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430 Buick Engine Do I Use It Or Sell It?


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I have a 1967 430, a friend went through it many years ago. Punched it 60, 10 to 1 TRW's Chet Herbet cam. He did a fine job of cleaning up the ports on the heads. Stuck it back in his dads car. Well dad didn't like the hot engine and replaced it with a stock 455. So this thing has very few miles on it. I'm thinking of updating my 55 Special and using the 430. I know some won't like the idea but it's not a show car and I want it to be a comfy driver with enough power to pull my front engine dragster and smoke the kids at the stop lights. I'm missing the complete rocker arm assembly and valve covers and maybe the distributor. I also have the switch pitch 400 that came with it. I want the car to be a real driver with A/C and all. Questions, where do I find the missing parts and the brackets to mount after market A/C. That intake has to weigh a ton can I find an aluminum replacement? Having a 442 CID 400 HP BUICK engine in my Special sounds like fun but is it worth the effort or should I just cop out and go the easy route and drop a Chevy small block in it? I can do all the work from radiator to rear end swap. I just have never done a Buick engine. Okay guys fire away!

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By all means, keep it all Buick. A stock BBBuick weighs just 25 pounds more than a stock SBChevy. If you have a switch pitch trans for it, it must be a '67 engine. A 200-4R o/d trans will bolt to the BBBuick bell housing if you're so inclined. The hitch in the hole thing is that both the BBB and the SBC starters are on the opposite sides of the engine than the stock nailhead. Just some more wiring, but no hill for a climber.

Edited by RivNut (see edit history)
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The weight and compression things did come to mind. The reason for considering an aluminium intake. As for the compression I know it goes up with CID and a stock 430 is 10.25 to 1 and requires 90 octane. I have a built Chevy in my street rod and must run the good stuff in it. But man I can't help but wonder what that Buick would do when you mash the loud pedal. The missing valve train parts worry me some. Is the rocker assembly unique to the 430?

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In addition to the 10.0 CR, I'd ALSO be concerned about the cam specs. Yes, CR will increase slightly with an overbore, but not anything significantly. 430s were ALL high compression, which generally meant 10.0-10.5 back then, which worked with 97-100 RESEARCH Octane, which equates to "pump octane" of 93-95, NOT "90". Having something closer to 9.25 would be much better for normally-available fuel (at any cost). MUCH better to be able to run normal vacuum/mechanical advance "maps" than to have to retard the base timing to compensate for the lower octane fuels and high compression combinations. But, much of this can depend upon combustion chamber design and piston crown/compression distance relationships.

TORQUE is what moves the vehicle, NOT horsepower at 5000rpm. The key is having a nice, torque motor that will also "rpm" at top end, pulling to 5000rpm without thinking twice about doing it AND pull uniformly all the way to the top rpm. THAT includes a good "undercar" exhaust system of about 2.5" dia pipes, if the car has that much room under it for that size of pipe. I suspect the rear axle ratio now in the car would be a good towing ratio, but is it going to handle the power and torque?

If the guy's father didn't like the "hotter engine", that leads me to suspect the cam is a little too large for what it needs to be, possibly with an sub-optimal tuning of the carb and ignition combination. OR it was too temperamental for him to deal with, especially until it was warmed up? Yet, the same engine might work just fine for another person in a Regal GS, for somebody who was more willing to tolerate its new character. These are the signals I see that indicate the cam is a little too big, especially if something's going to be towed, no more, no less.

In the world of towing, don't forget about upgrading the brake linings to something (at least) semi-metallic AND a frame-mounted equalizing hitch and quality brake controller. Plus some good, heavy-duty shocks, for good measure.

I completely concur with "Keep it ALL BUICK!" Don't need for "tissue rejection" to happen later on! It's surprising that all of the GM big blocks (Cad, Olds, Buicks) were not that much heavier than the beloved small block Chevy engine. Yet had much greater power/torque characteristics in their "normal" tune. Even the Buick 350 4bbl tends to drive nicer than a typical Chevy 350 4bbl! Must've been that different bolt pattern on the back of the block that kept "the others" from seeing popularity, or possibly their lesser numbers produced?

From other discussions in here about the Buick 430 V-8, in the Electra 225s, it was what I'd term "a sweet spot engine", where the total combination of cam, carb, combustion chamber dynamics, manifold and head porting, etc. all worked together very well. Power in that heavier car plus 20mpg on the highway (back then), according to many posters in here. Just the incremental changes made to get to the later 455s dropped the highway economy significantly (8.5 to 1 CR, emissions changes, etc.) in later Electras. I haven't checked it out, but I'm not sure if anybody every tried any cam/carb/CR/tuning changes to get the 455 into the same "sweet spot" area as the 430 (as most Buick 455 owners were more interested in drag strip performance than increased-efficiency over-the-road performance, by observation. It can take a good deal of research and pondering to make a "sweet spot" combination better, although many have tried.

Just some thoughts,

NTX5467

Edited by NTX5467 (see edit history)
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I'm not an expert on these engines, but I think of them as highly underrated. I'd rather see you use the 430.

Nobody has addressed the parts issue for you but I don't believe you should have any issues. You could always check rock auto.com to see if they have the available hardware. I'm not necessarily advocating you use them, but searching there would provide an indication of availability.

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There's alot of love for BBB on V8Buick.com most everything 400-430-455 interchange, check out TAperformance.com they are coming out with new stuff all the time. 430's oil through the pushrods, so you will need correct rocker arms and so on.

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All good information thanks. I'm still in the planing stages and will check out the parts resources. I had given different pistons some thought, the cam I will have to get the number off it and see what the specs are on it. At dang near 60 this may very well be my last build and I want to get it right the first time. I've owned a few Buicks but all have had a nailhead. If it's going to cost the same to build this 430 into a road worthy mill I might just freshen up the 264 add A/C and shine it on. The towing of my digger is important to me but it's a 98 inch wheel base 1959 K88 knock off with a 283 on a 10 foot two wheel trailer. Stay tuned there may be a beastly 430 come up for sale and those funds put towards the nail.

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Look on Craigslist for a complete 430 or 455. You should be able to get one that needs rebuilding for a pittance and you'd have all of the parts you're missing.

TA Performance is tops in the field when it comes to BBBuick parts.

Ed

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Well I talked to Russ today. He has got me in the nailhead frame of mind. If he don't have the parts he knows where to get them. The price of rebuilding the nail over the 430 would be offset by the money saved by not changing the rear axle. As far as the rump rump cam in the 430, as I was looking things over yesterday I found a cam another friend gave me when he found out I had the 430. It's an Isky Mile-A-More cam with a 425 lift 194 duration @50 and a 108 lobe center. That would be very easy to live with on the street and it's brand new still in the box wit lifters and lube. I've got to get my mind wrapped around this project pick a direction and go. Right now I'm thing the Buick engineers new what they were doing and just need a little modern thinking to make a great car even better. Anyone need a bad ass Buick engine?

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