Patriot Performance BB Chev head review...long read
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Patriot Performance BB Chev head review...long read

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    steelcomp was here
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    Default Patriot Performance BB Chev head review...long read

    Well, I just finished my "ordeal" with Patriot, and all I can say without a doubt you get what you pay for, which in the performance cylinder head world, for 990.00 bare, isn't much.

    I purchased the first pair of Partriot 320's through Competition Products, bare, in late May. When I opened the box, I wasn't sure what I was looking at, but I immediately had some questions. The first thing I saw was that the valve job was so deep, that the head of the valves were below the top of the seats on both the intake and ex. I'd say the valve job was at least .200" deeper than it needed to be. In my experience, this was in no way a good thing. Next thing I did was check the guide clearances. No surprise there, but there wasn't a guide with less than .002", and some were over .003". They were rough, bumpy, and certainly not straight or even in any way, shape or form. On that basis, I rejected the heads. I called Patriot and I talked to Gunnar and Chad both, and of course no one knew how the guides could possible get that big, and well, the valve job was that deep to, and I quote," get the installed height", but there didn't seem to be a problem with it from their standpoint. Their "5 angle" valve job was non-existent as well. The bowl blending in some ares came right to the bottom of the 45, but no where was there any more than one more angle below the 45, and what looked to be a 30 on top. At best it was a 3 angle, and in some places only two.
    I said I was returning the heads, and based on the guides alone they agreed, and I then ordered a set from them with guides and seats installed, but please, no machining. At this point I'm still going on the fact that these heads flow somewhere near what they advertised, and want to give them a chance. I know there was no way the heads I received were going to have any where near the advertised flow numbers with the valve job they had, but I thought if someone was to do a decent valve job, they might. The ports looked decent, and the casting quality was on par with the price. Of course this is costing valuable time and I have a customer on a deadline, so time is of the essence here. The second set of heads show up and the first thing I notice, again, is how deep the seats are installed in the heads. A valve job that only gets right to the top of the seat is still going to be sunk in the chamber requiring extra work to unshroud the valve. Oh well...it is what it is. Next I check the guides. OH MY GOSH...they're already out of spec. All over my min. and some as much as .0025. So much for installing and not touching them. I called Patriot and again, no one there knew how the guides could POSSIBLY get that big. Why, they don't even have a reamer that big in the shop! Now I'm a little tired of this, and after paying 170.00-some dollars for overnight shipping so I could get my customer up and running in time, the heads are not usable. Patriot did send me a new set of guides, so I had to wait on those to arrive, and then R&R the guides. I was finally back to where I was supposed to be a week prior, and finally got the guides sized and got the valve job done. Of course, the customer missed his deadline for having the engine, but that's another story. When I ordered the second set of heads, I was asked if I wanted the decks cut to size the chambers to 119cc, and I said yes. Check the chambers after finishing the valve job- 130cc's. Guess they forgot. More down time and cost to get them to the machine shop and have them milled.
    SO...heads done, bowls blended, nice crisp 5 angle intake, radiused ex, all ready to go. Now to the flow bench. Well, no surprise there, either. Even with getting the valve job as high in the chamber as I could, using a very generous radius on the tops to unshroud the valves, and blending the chambers and bowls accordingly, I couldn't come close to their advertised low lift numbers. WUpper lift numbers were OK...with a 2.300" intake, I was able to get 390cfm @ .700 on the good port, but it fell on it's face at .800" back to 378 and got real turbulent with the swirl jumping to 3100. The bad port was another story. It only made it to [email protected] .700", and did the same thing, falling on it's face to 345cfm @.800" with the swirl going to 3800. Neither of these ports likes .800 lift, so I can see why Patriot only shows flow numbers to .700. The ex wasn't as bad on top. I was able to get 287 @ .800 with a pipe, but the low lift numbers still weren't close to Patriot's. Now in their defense, Gunnar did tell me they used a back cut intake on their flow test, and I didn't, so I'm guessing the low lift will pick up some after that change. On the exhaust, I worked the throat and radius under the 45, and laid back the chamber some more to unshroud the valve and it did pick up some. Still, the best I could get at that point wasn't what they were advertising. I think with both ports, having the valve job as deep in the chamber to start with is the main downfall AFA low lift numbers. Obviously raising the valve job helped the ex on top, but the low lift still suffers. The spread between the left and right intake ports is bothersome, and the fact that they fall off at .800 is also. This shows some fundamental design flaws in the port. Maybe a guy could spend a day on them and fix that...maybe not. It's easier to find an improvement somewhere in an ex port, but not always so easy on the intakes, especially left vs. right.
    One other thing...rocker geometry. On a std. deck Gen6 block, I came up with pushrods longer than any other conventional BB head I've ever done. I use the Mid Lift method to determine pushrod length, and on the intakes I came up with 8.93", and the ex pushrods need to be 9.78". I don't know what the deal is, but there's something strange going on there. Part of it is the valve depth, but that might be .100" at the pushrod if corrected. The roller is pushed quite far out on the valve tip @ mid lift which says there are some issues with the lay out of the head. I'm also only at 1.900 installed height, and I know Patriot was advertising 2.00" installed height. Why they would want that, I don't know.

    So, there's my experience with Patriot. I'm not passing judgement nor am I going to "rate" the heads or the company. They were always polite and answered all my questions, and were willing to work with me on the problems. I'm not sure that the right hand knows what the left hand is doing there, but honestly, the cylinder head business is a tough one. For $990.00 for a bare set of heads, like I said, you get what you pay for, although I'm not sure it's what you expect. I think in the end these heads are going to work fine, and give good performance and reliability. These aren't Canfields or Darts or anything comparable, but if that's what you're expecting, I'd say that's unrealistic. I also know from my own experience, I won't buy an assembled set of heads from anyone, and even bare heads need to be carefully inspected. Patriot claims they've had no complaints from any of their customers on any of these issues I've raised, but 1) what else are they going to say, and 2) how many guys actually inspect their heads, look at the valve jobs, check the runout, check the guide clearances, measure the chambers, and put them on a flow bench?
    All I can say is buyer be ware.
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    Great read. I've had my eye on those for a while

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    Senior Member Jim W's Avatar
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    Steel,

    if you add to the $990 cost of the heads your time (including phone calls) and machine shop costs, what's the true cost of the $990 heads????
    Just wondering what you think you have into them?

    Jim
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    I was courious if someone has done this same thing with Pro Comps? I have read on a lot of threads that for less expence go with Patriot heads. There are a few of us running Pro Comps with good results! Just thought it might be the same,better,worst?? And as Steelcomp said don't buy the loaded heads! WT


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    steel have you ever tried a company called engine parts warhouse (epw) they are a good wholesale supply house for alum heads,blocks just about anything.

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    Good write up Steel.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim W View Post
    Steel,

    if you add to the $990 cost of the heads your time (including phone calls) and machine shop costs, what's the true cost of the $990 heads????
    Just wondering what you think you have into them?

    Jim
    A lot. Sent you a PM.
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    www.highflowdynamics.com LakesOnly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by steelcomp View Post
    Well, I just finished my "ordeal" with Patriot, and all I can say without a doubt you get what you pay for, which in the performance cylinder head world, for 990.00 bare, isn't much.

    I purchased the first pair of Partriot 320's through Competition Products, bare, in late May. When I opened the box, I wasn't sure what I was looking at, but I immediately had some questions. The first thing I saw was that the valve job was so deep, that the head of the valves were below the top of the seats on both the intake and ex. I'd say the valve job was at least .200" deeper than it needed to be. In my experience, this was in no way a good thing. Next thing I did was check the guide clearances. No surprise there, but there wasn't a guide with less than .002", and some were over .003". They were rough, bumpy, and certainly not straight or even in any way, shape or form. On that basis, I rejected the heads. I called Patriot and I talked to Gunnar and Chad both, and of course no one knew how the guides could possible get that big, and well, the valve job was that deep to, and I quote," get the installed height", but there didn't seem to be a problem with it from their standpoint. Their "5 angle" valve job was non-existent as well. The bowl blending in some ares came right to the bottom of the 45, but no where was there any more than one more angle below the 45, and what looked to be a 30 on top. At best it was a 3 angle, and in some places only two.
    I said I was returning the heads, and based on the guides alone they agreed, and I then ordered a set from them with guides and seats installed, but please, no machining. At this point I'm still going on the fact that these heads flow somewhere near what they advertised, and want to give them a chance. I know there was no way the heads I received were going to have any where near the advertised flow numbers with the valve job they had, but I thought if someone was to do a decent valve job, they might. The ports looked decent, and the casting quality was on par with the price. Of course this is costing valuable time and I have a customer on a deadline, so time is of the essence here. The second set of heads show up and the first thing I notice, again, is how deep the seats are installed in the heads. A valve job that only gets right to the top of the seat is still going to be sunk in the chamber requiring extra work to unshroud the valve. Oh well...it is what it is. Next I check the guides. OH MY GOSH...they're already out of spec. All over my min. and some as much as .0025. So much for installing and not touching them. I called Patriot and again, no one there knew how the guides could POSSIBLY get that big. Why, they don't even have a reamer that big in the shop! Now I'm a little tired of this, and after paying 170.00-some dollars for overnight shipping so I could get my customer up and running in time, the heads are not usable. Patriot did send me a new set of guides, so I had to wait on those to arrive, and then R&R the guides. I was finally back to where I was supposed to be a week prior, and finally got the guides sized and got the valve job done. Of course, the customer missed his deadline for having the engine, but that's another story. When I ordered the second set of heads, I was asked if I wanted the decks cut to size the chambers to 119cc, and I said yes. Check the chambers after finishing the valve job- 130cc's. Guess they forgot. More down time and cost to get them to the machine shop and have them milled.
    SO...heads done, bowls blended, nice crisp 5 angle intake, radiused ex, all ready to go. Now to the flow bench. Well, no surprise there, either. Even with getting the valve job as high in the chamber as I could, using a very generous radius on the tops to unshroud the valves, and blending the chambers and bowls accordingly, I couldn't come close to their advertised low lift numbers. WUpper lift numbers were OK...with a 2.300" intake, I was able to get 390cfm @ .700 on the good port, but it fell on it's face at .800" back to 378 and got real turbulent with the swirl jumping to 3100. The bad port was another story. It only made it to [email protected] .700", and did the same thing, falling on it's face to 345cfm @.800" with the swirl going to 3800. Neither of these ports likes .800 lift, so I can see why Patriot only shows flow numbers to .700. The ex wasn't as bad on top. I was able to get 287 @ .800 with a pipe, but the low lift numbers still weren't close to Patriot's. Now in their defense, Gunnar did tell me they used a back cut intake on their flow test, and I didn't, so I'm guessing the low lift will pick up some after that change. On the exhaust, I worked the throat and radius under the 45, and laid back the chamber some more to unshroud the valve and it did pick up some. Still, the best I could get at that point wasn't what they were advertising. I think with both ports, having the valve job as deep in the chamber to start with is the main downfall AFA low lift numbers. Obviously raising the valve job helped the ex on top, but the low lift still suffers. The spread between the left and right intake ports is bothersome, and the fact that they fall off at .800 is also. This shows some fundamental design flaws in the port. Maybe a guy could spend a day on them and fix that...maybe not. It's easier to find an improvement somewhere in an ex port, but not always so easy on the intakes, especially left vs. right.
    One other thing...rocker geometry. On a std. deck Gen6 block, I came up with pushrods longer than any other conventional BB head I've ever done. I use the Mid Lift method to determine pushrod length, and on the intakes I came up with 8.93", and the ex pushrods need to be 9.78". I don't know what the deal is, but there's something strange going on there. Part of it is the valve depth, but that might be .100" at the pushrod if corrected. The roller is pushed quite far out on the valve tip @ mid lift which says there are some issues with the lay out of the head. I'm also only at 1.900 installed height, and I know Patriot was advertising 2.00" installed height. Why they would want that, I don't know.

    So, there's my experience with Patriot. I'm not passing judgement nor am I going to "rate" the heads or the company. They were always polite and answered all my questions, and were willing to work with me on the problems. I'm not sure that the right hand knows what the left hand is doing there, but honestly, the cylinder head business is a tough one. For $990.00 for a bare set of heads, like I said, you get what you pay for, although I'm not sure it's what you expect. I think in the end these heads are going to work fine, and give good performance and reliability. These aren't Canfields or Darts or anything comparable, but if that's what you're expecting, I'd say that's unrealistic. I also know from my own experience, I won't buy an assembled set of heads from anyone, and even bare heads need to be carefully inspected. Patriot claims they've had no complaints from any of their customers on any of these issues I've raised, but 1) what else are they going to say, and 2) how many guys actually inspect their heads, look at the valve jobs, check the runout, check the guide clearances, measure the chambers, and put them on a flow bench?
    All I can say is buyer be ware.
    And I trust you weren't one bit surprised at this experience with the offshore cheapo heads, were you? What I'm wondering is: why did you put yourself through all the frustration?

    That poor customer could have done so much better with his spending had he allowed you to steer him toward a better set of heads in the first place. It's dissapointing how many people think only with their wallets and then end up spending so much more to end up with so much less.

    LO
    Last edited by LakesOnly; 07-27-2009 at 08:43 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by LakesOnly View Post
    And I trust you weren't one bit surprised at this experience with the offshore cheapo heads, were you? What I'm wondering is: why did you put yourself through all the frustration?

    That poor customer could have done so much better with his spending had he allowed you to steer him toward a better set of heads in the first place. It's dissapointing how many people think only with their wallets and then end up spending so much more to end up with so much less.

    LO
    The thing is, you don't know what the arrangement between myself and the customer was. This was basically my experiment. The customer covered the basic cost of building the heads, and I guaranteed they'd be up to par with our project. The heads appeared to have some real potential, so I thought it would be worth exploring. Was I surprised? No. Was it a waste of time? Not in the least.
    I've offered factual information on these heads, not an opinion, which is what 99% of the info floating around out there is. Take it for what it is. It's all free to you.
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    gn7
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    I had already heard Steel's tiraid in person on the phone when I called to ask about setting up a set of these for a one time use motor. There had been some decent write ups about these heads and called to get his opinion. You can never trust the mags for the truth, they are biased due ad money and lack of time to do any real testing. The problem here isn't neccesarily a problem with the heads themselves. Althought the flow issue is a designed in problem, I don't see in Steel's post where that was the major issue. And they wouldn't be the first head manuf. to over inflate their flow numbers. The problem lays with the company. Those heads are finished and machined here. And the problem with them is in the finish machining and prep. It would seem that they are playing the same game Detroit played back in the '60s when the manuf. would specially prep a new muscle car for the mags so that it performed better than anything you could buy. The potential was there, you just had to drag it out. Here the prototypes the mags got where most likely pain stakingly hand finished to insure good reviews. There is no excuse for this from a part manuf. other that cutting corners to save $. Bottom line is, it's too bad that a part that has some potential and could possibly help the low budget non-racer, falls to the greed, ignorance or lack of concern the way these heads have. Hate to say this, but you really can't blame the CHINESE for this one. The problems Steel had, mostly lie here.



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    Quote Originally Posted by gn7 View Post
    I had already heard Steel's tiraid in person on the phone when I called to ask about setting up a set of these for a one time use motor. There had been some decent write ups about these heads and called to get his opinion. You can never trust the mags for the truth, they are biased due ad money and lack of time to do any real testing. The problem here isn't neccesarily a problem with the heads themselves. Althought the flow issue is a designed in problem, I don't see in Steel's post where that was the major issue. And they wouldn't be the first head manuf. to over inflate their flow numbers. The problem lays with the company. Those heads are finished and machined here. And the problem with them is in the finish machining and prep. It would seem that they are playing the same game Detroit played back in the '60s when the manuf. would specially prep a new muscle car for the mags so that it performed better than anything you could buy. The potential was there, you just had to drag it out. Here the prototypes the mags got where most likely pain stakingly hand finished to insure good reviews. There is no excuse for this from a part manuf. other that cutting corners to save $. Bottom line is, it's too bad that a part that has some potential and could possibly help the low budget non-racer, falls to the greed, ignorance or lack of concern the way these heads have. Hate to say this, but you really can't blame the CHINESE for this one. The problems Steel had, mostly lie here.
    I agree. At one point ( I don't remember who said it, either Butch from Comp Products or one of the guys at Patriot) someone actually said to me in defense of the poor workmanship, "well your customer decided to buy the cheapest set of heads on the market". I couldn't believe my ears- as if that made it OK that the guides were .0025-,003" on new heads. I told him that was BS...it doesn't cost any more to do it right than it dies to do it wrong. Then I thought...sure it does. Shove a reamer through a guide, and hire a 12.00/hr guy to do it, and that's what you get. Carefully ream and hone a guide to size- that takes honing and measuring equipment and someone that knows what they're doing. Like I said before, even if you have the equipment and it's part of your program, your product is only as good as the worst guy in the shop. The second set of heads were supposed to have no machine work done to the seats and guides, yet, someone managed to run a reamer through the guides before they left.
    As I understand it, the guys at Patriot who really understood cyl heads are no longer there. There are other details about the mfg of these heads that are problematic, but I covered the basics.
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    Senior Member Jim W's Avatar
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    As I told Steel in a P/M,

    You can't make chicken soup out of chicken shit.

    Jim
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    Do you guys ever read anything I post, or just go straight for the throat?


    Got it wet on 6/15/10-------->finally......



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    ...and that is why there is noone else in my shop.

    That said, I wouldn't buy anything made offshore based solely on price.

    This is just another part that people will buy with the notion of "American made" parts are just too expensive.

    Brian
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    gn7
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    I totally agree, but when the final machining is done here, and it still sucks, it goes to show you that we are just as capable of building crap. I think the real problem here is that the huge number of people will buy something, really never give much thought about tolerances, clearances etc, etc., bolt them on, and the thing runs. Maybe even make a little more power. And they are happy as hell. So the company sells the hell out of the things and doesn't have to change squat about the way they are doing things or quality control. I would like to think that the companies here are doing better than that. Quality control can suffer here just as much as anywhere else. Need I remind you of the US car industry of the 70's & 80s? The whole thing is kind of sad.



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