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1932 Buick cracked heads


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I'm restoring a 1932 Buick 57S - X and this forum is really a useful source for information not found in reference and parts books.

Recently I read a post about a another 1932 Buick, saying that “</SPAN></SPAN>The 32 Buicks had serious problems with cracked heads”


Please share your experience with this problem. Where does it typically crack? Is it in a random place or?


All information appreciated :)<O:p</O:p

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Mine head (28 Master) was badly cracked in two exhaust chaneĺs, from throat whole lenght to valve guide.... Apparently anybody poured cold water into hot engine as Master engine has water outlet over exhaust channels.

Obviously 32 could be a totally different animal....



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I collected 4 50 series 1932 engines befor getting one that was not cracked. The first 3 all had cracks running between the intake and exhaust valve seats. another interesting problem on 32 50 series engines is the damage at the head bolts. The head bolts have a small head size and provied very little surface contact area. The head bolts also are not very hard. The bottom of the head bolts mushroom and then make poor contact with the heads. The head bolt holes wear concave putting undue pressure on the castings. I have found a number of the bosses with pieces broken out on my collection of heads. I have also found cracks at the water passage holes from the block into the head.

I recut the shoulders on the head bolts to have a square contact area. I counter bore the head bolt holes and put a hardened washer, the type used on aluminum engines and hot rod engines, in the counter bore.

I believe most of the cracking problems come from engine heat problems. Make sure the water jacket is thoroughly cleaned especially around #8 cylinder. Excess and improper head and manifold torque is also a problem. Read the posts on cracked exhaust manifolds and properly install the gaskets. If the exhaust manifold can't expand and slide on the cylinder head through heating and cooling cycles, cracking of heads and manifolds will occur.

Let me know if you want any further info.


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Thanks for info.

A quick inspection of my head shows no visible cracks, but I think I’ll take it to a machine shop for a closer look.

However I found that one of the head bolts had damaged the headcasting underneath, at the contact area. The headbolt have a washer, but it’s a thin one. A better washer will surely prevent this from happening again. At first I thought this damage was due to poor/low iron quality, but the combination of a very small headbolt + thin washer is not ideal.

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