whistle

1937 Buick Special

Recommended Posts

Define “rebuild.”  I had a guy tear mine down and replace a piston for $1800.  Some specialized restoration shops will charge $1000 per cylinder.  Depends whether the parts are ok or not.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, the flat head 4cyl and 6cyl  engines that I know- what I consider a normal rebuild would be, new pistons/rings main bearings, rod bearings, guides (if needed) hardened valves, seats and a new oil pump... As for the crankshaft, polish or go undersize if required, then reassemble with all new gaskets...

If you want to do your own rebuild on the cheap, you could use a ridge reamer, then hone the cylinders and just get new oversize rings which you will need to file down to the corresponding gap to use with your old pistons.  At least replace the rod bearings, then lap the valves, reassemble and hope for the best.. Done it a bunch of times on flathead motors..

I don't know how forgiving these Buick motors are, or what you can get away with, but the prices you're quoting would make it nearly impossible for anyone to get into these cars! It seems insane @$1000 per cylinder! Are engine parts for these cars really that expensive? I am in shock I must say... 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I did mine substantially cheaper - but I did most of the re-build myself.  Farmed out the 030 over rebore, 010 under crank machining, and new guides and seats in the head, plus head assembly. 

 

I sourced my own parts, ran back and forth to the machine shop, etc.  Enjoyed the process.

 

Its been a few years, maybe $3000?  Ok, round it up to $4000, as I have probably forgotten about the overruns.

 

Sorry I can't be more accurate,

Jeff

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello Jeff,

 

Thank you for sharing your experience here, it gives me some idea... Since it has been a while, I would not be surprised if it is in the 6K range doing most of the work yourself and chasing your own parts... Still a tidy sum! Any experience with the transmissions?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Much is going to depend on the condition of the bearings. 37 Buicks have poured rod and main bearings. If the engine needs new babbitt, it will raise the cost of rebuilding considerably

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 Well ,  i  agree with  Steve  Mack.    High priced, specially if the engine was noise .

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

$ 1000.00   per cyl ?     Come  on  now ....  Are  they  mechanics or  Doctors ?  This  is  a   pretty much  modern  engine !

 

  We   are  not  talking about  a  1906  Maxwell !!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Still can't believe the figures for a rebuild! Parts and labor... You're better of buying a parts car with a good motor if you can find it.. Are we talking about taking your car to an "specialist" at that price? Or, I still have to chase another shop to drop the engine in afterwards/tidy things up?  Who works on these cars (Aside from us in our garage) at a reasonable rate? I understood you could retrofit modern bearing inserts (main/rod) to these engines... Am I mistaken?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sure can - I put 1950 rods in mine.  Turned the crank journals down by 010 at a machine shop, and bought 010 under bearing inserts.

 

Be careful to cross-check compatibility using Hollander's interchange manual.  I think, post-war up to about '52 will work, but don't take my word for it.  I also used 1950 style pistons, .030 over, from Egge.   (along with the appropriate rings).  You always have to check the 0.010 end gap clearance, and file to fit.

 

I do have some left-over babbitted rods - if you are interested.  The old technique was to remove shims to get the appropriate clearance as the Babbitt wore down.  You can pretty much see by inspection how much is left, and if they are useable.  Of course, even if it looks good, it is still old.

 

Jeff

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Jeff for the additional information... What are the design benefits of the 1950 rods? I am not there yet. Trying to figure things out....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
46 minutes ago, philipj said:

 What are the design benefits of the 1950 rods?

Had insert bearings from new

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

$8000 for 8 cylinders is about typical these days I think for anything unusual. Parts are really expensive. Crank and cam are probably too long for the local machine shop's machinery, shipping of heavy parts, etc, etc. Pistons will probably be available off the shelf for this at least, but you still might be better off with custom ones. Start pricing the parts online and add it all up, it gets expensive in a hurry. You'll see.

 

Additionally you will likely need belts, hoses, fuel pump diaphragm, water pump rebuild or kit, generator brushes and bearings, starter brushes and bushings, motor mounts, trans mounts, probably a clutch disc, maybe a whole clutch, flywheel resurfacing, radiator boil out, carb kit, plug wires, cap-rotor-points......  This is on top of the rebuild cost. It also assumes you are doing it all yourself. Add labor if not.

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think I get the picture loud and clear... Thank you for sharing your insight here. The moral of the story is do your homework and choose wisely!

Share this post


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