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Blown head gasket


tenugent
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I was driving my riv today when I heard what I thought was a stuck lifter-drove for a short distance and it got louder-then a lot of noise and blue smoke out of right rear and engine quit-dipstic shows water in oil so I suppose its a blown head gasket,motor didn't sound good before it quit,was wondering if anybody has been this route and how much damage the bottom end might have suffered-any help apriciated-TNugent roa 12969

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OK Ted: Yeah, the timing covers get that hole from electrolysis. I wouldn't worry about that so much. I would just plan on a complete quality overhaul. Perhaps it's not what you'd want to hear but in the long run its cheaper and much better than just replacing the cover...if it's the cover.

When these cars were in daily service and the crankcase had the chocolate milk shake you could go to Buick and for $27. get a new cover off the shelf, install it with a fresh chain and gear set and a new water pump and you were good to go. Today? Father Time has put his hands on all of it and like I said many times...he cast's a giant shadow over it all.

I think that if you get that quality rebuild and you will enjoy your car for years to come! About the money? I'm not trying to spend your dough although it is easy enough on any internet forum.

Mitch

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Totally agree mitch,nows the time for total overhaul-Id hate to put it all back together and have more problems-its going to need overhauled someday -so nows the time-be able to freshen up engine bay while motors out-TN

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Totally agree mitch,nows the time for total overhaul-Id hate to put it all back together and have more problems-its going to need overhauled someday -so nows the time-be able to freshen up engine bay while motors out-TN

Ted, I agree with Russ. I have never had a head gasket dilute the crankcase on a Nailhead but it is possible. What concerns me is the noise you heard, and the smoke you noticed, before shutdown. Good luck,

Tom Mooney

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Update on motor-pulled the heads and #1 piston is gone with a quarter size hole in the cylinder wall-that's where the gallon of water in the crankcase came from-guess the motor is toast-to bad 425 build date 12d #s matching,TN

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Is there enough left of the cylinder to sleeve it? I think I'd do what I could to save the #'s.

With all due respect I would disagree with sleeveing it to save the numbers . For most of our cars the numbers matching value is a myth . For VERY high value cars this might be a consideration but for most of us a quality rebuild that runs smooth and being dependable is worth far more then the numbers matching . Just my opinion as a Master Judge or the BCA - we never look at engine numbers . Either way is expensive - best to do it right the first time .

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Here is a picture of one of my pistons:

002001.jpg

Luckily, I got a freshly rebuilt long block. That was about 12 years ago.

I have seen enough broken pistons in '64's and '65's so I would consider a tear down and replacement if I got another keeper. The three closest to me, including mine had a slight untenable roughness prior to the failure. Maybe they cracked a while before.

Since the '60 is over 50, I would probably consider pulling the heads and doing an in chassis replacement if I had any doubt.

Bernie

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Unfortunately, many of the 401, 425s do exactly as you described just going along and suddenly the noise, the smoke and you lose the block .... I did not chime in when I first read your post, hoping that it was a blown head gasket or a timing cover but I knew what probably happened. My friend the late Joe Yoakum, used to say, that the Riviera for no reason at all will suddenly lose a piston and the block goes with it. I was involved in engine rebuilding and the sleeve was NOT looked upon favorably as the failures were very high, they were done at the customers request with warnings not to do so, replace the block, is my advise. Paul

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If tnugent has or can locate another good running engine for reasonable cost to drop in and go that’s the most practical solution to get the car back on the road but still keep the original block in storage. Knowing thats a tall task these days, on the flip side if he is looking at a rebuild either current engine or a rebuildable core he finds, sleeving adds little cost to a rebuild. If the rebuild shop of choice is competent and confident the damage will not cause a problem after sleeving, putting the money into the original engine should be considered if for no other reason economics in the context of its less expensive to sleeve vs finding and buying another 425 block.

Care must be taken however to make sure the shop of choice has many years of experience sleeving all types of engines. The first step would be to discuss the sleeve option with a professional to determine if that’s even an option based on the damage.

While a number-matching engine may not mean anything to aportion of enthusiasts today, we can't predict what its value will be 20-30 years and beyond. I shudder to think of original parts I scrapped 35 years ago thathad no value then but today would be sought after.

Regardless if the item is a car, tractor, bicycle, houseor piece of furniture, as good caretakers we should strive to preserve as much authenticity as possible within a reasonable budget when restoring or maintaining them.

Edited by JZRIV (see edit history)
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Guest brivi65

Good luck tenugent, hope you can save that 425, HENS TEETH! My friend had an Olds 425 high compression block sleeved and welded at a shop that specialized in drag racing engines, he said they did this kind of work a lot, it took them a while to get it done, but he's been riding around with it for 5 years now with no issues, (knock on wood) and he even takes it down the track every once and a while!:rolleyes: Brian

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In an article I read on sleeving an engine, I think some good points have been made about sleeving - IF it's done correctly; it might not be a job for your local machine shop if they've not done it before.

Here's just an excerpt from the article. (If you'd like a link to the whole article, let me know.)

"...it was common in the early days of blown nitro racing to sleeve 392 Chrysler blocks to strengthen them. Some guys would even use Ford tractor sleeves in 392s, calling these Hemis "Econovans," because they couldn't afford Donovans. Smokey Yunick, in his book "Power Secrets," talks about sleeving for strength in NASCAR applications back in the day, again to actually gain cylinder wall integrity. Oddly, back then sleeved engines were found to produce more power than integral bores blocks."

If it's possible for Tim to save this engine by sleeving, I'd encourage him to do it. Perhaps not because of Mitch's "matching numbers myth" but because it's the earliest known 1963 with a 425 in it.

Ed

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