in my garage. Recently I have filed a complaint with the Jacksonville Better Business Bureau.If the BBB does not get this resolved, I plan to file a law suit which has to be done in Fl. This would require time off work,a flight over to Fl. and lodging. I also have made the decision not to do business with anyone distributing Champion's products. I know this is exteme but I feel that they to have to be held accountable for a supplier's actions. There is no excuse for poor customer service.
Jeff Rand
I dont know you personally but I feel you pain and wish you the best of luck. I been around this board for a while and between roller cams and after market cam lobe going flat and champion head cracking terrifies me. Thats why I plan to stick with stock heads and cam for a while. Good luck and I hope you get your justice!
its to bad you had a bad exsperience like that. i bought my 8 bolt new casting gn1's from Jack Cotton last year when they first came out and never have had a problem with them. sorry bout your troubles.
I had a problem with a vendor not sending me everything agreed upon in a transaction and then overcharging me for what he did send. I gave him the opportunity to refund me the difference but he didn't. I wrote to my credit card company explained what happened and provided all copies of emails for the agreed parts and prices and the difference I felt I was owed. Well the credit card company ended up reversing the whole transaction because he didn't even respond to them about the difference I was owed!

With all the complaints and problems I've read about with several TR vendors I offer this advice. Always correspond by e-mail or fax so you have proof of the agreement/transaction/facts. Its too easy for them to deny phone conversations. Always pay by credit card so if there is a problem at least you have a leg to stand on.

If you bought your heads by credit card I would start by trying to get the charge reversed...

Good luck
Are you using your 14 bolt heads on a stage block or a stock block? I have heard that most of the cracking problems are when the 14 bolt heads are used on stock blocks. The new casting 8 bolt heads which I have on the new motor shouldn't have any problems with cracking or warping. Has anyone personally had a problem with the 8 bolts on a stock block?
The heads bolt (ARP bolts) on to a stage 1 block that Kenny Dutweiler drilled for the 14 bolt heads. I had been collecting the parts over the past 2 years and the heads were purchased from BGC ( that to was a bad experience). I also added $1000 worth of porting and changed the rocker arm studs to ARP (I was told that the ones supplied by Champion fail). When I started the build up, there were posts about these heads cracking and I called Champion for advice on torque values and sequence information but they were vague. The second assembly of the heads, I did receive a Faxed printed procedure which I followed but the repaired heads also failed.
Has anyone bolted the champions(aluminum)on a untouched stock block and had any troubles? Are there any big gains with these heads?

87GN 11.72/114
sorry about your heads, i have 2 sets, the first ones i bought in june 2001, these were old gn1, 4 runs they both cracked around the lower 3 bolts, i have a stage block with o rings. i called tom he said send them to him 4 weeks later i got them back fixed. looked ok, i reinstalled them went to bristol made 10 runs 958@ 142 mph. had to lift still ran good, when i got back to indiana. oct, sometime i pulled the motor. one of my welded up heads cranked where it says gn1, called tom sent it back. he welded it again. 3 weeks later i got it back no charge. that pair is setting on my bench, i just got a new pair 14 bolt gn1R full ported. they look a lot better than the old ones, i put them on a fresh motor 30 to 40 street miles 30 lbs boost, ok so far,
i dont understand why some people get good service. i think i got good service, gary harmon high 8 sec car, bill regland mid 9 car run old gn1 never had any cracks, that i dont understand,
i would send tom a registered letter and inform him of what you are going to do. before you file suit. hope you get everthing worked out, : just my opinion good luck [ ps i have a old pair of m@a 14 bolt. never leaked or cracked i have had them for 5 years,] oc,
I put a set of the latest casting 14 bolt heads on a stock block. A built stock block. They work real well right out of the box. On a flow bench the exhaust flowed 87% of the intake, and they kept flowing past .600" lift. The actual numbers are really worthless to compare to because a Super Flow bench wasn't used. The stall point and the intake to exhaust percentage is whats important.

They work. I've now got a Stage II motored car that ran all last year with a set of the latest casting 14 bolt ones, no problems.

Jeff, it really does suck that Champion isn't making right with you. The casting wasn't right on the 2nd gen 14 bolt ones. They did crack when using all 14 bolts. If you compare a set of 2nd gen to 3rd gen you can see exactly where they were cracking.

I know of people now using the 2nd gen casting 14 bolt heads on stock blocks and not having problems.
Champion Sucks


As you well know both you and I are in the same boat. I sent my heads to Champion for crack repairs on Sept 21st 2001. As of yesterday they have been sitting on my heads for 6 months. I have spent plenty of $$ on phone calls only to receive the same lame ass excuses time and time again. I can't believe how many times my heads have been ready to ship going back as far as last Nov.

Yesterday I was at my wits end and after being polite and understanding up to this point I took the gloves off. I basically told them how $hitty their service was and how pissed off I am and that I hope TA puts them out of business since they don't deserve it.

Today much to my amazement I got a fax from Tom with UPS tracking #'s. Maybe I should have given them a piece of my mind earlier? Nearest I can tell if you live close enough to FL that you could actually go to Champion and jack them up in person you get reasonable service. If not you're screwed.

FWIW, the 3rd generation of heads are far superior to the earlier ones as Champion has corrected the weak spots in the casting and the machine work is now done correctly. Also the reason most poeple haven't had problems with the early heads on stock blocks is that the heads (as feeble as they are) will live at those H.P. levels.

Just a suggestion. By the time you go to all the expenses with legal stuff etc., it might be wiser to just sell them to someone near Champion. The loss would most likely be less, that way they can exert some pressure by being close by. Maybe a vendor like Hartline or a Florida club could set you up with someone who would buy them. a set of heads from TA. That's what 2 other guys and myself are going to do. It seems like people out West seem to get inferior service. HTH
Originally posted by turbo
Just a suggestion. By the time you go to all the expenses with legal stuff etc., it might be wiser to just sell them to someone near Champion. The loss would most likely be less, that way they can exert some pressure by being close by. Maybe a vendor like Hartline or a Florida club could set you up with someone who would buy them. a set of heads from TA. That's what 2 other guys and myself are going to do. It seems like people out West seem to get inferior service. HTH

I'm 50 miles from Champion...I'll buy any and all sets, $50 a pair, no questions asked. :D

All joking aside, I have had some work done by Champion and had no schedule problems whatsoever. I don't own a set of GN1s so I can't comment there. I feel for all of you who're having problems. Neal and I have talked about his heads and if they weren't on the way, I'd have gone down there to check for him...I'm glad Tom sent 'em out.
Champion Aluminum Heads

Hey guys,

I`m running Champion GN1 aluminum heads (with a full race porting ) 14 bolt on a stock block and don`t seem to be having any problems with cracking. (touch wood)

Can someone tell me the dates of production for the different series of GN1`s. There seems to be 2 upgraded series of GN1`s since they first were produced.

EG: What was the dates that the first series were produced ?
( I believe this run had guide problems )

What dates were they upgraded since the first run and for what reasons ?

George, in ALBERTA
Kendall, was the offer of $50 for the pair or each head?
Guys, thanks for the responces on this topic. I bought my GN new in 1987 and have always wanted to put in a stage engine. Finally I get the money and my wife's support and now I have to deal with this nonsense. On the other side of the spectrum is Ken Duttwielder who I might add got stiffed on a set of ported GN heads (cracked on the dyno)from Champion.
What really hurts is that I sold a new set of M&A heads so that I could buy the Champions.
Sorry to hear of all the bad experiences guys! I have one of the original sets of GN1's purchased from Tom and had him replace the exhaust guides before any problems started. They are 8 bolt on a stock block. Both the block deck and heads were surfaced prior to installation and stock gaskets w/ARP studs were used. Heads were retorqued several times prior to start up and then retorqued after break in. Max values w/ARP lube were 75 ft/lbs. I have had great performance and 0 problems with these heads. I will add, that Champions turn around time is as slow as slow can be. Maybe they have more work than they can handle and are not realistic when taking on new jobs for fear of turning business away. Just my thoughts!! Brian GSCA
I've been following the GN1 cracking threads alot as I have first gen 14-bolt heads. I haven't used them yet though so I can't relate any personal experiences.

From everything I have read, it seems the problem is with the outer 3 bolts on the 14-bolt heads. Perhaps torquing these even less than the recommended 65 lb/ft, or not using these bolts at all would help stop the cracking?

Aluminum expands an approx twice the rate of steel, so the head grows taller twice as much as the head stud when heated to operating temp...theoretically raising the stress placed on that thin section.

BTW, did you check the height of the locating pins on the deck? If they are too high, that might cause the head to crack as well.

If it makes you feel any better, I'm in Florida and I don't think I received quicker service than you are getting.
Just Sucks!!!

I'm new to the Turbo Regals, bought my First one a year ago, and another T-Type a couple months ago. been acquiring the stuff for a couple of Stage 2 Blocks I have. I have followed this whole head cracking fiasco, and it is just plain BULLS**T, I have pretty much decided to run the Good Ole Stage 2 heads for now. Even though it seems none of the classes allow them. Don't Care though, I'm not about to give Champion one dime of my money. All I need to know is other Fellow TR owners are being treated unprofessionally after giving up there hard earned cash for a Crap Set of heads. I live in Florida, and doubt I would be treated any better also.
I will keep track of all this, and Champion should, cause if they don't resolve these problems and take care of there customers, they will be losing lots of business.
Hopefully TA will give them some competition, seems like when you have to compete for business, attitudes change, and customer service becomes really good.
Jeff hope they get this resolved, a customer should never have to go thru all the crap your having to go thru.
Champion You Better Listen, Because Potential Lost Customers Are!!!
Brian, I wish this would hurt there business, but the Buick community is such a small part of there business that this is most likely the reason we are treated to second class service. They don't need are business as they are quite successful in other forms of racing. Although some of us have had problems, it is still small compared to the amount of GN1's sold and we really are fortunate that these aftermarket companies even bother to R&D and produce parts for such a small market. This is not meant to be an excuse for poor service/and or products, but rather a fact of doing business.