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Aluminum V8 that has been sitting question?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by AutoArt66, Mar 17, 2012.

  1. AutoArt66
    Joined: Apr 3, 2010
    Posts: 274

    AutoArt66
    Member

    I am looking to purchase this old moth balled project. Its powered by a Buick 215 V8. This motor has been sitting outside exposed to the California elements for around 15 years, it is close to the coast and has had some salt fog hanging around causing surface rust. It was parked full of anti freeze years ago. The dipstick shows no water in the pan.
    Being an aluminum motor are there other types of issues different then a iron block I should be concerned about and looking for? Can I treat this like a typical "long time sitter" and fill it with diesel for a few days to loosen everything up?
    Thanks for your reply, appreciate it.
     

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  2. RidgeRunner
    Joined: Feb 9, 2007
    Posts: 867

    RidgeRunner
    Member
    from Western MA

    Hopefully the antifreeze had the proper inhibitors to combat aluminum corrosion and the inhibitors didn't break down too much over time. I remember a couple of folks that had over heating problems with these motors back in the late '60's - early '70's. After the original coolant additives broke down the inside passages became very corroded and flow restricted. Back then they were just older cars and got scrapped. There might be an effective way of flushing/cleaning them out now, I don't know.

    Ed
     
  3. Ice man
    Joined: Mar 12, 2008
    Posts: 968

    Ice man
    Member

    We (Buick Dealer) were bringing them off the delivery trucks, dumping the coolent, removing the radiator and water pump, then putting a templet on the housing and regrinding the pump housing and some other related work. This was brand new cars that never saw a main road. The problems continued and they (GM) cut off 2 cylinders and made a V6 in cast iron that I personally ran one for 200,000 + miles and only had one timing chain installed. Good thing is the block and heads are both aluminum on the V8. Its a good engine if its clean and runs cool. Iceman
     
  4. Mnhotrodbuilder
    Joined: Jul 12, 2010
    Posts: 1,142

    Mnhotrodbuilder
    Member
    from Afton, MN

    A very popular swap is using the 1964 Buick 300 aluminum better performing heads on them. I believe the 300 heads in aluminum were only made for one year. As far as this setup is concerned, if you get it very cheap it maybe worth it. You can find the 215's pretty cheap these days. Some people make strokers out of them. They can be a fun fly weight engine.

    EDIT: made a mistake on the head material.
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2012

  5. AutoArt66
    Joined: Apr 3, 2010
    Posts: 274

    AutoArt66
    Member

    Thanks for the replies. Corrosion of the aluminum is what Im concerned with also and wondered if there was a way to check for damage while inspecting the motor prior to purchasing it?
     
  6. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 9,270

    Rusty O'Toole
    Member

    Corrosion was a problem on those engines for 2 reasons, OK maybe 3.

    1) The antifreeze they made in the sixties was corrosive to aluminum. They added corrosion inhibitors but they wore out in 2 or 3 years. If you did not change antifreeze regularly they would corrode inside.

    This changes some time in the late 70s or early 80s. I noticed in the 90s you could take apart a neglected old aluminum engine from the early 80s and the inside was pristine. Since then I have never seen an engine with bad internal corrosion. They must have changed the antifreeze to a non corrosive chemical when aluminum engines became popular.

    2) Filling them with water. A lot of old timers did not use antifreeze or used it only in winter. This was fine on their flathead Hupmobile but not on an aluminum engine. So old aluminum engines ended up corroded.

    3) Cast aluminum is not as dense as pressure die cast. The Olds and Buick blocks were pressure die cast but the heads I think were sand cast.

    If you wanted to be real careful you could take the heads off and inspect for corrosion. That was the downfall of these engines, corrosion in the coolant passages that ate away the head sealing surface until the head gasket failed. Or, you could be sneaky, take off the water neck and look inside. If the inside of the coolant passages looks clean you should be OK.

    If the coolant passages in the head are corroded they can be welded up. Or if the engine is junk all is not lost, Rovers used the same engine for years.
     
  7. AutoArt66
    Joined: Apr 3, 2010
    Posts: 274

    AutoArt66
    Member

    Rusty O'Toole, that was the answer I was looking for thank you for your time on that. The gearhead/builder that owns it says he was aware of the issue and made sure the antifeeze was right. He parked it 15 years ago so that (with my feeble math skills) puts a park date of 1997 on it, should be ok but I will take your advice and pull the water neck off and take a peek before pulling out my wallet on this project.
     
  8. 1936 standard 12 hp
    Joined: Mar 17, 2012
    Posts: 5

    1936 standard 12 hp
    Member
    from england uk

    Should be ok, we have the rover v8 in the uk which was based on this engine
    very popular in uk hot rods, i have used them straight from the breakers yard which have sat for years in the uk cold and rain fresh oil and fuel started and run fine.
     
  9. NSTLGA 33
    Joined: Feb 13, 2012
    Posts: 72

    NSTLGA 33
    Member
    from australia

    I run a 215 Buick out of a 61 in my 33 Coupe, they are a great little engine.
    If its any good take it, I have done many cross country miles and the thing has never let me down.
    It goes surprisingly hard for a little engine and gives good top end performance when overtaking and also gives incredible fuel economy getting around 28 to 30 miles to the gallon.
    The other benefit with them is they fit well in a tight engine bay, my 33 has no recess in the firewall at all, and being so light put less weight over the front end giving a well balanced car.
    And yes, rover parts are interchangable with them.
    If you do decide to run one I recommend using a rover timing cover, aside from looking good the have the crank seal on the outside making it easier should you ever need to change a seal.
    [​IMG]
     
  10. VA T
    Joined: Oct 3, 2010
    Posts: 34

    VA T
    Member

    The engine appears to be the four barrel version having higher C.R.-- a definite plus.
     
  11. AutoArt66
    Joined: Apr 3, 2010
    Posts: 274

    AutoArt66
    Member

    The HAMB - a wealth of knowledge. Thanks for all the input everyone.
     
  12. I used to weld up the cylinder head surfaces on those engines alot. I don't know if they were high mileage or what.
     
  13. AutoArt....I just picked up a complete 61 Buick 215 motor too.....it turns over freely but I am having a tough time getting the spark plugs out (been soaking with PB Blaster) anyway are you familiar with D&D in Michigan? They are the ultimate source for aluminum 215 parts and great to talk to...... they have adapters for a variety of late model tranmissions also
     
  14. NSTLGA 33
    Joined: Feb 13, 2012
    Posts: 72

    NSTLGA 33
    Member
    from australia

    That is one downside being aluminium, if your not careful you can strip a thread, sometimes you'll even strip one if you are carefull.
    I have had to have a few helicoils put in the heads after changing plugs.
    I now put something on the threads so next time I pull a plug out it shouldn't strip a thread, and never overtighten them.
     
  15. CutawayAl
    Joined: Aug 3, 2009
    Posts: 2,144

    CutawayAl
    Member
    from MI

    Ethylene glycol(the base for anti-freeze) is very corrosive to many metals, especially aluminum. It is much more corrosive than just plain water. The old anti-freeze you mentioned contained corrosion inhibitors, but not ones that protected aluminum. There was special and expensive aluminum-safe antifreeze, but it wasn't too available. Foreign car shops usually had it. I don't remember exactly when, sometime in the late '60s or early '70s, "regular" anti-freeze makers began switching to aluminum-safe formulas.

    GM blocks were not die castings, they were semi-permanent mold castings with cast-in cylinder liners. That process resulted in a few problems and too many scrap blocks. Rover blocks are sand cast with conventional press fit cylinder liners. As a result, the 215CID/3.5L GM block is a little lighter than a sand cast Rover block of the same displacement. Latter Rover blocks/engines had improvements more displacement than the GM engines and earlier Rover engines..
     
  16. Revhead
    Joined: Mar 19, 2001
    Posts: 3,027

    Revhead
    Member
    from Dallas, TX

    My brother was going to rebuild one we have at the shop until he saw the price of a rebuild kit... Might want to look into that before you invest in the core.
     

  17. What anti-sieze product do you like to use? Who made the headers for your car?
     
  18. NSTLGA 33
    Joined: Feb 13, 2012
    Posts: 72

    NSTLGA 33
    Member
    from australia

    I have just smeared some grease around the threads and found that works okay.
    Sorry have no idea who made the headers, they were made in the mid seventies, I have only had the car for the last 15 years.
     
  19. bobscogin
    Joined: Feb 8, 2007
    Posts: 1,754

    bobscogin
    Member

    True for the V8 as evidenced by the closed deck. The only die cast GM block of that era I can think of was the Vega engine block.

    Bob
     
  20. jimbousman
    Joined: Jul 24, 2008
    Posts: 541

    jimbousman
    Member

    Just finished building up a '63 Buick 215 for my "A" coupe. I'm running a set of reworked 300 heads, vintage Kenny Bell cam, and back it up with a t5 and Jag rear (3:31). For headers I am running two left hand mid '80's Rover cast 4 into 2 Discovery headers. They look pretty decent plus they tuck in within a half inch on the block. Not only that they are cheap as dirt on Eplay. (photos to follow) For now I'm going to run the a reworked QJ4 on the stock four barrel manifold and a mid 70"s HEI.

    Other than the corrosion issue 215's had some oil system problems. Some drill out the oil galleys. Others install performance oil pumps. I'm doing the latter. Also the rope main seals are crap.

    D&D is a great place for parts. They know their stuff and are very accommodating. They sell everything you need for this motor. (including front and rear seal kits to replace the old rope seals.)

    These motors are a hot commodity for conversions into British sport cars as well as sand rails so there are a fair amount of new speed parts still available. True this stuff is a bit pricey compared to belly button SBC but most things are. I still see Hooks headers and Edelbrock and Offy intakes. Offy makes a cool 2-2 manifold. The really pricey parts are in the backend. Flywheels, clutches, pressure plates, and bell housings are much sought after and can cost a ton. D&D has it all but I usually hover around Eplay for a lot of what I needed.

    Bottom line is this a damn good motor. It is GM's second oldest V8 ever running virtually unchanged for nearly 45 years between US Buick/Olds and Rover. And, weighing in a a little over 370 lbs pumping out and easy 200hp, it's not a bad motor for a road car.
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2012
  21. jimbousman
    Joined: Jul 24, 2008
    Posts: 541

    jimbousman
    Member

    Here are some pics of the Rover cast headers. The block is a dummy block for setup.
     

    Attached Files:

  22. AutoArt66
    Joined: Apr 3, 2010
    Posts: 274

    AutoArt66
    Member

    Great thread on these 215s. Filling this all aluminum motor with diesel and letting it sit for several days to get everything loosened up suggested? or do any of you have a different method to get things freed up lubricated and moving again? The motor was freshly rebuilt and running when parked and Im in hopes I can get it there again without "tearing down" the motor.
     
  23. Beau
    Joined: Jul 2, 2009
    Posts: 1,883

    Beau
    Member

    I'm also putting an Oldsmobile 215 in a 30 'A'.

    Mine came from a car that ran, but was rotted out.

    I hear rebuild kits are around $1500. But clever research should make that cheaper.
     
  24. NSTLGA 33
    Joined: Feb 13, 2012
    Posts: 72

    NSTLGA 33
    Member
    from australia

    Your right about horsepower, pretty sure stock they pump out more horsepower than a stock 283 Chev.
    Mine is bored 30 thou has a Chev dizzy an a 600 vac secondary Holley otherwise is stock, everyone thats ever ridden in my coupe is very surprised just how hard that little engine goes, and how good it sounds.
     
  25. jimbousman
    Joined: Jul 24, 2008
    Posts: 541

    jimbousman
    Member

    I ran into this on another blog. Some hard to find parts:

    Olds 215 Jetfire parts for sale:
    Turbo, Carb, Intake, Exhaust Manifolds, Valve covers, Turbo fluid tank,
    Air Cleaner. Also a 4 speed 62/63 Olds Cutlass & Buick Special/Skylark setup.
    Ken
    732-870-6964
    kid442w30@yahoo.com
     

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