Chevy 882 Heads (Are They Still Any Good?)

Chevy 882 heads, are they still any good? Why are they still popular? Let’s find out!

Any engine builder you speak to will tell you the same thing. The cylinder head is the main thing that can make or break an engine build.

That is why a good cylinder head is so important. But how can you tell if a head is good or not? Unless it is actually fitted to an engine and is tested, how can you know?

Today we are looking into Chevy 882 Heads and asking, “are they any good?”. The 882 Chevy heads were initially released in the mid to late 1970s.

At the time, the 882 head was installed on most engines designed for road use that Chevy built. Even today, the 882 iron head is very popular.

But why exactly is a cylinder head released in the 1970s still so popular today? Are they actually that good?

What are Chevy 882 Heads?

What are Chevy 882 Heads?

Chevy 882 heads are cast iron cylinder heads that were installed on small-block Chevrolet engines between 1974 and 1980. The cylinder head was fitted to 350ci and 400ci engines during this time.

The 400CI engines can be recognized by the steam holes. They have 76cc combustion chambers and 1.94 valves. The casting number of this Chevrolet cylinder head is 333882.

Chevrolet small-block engines are a range of V8 gas-powered engines produced by Chevrolet between 1954 and 2003.

Chevrolet 882 Head Performance

The initial cast iron 882 heads had a double heat riser passage. As the 350ci and 400ci engines run so hot, and the casting is so thin, this makes them very prone to cracking along the valve seats.

General Motors made some important improvements to the cylinder heads during the first couple of years.

They offered a much better quality product by the third year of production. Unfortunately, when purchasing these heads, it isn’t easy to know which year they are without stripping the engine.

These heads have never been considered high-performance heads. They are considered to be more intermediate-performance and mainly for street use.

However, that is not to say they are not widely used in amateur racing. But most racers consider that there are better options, usually aluminum cylinder heads.

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Why do people still use Chevy 882 heads?

It seems to be the widespread consensus that these heads are no good. They are underpowered and very prone to cracking due to running temperatures.

If you have a Chevy 882 head and decide to increase its performance, the cost of modifications and new parts will likely be more than buying a new performance cylinder head.

So now we know why they are not recommended. But why do people still use them? Well, the answer to that comes down to their price.

They are relatively inexpensive and very easy to come by. They are the perfect option for people looking to build a cheap engine for road use.

How to identify Chevy’s heads

Chevy heads can generally be recognized by their different casting identifiers. These identifiers are shapes that can usually be found on the ends of the heads.

Although they do not give specific information, they do identify the model and whether they are performance or non-performance cylinder heads.

Another way to identify Chevy’s heads is to read the casting numbers, which can be found under the valve covers near the valve spring seats.

Directly under this casting number, there is a stamped casting date. These numbers can then be entered into the database to identify the exact model.

How to buy a good quality used cylinder head

How to buy a good quality used cylinder head

As we mentioned, the cylinder head is one of the most critical engine parts. It is also one of the parts that can inflict the most damage on the engine if it fails.

If you are looking to purchase a used cylinder head, you first need to decide whether you want it to be cast iron or aluminum. A cast iron head will go with a cast iron engine block, and aluminum goes with aluminum.

This is because metals expand and contract in the heat, and different metals expand and contract at different rates.

Do we recommend using the 882 Chevy head?

If you already own Chevy 882 or you are considering getting some, there are a few things to consider first. These heads should be fine if you have a low budget or do not want to spend much money.

For general everyday street use, most people will never have an issue with these heads. If you are considering buying these cylinder heads, ensure that you buy an unmodified factory standard set.

Any modifications, such as porting these already thin castings, will add extra weakness you don’t need.

If you are an amateur racer or you are participating in some kind of stock V8 racing, you could do worse than these cylinder heads.

Just ensure that you do not race regularly, you keep them as standard, and you do not introduce any extra heat, such as with the use of nitrous oxide.

If you have a little more budget or plan to modify the 882 Chevy heads, we recommend getting something else.

A set of camel humps or Vortec cylinder heads will not cost you any more than modifying the 882 heads, and you will see a considerable increase in performance and reliability.


We hope this article has helped you decide whether or not to use Chevy 882 cylinder heads. For the most part, if you are not involved in regular racing and are not looking for anything very high-performance, these cylinder heads should be fine.

If you are planning a modified engine build or you are looking for something for regular racing, we recommend you look elsewhere.

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