Aluminum Buick Nailheads

Discussion in ''Da Nailhead' started by Mr62Wildcat, Jul 7, 2019.

  1. Mr62Wildcat

    Mr62Wildcat Well-Known Member

    Well, it's been a few years in the process of getting these made up. 3D CAD drawing, now I am in the process of having a 3d Printed head!

    The valves I chose are 1.94 Chevy intake and 1.5 exhaust. They fit like a glove! Instead of the 3/8 valve guides as OE Buick, I am having 11/32 Chevy bronze valve guides installed. I am also going to use SBC valve springs, keepers, and seats cut to fit the springs. With the dual cut keepers, I feel better rest assured instead of the single cut keepers Buick had as OE. This way the parts are so much easier to obtain! Then you can dial in your own heads. If you have a race cam and you need higher spring pressure, then you can buy them!

    I seen a set of heads built in the 60's that had roller cam lifters custom "at home" made and they looked intriguing. I know the roller lifters are out there, so maybe this would be the full package left to be made? Even the little things like brass plugs, brass freeze plugs and so on would make the heads took great. Plus as an added, all of the bolt holes would be heli-coiled for clean threads!

    Hardened seats with extra casting around the intake ports (so I can go deeper into the head without getting into other parts I shouldn't.

    I am contemplating using Chevy valve lifters with "oiling" pushrods and getting rid of the entire rocker shaft assy. Custom rockers, and much more to make this a bolt on experience!

    I have a few sets of the original steel gaskets GM used and I may either choose these, or have some custom ones made....

    Either way, these will be an easy install and noticable improvement on weight and performance.

    Didn't Marty say he was going to make a single or a dual plane aluminum intake?? what ever happened to that fiasco??

    If anyone has any ideas, please share.
    Julian, gs66 and 1972Mach1 like this.
  2. gsgtx

    gsgtx Silver Level contributor

    i have running 1.94 and 1.5 11/32 valves for 8 years now that's the way to go. we used beehive springs. have been oiling through the push rods with chevy lifters too. i think thats the way to go. i would try to use rocker shafts of some kind if not stock ones. we are going to need a better flowing intake to keep up with your heads
  3. Schurkey

    Schurkey Silver Level contributor

    3D printed...out of WHAT?
    GranSportSedan likes this.
  4. PGSS

    PGSS Well-Known Member

    I'm confused too??
    A whole new aluminum head thats a direct copy of the factory iron?
    From what iv'e read there's alot of don't's on Nail head heads, as far as cutting valve spring pockets, installing hardened seats as it will cut into the water jacket etc..
    Yes its for the original steel heads but if your making a direct copy in aluminum, its still the same design isn't it?
    Will the extra thick casting in the valve seat are work?
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2019
    GranSportSedan likes this.
  5. Stevem

    Stevem Well-Known Member

    If you design the head right for a 1.94" Intake valve then the best combination of low lift and high lift flow your going to get will be with a 1.71" Throat in the bowl and still have the meat for 2 freshen up valve jobs without loosing flow or replacing seats.
    I must admit that even with 3D printing I see how the head will have water jackets if there needed?
  6. Jim Weise

    Jim Weise 1000+HP

    I would assume the 3d printed head would be a prototype to establish a rocker system, and for fit verification, and would lead to an eventual casting.

    Most likey made of some type of thermoplastic, or high density foam.

    If he is going all out with it, then 3d printing would also be used for the water jacket cores, for the actual casting.

    Although reading his post, it sounds like some type of actual, usable head, in which case it would have to a two piece bolt together deal,to have water jackets in it.

  7. Mr62Wildcat

    Mr62Wildcat Well-Known Member

    The 3d print is going to be done without water jackets and possibly even no valves and spring pockets, etc. The valve guides will be nearly closed so I can have them opened up for screw in bronze valve guides. I am going to block off the entire exhaust crossover and most likely will epoxy the head into what I want before the final inspection. I have sooo many ideas, that I want to make a direct bolt on without any issues with the intake. With the waterjacket issue on the stock cast intake valves, since I am not making water jackets yet, then the meat should be there and I can adjust to whatever thickness I want.

    The intake and exhaust will bolt up to stock stuff as there is no since in redoing all of that stuff and the cost would be prohibitive for anyone just wanting to bolt on a set of heads if I changed everything. I am working with a machine shop here in Portland (secret hiding spot) and this guy has been doing head work for years upgrading Ford stuff to Chevy stuff as the parts are a lot cheaper and readily available. We are going to work on the heads in a few stages before 3d print. We are going to see about closing up the pushrod holes so we can open them up slightly so we don't need a guide plate like the BB chevy's. I am POSSIBLY thinking about having the exhaust valve canted like the BB chevy as it works a lot better to have both valves canted.. the intake has a great runner, but the exhaust valve is TRYING to get the exhaust out by going upwards and outwards unlike the intake is a smooth transition. I will be taking an extra head and milling the rocker stud area clean off, filling all holes and oil pressure ports. then I can see what I want to do with the head. I don't know about a new valve cover, but that would work really well after I play with things for a bit. Who knows, I may take a billet of aluminum and mill me up an entire new head? this is so much fun to make something everyone wants, but no wants to make. I understand the Tom's rockers and they are cool, but I am also thinking about screw in studs and adjustable rockers like chevy does...

    This is about 1/2 done, but getting closer to what I want... sorry, no pics.. This is a secret build for myself.... I would love to see a complete aluminum head, stainless bolts, stainless soft plugs or brass so it looks super clean.

    Can anybody let me know why the fel-pro head gaskets didn't work? I heard they leaked, but maybe the cast iron heads were not meant for those gaskets and maybe the Fel-pro's might work??

    When all is said and done, I would love to see a full CNC milled head for my personal and prototype, then cast for all unless you wouldn't mind paying ALOT more for CNC....
    300sbb_overkill likes this.
  8. Mr62Wildcat

    Mr62Wildcat Well-Known Member

    Why would the intakes be such a hindering area? To me it is a straight shot to the head. I would believe the exhaust is the issue, it can;t get the gasses out fast enough...
  9. Mr62Wildcat

    Mr62Wildcat Well-Known Member

    The new heads will only be using the exterior and some valve area. Since the spring pockets are already cut, I am going to fill in that area and start new so I can raise or lower that area to make the longer chevy valves fit without issues. I was looking at the aluminum heads made in the 60's, and they used what for seats? Hardened seats??? So if they did it back then and I am not cutting the pockets after the heads were already made from GM, then I can make all the room I need.
    PGSS likes this.
  10. Mr62Wildcat

    Mr62Wildcat Well-Known Member

    Hey Jim, your exactly right... a bolt on usable head...... Simple and effective...
  11. Stevem

    Stevem Well-Known Member

    The stock Exh ports are a nightmare on these heads , and from my testing of them a simple casting change to get them 375" higher with the needed area change will pick up 25 cfm even over the best ported stock head with a 1.60" valve,

    If you only remember one thing about a race motor and achieving high levels of VE, then remember this.

    The Intake cycle is started , or can be started off to a very large degree by the previous Exh cycles tuned header vacuum pulse!

    This pulse( which is really a depression ) at rev's above 4000 rpm is much stronger then the amount of wrongly called Piston suction during the Intake cycle.

    This all means that with the average 280 degree advertised duration Cam and what the Intake and Exh ports flow during the overlap period between .150" and .200" lift is something that can make or break this effect!
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2019
  12. gsgtx

    gsgtx Silver Level contributor

    because a stock cast intake manifold avg flow is only 234 cfm. if you put that on your high flowing heads, it will reduce your head flow cfm a lot.
    300sbb_overkill likes this.
  13. telriv

    telriv Well-Known Member

    The aluminum Buick heads were experimental. Aluminum seats & guides. 5 were solid. 6 had water. The casting numbers relate to '59 head molds. I had a set someone tried to use. They installed bronze guides but ran the aluminum seats. They were beat to he11 & had been cut so much the combustion chamber volume was something like 62cc's & they were both cracked pretty badly. Probably cost 20K+ to get them usable.
    In the years the "Nail" has been out ALL thought the exhaust was the restriction. It's NOT it's the intake in a normally aspirated engine. In some kind of boosted form it now becomes the exhaust because the intake can be filled beyond 100%.
    Buick made 47 of the "D-Port" "Big Port" heads with a much larger exhaust outlet & port. Was rumored was a 15HP increase, BUT flow testing showed a 10% decrease in flow over stock ports. To make the port as large as possible the floor was dropped. Same as Chrysler did in '69-'70 to the "W" heads which they found out was wrong. Buick did this in 1961.
    IF clay was added to the floor flow went up 10% over a stock head. Saw a set of "Nail" heads where the head had the exhaust had been cut so the exhaust came straight up & out. Sorta like the Roush Ford heads. Tried to buy them but couldn't strike up a deal.
    MY friend who passed recently has gotten the best flow out of a "Nail" intake at 262 at .600" lift. He was starting to work on the exhaust. Best I know out of the exhaust is 190 on the end ports. Middle not as good because of wall/head bolt restrictions.
    One thing that makes the "Nail" intake as good as it can be is the amount of swirl they have stock at 4K RPM's. The more you port them the less the swirl at about 3200 RPM's, but still above a better SBC head . With the intake port cut off at a 45* angle, a new manifold needs to be made, flow goes up as the "S" curve is removed.
    As an example a ported head at 220 max flow at .600" lift. at .100" lift flowed 68CFM's. Cut the flange off a very rusty head & cleaned the valve & cut the seats & used a wire brush in the port to clean out the rust off it went up to, IF I remember correctly, 112CFM's & surpassed the 220 at .600" lift WITHOUT ANY PORTING.
    It's all about air flow in & out.

    Correct me if I'm wrong on any of this Joe.

    Tom T.
    PGSS and 300sbb_overkill like this.
  14. Stevem

    Stevem Well-Known Member

    It's not just about increasing Intake air flow to make more hp folks, it's also about Intake flow air speed and the needed minimum amount of port area to control that air speed!
    Carving out a well shaped port can make for some impressive flow numbers of let's say for arguments sake 250 cfm@28" out of a small port area, but yet due to too high a port air speed you find that the 250 cfm port does even make the power of a Intake port that only flowed 230 cfm!
    I myself have seen too high a air speed chop off over 100 hp from 355 cid motor , and others have seen a 130 hp drop off from such.

    My first such incounter with such many many years ago was on a SB 400 cid full race Mopar.

    I reworked what I though was too large a port area single plane Intake ( too great a expansion rate) by making it smaller with epoxy and picked up no less then 60 cfm PER PORT , but much to my surprise the car ran 1 full second slower down the 1/4 mile the following weekend!!!
    During the next week I chiseled and ground the Epoxy out and then the car was back to running deep in the 10s again!
    D-Con, Julian and PGSS like this.
  15. PGSS

    PGSS Well-Known Member

    Mr Telesco, great great info.
    I would of loved to see a pic of the aluminum heads whether they were beat up or not..
    Did they have any provisions for accessory's other than the generator?
  16. telriv

    telriv Well-Known Member

    No later, '57-'66, heads have any provisions for accs. other than 1/2" pipe plugs for temp. gauges & freeze plugs at each end since they can go on either L or R.
    PGSS and GranSportSedan like this.
  17. riv1964

    riv1964 Well-Known Member

    Last edited: Jul 13, 2019
    322bnh and PGSS like this.
  18. PGSS

    PGSS Well-Known Member

    WoW! just WoW!!
  19. Mr62Wildcat

    Mr62Wildcat Well-Known Member

    I am having the head cut by an EDM.. this is a small wire the thickness of a human hair, and it's going to be cut in half along the seam line... the length of the head. Then, as GM came about to do this, the head will be having 2 casting interior parts. Since I am cutting it in half, I am reworking the depth of the intake and exhaust casting area around the valve seat area so that I can have thicker casted areas instead of going through the head and into water jackets. Since the mold will be made in 2 parts, I can attach this from the inside of the waterjacket, and not just "blindly" fill in areas that cannot be seen.

    So, before EDM, the hardened seats will be cut so I can see how much meat needs to be put into the castings. then I can do the rest with epoxy. I will be making the heads super smooth for the castings. I have been talking to a machinst in my area, and we both agreed cast valve guides will be the best for wear properties and longevity. The valves will be 1.94 intake and 1.5 exhaust.

    Can anyone give me any ideas on the porting of the heads or intake exhaust runners since people here have an idea on what these heads need badly. Try not to go too crazy since the heads aren't going to have the runners relocated.
    300sbb_overkill likes this.
  20. Mr62Wildcat

    Mr62Wildcat Well-Known Member

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