Kosage Chavis

1955 Buick Century

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More work done last weekend.  Removed the spark plug covers as shown.20191025_143612.thumb.jpg.fb8fde693d5bb2095a139e48e12b084f.jpgRemove both retaining nuts and slide off.  All of the retaining nuts are missing, but the parts car has them.  Showing site of removal.20191025_143837.thumb.jpg.ab51d660b0bf6c90e650fbdae57b1988.jpgShowing spark plug covers removed from engine.20191025_143907.thumb.jpg.e9ae38b76e78b0ab4ea7610a11ef090d.jpg

 

Next, removed the front engine mounts as shown.20191025_144535.thumb.jpg.c66a1497861804728e82ac9f53a26cb1.jpgRemove 2 mount-to-engine bolts on front and rear side of mount.  Remove.  Showing site of removal.20191025_151629.thumb.jpg.97b1dd82b015c1448aecdc93bf4ef9ce.jpgShowing front engine mounts after removal.20191025_151723.thumb.jpg.c8985679cd3e1897bcba201ee0342b36.jpgNote made that 1 mount was completely broken.  This would explain the hard sound it made when shifting into drive or reverse when the car ran.

 

Next was the bottom generator bracket as shown.20191025_151934.thumb.jpg.71b3406fa28b571cfe3d4885b85502de.jpgRemove the top nut as shown above.  Remove these 3 bolts underneath and be sure to place  a trey underneath to catch the coolant from this removal.20191025_152026.thumb.jpg.4e71e33034f9ff45346f9123b3d05603.jpgShowing the site of removal.20191025_155825.thumb.jpg.bbe9c96cace9e34bcdbe81e29d340451.jpgShowing the bottom generator bracket removed from engine.20191025_155834.thumb.jpg.170d54d27b62edc251d27484a6d355b5.jpg

 

Next, I removed the exhaust manifolds as shown.20191025_162615.thumb.jpg.4d1a9423014ea457a7efd6751f3c4f4f.jpgRemove 8 bolts on each side.  I might have been overly cautious, but I loosened the bolts incrementally in steps to remove.  I have heard some horror stories about cracking.  Remove.  Showing site of removal.20191025_171510.thumb.jpg.cabe4a0528b6b19b2d8c984a10c2c68d.jpgShowing exhaust manifolds removed from engine.20191025_171245.thumb.jpg.28d939db38ff68ac5a6b5b7649e114e7.jpgNoted that there were exhaust manifold gaskets on the engine.  Hope this is not an issue, but does confirm this engine has been taken apart before.

 

Overall, everything in this post was an easy task.

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Or possibly a cross over pipe was replaced and the manifolds had to be taken off to put new bolts/stud on...?

I had one break and replacing it necessitated taking that manifold off, just saying.

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37 minutes ago, dei said:

Or possibly a cross over pipe was replaced and the manifolds had to be taken off to put new bolts/stud on...?

I had one break and replacing it necessitated taking that manifold off, just saying.

I was also taking in consideration the fact that the whole engine had been repainted once before.  There is a non-original bluish color over the original engine paint.

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Progress, Progress, Progress ‼️‼️ I love it! We do what we can, as Winter nears. Definitely a whole different experience, once you’re elbow deep into the bowls of your very own Nailhead! Your elaborate,  meticulous  documentation is going to REALLY pay off on this part of the restoration process! Enjoy the discovery of individual part condition as you go along this journey. It is quite impressive to see just how extensive the engineering department of Buick was, so entirely independent of G.M. back then! Very much over engineered in many instances but, so perfectly executed in just the right way.

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55 minutes ago, Sean Batiz said:

It is quite impressive to see just how extensive the engineering department of Buick was, so entirely independent of G.M. back then! Very much over engineered in many instances but, so perfectly executed in just the right way.

Couldn't agree with you more Sean!  I am  nervously looking forward to opening up this engine.

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I got a little time to mess with the engine before the kids got home from school.  I have been a little nervous about the condition of the engine.  I took off both valve covers and to my suprise, I found this...20191101_151136.thumb.jpg.64e5d56dc603f213c0fe2ecb40cf141e.jpg20191101_151208.thumb.jpg.bcead2b254be699485b99d4c94976fc4.jpg20191101_151222.thumb.jpg.f4bc114cd13711f52d43dbf52fae4024.jpg20191101_151231.thumb.jpg.33ea0c5d3fbe90433bc6cf4248c1eca4.jpg20191101_151358.thumb.jpg.cf7e0cd18e755a164a5d93bbcd378e9b.jpgI am no expert on these engines, but at the very least, the heads look really nice inside so far.  What do all of you think?

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It’s too bad that you don’t have the full history of that specific Buick; I’d like to know what kind/type of oil it’s previous owner was using! That valve train appears to be TOO CLEAN to be Buick from the mid ‘50’s! Hard to guess what all happened with that engine over its 64 year life. With its suspicious repainting, its a fair assumption that it very well could’ve also been fully rebuilt at some point. Whomever owned that car, definitely LOVED their Century! You just might be able to get away with merely cleaning up all of the engine parts and repainting them to their appropriate color scheme, with only having to change the gaskets/seals in it! Besides, it’s a very risky choice of having hardened valve seats installed (to handle modern gas formulations); not enough  adequate space between the valves’ seats and water jacket area. Many a Buick head has been ruined for attempting this procedure, done wrong. This said, I do have an extra pair of heads you can have for free if necessary; just pay for the S&H&P. They’ll need rebuilt. Update: after rethinking about this a bit more, I think the valve seat issues are due to there not being enough “meat” between each pair of valves to safety accommodate the dimensions of replacement valve seats. Not so much an issue of interfering with the water jacket area.

Edited by Sean Batiz
Second thought (see edit history)
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Very clean!  ;)

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You'll know a lot more when you pull the heads and look at the valves.  Mic the cylinder walls and keep your fingers crossed that the rest of the engine is as clean and the bores mic out.  You might be able to re-ring with out a bore job. Maybe a quick honing.

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I was able to find the previous owner of the car and call him up.  I asked him about the nature of any repairs he made to the car while he owned it.  He confirmed that both heads were taken to a place called Dunkum's Machine Shop right down the road from where I live.  The heads were rebuilt because he said that one of the valves was sticking when he bought the car.  He went on to say that the car wasn't driven very much while he owned it.  The rest of the engine was left alone because of it's "low mileage" and the compression was very good.  The fuel tank was also removed and reconditioned.  He didn't remember spray painting the engine, but did say that if he did, he only sprayed the top of the engine.  That lines up with what I observed.  I was also able to find and call the Grandson of the previous owner...to the previous owner (hope you followed that).  He said that his Grandad would drive the car to and from his job.  He owned a car dealership in my area and he also said that if anything was done to the car, that his employees would take care of it for him.  So, not a lot there.  Either way, I have a better understanding of the engine than what I did before.

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On 11/2/2019 at 4:05 PM, Kosage Chavis said:

I was able to find the previous owner of the car and call him up.  I asked him about the nature of any repairs he made to the car while he owned it.  He confirmed that both heads were taken to a place called Dunkum's Machine Shop right down the road from where I live.  The heads were rebuilt because he said that one of the valves was sticking when he bought the car.  He went on to say that the car wasn't driven very much while he owned it.  The rest of the engine was left alone because of it's "low mileage" and the compression was very good.  The fuel tank was also removed and reconditioned.  He didn't remember spray painting the engine, but did say that if he did, he only sprayed the top of the engine.  That lines up with what I observed.  I was also able to find and call the Grandson of the previous owner...to the previous owner (hope you followed that).  He said that his Grandad would drive the car to and from his job.  He owned a car dealership in my area and he also said that if anything was done to the car, that his employees would take care of it for him.  So, not a lot there.  Either way, I have a better understanding of the engine than what I did before.

Looks very clean, and that history is very encouraging.  I know that dad's cars were always kept in top maintenance because if anything was off his employees would take care of it right away.  Problems of larger nature usually arrive when people put off repairs making things worse.  Sounds to me like this car was probably well-maintained mechanically.  Now, we have to see what's in the oil pan...

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Well, before I got ahead of myself and posted pictures of how some of the internal engine looked, I had removed the intake manifold as shown.20191025_172157.thumb.jpg.8c80217787e45d6ed364ffb16c3efd1a.jpgRemove 8 bolts and pull up on intake to remove.  In my case, it was really stuck.  So, I got me a long piece of sturdy pipe and slid it between the intake manifold and valley cover, with the farther end of the pipe extending pass the edge of the engine as shown.20191101_153910.thumb.jpg.a651d05b9f09895634cfdfb999082fee.jpgI pulled up on the pipe with subtle jerks until the seal was broken.  Remove.  Showing the site after removal.20191101_154544.thumb.jpg.aeb708de76af393f0b368d9effec824d.jpgShowing the intake manifold removed from engine.20191101_154552.thumb.jpg.260b2a2ceea5576e873fd37eee81eccd.jpgOverall, easy task.

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On 11/1/2019 at 7:13 PM, RivNut said:

You'll know a lot more when you pull the heads and look at the valves.  Mic the cylinder walls and keep your fingers crossed that the rest of the engine is as clean and the bores mic out.  You might be able to re-ring with out a bore job. Maybe a quick honing.

 

Best possible outcome with little money spent! 

 

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Just curious why you might take the engine apart? Or are you just opening to look at general condition internally? Is the engine the first thing you'll restore? 

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2 hours ago, NC-car-guy said:

Just curious why you might take the engine apart? Or are you just opening to look at general condition internally? Is the engine the first thing you'll restore? 

At first, I just wanted to get an idea of the engine's condition.  But now, I'm seriously considering making this the first thing I restore.

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1 hour ago, Kosage Chavis said:

At first, I just wanted to get an idea of the engine's condition.  But now, I'm seriously considering making this the first thing I restore.

I'm betting the cylinders still show hone marks and good wear.  

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29 minutes ago, avgwarhawk said:

I'm betting the cylinders still show hone marks and good wear.  

Not holding my breath on this one, but that would justify a parade if that turned out to be the case.

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2 minutes ago, Kosage Chavis said:

Not holding my breath on this one, but that would justify a parade if that turned out to be the case.

 

Crack it open. Let's take a look 👍

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9 minutes ago, avgwarhawk said:

 

Crack it open. Let's take a look 👍

I will probably do so this Friday!

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After you’ve cracked everything open and taken ample photos of everything, you “could” torture us with holding off from posting them until...., 🎁 Christmas Day! 😬 But, please don’t; that sort of anticipation might have some followers of this thread, give up and switch to a vintage Ford thread ‼️‼️

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Leave that poor old engine alone until you are ready for it.  The more you take apart, the more storage space it takes; parts get misplaced  and you will forget where everything goes even with many pictures.  Finish the frame and rear end/torque tube assembly, then install the rebuilt engine and transmission.  At this point you can test run and check function of engine and transmission.  That will light a fire under you to finish the rest of the car.

What to do with the engine when you get around to it?  Depends:  if you are only going to drive it a few hundred miles a year, just clean and reseal if it was smooth running with good oil pressure and no abnormal noises (will last at least 50K miles); if you are going to drive many thousands of miles a year do a full rebuild and balance on it.

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3 hours ago, old-tank said:

Leave that poor old engine alone until you are ready for it.  The more you take apart, the more storage space it takes; parts get misplaced  and you will forget where everything goes even with many pictures.  Finish the frame and rear end/torque tube assembly, then install the rebuilt engine and transmission.

This is actually very sound advice! I myself, likewise, decided to “temporarily” reassemble every single part of my original Nailhead for my Buick (without seals, just finger tightened up the fasteners) and have it on its engine stand in my garage, waiting for me to “finish the frame & rear end” portion, before going back to the engine/trans. For this exact reason of parts storage space & potentially forgetting where everything goes. But, thankfully, like yourself Kosage, we have a duplicate “parts car” that is still intact for use as a guide. Yes, someone painted my ‘55 Nailhead all red at some point.

80318C11-C005-4AFB-8BA1-5FF75E163771.jpeg

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5 hours ago, old-tank said:

Leave that poor old engine alone until you are ready for it.  The more you take apart, the more storage space it takes; parts get misplaced  and you will forget where everything goes even with many pictures.  Finish the frame and rear end/torque tube assembly, then install the rebuilt engine and transmission.  At this point you can test run and check function of engine and transmission.  That will light a fire under you to finish the rest of the car.

What to do with the engine when you get around to it?  Depends:  if you are only going to drive it a few hundred miles a year, just clean and reseal if it was smooth running with good oil pressure and no abnormal noises (will last at least 50K miles); if you are going to drive many thousands of miles a year do a full rebuild and balance on it.

Mr Willie, I have a tremendous amount of respect for you Sir (and ya know I love ya😆), but as my Dad and Grandad would say, "there's more than one way to skin a cat".  I am not going to break everything down on the engine to every piece-part.  However, I do plan on separating the heads and transmission from the block.  They will be safely crated and stored away.  My Dad has experience with the proper way to store engine parts over a long period of time.  This will be a full scale rebuild.  That way, I can do what my Dad didn't do with his Buick...drive it and pass it onto my children when I am no longer here.  

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