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I have several sets of heads that are pre-unleaded heads. Has anybody out there had their valve seats replaced with hardened seats? If so, how much did it cost and do you think it was worth it? Thanks!

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Mark; I looked into this a while back. Machinist was a friend but the price was probably standard. Seats were about 60 dollars, install another 60 and a 3 angle valve job with machined guides and teflon seals for another 80. 200 bucks total.
I thought about this pretty serious but figured that I'd rather put in the extra money and go with a set of aluminum heads someday. My 186 heads had pretty good seats anyway so I just seated the valves and ran as is for now. If your heads have pitted seats or valves, or you see the seat area recessed the heads are due for seat replacement. tom
 

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Tom3's pricing sounds abouot right. However (you knew it was coming, huh?), I have run stock valve seats for very high miles (over 100K) with nothing but a good valve job, and have had no problems.

My mentor on head repair, who is an oldtimer, said that the original seats are solid with the casting and will dissipate heat better than anything you are going to press in. As long as the installed height is okay-the valve is not too low in the seat-I'd say run them. If they do die on you it won't cost any more later to replace the seats, and you may get lots of troublefree miles (I have). If you're going for max performance, can them and buy aluminum heads anyway. But for up to 10.0:1 compression with pump fuel the stockers should be fine.

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