JBP

1953 Special - spark plugs (and other matters)

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The 263 has blind head bolt holes, so the head bolts shouldn't need sealer.  You can double check by sticking a pick (or maybe an air attachment hooked to your air compressor) down in the bolt holes just to verify (and who knows if the engine is original?).  At any rate, when I reinstalled the head on mine back when I first got it, I did some research and found that 248s and 320s have open head bolt holes on the driver's side, but 263s did not.  

 

On another note, Permatex #2 and #3 (which is the bottle you show) are my go to sealers for all kinds of jobs.  Either will work fine on threads going into oil or water.

Edited by Aaron65 (see edit history)

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Very good info to have, Aaron. Thanks for that. I was going by what the ‘52 shop manual outlines (which is the one us 1953 Special owners are to utilize), and it recommends that for the left side, the threads on the head bolts should be covered in sealing compound as they are open to the water jacket. 

 

Actually, I’ve not researched my engine serial number to see where it falls in terms of production. Hmmmm. 

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Accomplished a lot today, which was great. A friend came over to help me hoist the head back onto the block and the operation went well. I found a NOS head gasket unopened in the original packaging, unbent and in perfect condition. It was almost too nice to use......almost. Head went back on fairly easily. New lifters oiled up and inserted into place, and the push rod cover installed. 

 

 

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Edited by JBP (see edit history)
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I have been running Autolite #175 spark plugs in my '54 '55 and '56 Buicks for years and have had no problems with them.

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Had my window frames blasted and powder coated, so I bought a new length of window channel “fuzzy” material and spent a few hours today cutting, shaping, and installing them. As the staples were trashed when I pulled the old strips off before sending the frames to be powder coated, I used stainless steel aviation wire, twisted the ends, snipped them short and tucked the ends under the frame. Worked really well. Kept the strip tight to the frame and looks like a staple. 

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Edited by JBP (see edit history)
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Installed the window frames today, and did some finishing assembly on some of the last pieces to go back on the block and head (water pump, new upper and lower rad hoses, copper manifold gaskets, new tappet cover gasket being torqued down a bit by the cover in the second photo, etc.). Aiming to light her up tomorrow morning. 

 

Anyone have any tips or advice on what to do or expect? Will have to adjust the lash tomorrow, but while I know (and hope) the engine will sound and behave differently now, not certain if there are any other hidden landmines to be avoided before I press the pedal on the mighty Fireball 8. 

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Edited by JBP (see edit history)
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Changed the oil this morning, refilled the coolant, checked all the lines and made sure the bolts were all cinched. Engaged the starter, and after a few cranks, the engine fired and ran! Was really happy to hear that sound! 

 

Valves were clattery, but let her run for about 20 minutes and made sure everything was warmed up and adjusted the lash. It quieted down quite a lot, but think I need to give it some more attention. Took the car for a short drive for a few blocks; the difference in power was quite noticeable, and I was amazed to see how cool the car runs now. Even after warming up and the drive, the temp needle was well below the “N” and angled down closer to the bottom of the gauge. Thinking that the flushing of the block and the cleaning of the head must have opened things up substantially.

I’ll continue to tune the car this week. 

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Spent a few hours today with a friend dialling in the valve lash, and we got it running smoothly and quietly (funny how the manual is so casual in the description of how to do it, not really mentioning that you’ll be tightening and loosening set screws on a piece of rapidly moving machinery). Engine went from sounding like a muffled typewriter to a quiet sewing machine, very responsive to the throttle and running strongly. Will do some minor carb adjustments and fine tune my distributor, but overall very happy with how it’s performing. 

 

It’s a great feeling (that people on this forum can relate to) when you’ve worked toward something with your car, and you see the end result has made a vast improvement. Makes all the minor annoyances and setbacks fade away. 

Edited by JBP (see edit history)
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