Texas-Speed Redesigns LS Cylinder Heads With Massive Power In Mind

These days, with the ever shifting landscape of perpetually increasing horsepower, the time where a company could rest on its laurels is gone. At this point, it’s either innovate, try to keep up, or get out. Few companies understand this better than Texas-Speed & Performance (TSP). Since opening its doors in 2003, TSP has grown into one of the largest high performance parts retailers in the country. And thanks to constant innovation, they look to be around for a long time to come.

Luckily for us, some of that innovation was recently poured into TSP’s Precision Race Component (PRC) LS heads. But what does that mean exactly? For the answer, we turned to Jason Mangum and Trevor Doelling, co-owners of Texas-Speed, for the answers.

“The real reason we decided to revise our cylinder heads is because 1,000+ horsepower combinations are much more prevalent than they used to be,” Mangum said. “We wanted to make some revision to them to add strength in key areas and to revisit where the cooling system was actually routed in the head and get it where we wanted it.”

Mangum added that the heads now have a much more robust deck that allow the heads to handle much high cylinder pressures without so much as a hint of deformation. The head’s coolant passages now align with the cylinder head gasket passages and nothing more. This adds a lot of strength and rigidity to the castings when compared with their OEM counterparts by adding increased deck surface.

The exhaust flanges were also retouched in order to provide better flow and sealing. Mangum tells us that you wouldn’t even recognize one of the new castings if you set it side by side with older models. Whether it flows air or water, every passage on the new castings has been optimized to handle 1,500+ horsepower.

“It’s easy to keep the 1,000-horsepower guys rockin’ and rollin’—it seems like everyone is at 1,000 horse,” Mangum explained. “But now we need to really handle things for the 1,500-horsepower-and-up guys. We put sets of these heads in the worst possible conditions we could and learned how to allow them to take the abuse.”

Not only did Texas-Speed improve their castings, they’ve also improved what features they come with standard as well. Mangum tells us that every set of CNC’d cathedral-port and rectangle-port heads come with hollow stem intake valves standard. They’re also available in all stainless steel setups as well.

With improvements like this, you’d be forgiven for expecting a corresponding increase in cost. But that’s where you’d be wrong. Texas-Speed has made all of these improvements at no additional cost. They simply want to support their customers, no matter their power goals.

However, if you’re looking to improve on the already capable heads abilities, they now offer a hot isostatic pressing, or HIP, process which actually decreases the aluminum’s porosity and even causes the metal powders, which the heads are made of, to be turned into compact solids—in essence making them denser, which allows the heads to use less material while increasing their strength. This process ensure that these castings are some of the most durable heads on the market.

“For the big-horsepower guys, the HIP process is well worth it,” Mangum said. “We charge a couple hundred for the process, but that literally just covers the cost of having the heads treated. In the end, we don’t really make anything on the process, we just want to be able to offer customers the best possible product. It’s not for everyone, not everyone needs it, but for those guys that are building racecars and want the best of the best, we want to support those guys.”

Doelling tells us that, when combined with Texas-Speed’s new style of head gaskets, the pair can take a lot of abuse. The gasket is made from graphite material, but the metal cylinder ring in the gasket actually has “teeth” on one side of it that actually bite into the head as they are torqued into place.

And when we say bite, we mean it. When the engine is taken back apart, the heads will have to be milled to remove the bite marks if you decide to go with a different gasket. While this might present a few challenges, Doelling says the improved sealing capabilities of the gaskets far out weight the costs.

“It’s a happy medium between O-ringed cylinder heads and a standard cylinder head gasket,” Doelling said. “O-rings can be difficult to live with, so this is somewhat of a compromise. The gaskets are reusable, so you just buy a new graphite part of the gasket and reuse the “teeth” part. The only down side is you will have to skim the head to get the marks out, but the upside is that you’ll most likely be removing the heads a lot less.”

“The only guys that are going to have a problem with them at all are the guys that are going to blow up almost anything,” Mangum added. “But for most people, it will just give them a larger window to turn it up. Obviously, they aren’t for everyone, and they’re not the cheapest out there, but for someone who really needs a gasket that is going to hold the power, this is it.”

And if you’re hoping to find the gaskets elsewhere, you won’t. Texas-Speed is the only vendor in the U.S. that carries them.

So, if you’re in the market for a set of cylinder, and gaskets, that can realistically take as much abuse as you can throw at them, then look no further than Texas-Speed. We’ll take ours in cathedral port please.

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About the author

Chase Christensen

Chase Christensen hails from Salt Lake City, and grew up around high-performance GM vehicles. He took possession of his very first F-body— an ’86 Trans Am— at the age of 13 and has been wrenching ever since.
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