Hokie, seriously, you definitely can do that kind of work. It isn't as difficult as you might think. The first time I did any type of engine work I looked at the engine and I said to myself "hmm, all I really have to do is take a bolt off and then put it back". Lol, I mean it isn't that simple, but in a way it is. If you ever feel like you wanna start then simply get some hand tools and start. Go with something easy. Do a google search and make sure it isn't something that requires changing the gasket. Because some things have compressible gaskets that can only be used once. Like on my Mustang. Changing the intake manifold requires using a new gasket. Although I've gotten away with used gaskets before. But I would never attempt that on a head change. And even some exhaust flanges are compressible and one time use. If you take your time, go over everything, mark where stuff goes, take notes, and even take pictures, then you can definitely do these sort of things. There are people who have been building engines for decades that still take notes and pictures. Give it a shot one day.
As far as your question about heads. Simply put, more air more power. You're increasing the port size on the induction and exhaust side of the heads. Aftermarket heads are superior to ported heads because they have a different design that makes power differently. And they have better flow even throughout the head instead of just the inlet and outlet. Other heads like the Twisted Wedge have certain aspects other than increased flow that allow the air to move differently into the engine. And some have different combustion chamber sizes and different valve sizes. But basically, a ported head is just taking a stock head, strapping it to a machine, and making the ports where the intake manifold meets the head bigger...and making the ports where the header meets the head bigger as well. Some port companies also work the valves and alter the combustion chambers. Opening the combustion chambers will alter your compression ration if you retain the stock pistons. I believe these engines also benefit from polished ports which allow the air to flow smoother and faster. Some engines don't do well with polished heads...they benefit more from a more turbulent flow. Most companies flow test heads to see what makes their particular head actually flow better. So it isn't always about just opening up the ports. And then with different compression ration or different cam specs and even different displacement, some porting will be different than others.
I hope I explained all that clearly. Its one of those things where I have the information in my head but its difficult to explain properly. The stock LS family heads are great flowing heads. Which is why I have been looking at the cost of a ported LS3 head in comparison to a true aftermarket head. Because with heads as good as the LS3 (and L99) it gets harder for aftermarket companies to make a head that will over substantial gains and retain a decent price. Especially when you start porting LS3s.
I think I understand what you are saying and think it makes some sense ... if its not too much trouble when you get them, add some pictures of them to this post ... if I can put the words with the pictures, I think I've got it. Thanks for the rundown
I guess I am underestimating myself a little, but it is also a measure of time to do the normal everyday house things, work, finishing my basement, grandkids, just keeping the car clean, etc. On my 71 Nova way back when, I did the headers, air shocks, exhaust, and some carb changes (but, IIRC, I paid to have the manifold switched; mostly because I was scared of messing up the distributor, IIRC). Of course, cars were a bit simpler then and I was a teenager messing with a used $900 car, not a new $40K car as someone who knows he can sure mess things up. Since this is the first car I have had any interest in doing anything since that Nova, I figure I will work myself back in slowly. I'll do a CAI and a ported throttle body and then think about headers. From there, I'll have to do some evaluating. Thanks again.
2012 2SS / RS CRT; Additional Options: Highwing Spoiler, Sunroof, Window Tint, Splash Guards, Wheels, Nitro, Heritage Grill, MRT Louvers, Ported Throttle Body, Cold Air Inductions CAI, RX Sport Hood, someone's splitter, River City Strut Bar
Born On: 13 April 2012; Purchased: 27 August 2012