Aluminum Buick Nailheads

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

  1. Mr62Wildcat

    Mr62Wildcat Well-Known Member

    Excellent information! I am trying to keep the intake and exhaust manifolds the same so these will be a bolt on application.... I will check out the heads when they are cut in half! (only one will be cut in half)
  2. Mr62Wildcat

    Mr62Wildcat Well-Known Member

    Yes, see the previous notes on the castings... yes, water jackets!
  3. Mr62Wildcat

    Mr62Wildcat Well-Known Member

    Can you tell me the valve springs/etc on your nailhead? I have been looking at BBC valve guides because they are longer than a SBC and they press in. I don't want the bronze guides, they will ware out prematurely.
  4. gsgtx

    gsgtx Silver Level contributor

    comp cams 26915 beehive springs and 795 retainers.
  5. riv1964

    riv1964 Well-Known Member

    They are OE heads, and were highly massaged due to the poor castings. If you look close, one chamber where the spark plug is has been completely redone.
  6. Mr62Wildcat

    Mr62Wildcat Well-Known Member

    I am still in process! Gonna take awhile. I was thinking about going CNC, but you couldn't do the water jackets. I have a lot of information at my hands and am waiting for the machine shop down the street to cut my donar head in half with the EDM so I can replay with the water jackets to get the hardened seats positioned without interfering with the coolant. I have found most of my information regarding which springs, keepers, valves etc to what I am going to use cost effectively. I did find out one thing, I am going to make a full roller rocker, not just the tips, but the tip and full roller bearing rockers. I already have an idea and I am sending them off soon to my machinist/foundry. (shhhhh, keep that quiet)
  7. telriv

    telriv Well-Known Member

    It's been proven FULL ROLLER rockers are NOT NEC. for the kind of RPM's the "Nail" can effectively run at.
    The RB Mopars have been running aluminum rockers on the steel shaft with nary a problem for MANY years & just a pin in the roller tip. The complexity added to the mix the more problems will be encountered. Ever see what a failed needle/caged bearings do to the inside of an engine EVEN if caught immediately???
    All those hardened little pieces of steel running around inside your engine BEFORE the filter ever sees the oil. Just a pin in the end of the roller tip with NO bearings is sufficient enough. AND, don't forget the oil filter is normally in by-pass mode because at WOT the filter CAN'T pass enough volume to the engine. Most WILL NOT spend the money for an expensive racing oil filter. AND, to provide the added volume doesn't filter no where near as well.
    My friend with a 440 had a full roller rocker go bad & he caught it during & BEFORE the burnout was completed & was towed back to the pits & loaded up. At home took it apart & the COMPLETE engine was toast for the short amount of running time. Built another engine exactly the same WITHOUT any type of roller bearings in the rockers & gained no time or lost any time. Then the roller lifter gave out next a few years later & destroyed another 440. Now he's been running the same 340 for years with NO problems & runs lower 10's with a FLAT TAPPET cam.

    Full rollers are basically good for 6500 & up RPM's where they do make a diff. Most with a "Nail" will ever see that. AND, don't forget the heavier the valve train becomes the more spring pressures are required which NOW dig into parasitic HP losses, because of the added spring pressures.
    Just my humble opinion

    Tom T.
    Lucy Fair, 322bnh, PGSS and 1 other person like this.
  8. Mr62Wildcat

    Mr62Wildcat Well-Known Member

    Ok, now the cool part just happened...
    Yesterday I finally picked up my prototype head I have been using as a mock-up for the final head to duplicate. I took it to a machine shop to cut in the valve seats as if it were an aluminum head. The seats on an aluminum head are 2x's the depth of a cast iron head. So after cutting the head for the seats, yes.... it did go through the castings into the water jackets as assumed. Some were 1/16" thick in material and others were 3/16". So even the casting of the iron heads are really thin around the seats. Now that the seats are in and the valve guides are press fit in and the positive seal is installed, I now can have the head cut at the seam using an EDM. (electrical wire cutter the size of a human hair) For another $800, the head can be cut at the casting line and not mess with the geometry of the head. First, I have to remove all rust and scale in the water jackets before it goes off to be cut in half.

    Once cut in half, I can remove and fill in the heat riser ports in the center exhaust, and fill in the valve seat outer ring and fill up material around the water jackets/valve seats as I can now see what the thickness is and see the valve seats on the other side of the casting that we cannot see. Enclosed is a few more pics... Some showing water jacket holes and one with installed stainless valves as a finished product. By the way, from what I have on the spring pressures, you can run a .500 lift cam with no binding at all.
    .500 Lift
    Installed Height 1.78
    Open- 280
    Coil bind- 200
    Seal to retainer -.880

    This is using Z28 Camaro springs and 1.5 exhaust and 1.94 intakes

    7422.jpeg 7423.jpeg 7424.jpeg 20191017_081759.jpg 20191017_081749.jpg 20191017_081745.jpg

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Oct 17, 2019
  9. telriv

    telriv Well-Known Member

    Soaking the heads in muriatic acid will clean ALL the rust even internally. It's pool cleaning acid & can be bought at most hardware stores.

    Getting back to the heads. If you completely cut off the heat to the manifold, on a street driven car it will ALWAYS hesitate when you put your foot in it. Just ask those who have used the little metal plates supplied with some intake gaskets to block off the heat & they will tell you it's not a good idea. The reason being is that the intake manifold is an "Airgap" design originally. This is a BIG DEAL over manifolds that use the intake to seal the valley area to cut down on the engine heat generated. The cooler the intake, to some degree, makes more power because the intake charge is much cooler/dense so in turn makes more HP. I'm sure some have seen in the pits bags of ice are set on top of the intake to help cool it. Also many ran a cool can to coil the fuel in ice to help cool the fuel going in the carb. Again, the more dense you can make the fuel & intake cooler has an affect on running & HP. Same as "Ram Air" getting cooler outside air instead of hot under hood air. Meaning more air & fuel is packed into the cyl. because the incoming charge is cooler/denser.
    As an example if you bring the engine up to operating temp. which takes at least 20 minutes of highway driving. IF you aim your temp. gun at the intake in diff. areas it may read engine temp.
    Now bring the engine up to 2000-2500 RPM's & hold it there you will notice temps.coming down. Why is this??? Because the fuel & air running through the manifold has a cooling effect. I've seen & tested this. The engine is running at 190* & after running a few minutes at RPM's will get as low as 127*. Some of the heat is needed to warm the manifold to help "Flash" the cat pee being used as fuel today. Now blocking the heat that runs under the carb. doesn't seem to affect anything other than 1st. start cold performance.. None of us today use our play toys in the same environment as when they were new, so the under carb. heat is NO LONGER needed.
    Getting the "Nail" to breath properly requires much MORE valve lift than .500". As most of us know it's all about getting air in & out.
    Just my humble opinions on things.

    Tom T.

    As an aside my son used a 6.2 LS3, stock it produced 330HP After playing with it for awhile they got this 3200pd. car to do the 1/4 mile at an 8.01@170MPH. Now this was done using no more than 15-17pds. of boost. This relates to about 1175HP from a stock engine that started out with 330H.
  10. gsgtx

    gsgtx Silver Level contributor

    wondering who your going after to use your heads. if for the stock guys to put bolt on the set of your heads, you might want to get the chamber smaller , less cc's then stock. from the loss of compression with aluminum heads. if for the performance guys then they will buying after market pistons anyways, but the smaller chamber we could have a smaller piston dome which is good too.
  11. marxjunk

    marxjunk Well-Known Member

    This looks like aluminum heads to me...hard to tell in a B&W pic...but the way it shines..and how crazy the set up would make sense to me

  12. wkillgs

    wkillgs Gold Level Contributor

    ^^^ That looks like Don Prudhomme!!

    I've been following this thread with much interest but don't have much to add.... most of what I learned came from Tom, Bob, and Joe. Great to see Steve add his views.

    The FelPro gaskets can seep oil because the head is drilled at both ends with oil passages, but only the front is needed. The rear passage can be plugged since it dead-ends into the head gasket.... which is of laminate construction and can seep oil. (see, Tom.... I listen and learn from you!).

    Tom mentioned cutting a portion of the intake off to change the port entry angle. There was a guy on the defunct Yahoo Nailhead forum, went by 'Rotted Honda' that did it. The heads were then purchased by our Nailhead buddy Bob who flow tested them and pursued the concept. Sadly, Bob passed this year. There is a thread on the subject here:

    Raising the exhaust port slightly seems to be very beneficial..... raise them 1/4"-1/2" and stock manifolds should still fit.
  13. gsgtx

    gsgtx Silver Level contributor

    looks like a young drag racer Don Prudhomme.
  14. telriv

    telriv Well-Known Member

    Yeah, working on Tommy Ivo's car. Ivo NEVER had any aluminum heads that I know off.

    JESUPERCAT No Slow Boat

    He did not have any aluminum heads on his toys
  16. John Codman

    John Codman Platinum Level Contributor

  17. Mr62Wildcat

    Mr62Wildcat Well-Known Member

    Ok, got the heads back from the machine shop finally. He inserted tall hardened seats for an aluminum head in the cast iron ones so I can see how they got into the seat area. (see pics)

    If it were cast iron heads with cast seats they would have been REALLY close, but not totally into the water jackets since the seat heights are 1/2 that of aluminum ones. I took the head to American Parts Cleaning in Portland and they dipped the heads in acid and pressure washed the entire port areas. It took them 4x's to get it done right. At a cost of $54, it was worth it. No mess in my garage! Also, Muriatic acid would not have touched the heavy crusts in the water jackets since I couldn't get to those parts with a dip in my garage as I needed absolutely pure metal and zero rust to get these EDM wire cut. (rust is non conductive) Now I have dropped the heads off at a fabrication machine shop (not engine builders) and the owner stated these are ready to be cut in half now!

    WOO HOO! The engine machine shop and others can't wait to see whats in them heads! When they are cut in half, I can now build up the material around the hardened seats before casting a mold and also remove the heat riser ports and fix that mess. I will be looking how to better the exhaust port flows as well.

    I might even finally make a dual plane aluminum intake to match! Instead of a carburetor, we can all switch to fuel injection making the heat riser useless. I have the Fi-tech on my 72 burb with a 509 and it works WAY better than a carburetor.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Nov 1, 2019
    kowalski, VA_64, 1972Mach1 and 2 others like this.
  18. Mr62Wildcat

    Mr62Wildcat Well-Known Member

    Looks like Prudholm, but the heads are early 322 because of the exhaust port bolt patterns.

    Did you know 322 heads and 401 heads will bolt onto each other? Only difference is the head gaskets since the 401's have 2 water jacket holes in the heads that the 322's do not? You CAN use 401 head gaskets on a 322, but you CANNOT use a 322 head gasket on a 401.
    kowalski, VA_64 and 300sbb_overkill like this.
  19. Mr62Wildcat

    Mr62Wildcat Well-Known Member

    Attached Files:

  20. Lucy Fair

    Lucy Fair Nailheadlova

    This is amazing, but please leave heat to the intake intact for us who will want to drive on the street.


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