Kosage Chavis

1955 Buick Century

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It was time to look further into the condition of the engine.  I had to remove a few things before we got there.  Started with the valve covers.20191108_135119.thumb.jpg.92030f9d0c010f736b525e63f622fb24.jpgJust remove both nuts at top and slide cover up and off.  Showing site of removal.20191108_135532.thumb.jpg.caae9fafe1b90ebc50519ee9d469334d.jpgShowing valve covers removed from engine.20191108_135609.thumb.jpg.2bef30713aacd9ee830e2582398fbffd.jpg

 

Next, I removed the valley cover.20191101_154655.thumb.jpg.3d35e2467e396bd2adc41620b73d3692.jpgJust remove both bolts at the top.  Angle the pan to clear the intake manifold mounting surface edges and remove.  Showing the valley cover removed from the engine.20191108_145357.thumb.jpg.0181a36df0325af2811451c443c13a01.jpg

 

Next was the rocker arm assemblies as shown.20191108_135705.thumb.jpg.bb4311ab37bf43b6d64f5324149bff9a.jpgRemove the 4 hold down bolts like the one shown here.20191108_135719.thumb.jpg.10c18ca2e689ac1dbc357713a982b166.jpgWiggle rocker arm assemblies off of the dowels and remove.  Showing site of removal.20191108_140255.thumb.jpg.39b2d6827aa1f5815af4033fbdbd3886.jpgShowing rocker arm assembly removed from engine.20191108_140301.thumb.jpg.1fd896d9c1e1fa43be4fd7cb83179d21.jpg

 

Now you can remove the push rods as shown.20191108_140338.thumb.jpg.78074f161e6190dc669b054fb9bc05b0.jpgSimply pull each push rod out one by one while making sure the rod isn't pulling the lifter out with it.20191108_140623.thumb.jpg.cd5ce1835069191ad4494a62ecdf1b1f.jpgI am not sure if push rods can be reused after an overhaul.  But just in case, I used some painters tape and a sharpie to mark the order of arrangement (#1 thru #8) and which side of the engine they were pulled from (DS vs PS).  I also marked which end was what (CYL HD  END vs CAM END).  Showing the site of removal.20191108_140638.thumb.jpg.e8c7b9611dc2a2557e1f9b20d3cd690c.jpgShowing the push rods removed from engine.20191108_140644.thumb.jpg.db4d5925d8f298c07f89de107efbeb9e.jpg

 

Next, I removed the head bolts as shown.20191108_141747.thumb.jpg.785e445a017fdee7c0f14587260568a5.jpgThe service manual simply states that you remove the head bolts without mention to an order of removal.  I am not sure about this type of engine, but on other engines I have overhauled, you remove head bolts in the reverse order in which they were installed.  To be safe, I chose the latter.  Here is the tightening sequence for head bolts.  Start with #14.20191108_140822.thumb.jpg.5b4179b2ac31ea2e568f2e3ce8fcf8fe.jpgAgain, I am pretty sure we can't reuse head bolts, but I went ahead and layed them out in the order I removed them in and labeled them by side (PS vs DS) and order (#1 thru #14).  Note: the #14 head bolt on driver's side was removed previously with the power steering pump assembly.  Showing removal site.20191108_142712.thumb.jpg.0348b3e710cc034e6770e5d7e15f997d.jpgShowing head bolts removed from engine.20191108_142718.thumb.jpg.c1c98728ab320655a48a6e17d26dbe45.jpg

 

At this point the cylinder heads are only being held in place with 2 dowels.  2 things to be careful of when separating the heads: a lot of coolant will come gushing out.  Place something underneath to catch any coolant.  Also, the head is surprisingly heavy.  Be ready to use your strength and a place to lay the head down when you pull off.  Watch your fingers.  Remove.  Showing the site of removal.20191108_145424.thumb.jpg.95fc9e039477bc2e2d0f268afe401178.jpgShowing the cylinder head after removal.20191108_171505.thumb.jpg.854f5d025a9c2f5c852691babefc8690.jpg

 

Overall, all of the tasks in this post were easy.  In my next post, I will share what I discovered so far with the condition of the engine.

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Benefits of AACA Membership.

The head looks good.  Heck of a lot better than my mess of a seat filled heads failing miserably .   If you do decide to get new lifters/push rods and cam, to my knowledge,  it will be a set up for a 56 motor which will work. It does in my 54. The lifters and rods are different.    If your cam/rods and lifters look good, reuse them.  

 

Do the cylinder walls have the hone marks?  Any edges towards the top of the cylinder wall? 

 

As a side note on the heavy heads,  I was lifting mine over the fender as the block was still in the car!  Just a ton of metal!!!!   

Edited by avgwarhawk (see edit history)
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6 hours ago, avgwarhawk said:

Do the cylinder walls have the hone marks?  Any edges towards the top of the cylinder wall? 

I am going to organize my photos and be desciptive about those things in my next post.  I know I will get an honest opinion from you and everyone else on here.

Edited by Kosage Chavis (see edit history)

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14 minutes ago, Kosage Chavis said:

I am going to organize my photos and be desciptive about those things in my next post.  I know I will get an honest opinion from you and everyone else on here.

 

Close up shots are helpful!  From what I see already a refresh is quite possible.    The tops of the pistons have an even layer of build up.  If I show you a picture of mine after a crappy rebuild you would cry. The heads look pretty good for an engine that sat for a while.  Again, if I show you my heads the rebuilder installed seats  you would weep.   Just a awful rebuild.  

 

Looking forward to the pictures. 

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On the point of the top of its cylinders having a ridge/lip, you’ll definitely want to use a ridge reamer to shave away this lip BEFORE attempting to remove the pistons! Otherwise, you risk having the piston rings binding on those and possibly even damaging the piston ring grooves of the pistons themselves. But from the looks of the condition of those cylinders from the pictures provided having apparently little to no carbon buildup, its possible that not very many miles/hours where put on that engine after its head rebuild job before. Possibly not much of a ridge at all. Push Rods are definitely reusable, as long as they’re not worn down on their tips or warped/bent from being straight but, some Nailhead engine kit companies offer these as “adjustable” push rods to get the valve train perfectly dialed in to match the hydraulic lifters travel; much better option!

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Check with www.centervilleautorepair.com about these adjustable push rods & Nailhead engine kits. They’re whom I intend going through for my Nailhead needs, once I can afford this procedure. They seem to be very “Nailhead Knowledgeable”.

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Here are my findings so far:

 

All bores have a lip at the top of them.  Some are more pronounced than others, but nothing that felt serious.  I took a quick glance at the bores with a flash light and did not see the presence of honing lines.  Walls of the bore looks closer to a semi polished metal. 

 

Also, the top of the pistons have an even amount of carbon build-up.  Some are dry and some are moist, but nothing excessive. 

 

The underside of both heads look about the same.  At first glance, things look fine with no signs of cracking.  Obviously, a thorough cleaning and testing will confirm. 

 

The head gaskets looked normal.  No burned spots between cylinder bores.  Noticed that the head gaskets do not have cut outs for some of the coolant passages in cylinder head mounting surface.  Not sure how acceptable that is.  I know that any time I ran the car, it never overheated.

 

Here are some close up photos starting with the passenger's side block in order left to right (#7, #5, #3, #1)20191108_145424.thumb.jpg.ddb60eb6cb1cbff45ad147c732514dcd.jpg

Passenger's side cylinder head left to right (#7, #5, #3, #1).20191108_145555.thumb.jpg.dbced846bbebe1036d88967a16b82b5a.jpg

#1 piston20191108_145458.thumb.jpg.c97689ab3972053f0157e568a88bfad1.jpg#1 combustion chamber20191108_145617.thumb.jpg.e583aff2d82f2d60e54127b36c647dc8.jpg#3 piston20191108_145452.thumb.jpg.21cafd192ad448a15140f0ee6e317640.jpg#3 combustion chamber 20191108_145612.thumb.jpg.badbedd75c1e5c0b208142cb41f6a1cb.jpg#5 piston20191108_145445.thumb.jpg.fda6d6938d7cd59b0e2f51d1cb22e9fc.jpg#5 combustion chamber 20191108_145607.thumb.jpg.ad06f46657da4291d6c7034cc385fabc.jpg#7 piston20191108_145437.thumb.jpg.dc59fcc1e27100480beb00e80831fba2.jpg#7 combustion chamber 20191108_145601.thumb.jpg.16457f77b61797aeb27c50e79bc53d9f.jpg

 

Driver's side block in order left to right (#2, #4, #6, #8)20191108_171245.thumb.jpg.96d42b96ebeaf6720e049e6212ace21c.jpgDriver's side cylinder head left to right (#2, #4, #6, #8).20191108_171505.thumb.jpg.a0d42c68eedc6cb30ac75bc07d43feab.jpg#2 piston20191108_171254.thumb.jpg.123e72f0334e0c711f6a333b723fce34.jpg#2 combustion chamber 20191108_171514.thumb.jpg.4059b5610c4d1e194022b80be205813d.jpg#4 piston 20191108_171301.thumb.jpg.056f6fa444f11c15300d30071afc3ffa.jpg#4 combustion chamber 20191108_171520.thumb.jpg.ff7c936f8288099d8c6439a299a766e5.jpg#6 piston20191108_171307.thumb.jpg.369f8447317d747053841d63bc623265.jpg#6 combustion chamber 20191108_171526.thumb.jpg.9e24fe6b5d9621b3270c5fd16aebcc91.jpg#8 piston20191108_171314.thumb.jpg.2e1f2eebfb78fd13ec8d168ad00fcf13.jpg#8 combustion chamber 20191108_171533.thumb.jpg.5d64b730026a0c3f3b61def4727b6f30.jpg

 

I did find one issue.  Take a look at the #2 piston.  You can see at some point the intake valve (the larger one) was hitting the top of the piston head as shown.20191108_182709.thumb.jpg.e033f463c3f4af673ab086276638397e.jpgI then took a closer look at the #2 combustion chamber intake valve.  This valve looks just fine as shown.20191108_182750.thumb.jpg.bf692fe9a7eb1bcb99faf7caab5c1f56.jpgAlso, there was a noticeable bend in the 2nd (from front of engine) push rod as shown.  This is the rod that helps open the intake valve for the #2 piston.20191108_183128.thumb.jpg.fcb2c4ec8d79388ce57f5b42f0fc34f5.jpg

I mentioned in a previous post that when I spoke with the previous owner of this car, he mentioned there being a stuck valve, which prompted him to get the heads redone.  He also mentioned that that he didn't do anything with the block and that the compression was very good.  I assume that the fouling of the #2 piston with the intake valve happened before the heads were done.  The shop replaced that intake valve and left the piston alone, assuming that it would be okay based on a good compression test.  I also assume that they took that corresponding push rod, straightened it back up and reused it rather than replacement.  On part of one side of the push rod in question, it is noticeably shinier than the rest.  It could have been bent so badly that it rubbed up against another part while in operation.  It is also possible that the shop hammered that part of the push rod to straighten it.  If something like that has been bent before, it loses a bit of it's integrity and it would become easier to bend again.  That would explain the present condition of the piston and push rod, while the valve looks okay.  

 

In spite of all this, the engine looks decent so far.  At least in my opinion.  Nothing serious, but will get the full treament when time comes.  What do you all think?

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26 minutes ago, Kosage Chavis said:

Noticed that the head gaskets do not have cut outs for some of the coolant passages in cylinder head mounting surface.  Not sure how acceptable that is. 

Supposed to be that way to plug casting access holes.  The only ones that communicate are the odd shaped ones front and back:  coolant travels from the bottom of the block to the back of the head; across the head back to the radiator.  In fact if those blocked passages rust out to allow flow, you will have overheating.

Usually if there is a ridge the cylinders should be bored; if not the ridge will need to be reamed before honing.  Up to 0.006" wear is the maximum to use old pistons.

Back in the 1980's  i did one that had up to 0.014 wear because I was not going to pay Kanter $80 for each of 8 pistons (the only supplier back then).  It was noisy and the oil got dirty fast due to the excessive ring gap, but it ran all over the country for 25K miles and was rebuilt again because of an unrelated problem.

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I concur with your assumption on cylinder #2.  How you explained the damage and subsequent repair is very plausible.  The ridge,  I have read if one's finger nail really catches it then bore.  If the ridge is not significant ream then hone.  In my case the ridge was not bad I honed the ridge and the pistons removed from the block was not an issue.   If this block were mine and the bores mic ok, I would hone and new rings. Clean up the heads and secure another good push rod(original OEM) for #2.       

 

 

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Sounds like you’re thinking in the right direction on your assumptions there. Old-Tank, I’ve learned something new! I was myself, perplexed by those coolant ports having been blocked off by the head gaskets of my Nailhead &, can’t remember having read anywhere why they were made that way. Your explanation makes perfect sense. Kosage, your Nailhead’s parts are lookin’ MUCH better than those of mine! It oughta purr quite nicely for many years/miles after its all back in service!

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My 64 Riviera 425 has a slight ridge like yours.  The mechanic who does the big stuff for me suggested that I borrow his ridge reamer, remove the pistons, and run a hone up and down each cylinder a couple of times.  Put new rings on the old pistons and new main and rod bearings in it.  The heads are done.  He then said bolt it back together and enjoy driving it.  I'm not going to put a 100,000 miles on it and financially it's not worth going whole hog.  

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Reaming the ridge should only be done by someone with experience or under their supervision.  I have seen some that could have been done like RivNut that were overcut below the ridge and would not clean up with even a 0.080 over bore...engine ruined or now needing sleeves.

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I do plan on doing an ambitious job on this engine.  First, I want to become an expert with these engines at some point during this process.  I know that means doing most, if not all of the work on this engine.  Obviously, I will need plenty of support from you all to accomplish this.  That way, I can pass this knowledge  along to my children and hopefully keep the Buick hobby alive.  Also, I want this engine to really pop when you open the hood.  I want it to look like a piece of art.  I have a lot of ideas that I will need to sketch out.  Some of you will love it and some of you might get mad with me.  While I do plan on keeping things original, the only thing that I want to modernize is the color scheme.  It's going to be an interesting journey, but I hope you all can enjoy it with me.

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I suppose as long as it doesn’t end up being Flamingo Pink or,  Chartreuse Teal (🤢🤮🤮), I'll support your choice! 👍🏻

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On 11/21/2019 at 7:42 PM, Kosage Chavis said:

I know that means doing most, if not all of the work on this engine. 

 

I hope that you plan to use the engine from your parts car (or another 'junk' donor) to practice on first...  :unsure:

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28 minutes ago, EmTee said:

 

I hope that you plan to use the engine from your parts car (or another 'junk' donor) to practice on first...  :unsure:

I have rebuilt a couple engines before, but they were only small 4 cylinder engines.  I understand that the nailhead is different, but should I be very worried?

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10 minutes ago, Kosage Chavis said:

I have rebuilt a couple engines before, but they were only small 4 cylinder engines.  I understand that the nailhead is different, but should I be very worried?

Nope. Nothing scary about a nailhead. The manual has it all. 

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2 minutes ago, avgwarhawk said:

Nope. Nothing scary about a nailhead. The manual has it all. 

...and guidance here...

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Be sure to read @KAD36's stories from the original rebuild as well as the 'Take-2' follow-up below.  My takeaway is that even if proper procedures and techniques are followed, parts availability can be challenging and selecting the wrong parts, or even reusing what appear to be serviceable used parts can have significant consequences regarding the ultimate success of the rebuild.  I applaud your objective, but just want you to understand that the research involved, even when building on the experience of those on this forum, will require a significant dedication of your time.

 

https://forums.aaca.org/topic/334282-1955-322-rebuild-take-2/?tab=comments#comment-1939592

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4 minutes ago, EmTee said:

My takeaway is that even if proper procedures and techniques are followed, parts availability can be challenging and selecting the wrong parts, or even reusing what appear to be serviceable used parts can have significant consequences regarding the ultimate success of the rebuild. 

You worry too much....:D

Ken built a good engine and a nut on a rod cap shattered (never heard of before); he came up with a fix.  Myself, even after his experience, I would just re-use parts like I did on all the nailheads I had a hand in building.  The problems I have had is with machine shops: you need to double check their work!  And I can tell you where to check.

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3 minutes ago, old-tank said:

The problems I have had is with machine shops: you need to double check their work!

 

Agree.  What about pistons (and camshafts)?  KAD had a heck of a time finding pistons for 'take-2' (as you're well aware) and the camshaft used for the original rebuild seemed to be a compromise (like the pistons used for the original rebuild).

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25 minutes ago, old-tank said:

You worry too much....:D

Ken built a good engine and a nut on a rod cap shattered (never heard of before); he came up with a fix.  Myself, even after his experience, I would just re-use parts like I did on all the nailheads I had a hand in building.  The problems I have had is with machine shops: you need to double check their work!  And I can tell you where to check.

 

I reused the internals as well. Some tips, tricks and one call to Willie sorting out my differences in rods and lifters from year to year, she runs well. 

 

As far as double check machine shop work, yep, I found a few problems. Simply installed incorrectly yet the manual spells it out in word and pictures. 

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24 minutes ago, EmTee said:

 

Agree.  What about pistons (and camshafts)?  KAD had a heck of a time finding pistons for 'take-2' (as you're well aware) and the camshaft used for the original rebuild seemed to be a compromise (like the pistons used for the original rebuild).

 

 

I found with my poorly rebuilt 54 264 the cam, lifters and push rods are new and for a 56.  If the geometry is right she'll run. Can't mix years. I reused the cam, rods but replaced the lifters.  Cam was not wiped after starting for the first run in.  Reused the .30 pistons.  I was either blessed with a happy running rebuild or I RTM and took the advice from those that have rebuilt them.  I'm saying it is a bit of both. 

Edited by avgwarhawk (see edit history)
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2 hours ago, old-tank said:

You worry too much....:D

 The problems I have had is with machine shops: you need to double check their work!  And I can tell you where to check.

 

 Well, don't keep it a secret!

 

  Ben

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