Da Nailhead adventures

Discussion in ''Da Nailhead' started by whatever, Aug 1, 2013.

Tags:
  1. whatever

    whatever Well-Known Member

    ...in Russia


    Hi there,

    I'm Alex from St. Petersburg, Russia and my friend brought me an engine for a rebuild.
    It's an engine from a 65 Wildcat and was sent as a 425, but somehow it turned to be 401 in reality. :rant:
    We were pretty sad about that, and I was looking forward seeing some enormous diameter pistons, but a dead LS7 piston didn't get in there that easy from the first try, as I expected it to fall in the bore, so it was the time to suspect that we got a 401.

    My friend wanted the engine to be finished on 15-16 of August, but that wasn't really possible anyhow after I digged into parts situation the the Nailheads. My friend said that the engine was clicking and it didn't run very well. Okay... I pre-called Russ on the west coast before I've got the engine in order to check parts availability, and he said it was gonna be okay and he had most of the parts. Anyway once I got it, I was rushing to disassemble it.

    Excuse my high-tech room for engine disassembling, but disassembly is a whole another story. Especially, when the engine has oil inside as much as you'd at MAX + 0.5 in over that mark on the dipstick. :eek2:

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    it was about 6 quarts of oil from that point to drain.

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    The intake gaskets appeared to be steels, which was a little surprise to me. But I was surprised moreover with that exhaust heated intake manifold. The gasket on the left (driver side) head was placed under the head cover gasket! and was almost mismatching the intake ports.

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    Water pump came off with a -1 bolt and after a closer look I saw another bolt stuck at the bottom of the flange. Looked promising.

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    Looked good from the top.

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    Pretty much cooked up, but not too much.

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    Little surprise here!

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    Duh! For a second I literally thought it must be a usual wear pattern on Nailheads... Maybe... Until that rocker. All rockers felt somewhat jumpy when I checked for valvetrain flex during disassembly.

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    The heads looked okay. Couldn't find a headgasket for a moment :laugh:

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    Pretty smooth surface for a deck!

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    Uneven hone.

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    Suddenly! What's that? The crown is different! That one is flat, the other ones have cast in valve recesses.
    The compression ratio must be different, then! Not good...

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    Guess, the coupling is dead!

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    The balancer came out easier than I expected.

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    Yeah, gotta balance with the crank assembly.

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    Chain helped me to drain the oil from the back. :Brow:

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    I pulled some of the lifters, but some of those just didn't want to get out through the top!

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    Is that oil on the cam?

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    Nope! It's wear! I guess it worned out too deep, probably ran without oil a bit, so that the oil baked in the lobes.

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    Knock-knock.

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    Looked straightforward on that side.

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    But pretty damn strange on this side!

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    I've read about plastic gears, but didn't to expect it to be so far from the factory unit.

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    Anyway! I'm impressed! Now that's a durable thing! It's worn out to death, but it doesn't fail!

    Show time.

    [video=youtube;l89haPzzxYY]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l89haPzzxYY[/video]
     
  2. whatever

    whatever Well-Known Member

    [video=youtube;3u-a5HW_gis]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3u-a5HW_gis[/video]

    Music pretty much reflects parts condition. :Brow:

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    All lifters are different! Most of those are worn "in".

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    Dat cam!

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    I like the design of the engine block! It's different and beautiful.

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    The pistons! Guess what! None are originals! All STD size!
    5 are Bohnale (or some like that) pistons.
    2 (on the right) are fresh looking not marked ones (egge?)
    1 is probably a TRW forging! (2nd) The one which didn't have valve recesses!

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    I was surprised, the crank did rotate like a charm when free of the rods (tightened up, of course)
    All bearing are worn out, scratched and scored, but nothing too hard.
    I expected a spun bearing actually! The crank will go for the first undersize.

    [​IMG]

    So that's it. Right after that I called Russ and asked him to supply me some parts with a 2nd day air shipping, in order to get the parts to my forwarder on Friday. Okay-okay, we figured that some is at the TX warehouse, and I'll need to call tomorrow. Suddenly, it also turned out that he was late for a pickup at UPS and we were all up for next day air. It was sad, sad, sad. I had to call him at 9 o'clock in the morning, California time, so he'd prepare stuff in Texas and weigh up. And so I did. But then he suddenly had to go for an appointment... Called within 2 hours, just like he said, nobody on phone! Not to say I had to miss a train to Moscow in order to buy the parts, because he had a sudden appointment, but whatever, I was on the phone. Got worried so much, so I called Carmen Faso. Now he's the man, really. If you ever need Buick parts, don't choose and think, just get him a ring. He was fortunate to help me, he had the parts, but we were out of time. So I called Russ again, guess what? "It's too late for Texas warehouse, why didn't you call in the morning like I said" :shock: I did try few more things, but I couldn't get the right parts in the right time. :ball: No parts - no machining - no time gain. My friend wasn't happy either, but we weren't too sad, because we were already too sad yesterday! haha! :) So here I am now. At least I have a plenty of type to inspect the bores more carefully and to check all journals for exact sizes and ovality of each, to kill the time...
    Anyway, you can clearly see, Russ is more of a trader, "don't ask" guy, and Carmen is more like a car guy, a hot rodder, with a proper dedication to the stuff he does and contributes to the Buick community. It's been a great pleasure to talk to him! :TU:

    Still gotta buy a bunch of parts for the next Friday...

    I'm looking forward for your advices on the rebuild, I didn't have a chance to get a Buick repair manual, but this website features clearances and they are the most important specs for any engine, I think. Maybe this thread would help to guide someone as well...
    Thinking, I wouldn't trust too much "fixed-in-rod" wrist pin in colder climates. I'm afraid that a non-floating pin might stuck, if the piston would shrink too much in cold. And a full floating wrist pin would promote a more even wear on all of the surfaces - piston, rod and pin itself.
     
  3. bhambulldog

    bhambulldog 1955 76-RoadmasterRiviera

    Last edited: Aug 1, 2013
  4. gsgtx

    gsgtx Silver Level contributor

    what a great thread, photos and information :TU:. your right about Carmen and don't forget about Tom Telesco he is a car guy too.
     
  5. 64 wildcat conv

    64 wildcat conv Silver Level contributor

    Good luck with your build :TU:

    I will be watching. Do you know how many miles (km) are on that engine? A lot to be sure :eek2:

    My '64 Wildcat has 103,000 miles but still runs very good. I plan to freshen it up a bit this winter with new seals, timing chain, cam, and lifters. A new paint job and some "bling" too :Brow:
     
  6. John Codman

    John Codman Platinum Level Contributor

    Great thread. Obviously the engine was put together by someone with limited access to parts (three different kinds of pistons), but I have seen a lot worse including my 425 when I got it. I am not a big fan of painting internal engine parts - I noticed blue paint on some of the rocker arms. Is the crank worn enough that it really has to be machined? I just hate to remove metal unless it's absolutely necessary.
    BTW: I have visited St. Petersburg. The old city is absolutely gorgeous. In my opinion, meaning no offense - the stuff built after 1917 not so much. BTW: Don't worry about it not being a 425. You will barely notice the difference.
     
  7. Babeola

    Babeola Well-Known Member

    That engine is worn, neglected and disrespected, but it obviously has a strong will to live. It should run with the best of then with a good rebuild.

    Cheryl :)
     
  8. flynbuick

    flynbuick Super Moderator Staff Member

    We appreciate you sharing your rebuild of this engine with the V8 Buick Board.
     
  9. 66gsconv

    66gsconv nailhead apprentice

    Thanks for shareing your build. Good pictures. Looks like someone rigged it to run and might of got some miles out of it. What is your plan on the build? Stock or performance parts? :gp:
     
  10. whatever

    whatever Well-Known Member

    Sorry, I was away from the internet for a few days.

    Thanks for the hearty welcome!

    bhambulldog, the engine would go into '65 Wildcat, out of which it came :grin:

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    Sorry about pic quality. Guess, the seller didn't know how to flip the camera on the phone, so the car would fit in, lol.
    My friend bought the car in February 2013, from California.

    And the owner claimed:
    "OVERHAULED ENGINE NEW LIFTERS, NEW VALVES, AND PUSHRODSRUNS GREAT SHIFTS SMOOTHLY"

    Well, you know that eBay stuff. We can now see how well overhauled it was. :p

    Thanks for the link on Doc's dual plane mod! The gasket under carb remains stock (uncut), right?

    gsgtx,
    yeah, I've read that Tom was really cool back in the days and so is now!

    64 wildcat conv,
    well, the owner claimed it had 68 000 miles. But since there is no OEM pistons, I think it might be 168 000 or whatever. That engine was built to last for sure!

    John Codman,
    limited access - yes, a will to fix&sell - more than likely yes. I guess they changed the pistons and con-rod bearings, but I'm pretty sure that the main bearings were never taken out! That blue is from the external painting. The "painter" didn't mask the parts so it's all over the engine, AND on the "new pushrods" as well. So it was serviced when it was painted blue. I'm willing to paint it gray, slightly darker than mid-gray maybe with a goldish accent, but I guess, due to limited time, I'm gonna end up with some Dupli-Color anodize paint.

    p.s. Oh, great! Actually, it seems like lots of people from the US have visited the St. Petersburg, DualQuadDave from FL (a Nailhead guy, seen at the H.A.M.B.) have also been here! A lot of stuff was kinda refinished after 1917, more than most of the people expect. And the bascule bridges were built after 1917. But anyway it's all about the architecture and aesthetics here. The heart is in the city center, out-lying city areas are just like usual cities, nothing special. Comparing to St.Petersburg, the architecture of old Moscow is kinda like "I want it to be like that", so buildings often look strange next to other, sometimes tasteless, but I like some of the 1930-1950 style, known here as Stalin's Empire / Neo-renaissance style.

    Regarding 425, I want to drop in a performance cam and freshen up the heads so it'd pull like 425 or even better. :)

    Babeola,
    That's right! I gotta refresh it, so it'd run fine for the next 50 years. :laugh:

    flynbuick,
    Thanks! I thought it might be interesting to have a full rebuild thread, get some tips and discuss all the stuff which comes during engine overhaul.

    66gsconv,
    I'm looking for the best combination of performance and street service. So the best "stock" parts, a cam and some headwork should get me there! Hopefully :)


    Meanwhile:

    Has any one converted stock-type pistons (press-fit wrist pin) to full-floating wrist pins on the forums? I'm little afraid of the press-fit pins in the colder climates, since it may score the pin bores when the piston had shrunk down under low temp. I doubt it'd be used in winter, but who knows. I like to do the best I can each time I got a chance to. I've got few ideas, so just curious now. Just to mention, russian engines always had full-floating pins since like 1940s. There are 2 ways - machine grooves for wire locks and grind some off the side of the wrist pin or (which I like more) machine pin bushings from Teflon/polyamid, like they did in the racing engines of the 80s. No mods to the piston, none to the wrist pin, durability-wise it should last pretty long because it's Teflon in an oily atmosphere.
     
  11. Mister T

    Mister T Just truckin' around

    Welcome aboard, and thanks for your very informative thread. :TU: As for cold climates, where I live -40 C is not unusual, although my two nailheads will never, ever get started in those conditions. :laugh:
     
  12. bhambulldog

    bhambulldog 1955 76-RoadmasterRiviera

    Oh !! I like that wildcat !! Very Nice !!

    I'll let Doc weigh in on the gasket question..
    I've not tried that mod, yet...
     
  13. doc

    doc Well-Known Member

    When you do the Doc dual plane mod.... make the gasket under the carb match the intake manifold... otherwise it will be a restriction....that or use a ''open'' type gasket....:Brow:
     
  14. whatever

    whatever Well-Known Member

    It's been quite a while, but I have a some progress since!


    ________________




    So I ended up buying a lot of parts from Russ Martin. It was hard, his service is somewhat slow, but reliable. We had some issues, but solved them and finally I brought the parts here, by the end of August.


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    (too many parts for a table! but the hood of my '68 Z turned out to be very nice to sort them out!)


    The complete list of parts, if any one is interested:
    - pistons 401 .030 over - Kanter Auto
    - piston rings - Grant (sad, but true)
    - main bearings .010 - Federal Mogul
    - rod bearings .010 - Rebuilder's Choice / Kanter
    - cam bearings - Clevite-77
    - camshaft (performance 218/228) - TA Performance
    - oil pump rebuild kit
    - valve guides - cast iron
    - proper lifters
    - roller chain - Russ Martin
    - valve springs for performance cam - TA Perf
    - valve locks - Russ Martin (they are crap, don't get them)
    - temp sensor
    - oil pressure sensor
    - brass freeze plugs
    - complete 401 gasket set - Russ Martin
    - intake valve seals
    - ARP head studs
    - rebuilt rocker arms with shafts, no stands
    - 65 401 PCV kit
    - cast aluminum thermostat outlet housing
    - thermostat
    - Carter AFB heat sheild, gaskets
    - adjustable pushrods (didn't want because of the price, but he charged me those. Good stuff!)
    - oil galley plugs - Russ Martin, made by Carmen Faso
    - ARP main stud kit - TA Perf
    - oversize valves - TA Perf
    - ARP timing cover bolts (some were broken)
    - spark plug wires - Accel Super Stock 4000 black
    - oil filter x2 - AC Delco
    - ARP connecting rod bolt kit
    - rod bearings x8 - Clevite 3 layer
    - intake manifold gasket 401 - steel
    - valve cover gasket - Fel-Pro
    - spark plug x 8 - NGK Iridium
    - distributor breakerless ignition system - Pertronix Ignitor I
    - 40 000V ignition coil - Pertronix
    (actually, forgot about cap and rotor,
    the water pump is still great, so no water pump)


    Some parts were duplicated as a backup.


    Also I got the a reprint of the factory service manual from CARS Inc. in NJ.


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    Here are the slight oversize valves from TA Performance.


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    I didn't like the piston top finish, actually. It's an ideal surface for clogging and etc.
    The piston is made by Kanter, the quality is pretty damn good!




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    Too aid disassembly, I have machined these simple tools.


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    Went like a charm! This thing may also aid during assembly!


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    Meanwhile, there was a delay with valve guides, so I've tried machining new valve guides from graphite-iron-copper powder composite.


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    But it was kinda too easy to chip, so I was in doubt that it could hold the pressures (side loads) that you have with short rocker arms. So I got the common cast iron ones.


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    The crank was measured with some good tools. Turned out that it had a spun bearing, but they didn't regrind it, so the new bearings slightly polished the journal. Anyway, it did hold up the punishment pretty good!


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    Torqued and measured the mains for proper clearance. It did jump around! So I got journal specific sizes for the crank grinder.


    I was trying to get the correct measurement for the rod bearings, but the measurements were very very uncertain from rod to rod, and imperial tool too metric conversions made everything worse. I had those re-measured several times...


    Anyway, I decided to mock-up a stock piston and rod back, to see the deck height and piston protrusion, before getting the block decked. (sorry for quality)


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    It was waaay down lower the deck. That's probably where the compression ratio gets lost.
    The piston top were down the deck for 1.5 mm on one side and 1.2 mm for the other. I measured the piston top height for the stock piston that I used (measured inner dia of the piston pin and length from inner pin point to the top) and compared that with new pistons - new pistons were going to be 0.2 mm lower.


    So I got it decked for radical 1.5 mm, which did cost me a lot! But since I have the adjustable pushrods and a clear understanding of the benefits, I tried to do my best. The tighter we push the flat parts of the piston to the flat parts of the head, the more squish action would be produced. Squish produces mixture swirl, avoids detonation and etc.


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    I asked for the finest possible finish. It was done like it should have been done!
    But you still need to chamfer the thread edges! I took a 17 mm (that's like 0.67 in) drill bit and spun it backwards - the result was very good.


    Meanwhile I got some parts glass beaded and then powdercoated.


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    The aluminum timing cover, lifter valley and water pump would be painted later with the engine block.


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    Back to the rods.


    Got them measured few times, but the measurements were still screwed!


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    Two rods had major damage.


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    So I can say that Rebuilders Choice bearings are not that bad as I expected. They are coated and look pretty nice, but I bet they are 2-layer ones, so since I aim at higher compression and higher horsepower, I wanted to stay with 3-layer bearings.


    What I didn't expect was that Clevite rod bearings might turn out bad. But they did! The final inner was not round! The rods were not 100% ideal, but their out-of-roundness was withing specs. And all Clevite bearings did "shift" toward some expectable 45 degree place on the rod bearing shell. The shift was like 0.0007-0.0009 in on one side (!), which resulted in a diagonal size of 2 x 0.0007-0.0009 in, which is too damn much. Only one set from 8 was totally round.


    Finally, I ended up with wrong specs that I gave to my grinder the day before, cause of the conversion to of dial indicator specs to metric system forth and back. So I recalculated everything and got the idea that I wasn't going to have a correct clearance with 1st undersize bearings after regringing.. :p Too bad I bought another 10 Clevite .010 sets the same day. Well, my bad.


    Since we had 2 bad rods, I decided to go for reconditioned ones and got few sets of 2nd undersize...

    ---------- Post added at 06:27 AM ---------- Previous post was at 05:45 AM ----------

    Time for the heads and porting tips! (actually, combustion chamber mods for now)


    Basically, you start with that


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    and end up with that


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    as the first stage of your combustion chamber work - the rough stage with burrs.


    Please, check out the video, this should explain more about these cylinder head mods.


    [video=youtube;Mm3SSTNaeVs]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mm3SSTNaeVs[/video]


    (it must be pretty funny when a russian from Russia shots a video on Buick Nailhead V8 porting, eh!)


    I'm interested in the feedback, please, comment! (in this thread)
    And feel free to share, if you like it.


    ______


    Tuh-duuh!
    "Poor man's deck plates"...


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    ...didn't turn out as cheap as I expected. All in all about $400 for both sides.
    These consist of 2 x 10 mm laser cut steel plates, machined on both sides to gain flatness, and extensioners, specific for each side (in case of height variations after machining the plates flat).
    I can share the blueprints, if anyone is interested. The dimensions are metric and are pretty crazy, but all the hardest points were positioned correctly.


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    ______


    Later I got the block back to my garage and grinded off lots of casting flash, which took a lot of time, I'd say. I wasn't getting too crazy at first, but my idealism took over my mind, so I was grinding a lot more than I needed.


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    Getting prepared for cylinder boring and honing!


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    Yes, I used a head gasket under deck plates!
    I might write some more about gaskets, but, in short, I don't like Best Gasket, cause it's far from Best. It chips and flakes and I don't think it would seal as great as Victor Reinz one, which I got from Russ, after "checking out the Best Gasket". You should use the same gasket under the deck plates, but in this case, I used Best Gasket, because I wouldn't put it in an engine at any case, imho.
     
  15. whatever

    whatever Well-Known Member

    _______________


    After some time (pretty long) I got the block from the shop.
    It was hot washed and etc. (Damn those tiny corrosion spots due to swell)


    No pics, sorry. I'll get some!
    (Nothing special in the video, except checking out my casting flash removal.)


    [video=youtube;e1QolU2_OXc]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e1QolU2_OXc[/video]




    Luckily, I got the long waited parts yesterday!


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    8 pairs of rod bearings (look like Michigan, but slightly different) - sourced with the help of Russ Martin, thanks!
    2 x reconditioned connecting rods - they are from different Nailheads, so balance is different, but I hope everything other is okay!
    aand finally:
    8 pairs of NOS Michigan rod bearings. I don't know the year, but I know that OEM bearings were far superior than any other, due to being Morraine M400, which had strict quality control and thus cost a lot. But they had a short run.


    To tell the truth, they all look alike! But I'm willing to stick with NOS ones, because the still look better and measured to be pretty consistent in dimensions.




    Now gotta turn the rod journals properly this time, and we're close to the end. Some head work still needs to be done.
    Also the intake manifold had received teh Doc's mod, yet haven't got a shot of it. Few things to finish there!
     
  16. bhambulldog

    bhambulldog 1955 76-RoadmasterRiviera

    Nice work !!!
    the video and narrative are most interesting !!
    I 'shared' the video on a Facebook page "American Car or No Car".
    I'm sure they will enjoy it there.
    Some of the members on that page are blocked from V8Buick by their government, but they can get to Facebook and YouTube.

    I am most interested in your Buick build
    Thank You for the update , I look forward to more about your car.
     
  17. 300sbb_overkill

    300sbb_overkill WWG1WGA. MAGA

    Good job on this thread,keep the info coming! Looks like your doing a great job,can't wait to see how it turns out.:TU:


    Derek
     
  18. whatever

    whatever Well-Known Member

    Thanks guys!
    Quite a honour for me, it's good to share some stuff with the community!
    Anyway, I'm doing these videos for you! And to test my knowledge, maybe. :)


    The light went down in the garage lot. I've done a quick mock up, it looked pretty clean, until I used some flashlight, lol.

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    I'm pretty happy with the results, the piston still sunks in the bore a little, maybe 0.3 mm. But it's waaay much better as if I wouldn't have decked the block that much (1.5 mm off each side). We don't have Nailheads here and the whole project is pretty much expensive, so it was pretty risky. (...we have a proverb "The one, who doesn't risk, doesn't drink champagne", well, you know! haha... it's similiar to "nothing ventured, nothing gained")

    Took the valve guides, made some blueprints and brought them for additional maching.
    They're gonna be ready soon!

    It's been a while again since the light went up.
    I made a prototype exhaust port and I like it really really much. :cool:

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    As patents say "those skilled in the art will see" that there are some significant changes.
    Basically, I assumed that a tear drop shape is better for aerodynamics and tried to mimic it. The valve guides will be tapered as well.
    Too bad the cutter had once fallen in the guide bore, don't get too close to the bore. :p
    I'll do a video as soon as I get it straight.
     
  19. bhambulldog

    bhambulldog 1955 76-RoadmasterRiviera

    You're English is very good!!
    And nice work you've done on those heads.
     
  20. EEE

    EEE Straight out of lo-cash!

    I think it's awesome that someone in Russia is building a Nailhead, I'll keep watching for updates!
     

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