My New 215!

Discussion in ''Da Nailhead' started by freematt, Aug 7, 2002.

  1. freematt

    freematt Member

    I recently bought a disassembled 215 long block. I got the long-block in a loosely assembled state with the cam, lifters, pushrods and a few other pieces in a box. I don't see any obvious damage to the major components and the cylinder bores measure like they have never been bored to an oversize. So far so good.

    I started to imagine what brackets I would need to fabricate to mount accessories like an alternator, power steering pump and A/C compressor when I swap this motor into my 1988 Toyota 4runner, 4x4. I found mounting points on the front of the cylinder head that is presently sitting on top of the drivers side cylinder bank but none on the passenger side. Then I looked at the back of the head, presently sitting on the passenger side and there were similar mounting bosses as on the other head. The head on the drivers side has a casting number A1 and the other has the number A2X. Do I have a mixed set of heads? Was there ever a head with mounting bosses on the front of the passenger side?

    I'll be looking for some Buick 300 heads, 1964 aluminum of course, so I'll have the same questions where those are concerned.

    I'm attaching a picture of a nice 215 from the front cover of D&D Fabrication, 215 Aluminum V-8 specialists, (810) 798-2491. You will notice that it too has no mounting bosses on the front of the passenger side head.

  2. 71GS455

    71GS455 Best Package Wins!

    Assuming that the heads are interchangeable from driver's to passenger side (not proprietary from one side to the other), then the front of the passenger side head should be the same as the back as the driver's side head (and vice versa). It's just turned around.

    I can't picture it in my head, but my mom has a 1962 Skylark with this motor. It's very original. If my father had a digital camera, I could send you a picture of what they looked like installed.
  3. freematt

    freematt Member

    I did something wrong when I tried to attach the picture in the first message so I'm trying again.

    Also, it does seem that the heads are interchangeable from side to side. If the picture of the D&D 215 gets attached this time you can see that the front, outer head bolt, on the passenger side, has a stud on it. Perhaps that may be intended as a mounting point?

    Attached Files:

  4. Adam Whitman

    Adam Whitman Guest

    Matt, all of the accessory brackets from a 300 or 350 buick will fit your 215. The HEI from a 350 will also fit, but you might have to do a little bit of grinding on the front of the intake and use an allen-head bolt there.
  5. Screaming Snail

    Screaming Snail Well-Known Member

  6. freematt

    freematt Member

    Look how much I'm learning already! I definitely will look into the Buick 350 HEI transplant and the Yahoo 215 list. I'll have this baby built before I even get up from the computer! :grin:

  7. Adam Whitman

    Adam Whitman Guest

    I'm looking at your 215 phot and remembering that the 215 heads may not be drilled for the 300-350 brackets. However, if you go with the 300 heads, that problem will be taken care of...
  8. freematt

    freematt Member


    Are you saying that 300 heads, which are very much a part of my plans, will have mounting bosses on the front of each head. Dan over at D&D would have instant answers to all these questions, but, he's on vacation until Aug. 19.

  9. Adam Whitman

    Adam Whitman Guest

    yes indeedy I am. even better, the brackets off of a v6,350, or 455 will bolt to the 300 head. There has even been discussion of using the serpentine belt system off of a late V-6, though I'm not sure anyone's done it yet.
  10. freematt

    freematt Member

    I don't know enough about the rest of the Buick family of engines to readily confirm the interchangeability of the brackets, Do the late model V-6's, the 350 and the 455 have simular timing covers with the front mounted oil filter and distributor? Perhaps there are some pictures on this board?

    I need to figure out what to look for and where to look when I go to the auto wrecking yard. Buick, rear wheel drive vehicles, that had V-6's or V-8's could be possible donors for my project. I need to learn how late that configuration was manufactured. The Grand Nationals may be of particular interest.
  11. Adam Whitman

    Adam Whitman Guest

    Good luck on finding a GN in the junkyard. If you do, put that engine in your Toy! The front covers of the RWD v-6, 350, and 215 are VERY similar. I think some v-6's interchange with the 350 depending on the year v-6. The 455 unit looks the same, but is dimensionally bigger. the alternator bracket will fit the 455-350-v-6. some 455 power steering might be the same, but not all. THe 350 and RWD v-6 stuff is all virtually the same. Use your jusdgement, but with careful inspection I don't think you'll have any problem getting the parts you need. The 300 heads will be the hardes part of the deal probably. Put a want ad on the BB and you may find a decent deal.

  12. freematt

    freematt Member


    I was looking at a Grand National website today and I'd have to say that you are right, that is an interesting motor. I really need to learn more. I have a vague feeling that I'd like to put one in British roadster! Right now though I've got a need for nothing less than 8 cylinders.

    I read a discussion, in a forum on a British website, about an after-market manufacturer of aluminum heads for the Buick/Rover V8. The heads are based on the the design used for the GN and are said to be capable of 450hp with a motor displacing 5 liters.
  13. FJM568

    FJM568 Well-Known Member

    The front covers are almost the same as the V6...The early 85 and earlier V6s had a 14 bolt oil pan and the late 85 and later V6s had the 20 bolt oil pan...You want the early 85 and earlier V6 timing cover...The only other difference on them is the V6 timing covers had removeable degree pointers for the timing adjustment and I believe I had read somewhere that they were like 10 deg or more off of what the V8 and the mid 70s and earlier V6(the oddfire) covers were(the V8 and the mid 70s V6s had the timing pointers cast into the cover)...

    JC Whitney sells the replacement 14 bolt oil pan timing covers for about $120...

    The GN motor has been tried to be used in the Toyota trucks before and the main problems they had was the turbo'd motors ran too hot in the small Toyota engine bay...They were having problems with the cooling system...Heheh, but that was with Toyota guys working on Buick motors, kind of a different animal there...

    I'm still gathering parts to do a Buick 350 swap into my 86 Toyota 4x4...I've heard that the 77-9 Monza V8 radiator fits fairly decent with some mods to the core support in the Toyota 4x4s...I guess I will find out when I get to that point...

    I think I heard somewhere that the factory alum 300 heads had porosity problems and had trouble with the cooling system because of it...I would be inclined to just use the cast iron 300 heads if it were me...
  14. Adam Whitman

    Adam Whitman Guest

    Jim, I know of several 64 300's and have to say they all ran wonderfully. I would think they would long-ago have been crushed if there were some with problems. Not to say that you are wrong, but this is the first that I've heard of it.

    food for thought...
  15. FJM568

    FJM568 Well-Known Member

    hmmm..I might be getting confused with something else... :Do No:

    I know at some point, I heard of some brand of aluminum factory head in the 60s having porosity problems, just don't remember who it was or where I heard it...
  16. Adam Whitman

    Adam Whitman Guest

    You might be thinking that Buick dropped the aluminum because they had to reject a lot of them in quality control? It seems like I might have read that someplace before.
  17. IgnitionMan

    IgnitionMan Guest

    The picture of the 215 is of an Oldsmobile headed engine, not Buick/Pontiac. No Buick 215 heads had accessory bolt holes in the pass side area, both heads are completely interchangeable side to side.

    215 blocks come in two flavors, Olds with 18 head bolts per side, Buick with 14 per side. Buick blocks are drillable for olds heads, pads are there, just not finished off. Olds bolcks can be used with either head design.

    300 aluminum heads all have accessory bolt holes, are side to side interchangable, only use 10 head bolts, sealing is no problem. Using a 300 head on a stock bore'stroke 215 isn't advisable, as the compbustion chambers are a full 1/4 inch larger in diameter, and larger CC, so compression ratio drops radically, even with flat top 200 horsepower pistons.

    215 Buicks use 14 head bolts per side, 300, 10. Rover found that the lower 4 bolts on the heads were causing lifting of the heads off the head gasket/block on then intake side, and eliminated the lower row of 4 bolts, using only 10 per side also. I did this long ago on my own 215's. I use a long set screw in each bottom head bolt hole, then a cover from a hardware store for each head bolt hole not used.

    For the most part, timing covers are completely interchangeable, although some have different alignment dowel hole sizes, so adjust accordingly. Timing marks differ. Big block timing covers will not interchange onto the 215 thru 350 small block engines.

    There are better ways to do HEI than butcher the block and head just to cram a large cap HEI disaster in a Buick 215. In my opinion, PerTronix systems are not worth even a thought, let alone the aggravation, wastes of time and money they are.

    I've run a 215 in my daily driver Vega for 23 years, no problems. Building a more serious engine now, 5.2 litre (309 ci), from these parts, Rover 4.6l cross-bolted main cap block with T-top sleeves, bored to 3.779, Ross forged pistons, CAT H beem rods, Austrailian P76 British Leyland crankshaft with 3.500 stroke, 300 Buick timing cover, 300 heads with Corvair valves, Rover 4.6l EFI intake system, Ford sequential EFI controller. Just a daily driver engine, enhanced a bit. When its done, it'll still weigh 320 lbs, and still be an off-shoot of a Buick engine, which ain't bad at all.
  18. freematt

    freematt Member


    Thanks for the loads of info. I didn't quite understand the bit about the ignition though. What is a good way to upgrade the distributor?

    I also want to run a Rover EFI system, but, I was thinking of using an aftermarket computer from Simple Digital Systems.
  19. freematt

    freematt Member

    I meant to include images with my last post but apparently something went wrong.

    Attached Files:

  20. freematt

    freematt Member

    Now I've gotten to where I can post one image per message.

    Attached Files:

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