Jump to content

Rebuilding 1963 394 engine


Recommended Posts


I have a nice 1963 Starfire and I'm currently rebuilding the engine and I came up with couple of questions:

1. I'm going to paint the engine to match the colors it had when it was new. Has the engine been painted after assembly or have all the parts been painted individually? What color are the oil pan and the valve covers? Are there other parts that have different color than the engine itself? A photo of Starfire 394 in its original colors would be very nice. If you have one, please send it to my e-mail (see below).

2. I'm planning to order a engine rebuilt kit from Kanter. Does anybody have any experience on that? How reliable supplier Kanter is (I live in Finland, Europe, so it would be very unpleasent suprise to recieve wrong parts...)?

3. Where could I find a rokcer arm axle stand, the one that has the oil channel? The other one of mine is broken. Is it bossible to fix it or to make a new one?

4. Any otehr things I should take into account?

Thank you very much for your help!



e-mail pertti.k.heikkila? @ ?pp.nic.fi (remove the ?:s and spaces)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Other than being a little expensive, Kanter is a very reputable supplier to the old car hobby. I recommend taking the engine apart and checking all tolerances before ordering the engine kit. That way you're sure to get the correct parts for a quality rebuild.

The engines were painted on the engine assembly line with everything installed except the chrome valve covers and the accesssory brackets. The correct color red paint is available from Fusick Automotive www.fusick.com and they are one of the oldest and best known Oldsmobile parts suppliers. If you have painted valve covers instead of chrome those and the aircleaner are painted silver.

You can find rebuilt rocker arm shafts. I think Kanter has them.

Good luck with your engine, Pertti!

*** Just thought of something- if this is an original export market car, it probably has a low-compression (9.0:1 compression ratio) engine which would be painted light green. What color is the engine now?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for your comments RR,

I've just finished taking the engine apart and I'm going to take it to a local machine tooling shop to be measured before I order the rebuilt kit. I'm quite sure the engine has never been opened before. All the cranksaft bearing surfaces seemed to be in good condition, cylinders have a slight step at the piston ring turning point and three piston rings were broken (I don't know if it's possible for them to brake when removing the pistons? The halves just dropped on the floor when I took out the pistons...). However, the cylinder compression test results were within tolerances.

The ultimate reason for the rebuilt was slack in the valve guides but i decided to check the whole engine. I noticed that Kanter has rocker arm assemblies for sale, but I'm not sure if they come with those stands also. Anyway, mine are in good condition, so there isn't any need for new ones except the one stand.

The engine is high compression (10,5:1). The car was imported in early 90's from USA. The engine is currently red and so are the valve covers, but the previous owner has painted them. The air cleaner is chromed, so should the valve covers be also?

One more question: Do I need to use new cylinder head bolts or are the old ones OK?


Link to comment
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...