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Old 08-10-2022, 04:54 PM   #1
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Default 01 SL1 head gasket and upgrades

Hello all! New here. I got this ***** box a few years ago and overall it's been pretty good although I've had to replace a multitude of parts, but I guess I can't complain for $800 and putting over 40k on it. I put a new clutch in finally a couple weeks ago and as luck would have it, a couple days ago the head gasket blew out and started puking down the front of the block.

I started taking it down and, I have to say, these are the smallest exhaust ports I have ever seen! I can barely fit one finger in them LOL! I'm a gear head, and this isn't my only rig, but I love to tinker, so I'm thinking of opening up the ports a little bit while it's off. It's free, so why not? I can at least port match to the gasket and manifold. It seems there is a lot of material to remove just to make that happen. I haven't gotten to the intake side yet, but apart from the small ports, I have to think that just opening up the ports to the gasket size on the head and manifold would help immensely on the top end. It looks like a straight shot to the valve, just really, really, small.

I know it's a crappy economy car, but I like to make improvements when I can. When the muffler rusted out, I realized that a Harley has 3/4 pipe also, so I grabbed an old Sportster muffler I had laying around, which is straight thru with glass packing and welded that on. It sounds really good actually! I also punched some holes in the front of the air box, but after looking at the head, it's no wonder this thing can't breathe above like 4k rpm.

I have two questions: Am I completed wasting my time doing any work on the head? And two, does anyone know what the camshaft specs are for the SOHC? If they are at all decent, I have to think that this would be a pretty good runner for an N/A with a little port work and basic intake/exhaust stuff.
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