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might be getting a Buick 215, what to look for?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by KrisKustomPaint, Feb 28, 2011.

  1. KrisKustomPaint
    Joined: Apr 20, 2007
    Posts: 1,107

    KrisKustomPaint
    Member

    I may be buying a Buick 215 this weekend. Is there anything i should keep an eye open for? Common problems? He is asking $900, carb to pan, bell housing and some other extras. Seems like a fair price. Any opinions?
     
  2. 36tbird
    Joined: Feb 1, 2005
    Posts: 1,083

    36tbird
    Member

  3. Just tear it down and inspect it. Its just an engine.
    I gues prior to buying it you could look for the obvious is the block cracked will it turn or is it stuck. Someone told me that the oil pumps were weak in them but I can't prove that is true just what I have heard.

    As far as if they are any good or not, they were not a power house so I would avoid putting it in a heavy car, if I was building a little light coupe like a T or maybe even a little light roadster I would love to have one.
     
  4. KrisKustomPaint
    Joined: Apr 20, 2007
    Posts: 1,107

    KrisKustomPaint
    Member

    well the car in question is pretty light, and very OT. I just figured there would be a few people with some experience with these motors. Its still in the car so I can hear it run, But I don't hear so well any more so I'd like to know if there was anything to keep an eye out for. And most people wont let you tear a motor apart before you buy it.
     

  5. 1971BB427
    Joined: Mar 6, 2010
    Posts: 5,772

    1971BB427
    Member
    from Oregon

    Yeah, make sure to pull the dipstick and breathers to check for water in the oil. They have been known to have head gasket issues occasionally, so look for milky oil as a sign.
     
  6. aaggie
    Joined: Nov 21, 2009
    Posts: 2,531

    aaggie
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    What are you planning to use the engine for? Just because they are rare doesn't make it somehow more desirable. There wasn't much speed equipment or dress up parts available so consider that. The cost of rebuilding it compared to the power it would produce would be high.
     
  7. Pir8Darryl
    Joined: Jan 9, 2008
    Posts: 2,488

    Pir8Darryl
    Member

    Get it up to temp and make sure the cooling system is holding pressure. Check the oil and antifreeze for cross contamination. A compression test wouldn't be a bad idea either.

    If these motors are overheated, they tend to crack heads and/or blow head gaskets.

    Because the block and heads are aluminum, they tend to have a corosion problem, and 50 years is enough time for some of the internal passages to have broke down quite a bit.

    The oil pump housing is also aluminum, and the steel gears inside it tend to eat the aluminum untill you have a low oil pressure problem. A new front timing cover is required to fix this problem.

    Checking compression, cross contamination, and coolant pressure will spot the major problems. Everything else can be repaired and/or rebuilt.

    Cool little motor. Makes decent power for it's CID size, and two people can lift it out of a car without a hoist.

    Good luck with it, and post up some pics if you score it.
     
  8. KrisKustomPaint
    Joined: Apr 20, 2007
    Posts: 1,107

    KrisKustomPaint
    Member

    Like I said it's OT, but because you asked, its a chevette. At least for now. It may find its way into my model A.
     
  9. Pir8Darryl
    Joined: Jan 9, 2008
    Posts: 2,488

    Pir8Darryl
    Member

    Not rare... After GM sold it to Rover of England, which was later part of Leyland, they made [probably] a million of them from 1965 untill the mid 90's, ranging from 3.5 all the way up to 5.2 litres.

    TONS and TONS of speed parts available for them. Cams and pistons still readily available from all the big U.S. parts manufacturers. Heads, intakes, headers, valve covers,,, even 5.0 litre stroker kits and bolt on [complete] F.I. systems available off the shelf... Tho predominantly from european manufacturers. Lots of aftermarket support.

    The guys over on V8buick.com [in the small block forum] can point you to all the goodies available.
     
    Scramboleer likes this.

  10. The only thing I have ever heard bad about them is the oil pump.

    There are a lot of things to look for but they are just general things to look for on an old engine. How well it maintains temp and oil pressure, for instance. Are the head gaskets busted, I worked on little Buick that ran fine until it warked up then it went to shit. Busted head gasket. Got the heads faced changed the gasket and it ran fine. It belonged to an plder lady that I liked real well and she really liked her car so when it didn't run it usually landed in my driveway. I don't recall anything major that ever happened to it. Just normal wear and tear. If that's any help to you.

    Where is Rhineland are you close enough for me to go with you? If I can swing gas i'll go with if you want.
     
  11. KrisKustomPaint
    Joined: Apr 20, 2007
    Posts: 1,107

    KrisKustomPaint
    Member

    I'm smack dab in the middle of no where, the engine is in the st. louis area. I'm fine with checking it out myself, I was just wondering if there was anything about this specific motor to look out for as it's an aluminum V8.

    everybody likes pictures:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  12. J Man
    Joined: Dec 11, 2003
    Posts: 4,121

    J Man
    Member
    from Angola, IN

    That is a Olds motor from what I can see. If it was a Buick the valve covers would be more upright like a nailhead motor.

    This would be a great motor for what you want to use it for. Depending on the year it will bring you between 175 and 200 hp as a stock motor. There are plenty of parts for these but they are a little more expensive, you will get that with any non SBC motor though. The Olds had a optional turbo setup from the factory, good luck finding one. If ou decide to go with it I would just keep the 4bbl setup that is on it. If that is a stock intake they do make aftermarket ones that flow a little better.
     
  13. KrisKustomPaint
    Joined: Apr 20, 2007
    Posts: 1,107

    KrisKustomPaint
    Member

    I hadn't noticed that until you pointed it out. I've heard the Olds has 6 bolt per cylinder heads and a SBC style chamber. i suppose thats all good.
     
  14. dodored
    Joined: Feb 5, 2007
    Posts: 639

    dodored
    Member
    from Concord NC

    I think that its a great idea. I am doing the same for my Model A roadster. What I did is bought a complete 215 and then found a Rover 4.6 liter long block. This gives a lot more cubes and better flowing heads. All of the external parts bolt to the buick with the exception of the oil pan. You have to use the earlier Rover pan. Super light weight and when you talk power to weight ratio they are hard to beat in a light weight car.
     
  15. sirhc
    Joined: Mar 3, 2008
    Posts: 164

    sirhc
    Member
    from Boise, ID

    Thats definitely an olds 215...

    I'll be running a buick 215 with a 300 crank and heads... lots of power for a ~300lb motor.

    Good luck!
     
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  16. dodored
    Joined: Feb 5, 2007
    Posts: 639

    dodored
    Member
    from Concord NC

    Here are some photos
     

    Attached Files:

  17. english rob
    Joined: Mar 29, 2009
    Posts: 39

    english rob
    Member

    When in Rovers they were known for sludge build up and weak camshaft lobes. but if you run it with a pair of SU's then it will look difrent from the mass's. oil pumps are external on the front cover so not a problem to work on
     
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  18. joe_padavano
    Joined: Jan 18, 2010
    Posts: 263

    joe_padavano
    Member

    GM made 750,000 of these motors in just over 3 years. After selling the design and tooling to British Leyland in 1966, the Brits built them for four decades. The latest Rover blocks are larger bore and have crossbolted mains. There is a LOT of vintage speed equipment available for these motors, as well as a new E-brock 4bbl intake. Much of the architecture is common with the Buick V6. Also, the 1964-67 Buick 300 is a very close relative. Check last month's Hot Rod for a 300 build article, most of which applies to the 215 family. Note that the Olds heads are unique, whereas the Buick/Rover heads are similar to each other. These motors are the SBC of England, due to the large number of Rovers built with them. D&D sells parts and bellhousings for manual trans use.
     
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  19. Pir8Darryl
    Joined: Jan 9, 2008
    Posts: 2,488

    Pir8Darryl
    Member

    Yep, Oldsmobile...
    Still a very cool engine, but parts are going to be difficult to find.
     
  20. J Man
    Joined: Dec 11, 2003
    Posts: 4,121

    J Man
    Member
    from Angola, IN

    I assume you will be running the hood on your car so it will be a minor detail.
     
  21. HEATHEN
    Joined: Nov 22, 2005
    Posts: 7,591

    HEATHEN
    Member
    from SIDNEY, NY

    You say "bell housing and some other extras". Standard shift parts for 215s are fairly rare, and be aware that there were two factory stick bells for these engines; the good ones have two transmission patterns, one of them being the common Muncie/T-10 four speed pattern. The early housings only had an oddball pattern for a BW T-86 3 speed, and don't have enough meat to redrill them for a four speed. Is a stick flywheel included? The flywheel and bell housing can be worth $300-$400 by themselves.
     
  22. joe_padavano
    Joined: Jan 18, 2010
    Posts: 263

    joe_padavano
    Member

    D&D makes a new bellhousing for these motors that accepts any GM-pattern manual trans, including the T5. They also sell an adapter plate that allows a Ford-pattern T5 to bolt up. List is $260 but I got mine for half of that, previously owned but never installed.
     
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  23. Has anyone here had much experience with the original 2 speed automatics that came in the 61-63 Buick Specials....do they hold up well?. Would they work well in a light weight rod? I know trans adapters are available for the 215's but would like to utilize the original trans if it is practical...... thoughts?
     
  24. jimbousman
    Joined: Jul 24, 2008
    Posts: 541

    jimbousman
    Member

    Obviously the Buick two speed trans is not the box of choice among racers but '61 - '63 Buicks Specials weigh about 2600 pounds and they manage to scoot around pretty well. If your ride is light enough and if the tranny is in decent shape it should make an OK cruiser. Seems like these days the tranny of choice behind the 215 is a T5. As an example this combo in a full fendered Model A nets out about 2200 lbs or about 320-400 pounds less than a Mini Cooper.
     
  25. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 9,269

    Rusty O'Toole
    Member

    If it is original from the sixties watch out for corrosion in the heads and block. The water passages can corrode away until there is nothing left for the gasket to seal to.

    This does not seem to happen on cars built since the 80s, even with old antifreeze in them. I suppose they changed the formula of antifreeze. But in the sixties and seventies it was definitely a problem with plain water or old worn out antifreeze.
     

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