So it's time to install the heads. I've locked up the oil pan and bottom end at this point, and the heads were completing disassembled and reassembled by HillbillyRacing.net. The surface of the engine block must be clean of any imperfections, previous gasket, etc. before installing the heads.
Once both surfaces are prepped and ready, place your gasket with the correct surface facing down/up on the block. Test fit the head and make sure there are no obstructions or issues with the fitment. There are a couple of spaces or circle pieces of metal inserted into the heads (or block depending on which end they stayed in) that will help line up the head and hold it in place. I created a couple of alignment studs, which work great for this type of thing. Simply find a correct size bolt to fit the block that will be long enough to remove once the head is on, and cut the head off. Use a grinder to corner of each edge and smooth it out. Put a groove large enough to fit a flathead screwdriver and this will allow you to remove the stud after install of the head. This works WONDERS for installing intake manifolds as well.
Here is a pic of the studs sticking out of the lower head bolt holes. Simply lower your heads onto the studs, and it will slide perfectly down onto the gasket w/o any alignment issues or damage to the gasket.
Later model FORD 302 engines require a new set of head bolts. You can read ALL over the internet about whether these are 100% necessary, but the general concensus is they should be replaced after each use since they are TORQUE TO YIELD, meaning you torque to a certain spec, then give it a 90 degree turn, further stretching the bolt to its final torque setting. I read about some people reusing these 2-3 times max, but I decided to go with new bolts. They were around $40 for both heads. For my application, they were Fel Pro Head Bolt Set Part #ES72155. Two sets needed and they have the pre-applied sealant to the shorter bolts which are the lower bolts. There is one stud (see below with RED sealant) that was placed on the drivers side lower rear bolt location, and holds an engine bracket of some type - at least this is what my un-assembled engine photos showed me.
Oil the bolt threads that do not have sealant on them, oil a bit under the head of the bolt, and install in each hole. Finger tight and then get ready to torque. The torque sequence is essentially starting in the middle top bolt, and working your way up/down/left/right to the outside. See the picture below for the actual torque specs to a FORD 302 (5.0) head bolt assembly sequence:
FORD 302 (Late Model) Head Torque Setting / Sequence is:
Tighten to 40 Nm (30 ft. lbs) around sequence
Tighten to 68 Nm (50 ft. lbs) around sequence
Tighten an additional 90 degrees
Once you're done tightening, everything should be done. Your heads are now installed. Clean dirt and objects (nuts and bolts you drop?!) out of the engine, because your heads are locked on unless you want to get another gasket set and head bolt set.