MrEarl

Adjustable / Export Rockers in a 54 4 dr Roadmaster

25 posts in this topic

 

I've been supplying a guy on the west coast parts for building a 322 for a little Ford roadster hot rod he is building. I sent him pictures of a set of exhaust manifolds in one of my 4 door Roadmaster parts cars. He texted me back and said the exhaust manifolds looked good and he would take them and also asked if the adjustable rockers were for sale. Since we had talked about ar's a month or two back and that neither of us have ever even seen ones, I assumed he was kidding and responded back "Dream On". He then texted "well if you ever decide to sell them I want first dibs" Recalling that I had noticed a difference in the shape of the rocker covers from that car when I pulled them when I sold the intake and 4 bbl Carter, I thought "Holy Crap this guy may be serious. I walked/trotted down to the car, raised the hood and sure enough, there they were staring me in the face... something I have never even seen good pictures of, a set of ADJUSTABLE ROCKERS.  These adjustable rockers were part of a "high performance" equipment package that was sold through Buick parts departments. In the master parts book they are listed along with solid solid cam, solid lifters and long pushrods and high compression pistons. I believe they were available individually also though. Very popular with hotrodders of the the day.

So I will be digging deeper into this engine to see what all else is there. The engine was stuck when I bought the car probably 10 years ago and the spark plugs were missing so the pistons will likely be a mess. I bought it and another 4 door Roadmaster from a guy in Virginia who used both on his mail route.

I know there were also after market rockers made by a company called Gotha and another named Thompson. I am unsure whether these are factory or aftermarket.

 

Note here the bump outs on the rocker covers that were necessary for clearance of the adjusting nuts.

 

IMG_3761.JPGIMG_3763.JPG

 

and the adjusting nuts and bolts on the rockers. I can't really make out the numbers or letters on the rockers?

IMG_3767.JPGIMG_3787.JPGIMG_3796.JPGIMG_3799.JPG

 

 

and check out the push rod end

 

IMG_3769.JPG

 

Here is a set that Russ Martin once sold as being factory exports

 

 

BuickExportsfromRuss.JPG

 

These below are supposedly from left to right Factory, Gotha and Thompson

 

Factory Gotha.jpg

 

And another set from the internet. These were also claimed to be exports and appear to be the same as the ones in my Roadmaster parts car.

 

1823871002042.jpg

 

I guess my biggest question here is "What the heck were they doing in a 54 4 door Roadmaster"

 

 

 

 

 

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If you're running solid lifters, then adjustable rockers are a must.

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Is there an "export" engine code on that Roadmaster?  As the export engines usually had a good bit lower compression ratio, and he was doing lower-speed stuff with the car, I wonder if it was ordered with an "Export" motor so it would use lower octane fuel in the USA?  OR might he have had a little "side business" where speed was important, so he got the adj rocker arms and pushrods for more rpm from the engine??  AND, how'd those special valve covers happen?  IF the rockers were added later, were the valve covers "clearanced" in use or replaced with factory "export" items?

 

The other question is whether or not you're going to sell the guy those assemblies?

 

NTX5467

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All interesting questions, I only know the answer to one. Heck no, if they aren't worn out they'll go into the Century along with the McCulloch Supercharger... some day

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Ever have your memory jogged?

455stage3-hotrodcover.jpg

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Posted (edited)

13 hours ago, MrEarl said:

 

I guess my biggest question here is "What the heck were they doing in a 54 4 door Roadmaster"

    " ******the shadow knows!"         Now you have some excitement in your life again.:lol:

 

  Ben

 

Edited by First Born (see edit history)
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Posted (edited)

15 hours ago, MrEarl said:

"What the heck were they doing in a 54 4 door Roadmaster"

Other things to check:  engine number, head casting numbers, pistons and rods...

1956_buick_high_performance_parts (2).pdf

Buick supplied but did not install at factory.  The 56 kit does not mention clearancing the valve covers.

Edited by old-tank (see edit history)
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3 hours ago, 60FlatTop said:

Ever have your memory jogged?

455stage3-hotrodcover.jpg

I read something about the turbo charged nailhead at one time.  It apparently developed so much torque that GM did not have a transmission that could handle it.

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8 hours ago, MrEarl said:

All interesting questions, I only know the answer to one. Heck no, if they aren't worn out they'll go into the Century along with the McCulloch Supercharger... some day

 

 Sooner rather than later, Lamar. I do not have forever, you know. 

 

  Ben

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22 minutes ago, First Born said:

 

 Sooner rather than later, Lamar. I do not have forever, you know. 

 

  Ben

 

me neither buddy. I's movin as fast as I can. :D

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2 hours ago, MrEarl said:

 

me neither buddy. I's movin as fast as I can. :D

 

 

  Need a can tied on your tail??:D

 

  Ben

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The Turbo401 was originally advertised for the upcoming 1962 Wildcat, in a print ad.  When we did the engine plant tour at the 2003 Centennial event, that engine was on display.  Massive torque "blowing" into a 2bbl intake manifold and only one exhaust manifold feeding the turbo.  Certainly more torque than a DynaFlow could handle!

 

It might have been good that Buick helped Olds out when the HydraMatic plant burned, offering DynaFlows for Oldsmobiles, but for Buick to voluntarily use HydraMatics in Buicks, better to have a massively-powerful "Experimental" engine in the wings that was not put into production.

 

Not "enough transmission"?  Same thing happened when the Olds Quad4 became the Olds Quad8 V-8 proposal.  Not enough fwd transmission to handle it, in the middle 1980s.  Plus an "instant" 300 horsepower fwd car that couldn't happen for other reasons than just the transmission.  I have a picture of one in a car, somewhere, plus the article.

 

Might the reason that nobody did turbo or supercharger kits for Buicks (that I remember seeing ads for, back then) that Buick's "post-flywheel" powertrain was weaker than we might suspect?  With any modifications in that respect requiring much more work than going down and buying a car that was agreeable to such modifications?  After the THM400 appeared, it was more about cubic inches than "high tech" or "exotic" things as superchargers and turbochargers.

 

NTX5467

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It's getting to be that time of the year when "gardens" start needing to be taken care of lest the flora get out of hand.  Time to get the weedeater out so Lamar's "art" can be seen and appreciated.

 

NTX5467

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I was having coffee with a few of the locals in a convenient store up the other end of town last week when an old friend from High School walked over. I asked him how is '72 Nova SS was doing and it wasn't long before he was talking about how hard he had to work on those Chevies and I just rode around in my Buick with three times the horsepower. I guess his memory is pretty good, too.

 

That Dynaflow shouldn't be sold short. I think the only part you could break is the reverse strut. Everything else is a big hydraulic pump and no shifting. Pretty lucky the Wildcat came out in 1962. Today they would probably call it the Heckcat.

 

Here's my Dynaflow. Where's that Dodge?

 

Hellcat_0.jpg?itok=yb4vAeDo

 

 

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All that or those "Dodges" will have to do is the famous doughnut burnouts around that ONE tank (no matter what its name is).  That turret can't rotate fast enough to keep up with them.  At that close range, it might graze a roof panel, but little else.  How fast can that DynaFlow move that tank between "D" and "R"?  And soon, the Dodge Challenger DEMON will appear!!

 

ONE thing I've learned about Chevrolets (and some other cars, too) is that the farther you get them from "finessed production specs", the more it takes to keep them running.  Our former service manager used to race jet boats.  He had variations of Chevy BB truck block engines, from 468 to 486.  Between rounds, like the former drag racer he was, he was always wrenching to make sure it was at the top of its game.  Another former drag racer, in the blown flatbottom boat class, had a KB Hemi that once he got the combination down, he just ran it and ran it.  Only cooldown and checks between rounds.  He used to laugh at our guy for all of his work.  When our guy finally traded for a picklefork chassis with a KB Hemi, he discovered that "between rounds" wrenching was not needed.  I smiled.  In so much of modern drag racing, it's as much about speed as it is about consistency, so once you get "the combination" perfected, don't mess with it.

 

I've also observed that Chevy guys like to talk about how much they work on their cars, as if it's a "badge of honor" or something.  When a modified Chevy engine blows up in a race, I've heard "It had TOO much horsepower in there, the bottom end wouldn't take it", or similar.  Only thing is that my machine shop associate built a Chevy 355 circle track race engine.  At the end of the season, I was in the shop when that engine came back in for "get ready for next season".  When he pulled the pan and removed a main cap, the bearings were barely scuffed at all!  After a full season of winning races.  He said that once he got the windage tray/scraper combination worked out a few years prior, this is how they all looked after a full season of winning races every weekend.  As with other things, IF they're built right to start with, no problems as long as reasonable care is taken of them.  In this case, it meant lots of fresh oil in the alcohol class.

 

NTX5467

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When I was in High School those Chevy guys, including the one I saw last week, were scouting for double hump 2.02 heads, rams horn exhaust manifolds, and power pack intake manifolds. I was in the garage wrapping a chain around my left motor mount to keep my 401 Dynaflow Buick from pulling the throttle to the floor when the car raised 6 during power braking.

 

Yes, we had a 1/4 mile painted off at the end of my road. 85 to 88 MPH was pretty respectable for a two ton car back in '65. On summer tires, I took a performance hit with the Firestone Town & Country snows.

 

Like they used to sing on the Bob Hope Buick Show "Tanks for the Dynaflow".

 

Bernie

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Hoping to dive into it with Brad54 and a couple more gearhead friends Saturday and maybe consume a few beverages along with pulled pork barbecue, brisket and Brunswick stew. They say the barbecue sauce is good for degreasing heads. If not, there's always that clear white stuff in a fruit jar, but what a waste that would be. 

Will report back.... likely Monday though ...

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Neat find.  Now to have a 3D printer make one for a proper mold and make sets of adjustable rockers!   

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1 hour ago, avgwarhawk said:

Neat find.  Now to have a 3D printer make one for a proper mold and make sets of adjustable rockers!   

You would need a 3D scanner to create the object mesh from scratch and then use a 3D printer. Likewise, you could always create your own, too, and use a 3D printer. 

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16 hours ago, Beemon said:

You would need a 3D scanner to create the object mesh from scratch and then use a 3D printer. Likewise, you could always create your own, too, and use a 3D printer. 

I don't know the ins and outs.  I'm just the ideas guy. :) 

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You ought to sell em to that guy for having such sharp eyes.

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Mike, I'm a nice guy and all but come on man...... I did give him a heck of a deal on the intake and exhaust manifolds I just shipped out to him and gave him first dibs on the hp stuff if I ever decide to sell. 

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(What ELSE is out in the flowerbeds at Buick Gardens???? OR "on vacation" under the hoods of the "field warehouses" which graced these forums a while back???)

 

Now that you've got the top of the engine open, what about the cam and lifters??  Solid or hydraulic?  WHEN you find some roller tip adj rocker arms for a NailHead, THAT would be something to find!  Alas, though, none of those adj rocker arms would fit under a cast aluminum valve cover . . .

 

NTX5467

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49 minutes ago, NTX5467 said:

Alas, though, none of those adj rocker arms would fit under a cast aluminum valve cover . . .

 

Not yet anyways. ;)

 

Can always duplicate the mold for the rocker arm and make some one off valve covers. 

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39 minutes ago, Beemon said:

 

Not yet anyways. ;)

 

Can always duplicate the mold for the rocker arm and make some one off valve covers. 

 

  Spacer under the valve cover?

 

  Ben

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