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Old 01-29-2012, 10:42 AM   #21
Hnstray
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Default Re: Buick 215 v-8

Around that era, several manufacturers were experimenting with akuminum block engines. AMC, Mopar and this GM Buick/Olds just to name those that come readily to mind.

I don't recall hearing of any specific operational problems with when they were new, but that doesn't mean there weren't. Just means I don't know for sure either. What I think I do know is that the materials and casting processes flor these were more expensive than iron and that fact, more than any other consideration, is more likely the reason all of the makers discontinued their use of aluminum...at least for a time.

It is also the period when 'thinwall casting' was being perfected, first in the 221" Ford in 1962 models, as I recall. The advent of that technology accomplished much of the weight reduction being sought and further reduced the immediate appeal of aluminum.

Of course, as time has based everything old is new again and improved methods, material alloys and another round of weight savings brought us many modern aluminum engines.....not 'us' in the HAMB tradition of course, but in the general population.

Ray
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Old 01-29-2012, 10:45 AM   #22
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Default Re: Buick 215 v-8

Quote:
Originally Posted by stainlesssteelrat View Post
didn't need an adapter to put one in a vw, they bolt right on .

Really Shirley you are joking If not, Shirley you are smoking


Ray
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Old 01-29-2012, 10:47 AM   #23
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Default Re: Buick 215 v-8

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Originally Posted by zman View Post


they have always been referred to as Nailheads to me, and this goes all the way back to the late 70's.
I have a book published in 1973 that uses the term Buick Nailhead. In another place, it calls one a "vertical valve Buick".


I have one of the little Buicks. It has a slight family resemblence to a nailhead.

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Old 01-29-2012, 10:57 AM   #24
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Smile Re: Buick 215 v-8

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Originally Posted by Hnstray View Post
Really Shirley you are joking If not, Shirley you are smoking


Ray

oh yea.. you just use self tapping screws.




BHAHAHA.

sorry.. had to..
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Old 01-29-2012, 11:16 AM   #25
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Default Re: Buick 215 v-8

I remember that in warm climates that they had a problem with owners using straight water with out any corrosion inhibitors and they had a corrosion problem. In the early sixties it was not uncommon to drain the antifreeze out in spring and refill with straight water. I knew people who mixed kerosene in the water or alcohol to prevent the water from freezing. Anti freeze was not permanent, you had to refill every year and most people didn't, just used straight water. I never used anti freeze in any flat head Ford V-8 that I had and I had a few in the fifties. I just checked the history of Prestone and it was in 1962 that Ford, G.M. and Chrysler started selling cars with a 50/50 mixture and used as a year round product.

Last edited by James Curl; 01-29-2012 at 11:28 AM.
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Old 01-29-2012, 11:20 AM   #26
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Default Re: Buick 215 v-8

Back in 76 my brother dropped one of these into an OT 73 Vega station wagon. He got two speeding tickets the first day he drove it.
Great little engines. I have seen them used in every thing from boats to home built airplanes!
Karl.
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Old 01-29-2012, 12:50 PM   #27
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Default Re: Buick 215 v-8

I am really curious about Bluedot's statement "Stay away from the 2 speed automatic that was available with these engines - said to be one of the worst automatics ever" Is the Dual Path that bad? I never owned one but I have heard if these are maintained and not abused that they perform well....anyone out there have experience with these auto trans? Is a rebuild on one a difficult procedure? J
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Old 01-29-2012, 12:53 PM   #28
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Default Re: Buick 215 v-8

GM had problems with excessive bore wear/scuffing cos the pistons/rings ran in the aluminum alloy bore with no iron liners (I believe this was the first use of alloy bores anywhere). GM sold it to Rover in the UK. They used a different alloy to overcome the problem and used it for 40 years .......as bluedot has said.
The Buick 215 has 4 bolts/combustion chamber and the Olds has 5. The Olds was the base for the Repco Formula 1 engine with which Jack Brabham won World Championship in 1965. It was epoxy filled in the lower part of the waterjacket.
F-85 Olds is the "bomb".....ran a 4 bbl.
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Old 01-29-2012, 02:17 PM   #29
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Default Re: Buick 215 v-8

I beat the crap out of a skylark with a stock trans and it was fine. I'd run one today if I had an application for it. As for the Cylinders being aluminum? I've never seen one without Iron sleeves. They were ribbed on the outside and cast into the aluminum block. They took a .030 over bore well and gave our family many miles of trouble free service.
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Old 01-29-2012, 03:00 PM   #30
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Default Re: Buick 215 v-8

Quote:
Originally Posted by zman View Post
Nope, they really are not, even though some refer to them as Baby Nailheads. The horizontal valve covers on them are merely to mimic the look. If you actually look at the base of the valve cover you'll see that they do not sit horizontal like a Nailhead but are at an angle. You'll also notice the distributor at the wrong end.



Hogwash, I've been messing with these engines for a pretty long time and they have always been referred to as Nailheads to me, and this goes all the way back to the late 70's. Some of the older guys have mentioned Nailvalve as was pointed out as well. And I am only referring to the 264,322,364,402, and 425's. Nothing else is a Nailhead...

I have to say zman "nailed it" ..........all true.
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Old 01-29-2012, 03:28 PM   #31
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Default Re: Buick 215 v-8

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Originally Posted by dawford View Post
As I remember it the 215 had some teething problems and didn't sell well.

It seems that I recall that they had either over heating problems or sleeve problems or both.
GM had some casting issues and a problem with cast in place bore liners being out of position. GM was using a semi-permanant mold casting process. Although that was potentially better, and cheaper to do in volume, Rover fixed the issue by reverting to conventional sand casting. That added a few pounds to the weight of the block. Over time Rover continued to periodically have problems due to incorrect press fit of the sleeves.

From what I have seen, most of the overheating issue was due to undersized radiators. Aluminum engines reject more heat into the cooling system than iron ones. GM made the same mistake a few years later putting undersized radiators on Vegas.

Without proper corrosion inhibitors anti-freeze actually promotes corrosion. When the engine was introduced not all anti-freeze had corrosion inhibitors that protected aluminum. The resulting corrosion promoted overheating and caused other problems.




Quote:
Originally Posted by KK500 View Post
GM had problems with excessive bore wear/scuffing cos the pistons/rings ran in the aluminum alloy bore with no iron liners (I believe this was the first use of alloy bores anywhere). GM sold it to Rover in the UK. They used a different alloy to overcome the problem and used it for 40 years .......as bluedot has said.
Possibly some race blocks were made with aluminum bores, but I have never heard of any. Both GM and Rover production blocks ALL had cylinder liners. GM used iron liners that were cast in place and had grooves on the exterior to help retain them. Rovers blocks had press fit sleeves rather than cast in place.

Last edited by CutawayAl; 01-29-2012 at 07:43 PM.
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Old 01-29-2012, 04:04 PM   #32
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Default Re: Buick 215 v-8

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Originally Posted by 48 Chubby View Post
It is only in the last 5 or 10 years that folks have come to call the early Buicks "Nailheads" in polite conversation. We used to call them Buick 322 or Buick 401 or Buick whatever size it was. Nailhead was actually a derogatory term refering to the small valves; a nick name not an official designation from the factory. As such the only answer to the question would have to be an opinion, as the term Nailhead is itself an opinion.
Pop Kennedy and Reynolds Buick ran a '61 Invicta in '61 and '62 called "Old Nailhead."
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Old 01-29-2012, 04:46 PM   #33
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Default Re: Buick 215 v-8

We had a '56 Buick Special 2 door HT in 1962, and it was always a nail valve to us! Well, that and a "Bubbler", after the unique exhaust sound, like a boat with the exhaust under the water.
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Old 01-29-2012, 05:22 PM   #34
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Default Re: Buick 215 v-8

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Originally Posted by R Pope View Post
We had a '56 Buick Special 2 door HT in 1962, and it was always a nail valve to us! Well, that and a "Bubbler", after the unique exhaust sound, like a boat with the exhaust under the water.

Yes!!!.........another old timer who remembers they were nail valves before they became nail heads

On the question of the the 2 speed automatics......worked around a Chev/Buick store in the '60's and do not recall any problem with those in their original applications. I can imagine they may not have a great deal of high performance potential.....but that doesn't make them a bad design.


Ray
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Old 01-29-2012, 06:57 PM   #35
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Default Re: Buick 215 v-8

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Originally Posted by Hnstray View Post
Yes!!!.........another old timer who remembers they were nail valves before they became nail heads

On the question of the the 2 speed automatics......worked around a Chev/Buick store in the '60's and do not recall any problem with those in their original applications. I can imagine they may not have a great deal of high performance potential.....but that doesn't make them a bad design.


Ray
I agree with the 2 speed Dual Path drive. It was meant for the smallish series cars and not performance minded. However the transmission was more reliable than the F-85 Roto 5 slimjim. It had an unusual gearing method in that the planetary was internal to the torque converter. And that planetary was used to provide Lo range reduction, along with providing a reverse gear, all out of the same planetary. This is why the box itself was so short in length.

As far as the 215 being boltable to VW transaxles, well I know it is possible if you use Kennedy Engineering adapters. They made both the 198 v6 and 215 adapter plates.
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Old 01-29-2012, 07:22 PM   #36
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Default Re: Buick 215 v-8

Currently in my shop reringing the pistons for the 215 hanging off the engine stand in my garage. First off, yes it has iron sleeves, second as noted in Relic Stew's photo, the heads are parallel to the block. Only the valve covers are vertical like the older V8s. Other than looks, there is nothing interchangeable with the older Buicks. While there are some similarities with the later 300/340 Buick, only the heads and distributor are directly interchangeable. Using a set of aluminum 300 heads on mine.

Rover made some improvements but it amazing how little the engine changed for the nearly 40 years they used the motor. Yes, the little V8 was a dog in the Land Rover but considering it was pushing 4500 LB net (6500 LB Gross), it's no wonder. Interesting in that the Rover V8 is the popular engine of choice for hot rods in Europe.

Mines going in my '31 "A" coupe with a S10 T5 and 373 S10 Rear end. I scared up a Kenny Bell cam and plan to run the stock Q4 for now. Scarfed up a set of cast Rover headers and Rover alloy valve covers.

I know it won't blow the doors off any Vettes but at 200 ish HP it should push the 2300 LB coupe down the road at a respectful speed. Will post the progress.
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Old 02-11-2012, 10:13 PM   #37
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Default Re: Buick 215 v-8

[QUOTE=dawford;7396755]As I remember it the 215 had some teething problems and didn't sell well.

It seems that I recall that they had either over heating problems or sleeve problems or both.

So GM dumped the design and Rover bought it cheap.

I didnt hear that but it was too expensive to produce an all aluminum block,etc
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Old 02-11-2012, 10:25 PM   #38
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Default Re: Buick 215 v-8

We were calling Buick 322's, et al 'nailheads' in the 60s. It was explained to me at that time that the reason for this nickname was that, when you took off the valve covers, the vertical valves looked like a bunch of nails hammered into a piece of wood.

The little 215 motor has had a good history. All those 90s-era Land Rovers you still see on the street are running them. I would not mind dropping one of these into my DD Jeep.
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Old 02-11-2012, 10:48 PM   #39
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Default Re: Buick 215 v-8

Take a good look at the rocker arms on a real nailhead:

The pushrods go underneath to push on the outer end of the rocker. The valves are actuated by the end facing to the inside. That's bass ackwards from most wedge V8's, including later buick 215-300-340-350 and the BB replacement 400-430-455.

Take a look at the rockers on the experimental '51 Buick XP-300:

Intakes are the same.
Have you figured out the exhaust rockers?
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Last edited by Dzus; 02-11-2012 at 10:55 PM.
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Old 02-11-2012, 11:08 PM   #40
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Default Re: Buick 215 v-8

Quote:
Originally Posted by KK500 View Post
GM had problems with excessive bore wear/scuffing cos the pistons/rings ran in the aluminum alloy bore with no iron liners (I believe this was the first use of alloy bores anywhere). GM sold it to Rover in the UK. They used a different alloy to overcome the problem and used it for 40 years .......as bluedot has said.
The Buick 215 has 4 bolts/combustion chamber and the Olds has 5. The Olds was the base for the Repco Formula 1 engine with which Jack Brabham won World Championship in 1965. It was epoxy filled in the lower part of the waterjacket.
F-85 Olds is the "bomb".....ran a 4 bbl.
Jim
Only three corrections required here. They were alloy bores (pretty much any metal is an alloy), but NOT aluminum alloy. They were iron, cast in place when the block was poured. The very early ones had some issues with the liners not bonding well, but that was resolved early on.
The Buick has five head bolts around the perimeter of the chamber, and the Olds has six. The Buick blocks have the boss cast in for the 6th bolt, but it is not tapped.

Moto Guzzi, among others, was one of the first users of the aluminum alloy cylinder bore, which was actually an aluminum cylinder with a plated bore. The alloy that the bore was plated with was called nikasil, which I believe was a mix of nickel and silicon carbide. The process was developed by Mahle in the middle 60's.

Last edited by Ebbsspeed; 02-11-2012 at 11:17 PM.
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