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Does anyone know how to identify 322s from 364s by visual clues alone without taking the engines apart? Number on rear of block is D116xxxx. From info I've seen, this is confusing. [The 'x's above are other numbers.] What is the best reference source for this type of information?<BR>TNX

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On a 264/322, The spread between the left and right mounting holes on the intake manifold is 8-1/4 inches, center-to-center. The spread on the upper mounting bolts of the water crossover between the heads (thermostat housing) is 12 1/4-inches, center-to-center.I don't know these measurements on a 364, sorry.<BR>Two other quick and measurement-free visual clues are as follows: The 322 had round exhaust ports, and the exhaust manifold will be rounded at the head. The 364 had a rectangular exhaust port, and the manifold is also rectangular at the head.<BR>The biggest clue, though, is the spark plug covers. The 322 had stamped steel covers that ran the length of the head (front to back, just below the valve covers on the exhaust manifold side) that covered the spark plugs. The 364 didn't. These covers are almost always missing, but there are studs in the spark plug aread of the head: one right behind the very front spark plug, one just in front of the last spark plug. The studs are about 2-3-inches long, and you'll definately know them when you see them. If it doesn't have these studs coming out by the spark plugs, it's not a 322 (or 264). <BR>Hope this helps,<BR>-Brad

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Brad: <BR>Picked up engine today and towed it home. Looked it over, made some measurements and found SN. From your info and that from others, it appears to be a 322 mfg in '56. It does have both spark plug covers in chrome as are the valve covers too. According to seller, the engine ran well up 'til 5 months ago when it was pulled from old hotrod. Engine is very complete. Some simple diagnostics will help determine what I will need to do. I'm tired of seeing SBCs in hotrods at local shows and wanted something different - looks like I got it.<BR>TNX, Don

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AWESOME!<BR>I've got a pair of beautiful spark plug covers, and '53-54 valve covers that I'm going to chrome for my hot rod 322. (The earlier valve covers don't have breathers in them--they've got an embossed "emblem" that looks like a hood badge, sort of. It's an outline of the "Fireball V8" decal they put on those engines)<BR>I'm going with the Nailhead for the same reason, and I'm chroming the stock pieces because finned aluminum is everywhere. Especially the Offenhauser stuff. <BR>I do want to whittle a finned valley cover out of aluminum, and incorporate the oil fill tube. But it won't be polished, nor will the aluminum intake when I find one. Again, I don't want an Offy intake.<BR>One final tip: the bore on that 322 is 4 inches, plus any overbore--same as a small block Chevy. If you take it apart, I'd stick chrome moly piston rings in there: they're much, much kinder than the stock style cast iron pieces. Also, Totally Stainless offers a real nice, and very inexpensive, stainless steel engine bolt kit for the Nailheads. 800-767-4781. The whole kit cost me what I paid for Grade 8 bolts and washers for the intake and exhaust manifolds only.<BR>Lotsa luck!<BR>-Brad

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Thanks, Brad, for the important info, especially the stuff about part sources. It looks like there are some folks manufacturing parts for these older engines, but not a lot - seems like Chevy stuff is everywhere! Even Ford takes a back seat. This engine will go into my '46 Ford 2d sedan and will provide ample power for cruising. It has a 4 bbl carb on it now that looks fine, but a 3x2 setup would look even better for showin' off. Performance-wise, the 4 bbl would be about as good and easier to tame. Had a tri-power system on my old '58 Chevy 348 many years ago. It was incomplete without progressive linkage, so setting it up to run on all 3 carbs was tricky and usually lit up the tires without much effort - sort of a digital system - idle or full blast! This time around there will be progressive linkage... If you have any more advise or sources, I'd be interested in hearing about 'em.<BR>TNX

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Well, here are a couple of more sources: 1-800-MOTORHEAD has an awesome set of resource books, and has one for Buicks. It's basically a national directory for anyone selling anything that has anything to do with Buicks. It's all broken down into sections like engine parts, chassis, sheetmetal, salvage yards, literature vendors, etc... It's the best $25 I ever spent. Call him up and get one. Adam is a great guy, and his books are awesome. <BR>For progressive linkage, Offenhauser and Edelbrock both sell "generic" progressive linkage kits that will work, and Charlie Price down in Florida sells complete Tri-Power set ups. They're pricey (like $1,000), but complete with rebuilt carbs, tuned, linkage, intake manifold, and air cleaners. His number is 561-778-0809. Street Rod Builder or Super Rod magazine just did a big story on him. <BR>Rocker Arms Specialties can rebuild your rocker arm shafts if they need it. <P>Happy to help!<BR>-Brad

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Hey, Brad:<P>Once again, I'm indebted to you for sources! It would probably take me many weeks of looking to find appropriate sites.<P>I've finally had a few minutes to begin looking the engine over in a critical way. Oil is black. Looking thru oil filler tube shows a valley of crud - somewhat expected. Plugs look pretty good although 3 are darker than others - none fouled or wet with oil. Oil apparently leak (seeps) from valve covers down into plug holes since there was some oil there. Generator mounted on driver's side and probably belongs on right side of engine - lube ports upside down in current config. The right head has a mounting stud (instead of bolt) in lower front of head - probably used to mount generator, but don't know at this point. Since I don't have any text yet, I'm ignorant of the purpose of (what appears to be) a vacuum line running from the intake manifold down to the bottom of the fuel pump... never seen this on an engine before. There is no fuel line running from the pump to the carb - maybe an electric pump was used and the mechanical pump retained to cover the hole (crude). Fan blades shortened for some reason - the fan would be useless for most cooling purposes. Maybe an electrical fan was also used.<P>BTW, can I safely assume that the starter is negative ground??? I will be using it for the compression checks. I'm beginning to think more seriously about an overhaul.<P>Many thanks!

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My valve covers also leaked oil down into the spark plugs. New gaskets fixed it.<BR>Generator should go on the passenger's side. I've got a mount if you need one.<BR>The stock engine mounts would be very easy to adapt to a hot rod chassis. CARS in New Jersey sells new mounts (908-369-3666, <A HREF="http://www.buick-parts.com)." TARGET=_blank>www.buick-parts.com).</A> I've dealt with them, and they're pretty decent. Stock compression on a '56 is something like 9.5:1 or 10:1--perfect for a modern hot rod motor that's driven a lot (the compression ratio is listed in the Motor's Manual). The fuel pump is a "dual action" pump: half pumps the fuel, the other half supplies vacuum for the windshield wipers--that's the line coming off the intake manifold. There are block-off plates available. <BR>Canister-style oil filters are still available at most places, without special ordering. My center bolt weeps, though. The oil filter housing is aluminum.<BR>Don't know about the starter ground. <BR>Another thing you might be interested in is the water pump and housing from a 401/425. They're made of aluminum. I've read in magazines and checked on this site that the later water pump housing has the same foot print (mating surface to the block) as the early housings. I've read that you can take a later pump and housing, and bolt them to the front of an earlier block (322) and run it. The two advantages are that you can get a water pump at NAPA cheaper (a 322 pump is a mail-order only), and a big ol' chunk of pretty aluminum on the front of your engine.<BR>Also, a '56 water inlet neck is aluminum and bolts on. I don't know when they made the change. My '54 is cast iron.<BR>What are you doing for a transmission? <P>-Brad

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There's a lot of interesting info! I haven't snooped far enuff to tell what's aluminum or iron. The water inlet looks like iron and pretty rusty at that, but useable if needed. <P>This engine came with an adapter for old Ford 3 speed tranny out of the 30s and 40s. The Ford tranny that is attached is a floor shift and probably out of a truck - TBD. I think the adapter will mate up with my existing 46 tranny. There's a lot of research to be done and I've barely scratched the surface. <P>I'd be interested in your generator mount. The mounting pieces on the engine now look homemade except for the adjusting arm which is probably original and reverse mounted.<P>The original idea was that this engine would be good enuff to put into the 46 without overhaul and would save me lots of time since I could bolt it up to the existing manual transmission in the car. I'm now thinking that idea may not be best - overhaul the engine and use a beefier transmission (old Ford manuals break easily). This would cause me to replace the differential as well, I suppose, to eliminate the old Ford torque tube shaft. The engine's condition will probably determine which direction to go. <P>I like the water pump idea as I prefer to work with aluminum and not steel. It also looks good! <P>As for the fuel pump, I think replacing it with an electrical is my choice. I also intend to use an electrical fan instead of the original mechanical fan blades. Got any thoughts about these last ideas???

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Good luck finding a manual trans! I've got two for the Buick, but they're also enclosed. And not known for their durability. I've got an article from Kar Kulture Deluxe about stacking trans adapters: the Nailhead to Flathead adapter you've got, then a Flathead to GM trans adapter. A custom-machined pilot bushing is needed.<BR>The flywheels are hard to find, but if you've got one, you're way ahead of the game.<BR>I've got an old Cragar Nailhead to Ford T-85 trans adapter, and a lead on a T-85 overdrive trans. I'll have to convert my driveshaft to open, which is a whole other can of worms.<BR>I've got an electric pump on mine, but I might replace it with a stocker--I don't like the sound of the electric pump, but it's a lot cheaper. <BR>Electric fans work well, but they don't exactly look right with a generator or on a period car. I'm putting in a bigger Roadmaster radiator, a factory fan shround, and a large diameter 6-blade fan. That should keep my car cool with the A/C on. Depending on how it all goes together, I'll probably add a clutch fan, because it can be hidden inside the shroud. But I've got a ton more room under my hood than you do.<BR>Think you're keeping your chrome valve and spark plug covers? There's a guy repoping the factory BUICK finned aluminum valve covers--they're kinda pricey, but cool. That might be the only deviation from my '59 time period I'm shooting for with my '54.<BR>A Pertronix ignition upgrade is also a good one (see discussion on this page).<BR>What carb do you have? The factory carb incorporated an electric circuit on the base that plugged into the starter system: when you press the pedal to the floor the first time with the ignition on, the car started. Look on the passenger side of the carb, at the bottom, and see if there's a pair of screw terminals to hook wires to it.<BR>-Brad

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I've got the Ford trannys (2), but think I may have to change transmission to something else to increase reliability - like an automatic with a shift kit. This means a whole bunch of additional work, new adapter, probably new differential and open driveshaft. OTOH, I could just put the engine into the car as is (or overhauled) and use the Ford trans I have - trust to luck for a while and have fun. The flywheel is currently on the engine with clutch assembly.<P>The carb is a small Carter 4 bbl- don't know what PN or where to look for number. I'll check out the electrical part you mention when home tonight. Don't think it's there.<P>Which of the sources that you've provided is the best for Buick engine performance parts - like a mild cam, solid lifters, carbs, etc??? <P>I read the discussion on Pertronix. Sounds good to me. Points have always been a pain except when used with a capacitive discharge ignition (CDI). But, even then, the points have to be replaced sometimes since the cam follower wears down.<P>I intend to mount the electrical fan in front of the radiator in an area normally hidden from casual viewing. I just hope that this fan will be adequate for cooling - don't want a mechanical fan if at all possible. Using a shroud is really important if the fan blades are more than a fraction of an inch away from the radiator if you want to achieve max cooling. I had bad experience with that 348 tri-power Chevy in hot weather. No shroud = boil over!<P>Do you have any suggestions for an electrical fuel pump??? What are you using??? Are you using a regulator along with the pump??? I've heard 3 to 5 psi is plenty.<P>If you have anything you want to sell, we can discuss at: mr_90zr1@yahoo.com

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Brad: I'm home from the basketball game - we were losing, so left early, but listening on radio while doing this. (SJSU vs SMU)<P>Inspected carb. It DOES have an electrical switch located on the driver's side. Otherwise, the carb sits directly on the manifold with only a gasket. The switch is small - ~1.5"L x ~0.5"T with 2 terminals toward rear of engine. Maybe this is an original carb. Think engine is very original and may never have been rebuilt.<P>Later.

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It does sound like you've got an original carb. I love the foot start on my '54, and will swap to a factory 2-bbl in the center of a 3x2 intake to keep it.<BR>For a trans, your options for an automatic are an original Dynaflow or an original Dynaflow. There are currently no adapters to put a late model trans behind them. I've done some research into this, and it seems to be a bit of a nightmare.<BR>I haven't found a good, one-stop source for everything: pistons usually come from Egge, valves from somewhere else, etc. In fact, it's to the point where I've thought about chasing down all the manufacturers and opening my own Nailheads specialty store.<BR>I'm going to send my cam to Competition Cams for a regrind. I've met them, toured the plant, worked with them, and know they will do a good job.<BR>Keep in mind that if you're putting the engine in a fairly light car (compared to a '56 Buick), any trans should hold up fairly well: You're not going to be making 500hp with the engine, and chances are you won't even race it that much. I'd keep it simple for now and use what you've got if you want to get the car on the road, but then keep your eyes open for a manual trans adapter plate to go with a beefier manual.<BR>-Brad

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Thanks for the input, Brad. Not a bad idea about making your own nailhead outlet - certainly would be convenient for others. Market may not be big enuff to sustain a biz, however.<P>I don't intend to do any serious racing, but would like to build engine for crusing and distance driving outta state. Have hotrod friends elsewhere and want to do some vacationing with them. What cam grind do you think would be appropriate so as not to compromise reliability??? Your advice on other engine items would be also welcomed (pistons, lifters, etc).<P>For what the seller told me, my engine came out of an older hotrod (60s or 50s) and this along with the carb leads me to think this engine has never been rebuilt. The original folks just yanked it from a Buick and put it into the rod modifying only what they had to in order to make it fit. Back in those days, JC Whitney carried adapters for everything as well as lots of performance stuff, so not too surprised to have Buick to Ford adaption. I think the installation was one of those done mostly for fun and performance and not for show. Vacuum lines and other small stuff are functional, but not pretty.<P>Why do you want to keep that starting function - ie, what's the benefit? And, why is it that Offy 3x2 manifolds are not as desirable as Weiand???

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You can still get adapter plates new from Offy and Transdapt (I think--about Transdapt, that is), plus they're found at swap meets.<BR>I just really like the foot starter! I think it's cool to get in the car, flip the toggle switch over to "run" (without the key), and step on the gas pedal and have it fire right up. Don't have to step on the pedal a couple of times to "prime" it, either. I just think it's neat.<BR>As fot the Offy intake--it's personal, and probably dumb. At least not a real good reason. You can still get Offy intakes, brand new, from Offenhauser for less that $300. Same with finned valve covers. The problem is that anyone who builds a vintage engine has an Offy intake and finned valve covers. You never see a nostalgia motor with another make intake on it. I've heard from one guy on this sight who's brother has dozens of 322 intakes, and they're all different makes and styles: 2x2, 4x2, etc. <BR>I have zero idea on cam specs. What I'm going to do on mine is build the engine, and probably have one of the intake and exhaust ports flowed, have the intake flowed, and then call Comp with those specs and have them whittle me a stick.<BR>I probably will clean up the compustion chamber a little bit (a very little bit), might port-match the intake, do a little bowl work behind the valves, and then detail the valves (radius the margin on the exhaust, back-cut the intake) and that's it. With the higher compression ratio that the '56s had, this should be a snappy little motor, but reliable.<BR>Cam design has come a long, long way: They've developed the lobe profiles to the point that it's just amazing. Two cams with the same lift and same duration can perform completely differently, depending on how fast the ramp of the lobe is. And then they've designed valve springs to control it, etc. I'll feel a lot better using a regrind from them over someone else's.<BR>-Brad

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It's good news that some of the adapter stuff is still made. I don't feel that the scope of what's made is very wide, however - at least from my limited knowledge.<P>I didn't remember Buick having that starting mechanism. My folks had a '55 Special, 4d hardtop - blk top with red everywhere else and red/blk interior. Really bitchin combination! I'm not certain that Dad ever let me drive that car. I'll have to consider using that switch since it's here.<P>We used to do a lot of what you are talking about doing only it was with Ford flathead V8s. They responded reasonably well to porting, relieving and polishing. Lots of work tho, so it's gotta be a labor of love mostly. I like the info re: the cam. If I overhaul, I'll be doing similar. With the advances in computer tech, what used to take days to iterate with a slip-stick (if you could at all) can be done in seconds today with a computer. Are you planning on SS valves. I gather that the cam grinder will supply the spings appropriate for the grind - or tell you what the spring rate should be.<P>I'm gettin' anxious to work on this engine, but don't have the time 'til later this month.

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Sorry about delay... had to take a 5 day trip for family reasons.<P>Now that I'm back and free (or a least reasonably priced - as my wife would say) for a few days the 322 will receive some attention. I'd like to finish my examination and fire the dude up to check for knocks, leaks, etc. One big thing that needs to be done is to de-grease and take the black paint off of it. Buick green is just a few molecules away. Someone stole the steam cleaner at work, so there's only a high-pressure water pump left for this purpose. <P>I noticed that the valve and spark plug covers are original stuff just chromed - the Buick logo is on the valve covers.<P>BTW, Brad, I'm still interested in your generator mount if you will sell it. Let me know.

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"Buick logo is still on the valve covers?" These aren't finned valve covers with BUICK embossed on the side of the cover, are they?<P>Before you start it, squirt some WD40 into the cylinders through the spark plug holes and let it soak for a while: that way if the cylinders have flash rusted, they won't kill the rings (that's what happenen on my 264--the old guy I bought it from said "yep, we got 'er running just a few days ago!" D'oh!)<BR>Howz a twenty spot for that generator bracket, plus shipping?<BR>-Brad

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Yep. The Buick crest is embossed into the valve covers which is why I think these are the original items which were chromed sometime in the past. No crest on the sparkplug covers, but the firing order #s are there, four to a side. None of these covers has any fins and they are not aluminum. The chrome looks good enuff for me, but the job wasn't the best since there are places in tighter areas which weren't completely polished.<P>One of the interesting things I've noticed is the difference between a '55 and a '56 engine must be where the oil fill/breather(s) is attached. I take it that a '55 had one on each valve cover and in '56 the valley cover is the location. Is that the case?<P>About that generator mount - I need only the base plate which attaches to the head. I assume this is one piece which is fastened to the head using a nut on the only stud at the lower front of the right head. This same stud also holds the head onto the block. What I didn't see was how this base plate is held elsewhere - certainly there's more than one fastener to hold it in place. The belt tension adjusting arm is on the engine - on the wrong side, but still there, so I don't need that. The inside dimension from front to rear mounting "ears" on the generator is 7-1/4". I have a picture of an engine with generator attached, but can't see the mounting bracket, just the generator and the tension adjusting arm. I assume this base plate is some broad-based "U" shaped piece with appropriate holes for the generator and mounting to the engine. Bear with me... I don't have a shop manual - yet.

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Hey, Brad:<BR>Some guy bought a 56 Buick factory shop book for $7.38 yesterday on e-bay... I was about to bid at the last moment and something went wrong such that my bid wasn't accepted. Whatta bummer!!! <P>I finally got to work on the engine today for a while and am prepared to turn it over once the battery is charged. According to the guy I bought the engine from, it's only been 6 months since it was last running. I'll take your advice, tho, and spray the cylinders with light oil before turning it over with the starter.<P>I have a question regarding the starter solenoid wiring. The two small terminals connect to something, but what??? I assume that these terminals are the solenoid coil connections, so one must go to the ignition switch. Where does the other usually go??? I may just examine using an DVM to figure this out.

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