440 head question


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Jul 17, 2021
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I finally got around to pulling the 440 partially apart that’s been sitting on my engine stand while I’ve been working on my 1940 1/2 ton.
Happily it appears the engine was professionally rebuilt and bored out, and has low miles on it since. I pulled the drivers side head off first, and changed the valve seals, gave them a quick lap and confirmed the valve guides are good, which they are.
I noticed on the bottom of the head there is a large R cast into it which made me think that it stands for Right. I haven’t removed the passenger side head yet which If they are sided would have an L.

It’s been a few years since I’ve worked on a big block; are the heads sided and marked L and R? If so I guess it means that means that when the engine was rebuilt they put the heads on backwards, since the one marked R is on the drivers side of the engine.

So my questions are, are the heads sided, and if so, what would be the issues with having them reversed?
Not sure what the R is for, but no the heads are not side specific. They can go on either side.
Excellent, thanks. Just wanted to confirm in case I needed to swap them from side to side.
Another engine question since I’m on a roll.
What type of paint would have been factory correct for a 440 air cleaner? Someone has badly over painted mine with gloss black. Not sure if a matte finish, or wrinkle finish would be correct for 1970?
The heads aren't side specific, but be sure the left head has the tapped holes for the alternator when mounting them on the engine.

They usually do, but just be sure.
The castings are the same. But there are two things to consider.

The rocker shaft oils through the #4 cam bearing. The heads have an oil passage on both ends so they can go on either side. If you reverse the heads they will be oiling through the other passage and it may be blocked. Did that once and it was tricky to figure out why the rockers were dry.

next is the factory sometimes use longer exhaust studs in the left front of the engine, seen on 1967 and 1968. So watch the stud lengths.

as mentioned the holes in the ends for the alt brackets, if you swap heads, the holes may be filled up with grit and oil and bolts may not go in very well.