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  1. #1
    Silver Member wjb-49's Avatar
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    Sep 2009
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    Lawsonville, North Carolina
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    Ford 340B, Ford 4610

    Default Is Headland Piston Better Than Standard Piston??

    In working on my Ford 4610 today (Reference this thread) we found that it has Headland pistons rather than Standard pistons. A ring kit for Headland pistons costs almost three times the cost of standard ring kits - a kit is for only one piston.

    The technician told me a new standard piston with rings would cost less than only the Headland rings.

    That brings me to two questions:


    1. Are the different types of pistons interchangeable?
    2. Is the quality\performance of the Headland pistons worth the extra expense?


    Thanks for any thoughts or experiences.

  2. #2
    Gold Member
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    Oct 2003
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    465
    Location
    Northern California
    Tractor
    New Holland TN70S

    Default Re: Is Headland Piston Better Than Standard Piston??

    I'm not a diesel mechanic, but I've rebuilt enough gas engines to have learned my lesson around mixing and matching pistons and other parts in the rotating assembly... Unless the replacement piston is exactly the same weight and size as the one that's busted, it's better to either stick with what's in there, or just replace all of them as a set. Same goes for the rings. The last thing you need is to have pulled the rod and piston, and then have to re-do the whole thing six months or a year later when the vibration or piston slap tears things up.

  3. #3
    Silver Member wjb-49's Avatar
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    Sep 2009
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    Lawsonville, North Carolina
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    Ford 340B, Ford 4610

    Default Re: Is Headland Piston Better Than Standard Piston?? . . . Update.

    Well . . . After what I learned today this has become a moot question. A local Ford/New Holland parts dept. associate told me that Headland pistons were discontinued by New Holland. I ordered standard pistons and rings and they should arrive tomorrow morning.

    I will update my original thread (see above) with a report on how they improve how my tractor runs.

    mahlers, Thanks for the good advice!

  4. #4
    Veteran Member whodat526's Avatar
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    deridder louisiana
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    fords

    Default Re: Is Headland Piston Better Than Standard Piston?? . . . Update.

    that is the way to go get as far away from the headland pistons as possible

  5. #5
    Silver Member wjb-49's Avatar
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    Sep 2009
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    Lawsonville, North Carolina
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    Ford 340B, Ford 4610

    Default Re: Is Headland Piston Better Than Standard Piston?? . . . Update.

    Quote Originally Posted by whodat526 View Post
    that is the way to go get as far away from the headland pistons as possible
    Do they cause more problems than standard pistons? The guy at Ford/New Holland parts dept. said they were originally thought to be better than standard ones.

  6. #6
    Gold Member
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    Jan 2012
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    California
    Tractor
    Ford 7710, Ford 550, Ford 1910, Ford 4430, KD Forklift, Ford LGT17H, New Holland L255 Skidsteer

    Default Re: Is Headland Piston Better Than Standard Piston?? . . . Update.

    Headland pistons used originally in Ford tractors (like your 4610) were great for performance...until they blew up. The process used to attach the headland to the top of the piston fatigued and the top of the piston crumbled causing lots of damage. The bonding method was improved and lasted quite awhile longer. The problem with all of the headland styles was that the top ring was more sensitive to dirt and therefore would fail more often than standard piston/rings. Of course, maintenance has something to be factored in to any engine failure due to dirt.

    Ford was trying to squeeze as much HP out of their engines as possible and headlands were actually used with a turbocharger to achieve phenomenal performance in certain models.

  7. #7
    Silver Member wjb-49's Avatar
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    Sep 2009
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    Lawsonville, North Carolina
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    Ford 340B, Ford 4610

    Default Re: Is Headland Piston Better Than Standard Piston?? . . . Update.

    Quote Originally Posted by TractorTech View Post
    Headland pistons used originally in Ford tractors (like your 4610) were great for performance...until they blew up. The process used to attach the headland to the top of the piston fatigued and the top of the piston crumbled causing lots of damage. The bonding method was improved and lasted quite awhile longer. The problem with all of the headland styles was that the top ring was more sensitive to dirt and therefore would fail more often than standard piston/rings. Of course, maintenance has something to be factored in to any engine failure due to dirt.

    Ford was trying to squeeze as much HP out of their engines as possible and headlands were actually used with a turbocharger to achieve phenomenal performance in certain models.
    Thanks for the Headland piston history - that explains why they were discontinued. I will pass this along to my technician, who said he had rebuilt a number of 4610s and had not seen the Headland pistons before. I am always amazed and grateful for the extensive knowledge of TBN members!

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