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1967-69 430 V-8 question

Pete Phillips

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Working on a one-owner 1969 Electra with 430 V-8. Car has been sitting under the owner's carport, not running, for quite a few years, probably more than 10 years. 85,000 original miles. Engine is stuck, will not turn. There is a thick layer of rust combined with dust or dirt on the lifters under the valley pan, same thing on the valve train (rockers, springs, rocker arm shaft) on the passenger side only, pretty much underneath the opening in the valve cover where the PCV valve plugs in, but the PCV was missing and the hole was open for years while car was parked and someone tried to work on it. Driver's side valve cover and valve train are nice and clean, or as clean as you would expect on a well maintained 85,000 mile car. The rust is so bad under the valley pan that the two rear lifters are stuck in place. The push rods are covered with rust. Two of the passenger side valve springs are so rusted that they broke in half. The timing chain is rusted in place and will not flex nor move. There is lots of rust on the rear of the timing chain housing.

The car's interior is immaculate; owner says the car has had a fairly easy life but they just stopped driving it about 20 years ago, and then they stopped cranking it regularly when the battery died, and so it has sat in the carport.

I have never seen an engine with rust like this. It is a combination of rust particles and dirt, and most of it rubs off easily. The rocker arm shaft and rockers are so bad on one side that I don't think I can save them. I am even starting to doubt if I can save this engine, and it may be cheaper to find another 430 v-8. So, my questions are, does anyone have a used 430 V-8 for sale? Has anyone ever encountered rust like this? The cylinders and combustion chambers look fine, with very little ridge wear.

Pete Phillips, BCA #7338

Leonard, TX



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Guest 53 Roady

Stuck motors with transmissions attached are tough. I've tried Kerosene soak for a week each bank and still had to beat the rods up from the bottom. I saved that 57 Olds block but 3 rods have nicks. I have a parts car that someone took 1 head off 40 years ago. And it was sunk down in the mud with the trans attached. Do you think melting the pistons with a torch would work? Or sawing? The torch would no doubt lead to ugly oil fires. Assuming you get another mill I bet you still try to salvage some of that one. Let us know what you do and what works.

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Just a thought, but why would an owner stop driving a good running car and just leave it sit? I suspect that the car was driven to the owner's carport in an overheated condition, where it finally died. It may have blown a head gasket in the process. I'd bet that the battery didn't die, but that the engine seized up first. I encountered this scenario once when a co-worker offered me a free Pontiac T1000. He said all it needed was a starter. Okay, when I went to retrieve the car I somehow had enough forethought to take along some tools and the first thing I did was put a wrench to the harmonic balancer bolt. The engine wouldn't budge. I let the owner send the car to the junkyard. A few days later he told me that his daughter admitted to driving the car home with the red HOT light glowing.

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Guest 53 Roady

I don't understand how it got that dry. Even a fried out motor should hold some charcoal/sludge. You did a fine job to even get it apart. How did you get the transmission off and did you ruin the rods (assuming they weren't already ruined} beating them out? What was your teardown process? And did you net any keepers?


Edited by 53 Roady (see edit history)
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Hmmm...You say the car is immaculate inside, and previously well maintened, but you were told the owner parked it under his carport where it sat for ten years until it no longer cranked over. How could it have deteriorated to such a degree like that? It looks like there was not even a coating of sticky sludge on surfaces. I also think there is more to the story than you were told.

Depending upon other $factors$, if it were me, I'd start looking for a replacement 1969 430 engine to rebuild.

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Other than mechanical failure issues, there certainly ARE some reasons it might have been parked and left. Perhaps the person who'd been taking care of it went on to other "locations" or things? Perhaps something more economical in daily driving was needed and the Buick languished in the shade? Perhaps "size" got to be an issue (of the car)? Perhaps a family member gave them something else to drive, rather than "that old Buick"?


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I quite concurr with the poster that said there is more to the story than you were told, as it sure looks like that engine has seen bad times. It looks like it was full of water for some time, drained, and let sit. Was there oil in the oil pan when you took it off?

A PCV valve being off isn't likely to cause that much contamination, unless the hood was open in the rain, but even that seems unlikely given the extreme water damage it has. I've taken engines apart from cars that have been in junkyards for decades that have not been anywhere like that one.

Sorry I can't help with a replacement 430, Pete, but a 455 should drop in, and they look the same, so I would think that's a possibility worth considering if you find one of those first.


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Pete, you probably haven't recovered from that brown New York State rust bucket from my neck of the woods, and now this. Holy Oxides!

I have found rust will build up on the walls of the cylinder with an open valve where moist air condenses on the mass of the block over the years. I think one of the first cracker barrel stories of the 1920's included "and we dropped a battery in the old car and it started right up and ran like new." I cringe when I hear that story; all those dry parts crunching through the rust, usually for one half a revolution. Then everything is jammed, especially in the ring lands. Lucky guys sometimes can pry them back with a bar on the flywheel.

That car port probably made a nice oven to maintain oil viscosity for the parts to dry. Up here setting oil will only flow on the first Saturday of august. Come of up for a visit. It looks pretty normal to me.

Those pictures reminded me of a phone conversation I had with Mr. Bell, the late Hudson Club owner of "Miss Daisy's" Hudson. He had a Railton and invited me to use one he had as a reference. During our talk I commented on his Hudson. I thought the car had to be a nice original. Instead he told me the story about digging it out of a barnyard and how it had hunkered down in the mud so bad the crankshaft had rusted beyond repair. And that reminds me of a Bentley that was disassembled and stored in a chicken coop. There's an acid attack. And I think I can still find a '53 Pontiac that was used as a chicken roost. The floors are good; roof, hood, and trunk lid are rotted through.

Good luck, ahhh, the memories.


Edited by 60FlatTop (see edit history)
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That is a bad one-good idea to leave it. You probably know the 430 wasn't so very good for oiling and long life and the later 455 upgrades are worth doing-good luck.

Yeah, Pete

A good 455 might be easier to find as well, unless originality is important on the project. Visually

the 455 would be indistinguishable once installed.

Wondering if the motor cracked somewhere around those stuck lifters and the car had straight water for coolant in it.

Then they may have parked it and the water damage began to eat the poor thing up! Those lifter valleys are weak points

on that motor.

I had one in here that had the lifter bores split open & one of the pushrods was wrapped around the crank

where the rod used to reside! Not pretty! There was about 5 or 6 pounds of shrapnel in the pan including a rod that

had broken off at the wrist pin. The guy that sold me the motor said it was in need of rebuilding, but otherwise

complete and in good condition…………! The good ending is that he didn't know the motor had a set of original

Stage 1 heads on it. I didn't realize they were Stage 1's until I tore it apart.

Sold those for more than twice what I paid for the motor!


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