Jon Kaase Race Engines' P-38 Cylinder Heads - Playing Head Games
What makes this cylinder head unique is its departure from the in-line valve design to a true canted-valve configuration
From the September, 2012 issue of Muscle Mustangs & Fast Fords
By Pete Epple
Photography by Pete Epple
New cylinder head designs are not something you see everyday. Even when something new does come out, it's normally adapted from something else, be it a race head or a more exotic engine. The trickle down from race-inspired engine parts has revolutionized the Mustang aftermarket, but as far as cylinder-head designs, few have strayed from the basic in-line valve configuration.
Jon Kaase Racing Engines has released its P-38 aluminum cylinder head ($2,550) for the small-block Ford segment of the Mustang and Ford aftermarket. What makes this cylinder head unique is its departure from the in-line valve design to a true canted-valve configuration. As each valve opens in a canted-valve configuration, it not only moves off the seat and straight down the cylinder, but towards the center of the cylinder bore. This unshrouding of the valves allows for increased flow and improved filling and evacuation of the cylinders.
"The canted valves open away from the cylinder wall," explains Jon Kaase, owner of Jon Kaase Racing Engines. "This allows for a freer flow of intake and exhaust gasses around the edge of the valves, as the valves are less shrouded by the cylinder walls. The benefits are mostly seen at high-lift (0.700-0.750-inch), but there is an improvement at low-lift as well. Because of the valve location (distance from the cylinder wall at low- and high-lift), the P-38 heads work very well on both a standard-bore 302 and a larger-bore engine, like a 427."
Inside the head, you'll find large-diameter intake and exhaust valves (2.10-/1.60-inch), a deep intake valve bowl, and sweeping short turns in the ports, which help improve port velocity. A large amount of the cross- sectional area in the ports is comparable to the Roush Yates NASCAR cylinder heads, which routinely crank out 850 hp. The P-38s are also equipped with bolt holes for large and small headers. These heads will work on any small-block Ford engine, without modifications and very few specialized parts. The heads were designed with the intake and exhaust ports in the stock location, so any SBF intake manifold and header will bolt up.
Due to the location of the rocker arms in the canted configuration, Kaase had to change the mounting location of the valve cover bolt holes, so only Kaase P-38 valve covers (included with the cylinder heads) will fit. Under the valve covers lies the only other part specific to the P-38 heads--the rocker arms. Due to the shaft width of most rocker arms, Crane rockers are the only arms found to fit with no clearance issues. You can use rocker arms from other manufacturers, but due to the shaft width, grinding will be necessary.
If you're looking for a unique set of aluminum cylinder heads, capable of supporting big power, check out the P-38 heads from Jon Kaase Racing Engines.
1 Jon Kaase Racing Engines'...
1 Jon Kaase Racing Engines' P-38 aluminum cylinder heads have canted valves that works on any 302 or 351 small-block Ford engine. It is designed to work with any intake manifold and header, so it can easily be added to any configuration.
2 The P-38s come with 2.100-...
2 The P-38s come with 2.100- and 1.600-inch valves. The chambers come CNC-ported, but you have the option of CNC-ported intake and exhaust ports if needed.
3 The large intake ports...
3 The large intake ports (240cc) flow enough air to support 500 hp on a stock 302. We tested the combination on Kaase's SuperFlow engine dyno, and the results were impressive.
Cylinder Head Specifications
|Chamber Volume (CNC Machined)
|Intake Runner Volume
|Exhaust Runner Volume
|Intake Valve Diameter
|Exhaust Valve Diameter
|Intake Valve Length
|Exhaust Valve Length
|Intake Valve Angle
|Intake Valve Cant
|Exhaust Valve Angle
|Exhaust Valve Cant
|Valve Spring Diameter
P-38 Flow Numbers
SuperFlow SF-1020 Pro Bench – 28-inches
|Lift (Inches)||Intake (CFM)||Exhaust (CFM)|
|Lift (Inches)||Intake (CFM)||Exhaust (CFM)|
|0.750|| 355 ||241|
4 The non-CNC-ported versions...
4 The non-CNC-ported versions have great flow numbers. A large part of this is due to the canted valve configuration. As the valves open, they move away from the cylinder walls, allowing more air to flow around the edge of the valve.
5a The cast and CNC version...
5a The cast and CNC version both flow well above 300 cfm at 0.600-inch lift...
5b ...but Kaase tells us porting...
5b...but Kaase tells us porting really isn't necessary.
6 Due to the canted valve...
6 Due to the canted valve configuration, rocker arm fitment is limited. Crane Cams' gold rockers fit without modifications. Other rockers can be used, but due to shaft width, most will need to be ground down for clearance.
7a For our dyno test, the...
7a For our dyno test, the stock short-block 302 was outfitted with the Crane rocker arms and lifters seen here.
7b We also used a 750-cfm...
7b We also used a 750-cfm Demon carb and an Edelbrock Super Victor intake manifold.
For our test, Chuck Lawrence loaded a stock short-block 302ci engine onto the SuperFlow SF-901 engine dyno. The rotating assembly was completely stock, and this short-block has served as a test mule for close to 15 years. Amazingly, this engine has seen large amounts of nitrous oxide, boost, and lots of rpm, as evident in the runs we made. The 302 has 9.01:1 compression, and is equipped with a mild hydraulic-roller camshaft, P-38 cylinder heads, and Crane lifters and rocker arms. The induction system was a 750-cfm Demon carb atop an Edelbrock Super Victor intake manifold, which is overkill for the application.
To show the other side of the spectrum, Kaase built a 427ci Dart-block-based engine. The big-inch small-block was topped with a set of the P-38 cylinder heads, Crane rockers arms and lifters, a Comp hydraulic roller camshaft, Edelbrock Super Victor intake manifold, and a 950-cfm carb.
8 Kaase's dyno room is equipped...
8 Kaase's dyno room is equipped with a SuperFlow SF-901 engine dyno. Engine builder and racer Chuck Lawrence loaded up the engine and ran the controls for us.
9 Since this engine had run...
9 Since this engine had run in this configuration before, setup was quick and easy. Lawrence made some changes to timing and fuel pressure, and we were on our way.
10 After warming up the engine,...
10 After warming up the engine, Lawrence checked and adjusted the valve lash before giving it the beans. Valve lash was set to 0.024-inch on both the intake and exhaust valves.
11 Your author is a big fan...
11 Your author is a big fan of high-rpm, and 7,600 rpm sounded awesome, even though we all cringed as the stock short-block began to twist. The end result was 498 hp at 7,600 rpm. Torque checked in at 381 lb-ft at 5,900. We think an intake manifold more suited for the combination will yield more torque at a more useable rpm.
Being in Kaase's shop is like...
Being in Kaase's shop is like being a kid in a candy store--except the candy here is way more expensive!