Jump to content

1932 Straight 8 Build


Recommended Posts

Hello all, I am a student in the Auto Restoration major at Pennsylvania College of Technology and as part of my engines class, I was assigned to rebuild a '32 Straight Eight engine. The story with the engine is that it is out of a 1932 Buick 57S that was donated to the school a number of years ago. As far as I know, the car was a perfectly running car for many years until the head cracked and water soon found its way into the oil. After that happened the car sat for many years until someone tried to start the engine without knowing anything about the cracked head or inspecting the rest of the engine, and the result of that lead to destroyed main bearings and rod bearings as well as further damaging the head. I don't know much about the car's history with coming to the school or what the backstory with the car itself is beyond what I already said. If and when I do find out some more about it, I will be sure to post it. I will also be posting some more in depth pictures of the build and the car as time goes on. The goal for the engine itself is to have build it to 100% working order in time to be displayed at Penn College's stand at the Fall Hershey Meet. 

 

Please feel free to ask any questions about the build, the engine, the car, etc and if I don't know something, I'll be sure to find out as best as I can, as quick as I can. Like I said, I will be posting more pictures as the build goes on, but for starters I have included some pictures of the block I am starting with (as the two engines were disassembled before they got to me and my partner) as well as the numbers stamped in the block.   

 

Thanks very much for looking at the thread and hope you will come see it when it is done hopefully in time for the Fall Hershey MeetEngine 1.jpg

Engine 2.jpg

Numbers 1.jpg

Numbers 2.jpg

Edited by KingKoser06 (see edit history)
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Roughly,

 

the stamped number is the engine serial number and the cast number is the block part number. If someone else can answer before I check my files I will get you some more info to you.  Where are you studying? and how is the rest of the car.  Do you have all the bits and pieces.  Was the engine just "tired" or other problems/  How about the car, itself.

 

John.  

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

1259602-1 is the casting numbers. Usually it is not the same number as the part number. But sometimes the part number and casting number are the same

2786271 is engine serial number

Sean1997 will be able to tell you more

Edited by 1939_Buick (see edit history)
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Just out of curiosity did they put casting dates on Buick blocks?  Studebakers and Chryslers of the mid to late 1920s are easily dated by them. I have some 1934 Series 40 engines but have never looked for casting dates. My 1965 Pontiac V8 has a casting date which - from memory - is July 30 1964.

Edited by nzcarnerd (see edit history)
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, jscheib said:

Roughly,

 

the stamped number is the engine serial number and the cast number is the block part number. If someone else can answer before I check my files I will get you some more info to you.  Where are you studying? and how is the rest of the car.  Do you have all the bits and pieces.  Was the engine just "tired" or other problems/  How about the car, itself.

 

John.  

I'm studying auto restoration and the rest of the car is pretty solid. The body is in great shape, and the frame is pretty solid, it's a good candidate for restoration and the nice thing about the car itself is that it was a complete car so not a lot of things were missing. I am not 100% on the backstory on the car or engine itself but it's going to be going back together as a running engine.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Have you removed the body from chassis yet?  How is the wood frame?  Did the roof leak?  We still do not know what was the reason for rebuilding the engine.  Just tired or major component failure?  Where are you studying?  We may be able to offer you some local help, guidance if we know where you were located.

 

John 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Here are some more pictures that show the car that the engine came out of. Another good thing about the build is we had a spare 230 CID Straight 8 that we could take parts from, you can see it in the background of one of the attached pictures. The next step is inspecting the pistons, rods, bearings and caps. A big problem we are running into is where to source pistons and rings from. Though the pistons and rods look ok, we don't have any piston rings, I would be more comfortable if new ones could be found. If not, they can still be used. In addition to that, thankfully the engine was complete enough to have the crankshaft and camshaft (that are pictured) and we measured the crank journals but can't find anything on what the factory stock journal diameters are.  Also, does anyone have any knowledge of the Egge Pistons rebuild kit for this engine? It's the only one we could find anywhere online.

 

Again, any help and insight on these issues is greatly appreciated.

20987829_1506421312738155_618350444_n.jpg

21013464_1506421309404822_1154781455_n.jpg

21013635_1506421326071487_761869129_n.jpg

21039587_1506421316071488_206953265_n.jpg

21039888_1506421329404820_1598284596_n.jpg

21039921_1506421319404821_1429091718_n.jpg

Edited by KingKoser06 (see edit history)
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • KingKoser05 changed the title to 1932 Straight 8 Build

KingKoser,

 

I am hoping Bob Engel will come on here and tell you more about the engine (He has rebuilt several engines.  I will try to make some other comments on the car.  This car may be a bit an cross-bred.  I do not believe  Buick ever built a car with wood wheels on the front, wires on the back.  You will the wheel hubs are different.  If you want to go with one or the other, you will need to find two hubs.  I think, Egge is about the only source.  I suppose you also checked with Kanter, Cars, and others.

 

I still find it hard to believe, looking at the photos, that the condition would warrant an engine rebuild.  

 

I am going to get you a contact for parts and manuals as well as a photo of my car.

 

John

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 8/19/2017 at 4:49 PM, jscheib said:

Have you removed the body from chassis yet?  How is the wood frame?  Did the roof leak?  We still do not know what was the reason for rebuilding the engine.  Just tired or major component failure?  Where are you studying?  We may be able to offer you some local help, guidance if we know where you were located.

 

John 

There are actually too cars that we are getting parts from. One is a semi-complete car and the other was more derelict. But the car that the engine is going to is still on the frame. The wood frame is actually pretty sound and as far as my knowledge goes, the roof doesn't leak but I am not sure since we haven't tested it. The reason the engine is being rebuilt is that the head had a crack in the oil and water got into the oil. Outside of that, it was also a freshening up rebuild, the cracked head made it more of a priority to rebuild it. I am studying Auto Restoration at Pennsylvania College of Technology. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, jscheib said:

KingKoser,

 

I am hoping Bob Engel will come on here and tell you more about the engine (He has rebuilt several engines.  I will try to make some other comments on the car.  This car may be a bit an cross-bred.  I do not believe  Buick ever built a car with wood wheels on the front, wires on the back.  You will the wheel hubs are different.  If you want to go with one or the other, you will need to find two hubs.  I think, Egge is about the only source.  I suppose you also checked with Kanter, Cars, and others.

 

I still find it hard to believe, looking at the photos, that the condition would warrant an engine rebuild.  

 

I am going to get you a contact for parts and manuals as well as a photo of my car.

 

John

 

 

Thank you for your response, the thing about the mismatched wheels is that they're just on the car so it can be moved around easier and plus, to my knowledge, there are wood wheels for the car, with the center caps and everything but the rears had flats, so the wire wheels on the rear are just on there in their place. The reason for the engine rebuild was that it had a major crack in the head and water got into the oil, that's why it was parked, then someone later on tried to start the engine without knowing about the crack in the head and water in the oil, and destroyed the main bearings as well as the rod bearings. 

 

Alex

Link to post
Share on other sites

Regarding the roof, you can usually tell by discoloration of the headliner if it is a mild leak, or collapse in part or total if a bad leak.  Is this the one that they had at Hershey some years ago?

 

John

  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, jscheib said:

Regarding the roof, you can usually tell by discoloration of the headliner if it is a mild leak, or collapse in part or total if a bad leak.  Is this the one that they had at Hershey some years ago?

 

John

John,

I looked at the roof and there doesn't seem to be any major leaks, as the roof itself isn't caved in anywhere. As for having the car in Hershey in the past I don't know anything about that, but that doesn't mean it wasn't there. 

 

Alex

Link to post
Share on other sites

Big progress today. Since I haven't mentioned this outside of replies, for this build, I am thankful to actually have a donor engine from a donor '32 57s. So lots of measuring and comparing of parts so that only the best parts go into this build. A second crank was located as well as a second set of pistons. Now that there are two sets of pistons, and after measuring them and inspecting each piston and rod, all the pistons have to come off the rods and get switched. So the "Good" pistons on the "Bad" rods have to go on the "Good" rods that have the "Bad" pistons. It might sound confusing and a lot of extra work, but we are using the stock pistons since '32 pistons are hard to find. If new ones could be found, then they would be used. Picture are the "Good" pistons on the "Bad" rods. Also, a reprint of the original specifications and adjustments book was found and in really good condition. It will certainly come in handy with the build. Next step is to measure the second crank along with the two camshafts to see which one will be used as well as swapping the pistons and rods so that we have a usable set. 

21074032_1507420615971558_1441621775_n.jpg

21074354_1507420619304891_1049625823_n.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 8/18/2017 at 3:47 AM, nzcarnerd said:

Just out of curiosity did they put casting dates on Buick blocks?  Studebakers and Chryslers of the mid to late 1920s are easily dated by them. I have some 1934 Series 40 engines but have never looked for casting dates. My 1965 Pontiac V8 has a casting date which - from memory - is July 30 1964.

I honestly don't know a lot about that. This is the oldest engine I ever worked on, my background is in Pontiacs, Mustangs and Vettes.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Some of us here met Penn College auto restoration students last summer at the Buick Club of America celebration in Allentown. The folks at the Bulfari shops may be able to answer some of your questions. 

 

Edited by Thriller
Stupid autocorrect (see edit history)
Link to post
Share on other sites

King:

 We visited the school over 3 years ago and spoke with the instructor about the car. He outlined all the issues you stated. It was supposed to be ready for the great race the next year. I believe that we gave him all 1932 Buick contact information we had.
I think Derek's suggestion is worth pursuing.

 Larry

Link to post
Share on other sites

Might I suggest you try Christina there first and she can relay any contact to Keith, as he often is quite busy and she is more likely to respond to messages first.   Do you have her number in your file at PC?

 

John

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 8/23/2017 at 11:47 PM, dibarlaw said:

King:

 We visited the school over 3 years ago and spoke with the instructor about the car. He outlined all the issues you stated. It was supposed to be ready for the great race the next year. I believe that we gave him all 1932 Buick contact information we had.
I think Derek's suggestion is worth pursuing.

 Larry

dibarlaw,

Thanks for the response. When I got ahold of the specifications and adjustments book, there was some different contact information and haven't reached out to any of them yet. I am just in the process of exhausting other options before I do. Sometime this coming week I will reach out to the contact info that I have.

 

Alex 

Edited by KingKoser06 (see edit history)
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 8/23/2017 at 11:23 PM, Thriller said:

Some of us here met Penn College auto restoration students last summer at the Buick Club of America celebration in Allentown. The folks at the Bulfari shops may be able to answer some of your questions. 

 

Thriller,

Thanks for the response. I have some contact information to various people, so later on this week I might try and reach out to them. I might have their info as well, I am not sure.

 

Alex

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 8/24/2017 at 0:44 PM, jscheib said:

Might I suggest you try Christina there first and she can relay any contact to Keith, as he often is quite busy and she is more likely to respond to messages first.   Do you have her number in your file at PC?

 

John

John,

Thanks for the response. I am not too sure I know someone here named Christina, but I will certainly look more into it.

 

Alex 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Alex,

 

No, sorry for the confusion. Christina work with Keith Flickinger of Bulgari in Allentown.. If you were not down there last year, I suggest you find out who was and do they have contact info.  If not, we can dig it up for you. Let me know.

John

Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, jscheib said:

Alex,

 

No, sorry for the confusion. Christina work with Keith Flickinger of Bulgari in Allentown.. If you were not down there last year, I suggest you find out who was and do they have contact info.  If not, we can dig it up for you. Let me know.

John

John,

Ok that makes more sense. I wouldn't really know anything about that. I would really like that information. Thank you.

 

Alex 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Big news on the build! Sorry for the lack of posts lately, as not much has happened since some measurements on the bores as well as the crank were determined to be inaccurate and out of round and had to be remeasured.  But now everything is back into spec and parts are on the way! First are piston rings. the piston rings that came off both sets of pistons are not original and needed replaced. Rings were sourced from Egge Machinery along with valves, valve springs and valve guides. Also unbeknownst to me and the others in my group, the school had a surplus of parts to use. This included not one or two heads but three separate cylinder heads to choose from. I took some pictures of them all and the one we are going with is the one standing on its side showing the combustion chambers. The head we are using isn't off our parts engine or the engine we are building but from a connection my instructor had in Texas. The other two engines had severe cracks in the center of the heads. It bothers me somewhat that we aren't able to use the head that the block came with, but I am thankful nonetheless for the good condition head we have now. Next is to V out two small cracks in the water jackets on the side of the block so they can be repaired as well as try to clean the head up as best we can as well as try to clean the head up as best we can along with removing the old valve guides and other pieces.

 

Alex

IMG_8520.JPG

IMG_8522.JPG

IMG_8523.JPG

Link to post
Share on other sites

If you have cracks in the exterior portion of the block, you will want to take a good look at the water jacket on the interior portion as seen from the lifter galley.  I have found cracks in several 32-50 series blocks in this area.

 

Bob Engle

Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, Bob Engle said:

If you have cracks in the exterior portion of the block, you will want to take a good look at the water jacket on the interior portion as seen from the lifter galley.  I have found cracks in several 32-50 series blocks in this area.

 

Bob Engle

Bob,

That is exactly where our cracks are. It is interesting that its a common problem. Our second block doesn't have any cracks that are visible right now. I took a picture of the one crack, the other one wasn't visable on camera.

 

Alex 

IMG_8528.PNG

  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

The water jacket side is very poorly cast. In fact sometimes some of the cylinders are saimesed so water flow is poor.  Sludge builds up and there are hot spots and cold spots.  Cast iron doesn't like lots of temperature variation across it's surfaces.  Couple that with the alcohol antifreeze used in the 30's and 40's, which  with open unpressurized cooling systems would often evaporate  the alcohol and lead to potential freezing.

 

Bob Engle

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Bob Engle said:

The water jacket side is very poorly cast. In fact sometimes some of the cylinders are saimesed so water flow is poor.  Sludge builds up and there are hot spots and cold spots.  Cast iron doesn't like lots of temperature variation across it's surfaces.  Couple that with the alcohol antifreeze used in the 30's and 40's, which  with open unpressurized cooling systems would often evaporate  the alcohol and lead to potential freezing.

 

Bob Engle

 

 

Thanks for the information and response! Fixing it is going to be the tricky part. Heating it up is one thing but then keeping at that constant temperature while working on it will be a challenge for a pair of students that combined, have a limited experience with cast iron.

 

Alex 

Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, Pete Phillips said:

If worse comes to worst, I have some spare 1932 50-series engine blocks.

Pete Phillips, BCA #7338

Leonard, Texas

Pete, 

Thanks very much for your response. I know that the good head we are using for the build did actually come from texas.

 

Alex

Link to post
Share on other sites

New update on the build. Next to work on is valvetrain assembly. There was a lot to choose from considering there were two engines. Way back when the two engines were first disassembled, they were actually taken apart and bagged and tagged really well. All the valves were each tagged intake and exhaust in a bag tagged with which cylinder they came out of. So the first thing was to do was to inspect the valves. The plan originally was to just order as many valvetrain components as we could find and just replace them. As far as we could find, the only company that made valvetrain components was Egge Pistons, and it came out to be more than $800 for valves, guides and springs. So to cut back, we decided to inspect the valves that we had to see if they could be used. The first thing that we did was mach up the valves in one of the heads we aren't using to just get an idea. They aren't in the head as they should be but it's just to keep them in order. As it turned out, the original '32 Buick valves (or really old replacements) were in extraordinary shape! So once they were given the green light to be used, they went to the blast cabinet to be blasted. The cool thing about blasting them was that when they were all cleaned up, all the old factory markings became clear. As a young guy doing this, it was really cool to see that so much pride was taken in making all of these parts back then, that Buick stamped everything with their logo. Even on the back of the exhaust valve, you can just barely make out the Buick logo.

 

Alex

21362839_1519353181444968_914275333_n.jpg

21363064_1519353158111637_551929864_n.jpg

21363172_1519353171444969_349012538_n.jpg

21397334_1519353131444973_584621557_n.jpg

21397474_1519353191444967_904575248_n.jpg

21442054_1519353174778302_997510472_n.jpg

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Good news and bad news on the build so far. First, the good news. The good news is that the head and crankshaft are completely clean and ready for use. A wire wheel set on an electric drill was used to take the rust off, then brake clean was used to clean off any sludge left behind. Then it was off to the parts washer where it was heat cleaned and degreased for an hour. The two crankshafts were remeasured and decided on the one that, at the most, was 3-5 thousandths in variation on the journals. That was then sent to the parts washer as well for an hour long heat cleaning and degreasing session. Both the head and the crank came out very nicely. The pictures attached show the crankshaft in the parts washer after it had been completely cleaned. The head on the workbench is all clean after being cleaned with the wire wheel set and brake clean and is ready for the parts washer. In the straight on picture, there is some heavy pitting and corrosion in the leftmost combustion chamber. And then the head that is fresh out of the parts washer. All parts that came out of the parts washer are immediately rinsed off with a hose, blown off with an air gun, then sprayed with a solid coat of WD-40 to prevent flash rusting.

 

Now for the bad news, as you may remember, there were two engine blocks when we started, one had a wide variation of bore diameters and excessive ring ridge and our thinking was to not use that because if we bored it over at all, we weren't sure if we could get oversized pistons considering the age and rarity of the engine. The second block had more consistent bore diameter and no ring ridge, but had two small cracks in the water jackets. Our thoughts were that we could braze the cracks shut and not have to overbore. When brazing the cast iron, it was first heated with a rosebud torch head, then wrapped in a fiberglass welding blanket to keep the heat in, then the heads were switched to a welding head. Then, the welding blankets were taken off and we tried to braze the cracks in one inch sections to avoid getting the base metal either too hot or too cold. When finished, it was then again wrapped in the welding blankets to try and slowly cool it down and left to sit over night. When the morning came, we found that the block cooled too fast and caused even more excessive cracking around the brazing area. In hindsight, what should have happened, was to utilize the "lock and stitch" method. But rather than try to spend more time fixing it, we opted to just cut our losses and use the first block. Which means the block might have to be overbored and new pistons to go with it. Pictures attached show the brazing and the cracks after the brazing cooled. 

 

Thanks for looking,

Alex

21729114_1524701514243468_917120697_n.jpg

21729309_1524701487576804_303506021_n.jpg

21733101_1524701504243469_299990661_n.jpg

21733147_1524701520910134_1520459831_n.jpg

21741450_1524701484243471_821533353_n.jpg

21754160_1524701494243470_2144656581_n.jpg

21754462_1524701497576803_1326473121_n.jpg

Edited by KingKoser06 (see edit history)
Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting thread , especially about the water jacket crack. Auburn Lycoming  straight 8's have the same problem in the same area for the same reasons I think.  I'm wondering if LockNStitch wouldn't have been a better alternative  or did you consider and reject that option?  Pretty hard area to get to. Right now, I'm trying Irontite on the Auburn but I'll need a Plan B!

 

Brad

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 years later...

The problem with cracks in the water jacket behind the lifters is that cracks here will leak water into the oil system and isn't noticeable like cracks on the exterior.

 

Bob Engle

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...