Thx Dave, I remember reading something about the smaller valves being for more low end torque, and the larger valves helping flow, thus working better at high RPM when air is flowing at a much higher rate. I had no idea about the intake manifold port size though. Your explanation of the "mixture velocity" needing to be faster is something I didn't know and helps me a ton!
When I bought my toploader I told the guy I was putting it on a 390. He just happened to be a retired county guy that maintained police cars for Albuquerque way back when. He remembered he had these heads that were rebuilt just sitting on a shelf and asked if I wanted them for a couple of hundred bucks. Anyway, I'm using them for now, hopefully I can get away with a lead additive in my gas for a 1,000 miles, and then replace them in about 5 years (when I retire). At that time I will have tons of free time to do a proper build of this motor.
The engine noise I had explained on a different post DID turn out to be a blown head gasket. I'll be checking my block deck where it blew to make sure it's flat and true, and I'll be sure to follow the installation and torquing sequence described in my book by Barry Rabotnick very thoroughly. Oh, and my rocker assembly's have different shafts, more signs that the motor has already been gone through before. The oil passages are different, they were very clear though - that's a good sign. The push rods and rocker arms all look to be in great shape and show no signs of wear on the contact surfaces. I'm taking tons of pictures as you told me before. I took this week off work so I'm getting a lot done. The trick is going to be figuring out the "Z bar" and related hardware. I found one on Ebay from a 58-59 Fairlane, Ranchero, Skyliner that looks identical to the parts I have a picture of. I could REALLY use some pictures of under the hood on this 59 T-bird to see how they go in and where they all mount.
You had said to use the brass block plugs. I'm also going to get a larger oil pump shaft - can you tell me where on line I might find them? Rockauto and our local Autozone don't sell them.
As always, thank you for your help and advice!
- Dave J