Porting cylinder heads is a blend of art and science, allowing more fuel and air into an engine's combustion chambers, and more exhaust gasses to exit, for a net increase of power and efficiency. And while maximizing the potential of a certain cylinder head requires experience, a flow bench, and likely a sonic tester, mild port work can be accomplished by the average mechanic if certain precautions are taken. We're not talking about performing an all-out race port job, but by removing a bit of material in certain key areas, the head's efficiency can be greatly enhanced.

This month we'll show you how spending a little time with a die-grinder and carbide burr can improve head flow and save you from paying someone else to port the heads for you. By matching the size and shape of the port to the appropriate intake or exhaust gasket, you can correct casting imperfections and smooth the transition of air from the manifold to the head. The bowl area of the cylinder head under the valve is also generally cast with extra material and imperfections, so cleaning the bowls is also time well spent. And finally, taking material out of the pushrod pinch area will improve intake flow without risking water jacket intrusion.