52 head in a 53

firstofeight

Active member
'53 head on a '52

Way to go, Frank.
Have you progressed much? Have you determined the heads will interchange? I am building a performance 263, and the head has a crack through #1 exhaust seat. It is a '51 engine, and I have found a '53 head. One of us will know soon if they interchange.

Ben
 

frank-k

New member
Hi Ben,
I haven't done much since pulling the engine...a few home improvement projects have taken priority. I hope to start tearing it down soon, but I'm still looking for a machine shop to do the machine work. Keep me posted on your progress, and how you make out with the head.
 
Hi Ben,
I haven't done much since pulling the engine...a few home improvement projects have taken priority. I hope to start tearing it down soon, but I'm still looking for a machine shop to do the machine work. Keep me posted on your progress, and how you make out with the head.
A suggestion: You likely won't find a machine shop that has done a Buick I-8 recently, if at all. Any shop that handles larger I-6's will have a boring bar that can do the job. Old guys in the shop are a good sign.
When I looked for a local machine shop, my problem was all of them wanted to clean the block with a dip that would ruin the cam bearings. I didn't want to change them, because the manual provides: "The camshaft bearings must be line reamed to size after being pressed into the crankcase. Since this operation requires special reaming equipment the original bearings should be retained unless severely damaged." Use an acid dip and the cam bearings will be "severely damaged." Well, no one had any of the "special reaming equipment, and I had good oil pressure going into the rebuild.
I talked one guy into cleaning the block with water and strong soap, kept my cam bearings, and the result worked out just fine. The machinist had never done a 263 (or any other I-8) in his life, but he had done a lot of Chevy and GMC I-6's, and lots of small to medium diesels.
Just saying.
Good luck with it.
'51 Special
 

firstofeight

Active member
'52 versus '53 head

Thanks for the reply, guys. I settled for a '51 head. The '53 I had located had been worked on, brought to spec, and priced accordingly. Too much to through away with the mods I am doing. The only difference I could see is the spark plugs protrude a little into the combustion chamber on the '53.

I am in Wichita Falls TX and have been fortunate enough to find two machine shops that can do the work. The block is done. Bored to 85 mm. About 125 over, I think. Pistons are here. Head is in shop, receiving oversize valves and a little clean up in the ports. Rotating assembly is in same shop awaiting balancing. Cam is, I hope, being ground this week.

Looking forward to the assembly. I am ONLY about a month behind and SLIGHTLY over budget.

Ben
 

322bnh

Member
Modern cam bearings are finished. No need to line bore them. Modern technology.
Doug
Where do you find those modern bearings for straight eights and nailheads? Every one that I have done required reaming to fit. Maybe you meant modern bearings in modern engines??
 

LONG

New member
rebuilt my 263 last year. installed new cam bearings. they did have to be line bored. very tight. even after I did not like how much drag the cam had. I should have had machine shop take a little more off. figured hell, it'll break in. find any diesel shop to install/ line bore your cam bearings. Buick Guy is right though, you should not need to.
 

LONG

New member
I got cam bearings from EGGE. $50. mains from EGGE $127, piston rings from EGGE. rod bearings from Cars Inc. lube holes did not match up well, so I just used a burr bit to egg shape. timing chain, gears and complete gasket kit from Cars Inc. use BEST gasket co. for gaskets and head gasket. go with the .015" I usually like to use BOB's, but Cars was cheaper.
 

frank-k

New member
Finally tearing down the engine

We finally got around to tearing down the engine. We are having trouble removing one of the pistons. The rod will not fit through the bore.
 

Attachments

We finally got around to tearing down the engine. We are having trouble removing one of the pistons. The rod will not fit through the bore.
Odd. Can you explain what the problem is more specifically?

Note, if that piston is not stuck, and you have used a ridge reamer, leave the problem piston for last, leave the crank in, and turn the crank to top dead center. Unbolt the rod cap, back the crank out of the way, and tap the piston out using a piece of hardwood to drive with the rod. The rod will fit through the bore.
 

frank-k

New member
Odd. Can you explain what the problem is more specifically?

Note, if that piston is not stuck, and you have used a ridge reamer, leave the problem piston for last, leave the crank in, and turn the crank to top dead center. Unbolt the rod cap, back the crank out of the way, and tap the piston out using a piece of hardwood to drive with the rod. The rod will fit through the bore.
We have all the other pistons removed. I took a picture of the rod, but it is hard to see. The rod does not fit through the bore. I am sending the block to the machine shop with the crank in. He wanted one piston, so I figured he could drop the piston out from below when he took out the crank shaft.
 

Attachments

firstofeight

Active member
Frank

Frank, Welcome back. Two years!

I finished mine, cracked a cylinder, tore the engine down, sleeved the cyl, reassembled and have driven a couple thousand. Where ya been?:D. Just yanking your chain.

I cannot tell from the picture, but bet the rod cap bolts have become turned . That would indeed cause it to be bigger than the bore. I just checked one in the garage.

Good luck
Ben
 

frank-k

New member
Sometime life gets busy :)
The block is at the machine shop. I decided to have them assemble the bottom end. The owner is a friend, so it may be there a while. You know how that goes.
His shop is extremely well equipped, and there is a lot of gray hair that is familiar with straight eights.
I am going to attempt a re-wiring of the car, and clean up the engine bay (finish some front suspension work) while the engine is out.
The wish list is bigger than the wallet :)
 

frank-k

New member
I didn't ask about the rod, but I will if I remember. :) They used 30 over pistons and had to sleeve one cylinder. I got all the parts from Cars for the one stop shop convenience. The end gap on the rings were too tight, they had to file fit them. "they came out mint" They were suppose to wrap everything up this past week, but I didn't hear from them. Hopefully next week. I teach carpentry at a tech school, and the automotive instructor has agreed to help with the reassembly and install of the engine.
I am cleaning and painting everything on the engine as we reassemble and I was wondering if anyone has information on all the correct color codes and a vendor that stocks them.
 

Attachments

Top