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401 Nailhead specs

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Rob Paul, Nov 15, 2006.

  1. Rob Paul
    Joined: Nov 11, 2005
    Posts: 1,273

    Rob Paul
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I picked up a 60' 401 nailhead/dynaflo, and Im curious what the HP/torque rating is on this mill. I havent looked yet, but whats the rebuild parts cost comparison to SBC/SBF??

    Im sure someones got a 401, this ones finding a new home in a Model A sedan. Thanks
     
  2. Armstrong
    Joined: Apr 17, 2004
    Posts: 371

    Armstrong
    Member

    The 401 was rated at 325HP. I'm not sure but I think that the torque rating was 445 ft/lb. Damned impressive power. Used to run one in a 49 Chev half ton. Would do burn outs if you even thought about it. Wheel speeds of 100 mph,ground speed 10 mph!!!!
     
  3. Yep 325/445. As far as the cost to rebuild... take you're SBC parts cost and X3. And IF you're lucky you'll find a machine shop that even knows what a nailhead IS. Only use a REPUTABLE shop.

    They are great engines, so go ahead, spend it... you won't be sorry.

    Get rid of that tranny. Dynaslow's are junk. Find a TH400 from a rivi.
     
    Sixhundred sixteen likes this.
  4. Fraz
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 1,818

    Fraz
    Member
    from Dixon, MO

    In 1960 the 401 nailhead V8 was found in only the Electra and Invicta models. 4.1875" bore by 3.64" stroke. Had a compression ratio of 10.25:1. Equipped with a 600cfm Carter AFB on a cast iron 4bbl intake. Factory power specs are 325hp @ 4400rpm and 445lb/ft torque @ 2800rpm

    It is not fair to compare parts prices to a bellybutton smallblock. Rebuild parts are rather easily obtainable, as the 401 was built from 1959-1966. There are several places, like Kanter and Egge and Buickparts.com to get what you need. Also, Napa and occasionally O'Reilly's or AutoZone will be able to get parts. They are not as cheap as a smallblock, nothing is.

    I own a 1960 Buick LeSabre with a 401 from an Electra in it.
     
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  5. ray
    Joined: Jun 25, 2001
    Posts: 3,760

    ray
    Member

    if i were building a nailhead, i would have a good local shop do the bottom end, there is nothing special down there really. then send the heads out to one of the nailhead experts like Carmen Faso.
     
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  6. n8murphy
    Joined: Nov 13, 2006
    Posts: 24

    n8murphy
    Member
    from Malden MA

    i have a 63 lesabre and its a 2bbl version and puts out like 280-300 hp and 410 ft pounds tourque. the wildcat and the rivi had the 4bbl. the aircleaner says 410 thats the tourque rating. i think the 4 bbl is 425 or something like that. but its somewhat confusing the aircleaners stock all had the tourque ratings on them. they also built a lowcompression economy 401 with a little less hp to run crappy gas. you have to check the serial numbers to figure it out but they aren't all that acurrayte either. its a rockin motor though and my dyna flow ain't so bad.
     
  7. zman
    Joined: Apr 2, 2001
    Posts: 16,555

    zman
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Garner, NC

    Do not under any circumstance let anyone talk you into trying to put hardened seats in the heads. Not needed and more often than not they will ruin the heads. They're actually really easy to rebuild you just need to do a little research. Start by searching through the older threads here. You'll find links to everything you need and more. I actually made a binder of info for the machine shop that details how to do the Nailhead.
     
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  8. ratstar
    Joined: Feb 22, 2005
    Posts: 1,313

    ratstar
    Member

    Thats a good idea zman. I am picking up 4 nails this week (I know its rad!) So amybe I'll have to dig up a binder of info too, if I decide to rebuild any of them.
     
  9. ChevyGirlRox
    Joined: May 13, 2005
    Posts: 3,490

    ChevyGirlRox
    Member
    from Ohio

    I am in the process of installing a 401 Nailhead into my 48 GMC. I was stoked to read Armstrong's post of how great it was in a 49! Don't listen to the nay sayer chevy small block crowd, most of them are people with no imaginations! If you prep the motor right now and maintain in service you will be fine.
     
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  10. It has 325 hp and 445 lbs of torque

    Lee... aka Mr Nailhead
     
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  11. If you're going to rebuild the Nailhead one of the best people to do it for you is Russ Martin in Northern CA. He was recently covered in a spread in Hot Rod Journal.

    Nailheads are great engines

    Also join the Nailhead group at YahooGroups.com many good tips and large Nailhead knowledge base

    Lee...
     
    Sixhundred sixteen likes this.
  12. I've got a 65 Rivie with a 401 325HP and 425 TORQUE is the factory rating.
    The 425 was rated at 445 TORQUE. Hope that helps.
     
  13. Sixhundred sixteen
    Joined: Nov 2, 2012
    Posts: 37

    Sixhundred sixteen
    Member
    from Utah

    I know this is an old thread but I just spotted it; it's new to me.
    In 1965 I put a 401 in my '36 ( shown at the left ). I'm running a
    " 6 Bolt " Buick / Olds 3 speed with a '37 tp '38 Buick case to retain
    an original floor shift.
    I second the above comments; this car was never beat by a GTO.
     
  14. Deuces
    Joined: Nov 3, 2009
    Posts: 19,762

    Deuces
    Member
    from Michigan

    Just curious if the earlier heads fit the bigger 401 er 425 nailhead motors...???.....
     
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  15. sunbeam
    Joined: Oct 22, 2010
    Posts: 5,169

    sunbeam
    Member

    Engine kits $900 to $1200
     
  16. Sixhundred sixteen
    Joined: Nov 2, 2012
    Posts: 37

    Sixhundred sixteen
    Member
    from Utah

    There's a thread here called: " What is the Best Nailhead Motor?" which may be helpful to you.
     
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  17. Deuces
    Joined: Nov 3, 2009
    Posts: 19,762

    Deuces
    Member
    from Michigan

    Ok, thank you sir....
     
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  18. I have a 401 that has a weiand dual four intake and weiand finned valve covers, Try Y hedders and the adapter bell for a lasalle trans. I pulled the 352 FE from my 56 ford Pk. I plan on installing the nailhead. I already have 325 gears in the rear end. The nailhead should have plenty of torque to smoke the tires.
     

    Attached Files:

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  19. I have a '58 364 in my present 5 window build - 060 over, 401 cam, single 4 bbl. Russ Martin has a great website with tons of info, buicknailhead.net, and has all the parts you'll need for your build. They are not cheap to build but like building a flathead, worth it in the end ....
     
  20. Gearhead_grunt
    Joined: Jan 16, 2019
    Posts: 1

    Gearhead_grunt

    It's good to hear so many people are using this engine. I'm putting one in my 50' Buick special. Everyone was telling me to go sbc but i wanted to stay true for the heart of this one. It is a lil harder to find parts for it though.
     
    Sixhundred sixteen likes this.
  21. Ross Martin out in Calif has the parts and there’s also a guy in MD or Delaware whose name escapes me at the moment. Bought some Nailhead stuff from me @ Hershey a while back ...... just like flatheads, neither engine is cheap to rebuild ....
     

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