How to increase BBB engine longevity!

Discussion in 'Race 400/430/455' started by Staged70Lark, Aug 31, 2005.

  1. john hixon

    john hixon Well-Known Member


    Please stick strictly with focusing on the topic of making the motor last. Our motors are NOT better. They are NOT technically superior in any way, shape, or form. They are not a natural fit for bracket racing (my preference) nor will you see them in any Top Sportsman or Quick 8 classes outside of our small circle. I am just as passionate as the next guy regarding Buicks, but let's be real. "Correctly" is not a mutually agreed upon term by TA, Earick, PAE, Weise, Evans, Dove, or AM&P.

    The only people running these things on the ragged edge are passionate lunatics with a fat cash wad and/or few other family obligations to tend to. It's a sickness more than anything else and I'm proud to be a paying member.

    The fact of the matter is "brand X" power will let you go more reliably, faster, and cheaper when comparing dollar for dollar. It's simple supply and demand.

    I applaud you and the others that make a go of it, however it is painfully clear to me that the "barriers to entry" here are quite high and that there are a number of influencing individuals downplaying that. If we have any hopes of keeping Buick power in the forefront the supply has to increase, costs must go down, quality go up, and new blood in (demand). The new block soap opera certainly doesnt help matters.

    Anybody following this thread should be just as familiar with what else is out there or else they are doing themselves a disservice. Objectivity is key.

    A few references:

    It's all about your goals. Before you invest in racing your Buick, know your goals and exactly what you are willing to sacrifice to get there.

  2. Billy

    Billy Well-Known Member

    The new block is the only hope.

    For how much we spend in building a buick motor with 600 + hp and to have it fly apart in less than 20 runs makes ones butt pucker and puts a dent in the money tree out back. I hope the new blocks do come about and work out ok. Thats what i am going to wait on before i spend any more big money on them. For now i will be running a mildly built 11 second motor and will enjoy it. I do wish that i had a couple of $10,000.00 money trees out back because its almost time for the leaves to drop and its getting cooler out. :laugh:

  3. texas ranger

    texas ranger One riot one ranger

    This is how I take that quote.
    He is not saying buick blocks are better. Stevie Wonder can see that there not. What I here is that with preparation and planing with what has been learned over the years and shared freely among buick owners. Buick motors can be built to live just as long as brand x. To a point.
    I feel the cut off is being reached when you get to 9.00 8 and 7 seconds.
    No you will never see a stock buick block being run in NHRA.
    I think everbody who has blown up one of these motors or buys parts that are almost twice what the brand x guy pays. Comes to that point of asking Is it worth all the down time waiting to save up the money to try again. The hassell of going hundreds or thousands of miles just to find a shop that knows how to build buicks.
    How about going to the track and brag to your chevy buddys how good your heads flow and how much you paid for them and get laugh at. :af:

    And then told for what you have in those heads and intake you can get a
    used Reher Morrison big block complete to carb because the guy wants to step up. And then watch the motor for sale make a low 5 second pass 1/8 mile pass. I was told it does this day in and day out.
    I think that statement was for the benifit of guys like me and maybe you :confused: who are looking on the other side and seeing how green the grass is over there.
  4. Staged70Lark

    Staged70Lark Well-Known Member

    John H.,

    I think you went over the line in your post!!!! There isn't a true CHEVY anywhere in Top Sportsman. Thats a FACT!!!!!

    I hope someone deletes the posts from John's on!!!! And I will get back to my goals!!!!


    If you build a Chevy, Ford or Chrysler wrong.... IT WILL COME APPART also. I am at the track often and I see plenty of all come appart. There is no perfect engine!!!!!

  5. staged67gspwr

    staged67gspwr "The Black Widow"

    I think the 400-430-455 is just a $hitty ass design,Sorry Dennis but you guys could`ve done alot better back then.

  6. Weekender

    Weekender weekender

    Wow! take a chill pill Guys!

    Hey guys,

    We are losing focus as John Z has so eloquently stated.

    Coming from Flint and working at Buick where these beasts were built I understand why they are what they are. That is, a torque monster to haul 4800lb land yachts down the blvd in luxary and rarely rev higher than 4000 rpm. That they did very well.

    Now along come the mussle car era and the demand for lighter cars and more HP. As the CEO of Buick, do you completely redesign and retool your factory for beefier blocks and better oiling? Negative! "Use what you have" was the command and that's what YOU and I have to work with. It is what it is, so accept it or go with whatever makes you feel good and stop whining about it.:ball:

    Lets get back to business!!!

    Weekender :boring:
  7. staged67gspwr

    staged67gspwr "The Black Widow"

    Hey they went from a better oiling system(Nailhead)to a shittier one,go figure. :Do No:
  8. Kerry s.

    Kerry s. Is Jesus YOUR Lord?

    Hi John,

    Thanks for's a link to my pic's of my block... :TU:
  9. GSX455

    GSX455 Well-Known Member

    Hay, do not blame Dennis and the engineers, there job was to investigate the thin wall casting and build a motor to move land yachts around town. The Hot Roding of this motor is being done by us; we are the ones trying to make these motors live while producing 2 or 3 times the horsepower they were designed for. As I recall the mods done for the GS and Stage 1 held up very well.

    With that lets please get back to the reason for this thread, how do we make these things live and produce the power we are looking for.

    Thanks again John for starting this.
  10. BQUICK

    BQUICK Well-Known Member

    Block and oiling issues don't come into play until 6500 rpm or 650 hp are exceeded.
    Up to that it gets the job done.
    But anything can be improved......

    Let's see some 650 plus hp nailheads and see how they hold up. :Brow:

  11. badbuik

    badbuik Well-Known Member

    Here's my thoughts on this; This is a great thread, seeing the necessary mods is very important for the next generation Buick guy. But, when talking about Brand X, no matter what Brand you build, to build a race motor IT WILL BE EXPENSIVE!!! We, Buick Guys', have great parts available, but the Brand Xers' have several options of great parts to choose from, for every race part. Have ya ever heard the term "10 lbs. of Sh#* in a 5 lb. bucket!" that is how I feel about Me racing a BB Buick, we take our Great parts and stuff them in a "bucket" that will fail! Buicks' are passenger car technology.........The brand Xers can actually choose a "bucket", specific built, that will more than hold their SH#*! "10 lbs. of "it" in a 50 lb. bucket........This all leads to spending alot of money to maintain "Buick Loayaity". I have had BB Buicks from stock to 1000 horse, from no Mods. to every one you can do, some were reliable, and some NOT. I think that when you push them hard, chances are pretty good that something bad will happen, and it will cost a good chunk of change to fix it and get back to racing. My last motor which now has a cracked block, had me wanting to sell everything!!! But then reflecting on how much fun I had beating almost everyone at the track, and the appreciation I got from actually racing a Buick, and if I sold it, what would I build that would be as cool, and different. There'll always be a fast Nova, Mustang, Chevelle, etc. at the track, but usually I'm the only Buick, and the crowed goes wild to see a Buick Convertible rip the wheels and run a low 9 second pass!!! I love to race, and love to see Buicks' race, but doing it, it seems that I spend alot of money, and do it more than the guys' racing the Brand X stuff.
    Anyways, I probably had more to say but seems that I've said enough. I've spent some more money, and will be racing again very soon, but the future does have me spending more money, on a new block, it had better be all that we want, or I'l give in to Brand X. Sorry if this is "straying off" the origional Thread.
    Gary G.
  12. Kerry s.

    Kerry s. Is Jesus YOUR Lord?

    Hi Guys,


    There are MANY positives that are attributed to a BBB. Factory block to factory block there are VERY FEW that better ours. That's not to say that there are not any....but are they thin casting, lightweight blocks like our's that compare in weight to a SBC?? I think NOT! That's why our cars handle so good, LESS weight over the front end. The ones that are stronger than the BBB outweigh them by MANY pounds and arcitecture(sp?) had more forethought to be sure. VERY FEW factory designed engines are that much stronger than ours unless they were designed from the beginning to be a racing high performance endurance engine and even then they ALL have their weaknesses that have been addressed over the years. The offerings that are now out there pretty much ALL are NOT in any way factory designed at all but AFTERMARKET race designs with many years of race stressed refinement. Many people still seem to want to compare a "luxo-barge" designed engine who's block was never remotely conceived to approch the amount of power that we are able to extract out of them with other brand engines that have a strong aftermarket base they can draw from and were, from the very beginning of the engineer's pencil touching the paper, conceived as a performance engine. VERY, VERY, VERY few use a stock block as we are forced to least at this point in time.:Brow:

    We (the Buick community) do not YET have that luxury, but I do believe that Dick Bradshaw (with the help, coaxing and reassuring of Jim Burek) will eventually come through for us and this will be the MUCH NEEDED step we have always needed to make a BBB a force to be recond with and a true player!:TU: That day WILL COME but any and all bad-mouthing does nothing to but tend to divide.

    Enough of my ranting.:grin:

    I whole-heartedly agree with Larry ("Weekender")...that we need to get back to the business of the discussion at hand!:TU:
  13. D-Con

    D-Con Kills Rats and Mice

    George, thanks for your contributiions on how to make the BB Buick Live longer.

    John Stevens: how does more rod side clearance benefit bearing life?
  14. Weekender

    Weekender weekender

    It is what it is!


    As I said, "It is what it is"! They were not made to do what we ask them to do in stock form, so let's learn from those who have had success with making them live, build em right and then kick butt.:spank:

    Weekender :TU:
  15. john massoud

    john massoud 2nd Fastest REAL Stage 1

    Getting a 455 to live

    Well this thread has gone way off base !!!! Lets get back to making these things live. Ive had sum bad luck in the last to years but if anyone has ever seen my car run you know it runs HARD on my good motor i had 1393 run thats right i said 1393 and it would still be running if i would have waited for my machine shop to check the clearance on my rod bearings but no i just couldnt wait and i put them in with out checking them and 5 passes later it came apart HARD.the last motor only made 10 passes in my car and it came apart my machine shop had nothing to do with building this one ,it was just its time. but what im getting at is these things can last, if you want .003 th clearance on the mains it has to be 3 on all the mains not just check 1 and send it, on my motor i ran 3 on the mains and 2.7 on the rods and i dont mean 2.8 or 2.9 it was all at 2.7 AND i have boxes of bearings to prove it. if you want theses motors to last it takes time to build a good motor everything has to be checked 3 or 4 times and everybody has there own oiling mods sum work for one and not for another. ive never run the groove in the block with the extra holes in the bearings but my machine shop does like the extra oil to the rods thats why i said they wanted to groove the bearing because they think the block is a little thin to start with (ya think) but like JOHN & MIKE T/A said theyve been doing this with good luck in the past. all i know is you need to take the time when building these thing to make them last. P.S GARY I know what your talking about when you make a pass and everybody comes over to see your car and they ask me if its a 540 or sumthing and i laugh and open the hood and they see its a iron head BUICK 455 they just leave with there heads down. THATS WHY I WILL ALWAYS STAY TRUE AND RUN A lets just keep thinking of ways to better these things and dont be scared to share the things that work for you. later (THE TORQUENS OVER)
    Julian likes this.

    JEFF STRUBE Well-Known Member

    Nice to Hear from you John. Do you have that 67 running again. It would be grate to see you at BG for 06
  17. jmccart

    jmccart John McCarthy

    I too am curious about why increasing the rod's side clearance is helpful. Great tech thread, lets stay focused.
  18. standup 69

    standup 69 standup69

    So far I have had good luck with keeping my 491 together on the track and the street knock on wood.First thing was hardblocked 3/4 full,main cap girdle,dual grooved TA cam bearings,nice big radius when offset grinding the crank,internal balanced,grooved main saddles (did this at home with a diegrinder and an old bearing as a guide took an hour).enlarged the galley from the sending unit,.0035 main clearance and .003 rod clearance, with the stock pump set at .002 It gets 20 lbs hot idle pressure and 80 pounds through the traps at 6500rpm and I use mobil1 15-50. I have to admit I have over-reved it to 7000+ rpm by accident on more than a few occasions. :pp so far so good just keep cutting open the filters every oil change checked the lash last week for the first time this year and nothing moved to my suprise even with 440 lbs of spring on the solid cam I hope this helps if anyone is doing a race semi street engine and gets us back on track for this thread.
  19. GS Kubisch

    GS Kubisch THE "CUT-UP" BUICK

    This is not so "Buick Technical" but definately applies........

    Too build/race take COMMITTMENT no matter the make!!!

    It's as simple as this,Pay attention to the problems/breakage that other people are having w/ similar combo's that you are contemplating,Then PLAN how you will prevent these issue's.
    Then if you properly MAINTAIN your equipment by looking for/expecting things to happen,You can catch a problem before it turns catastrophic.

    My approach was always a pranoid one.......Expect issue's,Then be relieved to find none.

    So commit to a plan,Execute and maintain.

    Any engine that is raced is a risk......The faster you want to go the higher the risk.

    That is where your plan is applied.....Sometimes the answer is not always more power but the effort to make you car "better"......
    Tom Rix is an excellant example,He does with 650hp what alot can't do with 800hp.

    The recipe is out there and it doesn't cost a dime to pay attention.

    Input is great,But choose what you use wisely,I've seen too much info cost people more money/time than if they just used common sense.
    Talk to the guys that are doing the most with the least.

    I have so much on my mind to do w/ this topic,Excuse my random thought drops,But it's a start to my contribution to the thread.

    Attached Files:

  20. standup 69

    standup 69 standup69

    I like that picture Gary,is that recent or are you still waiting for parts.

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