Jump to content

425 Motor rebuild - Cost and recommendations


Recommended Posts

Just thinking, if corrosion conditions existed that ate the waterside of the plugs out, that material and other deposits must be in the low flow areas of the water jackets. Does it puke out a little water like it might need an overflow tank?

Link to post
Share on other sites

No. The car sat for 25 years (climate controlled storage) and looks like the head gaskets are relatively new and the Plugs are not OE. They look like cheap Dorman ones that were installed incorrectly and being an AZ car that water (and not coolant) was in the system. Did a new water pump and timing chain (and a bunch other stuff) to bring it out of hibernation. If someone can give me non-theoretical advice on how to do the fronts it would be a life saver. 

 

Edited by elanmike (see edit history)
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...
On 11/16/2016 at 2:59 PM, KongaMan said:

IMHO, you might consider doing it yourself.  It ain't rocket science, and there isn't that much to an engine.  The key is that you want to make sure everything's to spec, so when you're starting with a worn engine there are a lot of measurements to be taken.  You might farm out any machine work (like turning shafts or boring cylinders or grinding heads), but the assembly is basically tightening bolts.  Almost everything you need to know is in the manual.  I rebuilt mine 35 years ago using nothing more than basic hand tools, a micrometer, a torque wrench, and a careful, steady approach.  It hasn't blown up yet. ;)

 

For a car that's worth what these are (i.e. not that much), $3-4000 plus the cost of transporting, etc. can put you upside down on the whole ownership calculation.  And besides, there's always a greater feeling of accomplishment in doing it yourself than in paying for it yourself.  What else do you have to do this winter? ;)

If you are pinching pennies on proper maintenance you are in the wrong hobby.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I had my 425 rebuilt by Russ and Matt in Grass Valley, Ca (Centerville Auto). They did a great job. I haven't put many miles on it yet since it's only drive so far was to the upholstery shop but it seems to be strong. Mine was a runner when I took it in for the rebuild but it was leaking coolant that turned out to be freeze plugs. Since I had it out for the plug replacement I found some other problems so since I'm near  Grass Valley I decided to have Russ and Matt (son) rebuild it. It was standard bore but they took it .40 over to clean it up and did a total rebuild from there. It is definitely beautiful-their attention to detail is great. When all was said and done the total bill came to $9000.......Definitely hurt my pocket book but in time I'll get over it. Now if I could just get my car back from the upholsterer I'll be able to enjoy it.

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 12/5/2020 at 5:38 AM, frenchy51 said:

I had my 425 rebuilt by Russ and Matt in Grass Valley, Ca (Centerville Auto). They did a great job. I haven't put many miles on it yet since it's only drive so far was to the upholstery shop but it seems to be strong. Mine was a runner when I took it in for the rebuild but it was leaking coolant that turned out to be freeze plugs. Since I had it out for the plug replacement I found some other problems so since I'm near  Grass Valley I decided to have Russ and Matt (son) rebuild it. It was standard bore but they took it .40 over to clean it up and did a total rebuild from there. It is definitely beautiful-their attention to detail is great. When all was said and done the total bill came to $9000.......Definitely hurt my pocket book but in time I'll get over it. Now if I could just get my car back from the upholsterer I'll be able to enjoy it.

Hey Frenchie51 - 9 Grand??  OUCH!   Just out of interest, did you ask Russ/Matt for a cost estimate of the rebuild BEFORE you gave them the job?  I'd be curious as to what they quoted vs. the final cost.  We all know that stuff can come up that wasn't apparent when the job was estimated.  Was this the case with your engine?  DId they rebuild the ST400 tranny at the same time?

 

I've found that some of these 'specialists' will charge a premium because you have a less common car.  1st Gen Rivieras certainly fit this description.  And the nailhead engine too.  This isn't a small block Chevy.  

 

I have experience in another related realm: Corvettes.  There's a local muscle car and Corvette shop that does full mechanical in my area.  They quoted me $3,000 to replace the valve seals on the stock 327 engine in my '67 Corvette.  They told me the heads would have to come off, etc.  Luckily I investigated further and found out the seals are easily replaced with the heads on the car.  I found another mechanic who did the job for $500 - after all, a 327 is just a Chevy small-block engine, even it it's sitting in a pretty fiberglass body.  But, add the word "Corvette" and some think it's license to jack up the price of a routine mechanical job. 

 

So, buyer beware.    Good luck with whatever you decide to do.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Ouch for sure. They quoted me "at least 8 grand"....It was engine rebuild only. Not trans. As I said-the engine was a runner that had never been apart. They put in some Xtras-Electronic ignition, new water pump, timing gear, etc. As you said, Unlike a Corvette small block the 425 Buick engine is it's own animal at least from what I've learned from this forum. I followed the advice I was given and took it to the experts. I wanted to keep my '64 original. The easy way out and less expensive option would have been to drop in a good used LS Chevy...(which, BTW, is what I'm doing to my next project-'64 Corvette coupe  (-;

Link to post
Share on other sites

Gents, My 401 1963 Nailhead was rebuilt by JB’s Engine Machines in Rosedale MD. I happy with their work. Tom Telesco supplied the RaceTek forged pistons made to his spec’s. The carb was rebuilt by Tom Telesco as well. The engine builder had a question or two and Tom Telesco answered the builders questions. I didn’t want the builder to approach my Nailhead as another small block Chevy. Attached is what was done to rebuild my engine

 

BAF9B060-B4CA-487A-8C53-1B7705D9DB7C.jpeg

AAD2D8A2-F779-4804-9019-C7C187FDDD22.jpeg

Edited by Turbinator (see edit history)
Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Turbinator said:

Gents, My 401 1963 Nailhead was rebuilt by JB’s Engine Machines in Rosedale MD. I happy with their work. Tom Telesco supplied the RaceTek forged pistons made to his spec’s. The carb was rebuilt by Tom Telesco as well. The engine builder had a question or two and Tom Telesco answered the builders questions. I didn’t want the builder to approach my Nailhead as another small block Chevy. Attached is what was done to rebuild my engine

 

BAF9B060-B4CA-487A-8C53-1B7705D9DB7C.jpeg

AAD2D8A2-F779-4804-9019-C7C187FDDD22.jpeg

Hi Bob,

  Your shop did a nice job of documenting their services but curious..."Remove and replace oil pan to replace oil pump and restart engine"?

  Thanks for sharing,

Tom

Tom

Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, 1965rivgs said:

Hi Bob,

  Your shop did a nice job of documenting their services but curious..."Remove and replace oil pan to replace oil pump and restart engine"?

  Thanks for sharing,

Tom

Tom

Tom, hard to believe BUT Tom Telesco took the oil pump a part and did a tiny mod before he sent it to the builder I’ve since forgotten. The builder upon testing the engine noticed the oil pressure was inconsistent. I said take out the oil pump and put in a pump you know works. Done. In the meantime I sent the supposedly quirky oil pump back to Tom for forensic investigation. Tom now has a few cases ahead of me so I’ll wait for the report.

Turbinator

Link to post
Share on other sites
19 minutes ago, Turbinator said:

Tom, hard to believe BUT Tom Telesco took the oil pump a part and did a tiny mod before he sent it to the builder I’ve since forgotten. The builder upon testing the engine noticed the oil pressure was inconsistent. I said take out the oil pump and put in a pump you know works. Done. In the meantime I sent the supposedly quirky oil pump back to Tom for forensic investigation. Tom now has a few cases ahead of me so I’ll wait for the report.

Turbinator

  Thanks for the reply Bob. Recently spoke to another member with the same scenario, ie. oil pressure after rebuild, and  I was curious as to why. Thanks again,

Tom

Link to post
Share on other sites

Alex,

   I don'tknow how long ago you had the seals replaced, BUT 3K some years ago is kinda outa the realm of reality.  They would remove the heads to ALSO knurl the guides because in my experience you replace the seals with whatever fancy high tech replacement part only to come back within a year or so because the car is doing the same thing.  Usually the customer feels the mechanic did something wrong which in reality he did not & was trying to save you some $$$$..  You ONLY replace the seals IF your trying to sell the car & IF it smokes un-nessacerly after the purchaser buys the vehicle it's now his problem & NOT yours as you provided no guaranty.

 

Tom T.

Link to post
Share on other sites

frenchy51,

 

At the moment I've involved with a 425 from a '65 Riv. GS.

By the time I'm done it will probably be a little over 10K.  BUT it includes rebuilding both carbs.  Repairing ALL prior work screw -ups.  Rebuilding the starter. Deburring the block. Forged Pistons with the good rings, wrist pins & wrist pin fitting for each individual piston. Fitting each & every ring to the bore intended & end gap the rings as deemed nec. Rebuilding the rockers arms & replacing the shafts. New Stainless valves & valve guides, new springs retainers & locks. A new specifically designed camshaft that's COATED to resist problems during break-in. New QUALITY COATED hydraulic lifters. I go as far as taking ALL 16 lifters apart to make sure they are clean, parts are in the proper place & working as intended & properly lubed. Making absolutely sure ALL the lifters move freely in ALL their receptive bores. Boring & honing the block. Decking the block for square. This one required .006" removed from both decks. Torquing down the main caps & check the bores of the mains. VERY SELDOM DOES A "NAIL" NEED THE BORES STRAIGHTENED OUT. THEY ARE THAT GOOD FROM THE FACTORY. AND IF YOU DO YOU WILL NOW HAVE A FOREVER LOOSE TIMING CHAIN. They dont make the nec. parts for our "Nails" to tighten these clearances up. Install the cam & DEGREE IT IN. This alone can take hours. You don't just take a new cam & "Throw" it in there without doing this. IF you do you usually come out on the short end of the stick because the engine will not run to it's PROPER POTENTIAL.

I've got two days in just cleaning bolts. You hit them with the wire brush on your bench grinder EXCEPT for the head & main bolts.  Put them on a bench grinder wire wheel & you remove material.  They HAVE TO BE CLEANED meticulously by hand. Run clean out taps through ALL bolt holes in the block, heads, bellhousing area & on & on. You just DON'T use a tap or die as these remove material & you now have FOREVER loose bolts that will NEVER torque down correctly. Then prime them with self-etching primer & paint the proper color BEFORE they are installed. Makes for a cleaner assembly.  Resurface both exhaust manifolds & the heat riser valve for a NO GASKET seal as per factory.  They WON'T transfer heat as well with gaskets because the gaskets act like insulaters. 

Take the oil pump apart to MAKE SURE EVERYTHING inside is as t's supposed to be. Smooth rough edges. Check the pressure relief spring & ball to make sure there's NO RUST. When installing the plug that holds the spring & ball in place you make up a thin wall piece that fits between the plug & the pick-up screen/pipe so IF it backs out it has NO WHERE TO GO as the pick-up pipe/screen/gasket will hold it in place.  I've seen too many "Nail" destroyed because the bolts that hold the pick-up screen/pipe come loose. Not ONLY do I use LocTite to hold them in place I ALSO drill the two bolts & safety wire them together. NOW THEY CAN'T COME OUT OR LOOSEN UP.

I could go on for days & days & this is just the beginning. I've ONLY touched the beginning. 

It takes time to cover ALL THE DETAILS. Time is $$$$  SURE you can get it done for less $$$ BUT do you know if it was done properly???

You HAVE TO SONIC TEST EACH & EVERY BLOCK BECAUSE OF CORE SHIFT. IF this is not done your being shorted again.  Would you build a new house on an old crumbling foundation???

And what do you do when you have a block that tests thin???  For the weight of the reciprocating assembly the cylinder walls need to be at least .150" thick.  MANY blocks aren't this thick in places when they are BRAND NEW.

 

I've been working since 6:30 am this morning & I just got home not too long ago. I need to take a shower, make some food to eat & go to bed. Tomorrow starts ANOTHER DAY.

 

Tom T.

Link to post
Share on other sites


I know where I would send my motor if I wanted a rebuild !  you get what you pay for. Tom because you are using forged pistons do you set them up looser than factory spec? Do you get any piston slap on cold start?

21 hours ago, telriv said:

frenchy51,

 

At the moment I've involved with a 425 from a '65 Riv. GS.

By the time I'm done it will probably be a little over 10K.  BUT it includes rebuilding both carbs.  Repairing ALL prior work screw -ups.  Rebuilding the starter. Deburring the block. Forged Pistons with the good rings, wrist pins & wrist pin fitting for each individual piston. Fitting each & every ring to the bore intended & end gap the rings as deemed nec. Rebuilding the rockers arms & replacing the shafts. New Stainless valves & valve guides, new springs retainers & locks. A new specifically designed camshaft that's COATED to resist problems during break-in. New QUALITY COATED hydraulic lifters. I go as far as taking ALL 16 lifters apart to make sure they are clean, parts are in the proper place & working as intended & properly lubed. Making absolutely sure ALL the lifters move freely in ALL their receptive bores. Boring & honing the block. Decking the block for square. This one required .006" removed from both decks. Torquing down the main caps & check the bores of the mains. VERY SELDOM DOES A "NAIL" NEED THE BORES STRAIGHTENED OUT. THEY ARE THAT GOOD FROM THE FACTORY. AND IF YOU DO YOU WILL NOW HAVE A FOREVER LOOSE TIMING CHAIN. They dont make the nec. parts for our "Nails" to tighten these clearances up. Install the cam & DEGREE IT IN. This alone can take hours. You don't just take a new cam & "Throw" it in there without doing this. IF you do you usually come out on the short end of the stick because the engine will not run to it's PROPER POTENTIAL.

I've got two days in just cleaning bolts. You hit them with the wire brush on your bench grinder EXCEPT for the head & main bolts.  Put them on a bench grinder wire wheel & you remove material.  They HAVE TO BE CLEANED meticulously by hand. Run clean out taps through ALL bolt holes in the block, heads, bellhousing area & on & on. You just DON'T use a tap or die as these remove material & you now have FOREVER loose bolts that will NEVER torque down correctly. Then prime them with self-etching primer & paint the proper color BEFORE they are installed. Makes for a cleaner assembly.  Resurface both exhaust manifolds & the heat riser valve for a NO GASKET seal as per factory.  They WON'T transfer heat as well with gaskets because the gaskets act like insulaters. 

Take the oil pump apart to MAKE SURE EVERYTHING inside is as t's supposed to be. Smooth rough edges. Check the pressure relief spring & ball to make sure there's NO RUST. When installing the plug that holds the spring & ball in place you make up a thin wall piece that fits between the plug & the pick-up screen/pipe so IF it backs out it has NO WHERE TO GO as the pick-up pipe/screen/gasket will hold it in place.  I've seen too many "Nail" destroyed because the bolts that hold the pick-up screen/pipe come loose. Not ONLY do I use LocTite to hold them in place I ALSO drill the two bolts & safety wire them together. NOW THEY CAN'T COME OUT OR LOOSEN UP.

I could go on for days & days & this is just the beginning. I've ONLY touched the beginning. 

It takes time to cover ALL THE DETAILS. Time is $$$$  SURE you can get it done for less $$$ BUT do you know if it was done properly???

You HAVE TO SONIC TEST EACH & EVERY BLOCK BECAUSE OF CORE SHIFT. IF this is not done your being shorted again.  Would you build a new house on an old crumbling foundation???

And what do you do when you have a block that tests thin???  For the weight of the reciprocating assembly the cylinder walls need to be at least .150" thick.  MANY blocks aren't this thick in places when they are BRAND NEW.

 

I've been working since 6:30 am this morning & I just got home not too long ago. I need to take a shower, make some food to eat & go to bed. Tomorrow starts ANOTHER DAY.

 

Tom 

Link to post
Share on other sites

frenchy51,

 

     As of the moment only two have said something about being noisey on start-up. I have NO CONTROL over what the machinists they used for clearances and/or IF they followed the manufactuers specifications that are included in every BOX.  The good thing they tell me that it stops in 2-3 minutes.

The other 60 sets I've sold I haven't been advised of ANY problems.  I know on ALL the ones I've done I haven't had any problems or complaints.  Stock clearance piston to wall can be as little as .001".  On a 425 it's .0035"-.004".

These are NOT RACING PISTONS that need a lot of clearance, usually anywhere from .005"-.008",  because they expand so much & made from a different material.

With proper tuning "MY" pistons call handle up to 650+HP or 4-8 pds of boost. Enough to cover the build of probably 95% of the people/users out there.

AND, IF you need racings pistons I can ALSO get those.

 

Tom T.

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 12/10/2020 at 3:57 PM, arnulfo de l.a. said:

 


I know where I would send my motor if I wanted a rebuild !

 

Sir, I can attest to Tom

Telesco’s attention to detail. Tom

Rebuilt my carburetor and put in electronic ignition. Replaced axle seals, put in lower ball joints and installed front and rear sway bars. Tom did this in my shop. I handed him the tools and was the helper. Tom also tuned up the engine.

The next year (2020) Tom helped me by phone get my engine rebuilt. Tom served to answer questions from the experienced engine builder who built my engine.

ive not known many experts in my life in any field. I can tell you without hesitation Tom Telesco is an expert.

Turbinator

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...