I want to convert my 73' 455 to a infamous 70' stage 1

Discussion in 'Street/strip 400/430/455' started by Always Cool, Apr 15, 2018.

  1. Always Cool

    Always Cool Active Member

    The car had 38,000 original miles when I bought it from the original owner back in 2000. But I'm at 52,637 miles now. And truth be told, I have nowhere near as much knowledge and experience as you guys, about the longevity and potential of that engine. So I'm glad to have finally found a place like this forum to speak with people like you. Now I can learn from other people's real world experience. I don't know if my engine is a 100,000 mile workhorse or what the braking point is. I'm a very cautious driver and I'm not going out on the highway looking for competition. I just want to do my best in taking care of my piece of American auto history. So many thanks for everyone's contribution to my struggle.
     
  2. Always Cool

    Always Cool Active Member

    I appreciate your opinion and I think our value in proven durability lines up. I might have left out the part about finding a sister parts car 2 months ago in my home state for $1,700 with a non running identical engine and transmission under the hood. Unfortunately I bought it from a car lot with no history. Those are the bones that I'm contemplating a rebuild with. This way I can, potential, have my cake and eat it too. I'll see what can be done with the backup block and transmission, yank the original block and transmission out my creampuff and set them to the side while I take my time with the chassis as far as beautifying Gladys goes. Do these sound like good ideas or a waist of time and money? I really want to know.
     
  3. Always Cool

    Always Cool Active Member

    That's my “ Shadetree Mechanic" father's opinion as well. We do a lot of bonding under the hood of that car. I'm thinking of possibly doing the water pump as well, more of that preventative maintenance i spoke about earlier. I don't recall ever doing the timing chain on this car since I've owned it. Thanks for the heads up.
     
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  4. johnriv67

    johnriv67 Well-Known Member

    Briz on the board here (and I'm assuming many others) has done the same thing with his original engine, I plan to do the same with mine. If you have two blocks already, one original and an extra, the cost will likely be very similar (but great of course!) to build one or the other. Build the extra and store your original
     
    Always Cool likes this.
  5. Always Cool

    Always Cool Active Member

    Unfortunately, I believe it was ordered as a true luxury car. Split bench seat with arm rest in the middle, and shifter on the column. I have no intention of changing the mission that Buick had in mind for this particular car. But I thought maybe I was missing something about the difference between a stock 73' 455 and a 70' stage 1. As far as rear-ends are concerned, I'm hoping maybe someone can inform me of the numbers with that information?
     
  6. Always Cool

    Always Cool Active Member

    That's the current plan. What type of outcome did you guys see from your build?
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2018
  7. Always Cool

    Always Cool Active Member

    I know it's a 400, but I don't know about the TH unless they made a different 400 series transmission.
     
  8. johnriv67

    johnriv67 Well-Known Member

    I won't speak on behalf of Briz, he's more than capable of giving you the full rundown in the Conversation tab up near your username (since you are new here, welcome), but he shelved his 430 engine and located and built an iron headed 430 to 420hp and greater torque for about 2k, he said. I am currently stripping down the 430 I picked up recently and will shelve my original engine within 3 years probably as progress occurs.
     
    Always Cool likes this.
  9. Always Cool

    Always Cool Active Member

    I've got the donor car with all matching power train but of course it's a 73' non GS as well.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2018
  10. johnriv67

    johnriv67 Well-Known Member

    I just searched back through my conversations and pulled up what he had to say about his build. Here's some info:
    Briz-
    I bought a 68 parts car with a disassembled 430 in it. 1/2 under the hood 1/2 in the trunk. Pulled the block and rebuilt it using +030 flat top 10:1 pistons. reused my factory rods. Ported the stock 430 heads. Reduced the valve stems from 3/8 to 5/16 and installed manly 2.25" intakes 2.00 Exhaust valves. match ported and polished a B4B intake. TA 290-08H cam. new springs. 1406 lifters(have an extra set). TA Shorty headers. Worked qjet from Everyday Performance. It made 420 hp and 500lb tq. The Riv has gone as fast as 13.70 at sea level in good air.
     
    Always Cool likes this.
  11. Always Cool

    Always Cool Active Member

    Sounds like a plan. I'm not currently under any type of time sensitivity either. I'm in the process of 3 automotive projects including my workhorse Detroit series 60 pre-emissions non EGR 14 Liter 2,050 torque 674 hp diesel engine. My hands are pretty full while trying to keep my trucking company afloat.
     
  12. Always Cool

    Always Cool Active Member

    Nice!
     
  13. PGSS

    PGSS Well-Known Member

    This also is a 5000lb car.. All the expert's what do would think of this? and would it be worth the work?
    "Try"?? to find and upgrade to a 3.42 or 3.23 posi.
    Gasket match porting the heads from his donor, if they are good,
    B4B intake,
    2 1/2' exhaust,
    and i'm guessing Stage1 replacement cam, or the TA 212 which I think is in general 1 notch above the Stage1.
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2018
    Always Cool likes this.
  14. PGSS

    PGSS Well-Known Member

    Have to ask how you fit those big valves in a stock head and working with the smaller 43o bore?
     
  15. 436'd Skylark

    436'd Skylark Sweet Fancy Moses!!!!!

    Yeah that's 4.25" worth of valve in a 4.21 bore..
     
    johnriv67 likes this.
  16. johnriv67

    johnriv67 Well-Known Member

    I'd guess he threw in a 2 instead of a 1, not really sure. That would be an impressive feat if it was possible :D
     
  17. Always Cool

    Always Cool Active Member

    Those are the type of suggestions and information that I need as well. I'm in the process of doing as much research that I can before my father and I start turning wrenches. I even still have the original points system on the distributor. I'm contemplating changing over to an electronic advance though. Any thoughts?
     
  18. KenneBelle455

    KenneBelle455 Well-Known Member

    Frankly, if there's nothing wrong with the car now and it hasn't given you any serious trouble, why would you be concerned about it? You're putting on around a thousand miles a year it looks like, so that car will long out live you with even basic care!

    Your posts prior to this made it sound like you were looking for power and weren't at all concerned about durability. If you want durability, just take care of it. Stay on top of your fluids and keep them fresh, stay up on tune up parts and keep it running good, and drive it nicely, and it will run for a very long time. All this other stuff you're talking about doing will very likely make it less reliable, not more so.

    I'm surprised it hasn't been brought up by others, but the one thing I would add to that car is a good aftermarket oil pressure gauge. Yes, Buicks are sensitive when it comes to oiling issues because of the front cover/pump design, but with that mileage, if it has been cared for, it shouldn't be an issue. As long as you keep good fresh oil in it and use a good filter, it should stay that way. But I'd like to have a good gauge to look at to be sure, and to warn you at the first sign of trouble.

    That said, as others will also surely point out, a high quality cover/pump setup is available from TA Performance that will solve any problem you may ever have with oil pressure. But again, if it's fine now, there is no need to mess with it.

    I'd replace the original nylon camshaft sprocket/timing chain for the above mentioned reason, and I'd fix any leaks that come up, but otherwise I wouldn't touch the motor. I wouldn't waste a dime on building another motor, I'd cherish that car for the very low mile survivor that it seems to be. Messing with it will very likely make it less reliable, not more so.
     
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  19. KenneBelle455

    KenneBelle455 Well-Known Member

    Steeper gears, louder exhaust, lumpy cam, etc etc will make the car less enjoyable than it surely is now. Steeper gears will take life off the motor if you plan to do much freeway driving. That is a good motor, but it isn't meant to spin an overly high RPM for extended periods at freeway speeds. I think these guys that throw out generic random suggestions like that just don't understand what the point of these cars was. This is a full size personal luxury coupe, not a hot rod. Loud exhaust and steep gears in a car like that is frankly stupid. It's not a GSX with a four speed, it's a Riviera. Totally different kind of car for a totally different purpose.

    Obviously it's your car and you get to decide what you want to do with it, I'm only just offering my advice and suggestions that you asked for. I think you should keep that car as the survivor that it is and find something else, something more appropriate to hot rod if your heart is set on that.
     
    Always Cool likes this.
  20. johnriv67

    johnriv67 Well-Known Member

    I agree with most of everything you said, and good idea with the oil pressure gauge. However, if he is seeking more power, only his wallet and time should be able to stop him. And I intend to have a fast Riviera one day as well, a full size fast personal luxury coupe. It's all about what you want from the car at hand. More power --> less reliability, but to each his own, and that's why we have a hobby, or even lifestyle for the lucky ones among us.
     

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