TE-60 vs ported heads


Senior Member
I was considering upgrading my TA-49 to a TE-60 with the combo in my sig. My question is would I get a better bang for the buck if I just went to ported/cleaned up stock heads and kept the TA-49 instead of upgrading to a TE-60 and keeping the stock heads?
I can't say this enough so will say it again...if those are the stock factory heads/gaskets and they have never been removed then leave them alone...you will never be able to get that factory seal again...go with the new turbo and see how far you can push those factory gaskets...you will be amazed...then when they eventually blow go with ported heads...that's what I'm doing right now...I still can't believe how far I push those gaskets and they still are holding up...just keep detonation out of the picture and they will last a long time...I'm running 28 lbs boost on them now and have done stupid things like WOT blast with a close to empty gas tank...massive backfire out the exhaust...smoke...I thought I'd finally blown them but nope...still going...
IMO a 60 is that much of an upgrade over a 44/49. Might be worth a couple tenths. Heads would probably make more of a difference - that is if you want to break the vigin seal.
Scott--I still have the stock head gaskets and don't plan on replacing heads until I blow a hg. It sounds like I should just keep my TA-49 until I blow a hg. Then I can use the money that I would spend on a TE-60 and higher stall converter to buy a set of ported heads.

Aren't your stock heads a big cork with that 62 turbo? What stall converter are you running? Thanks for the input.
I don't know if they are a big cork but yes they are restriction for my turbo...with ported heads I could be running a lot less boost
to be where I'm at now...3200 stall conv...ported heads are always a good way to go when you end up breaking that factory seal...but to really take advantage of the ported heads you would need a bigger turbo...guess it really comes down to...how fast do you want to go?
do the heads.... plenty have blown up the factory seals, im sure they are better but if you do the head gaskets the right way, they will be fine, keep away from detonation and you will have no problem. Ported heads was one of my best mods.
You guys aren't making this an easy decision! :) Here are my thoughts:

I do know I don't want to replace the heads until I blow a hg (sorry JDS fastGN).

I could upgrade to the TE-60 now and see how it works with my restalled (2600-2800) D5, but I will probably need a 3,000 stall. The TE-60 would be a good turbo to have when I do go to ported heads. However, I would hate to upgrade to the TE-60 now and then maybe do harm to it when I blow a hg.

I should have taken the advice of only buying once and bought a 3,000 stall converter instead of buying the restalled D5. As the saying goes, hindsight is 20/20. Oh well.

Nocooler--The TE-60 is about the equivalent of a TA-61, so it is a significant upgrade over a TA/49-60/TE-44.

OK, comments.
Let me throw this at ya

What would you do if you already had the heads? That's the problem I have. Factory hg seal, already in the mid 11's and a fully ported race set of heads sitting in the garage, patiently waiting to be installed:D What would you do? Sure would be a good winter project;)
F&^% that factory seal bull$hit! I'm gettin tired of hearin that crap. Put the fear of god into everyone bout changin heads. THAT'S A CROCK!

I love turbo's BUT, the heads will do more for you. That TA49 will run bottom 11s ALL DAY with ported irons. How fast are you lookin to go?

Do the heads, you will not be sorry. Make sure you know what your doing when you tune it. The more power you make the easier it is to break stuff.
What's the big deal about the factory HG's?
You mean gasket and fastener technology hasn't advanced enough in 16 years to take advantage of it?
I bought my car from the original owner and he had the HG's replaced under warranty when one blew...on a bone stock car that his wife drove 5 miles each way to work.

Donnie--That is why I have not purchased heads yet. :D I don't want to have to make that decision either.

Russ--I just want to be able to run a little less boost with TA-49 but maintain the performance. Mid 11's with 93 + alcohol would be great. What hg do you recommend?
I'm not a fan of alky. I'd rather do it with 94 octane and a good parts combo. I run Cometic HGs. Have had great luck with em. Nothin wrong with stockers though.
I agree 100% Russ, everybody is so scared to do heads on these cars now when there is no reason to be. If you do it right it will last. A 49 to a 60 will hardly even feel noticable but with the heads , it will breath really well even on the 49 and be a street terror even on 18 psi. Heads gaskets aren't a big deal at all
Wait... People actually put off mods because of the factory head gasket seal? Someone go tell those 9 and 10 second cars with aftermarket heads that they're doing it all wrong. They should have waited to blow a head gasket. :D

maybe the stock head gaskets last because the stock heads flow so poorly. and the have been heat cycled for 16 years! hmmmm.

get the heads and enjoy life.

The guys with the 9 second cars can afford the yearly rebuilds. :rolleyes:

You can't beat the stock seal. :)

Unless you detonate all the time then you beat it daily. ;)

Too many poor mechanics out there to trust $$$ on headgasket weekly replacements or possible aluminum head disasters.
Everyone here can read I think. :p

Then there are the cam issues....

If you like to do your own work and learn from yours and others mistakes go for it. Labor is killer for headgasket/cam replacements.

Factory did a good job on these cars.

Waiting to put ported heads on until the gaskets blow insures that they won't. :D

That's my .02 story.
I went through this a few weeks ago before I tore the motor apart and I was sure glad I did as there were a few time bombs ticking in my 35k mile original motor.I finally listened to the reasoning that if you have ported irons you will not need to run that head gasket popping boost level anymore to get your times,your entire engine will benefit from lower boost levels.I did both,went with the 60 and ported the irons.I think the seal might be good factory but let's not make more of it than it really is guys.My factory gaskets did still look fine but then I never ran over 25 psi.I can't wait to feel the solid gain in HP.And just adding the 60 did give me a healthy seat of the pants improvement too with the stock heads(at lower boost-never had a chance to run it over 20 yet.
Oh,the deal with the factory gaskets was they were torqued all at the same time by advanced equipment you won't find at the local machine shop.You will just have to improvise and invite over 7 freinds with calibrated torque wrenches.
salvageV6---Exactly the reason I don't want to remove my stock heads until I blow a hg; it is expensive paying for the labor and then you still don't know the quality of the new seal. But then I think that maybe the stockers are about to blow after years of abuse and that I should look to see how bad they are before they blow and I do engine damage.

TurboBuickSix---What headgaskets did you use? Did you check the engine for any cam/crank damage? You said that you had a 'few time bombs ticking' but you also said the 'factory gaskets did still look fine'. What were the time bombs? Sorry for all the questions but I just want to find out what you found.