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Technical Rocket Oldsmobile V8 Information Compiled

Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by Zaloryan, Jul 10, 2012.

  1. Zaloryan
    Joined: Oct 13, 2009
    Posts: 25


    I've spent the last several days compiling whatever I've been able to find on the early Oldsmobile V8s.

    Much of this information is a compilation of what I've found on the internet. Most of the contributors are DON_WOW, BlownOlds, Yorgatron, Blackrat40, C9, and Dennis Choinski. I'm sorry if I didn't include you, I forgot to. Just wanted to give credit where credit is due.

    I sure wish I could have talked with some of these old timers. Oldsmobile isn't around anymore and these old fellows won't be here forever. As the younger generation it is our responsibility to get this information so it may be passed on.

    If you have anything to add, don't hesitate to send me a message. I always want to learn more.

    Actually, I would like to have someone post factory bearing clearances for the 303, 324, 371, & 394 if they have the information. What kind of clearances do you guys run if you're going to be drag racing/circle track/cruising these motors? Is there any sort of
    clearances you choose for a specific horsepower range, etc?

    Also, I would like any proven stroker recipes that you guys have. Please include whatever special machine work is needed for the recipe to work. I know a 455 Oldsmobile crank won't cram into a 324 without a lot of work.

    Hope this consolidated guide will help you fellow Oldsmobile enthusiasts out there.


    Next post will be the guide!
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2012
    ruben solis, j-jock and kidcampbell71 like this.
  2. Zaloryan
    Joined: Oct 13, 2009
    Posts: 25


    1. Credits, Introduction
    2. Blocks & Pistons
    3. Crankshaft & Connecting Rods
    4. Cylinder Heads
    5. Intake Manifolds, Exhaust Headers
    6. Camshaft & Valvetrain
    7. Ignition & Oiling
    8. Engine Build Recipes
    9. Vintage Speed Part Suppliers
    10. Transmissions, Starters, Flywheels, & Adapters
    11. Magazine Technical Articles
    12. Current Known Parts Suppliers (2012)
    13. Oldsmobile Differentials
    14. Oil Choice

    (1) Credits, Introduction

    "Everytime you think you've got it figured out, you figure out you were wrong." -Bill Brosh

    Much of this information is a compilation of what I've found on the internet. Most of the contributors are DON_WOW, BlownOlds, Yorgatron, Blackrat40, C9, F&J, Blackrat40, Tony Lambardi of Ross Racing Engines, and Dennis Choinski. I'm sorry if I didn't include you, I forgot to. Just wanted to give credit where credit is due. I sure wish I could have talked with some of these old timers. Oldsmobile isn't around anymore and these old fellows won't be here forever. As the younger generation it is your responsibility to get this information so it may be passed on. -Mitch

    Early Oldsmobile V8s. The "Original" Rocket.

    (2) Blocks & Pistons:

    CID Bore Stroke
    303: 3.750 3.4375
    324: 3.875 3.4375
    371: 4.000 3.6875
    394: 4.125 3.6875

    Cast Timeline:
    1949-1953: Same castings.
    1954: 324 Introduced.
    1955: Larger bore.
    1956: Larger camshaft.
    1957-1958: Larger bore (again), mains, lifters. Deck height got taller by 1/8 inch.
    1959-1960: Larger bore (394), mains (again), oil pump drive changed to hex shaft. Deck got taller by 1/4 inch, cam got longer.
    1961-62: Oil pump changed.
    1963-64: Front cover changed.

    Stock cast pistons will crack from wrist pin to the skirt under boost application over 8 pounds or so.

    Got a rear main leak? Real common leak if you lost or forgot to install the two small cork pieces on each side of rear main cap. Check that out before you mess with rope seal. A rope seal properly installed works fine with no leaks, but if you have to have a split seal use a VICTOR JV604. But if you don't piss rocket fuel i'd still check out the cork on each side of rear main. The older the rope seal, the better. Try to get one that's NOS, yes it may have asbestos in it.

    You can adapt an old Oldsmobile Toronado front engine bracket to fit you 303. It even bolts up in the same place as the 303 bracket. Drill two holes & bolt it up.

    371 Pistons vs 394 Pistons: 394 piston is 0.128 shorter pin height than 371. NO compression with no change in deck or rod. Gotta do more to get even with what you started with. 371 pistons best choice for 4 inch bore.

    **Stray away from Total Seal Rings, there have been a few threads on the H.A.M.B. of engines burning up oil, smoking, and not seating the rings**

    Supposedly it was popular back in the day to bore out a 324 to a 4 inch bore & use a standard bore 371 piston. This would make a 345 Oldsmobile. 371 pistons would work, same compression height. 371 blocks had a higher deck because of the longer stroke. (Sonic check block to ensure it has enough material to handle that much boring. Probably not too good of an idea considering how long project engine has sat. Do a sonic check.)

    Punch out a 324 to a 4 inch bore and you can use 371 standard size pistons. 371 pistons are just a tinge taller, bumping up compression slightly.
    Top of 324 piston to center of pin =1.875-1.878
    Top of 371 piston to center of pin =1.895-1.898
    Deck is .25 higher on 371, Rod length is the same at 6.625
    371 rods are around .94 in width --324 are close to 1.0

    According to Joe Mondello, famous Oldsmobile performance enthusiast, you can bore out a 303 or 324 to 4 inch bore (0.125 cut). Block should have enough material left for another 0.030 cut! (If you don't know history of the engine, it would be wise to sonic check block so you know how much material you have.) I talked about my concern for thin cyl walls and running hot in the Texas summers. Joe says there is still plenty of meat left with a 4" 324. It makes a little more than 346 c.i. I think. WATCH OUT SBC 350 Belly Button Bowtie Boys!

    Here's a tidbit that '49-56 Olds engine builders may need to know: Before you send your bare block to the machine shop for cleaning,be sure to take the 2 front oil gallery plugs out and keep them for the rebuilding. The one that goes on the passenger side has a small hole (~ 1/16") drilled in it to shoot oil on the timing chain. The youngsters in the shops
    nowdays will send it back to you with Chevy style solid plugs in it and the chain won't get as much oil as it needs. Try to find an original if the loose them for you!

    **Engine Break-in Procedure**
    After cam break in, go out and hammer that motor from 30-40 mph to 80 mph and coast down. Repeat a dozen times and then change oil to what you run. Then drive like you had it for years.

    (3) Crankshafts & Connecting Rods:

    All crankshafts are forged steel for all Rocket engines...(303-394)
    1949-1956: Almost same. (Different bolt size for flywheel & balancer.)
    1957-1958: 1/4 inch stroke, Larger mains, rods narrower on crank, externally balanced.
    1959-1964: Larger Mains and Longer Rods.

    1949-1958: 6.625 inches center to center. (Look like 1965+ Oldsmobile Rods, Bearings too. Some Cadillac bearings may work)
    1959-1964: 7.000 inches center to center. (394 ONLY)

    Mopar BB (354-392-440) ARP rod bolts will work for 303, 324, & 371. (Read somewhere not compatible with 394 rods) Run at least 0.012 side clearance on connecting rods.

    *1957 Crankshaft with main journals turned down will fit a 1949-1956 engine for 1/4 inch stroke increase.
    1959-1964 crank: Turn down mains & offset grind rod journals for extra stroke in a 1957 block.

    1957-58 371 & 1959-1960 371 Similarities: Same crank forging number (Different journal sizes), same bore and stroke, same oil pump(?), and same timing chain set. Just about everything else is different. Consider a 1959-60 371 as a small bore 394.

    Later model Pontiac 400 rods should work after they get machined to be narrow enough for a 324 crankshaft. Pontiac Rods & Bearings can fit 1949-1956. Should be the same part number. Pontiac rod has the same 6.625 inch center to center distance as the Oldsmobile rod.
    Buick 455 Rod Bearings fit 1957-1958. (Grind Oil Squirt Hole)
    Oldsmobile Rod Bearings for 400, 425, & 455 work for 1959-1964 Rods.

    (4) Cylinder Head Identification:

    (1949-1950 Heads may not have marking on top)
    #2 Early 303 (Usually 1952)
    #3 1953
    #7 1954
    #8 1955
    #10 1956
    #14 1957-1958 371
    #16 1957-1958 371
    #17 Heavy Truck Head (GMC)
    #18 1959-1960
    #20 Non-Starfire
    #21 (Exist? Rumored, cannot confirm. Possible Industrial Application)
    #23 1961-1964 Starfire (Different exhaust bolt pattern than #18 heads) Pretty strong heads.

    1956 324 V8s have better flowing heads and bigger camshaft journals than the previous 303/324. Always use a head gasket which matches your cylinder head. Only exception: Bore out a 303 to 4 inch bore, use 324 head gaskets. Cometic MLS head gaskets are the best.

    Valve Diameters:
    1949-1955: 1.75 (Intake) 1.4375 (Exhaust)
    1956: 1.75 (Intake) 1.5625 (Exhaust)

    Owen Thomas, Thoughts on filling center exhaust port with divider:
    My concern with the aluminum filling the crossover is more about the heat it might trap. A big heat sink. One problem we did have with Olds engines was breaking exhaust valves. This is caused by the concentration of heat where the two center exhaust valves are close to each other. I understand what you are trying to do with the ports, but I kind of doubt that filling that area does much. One place to find out is on a flow bench. Flow a stock head then a filled head. Know anyone with a flow bench? Be fun to try. One thing some of the guys used to do was to weld in a port divider in the center exhaust ports, then have individual header pipes. That always sounded good, but I never saw any flow results on it A long time ago…at Olds we got in an engine from an Indiana State Highway Patrol car that had blown. Olds made special engines for their Police cars. They were painted silver if you ever run across one. Anyway, the worksheet on this engine said that the Police car had been in a long sustained pursuit at top speed when the engine let go. We found a dropped an exhaust valve. Not good for Olds, but good for the pursuee (is that a word?). Can you imagine seeing a rapidly diminishing red gumball in your rear view mirror?

    (5) Intake Manifolds & Exhaust Headers:

    *Measure your intake ports if in doubt!*

    1949-1955: 303 intakes all interchange with each other. 1954-1955 324 intakes stick with 1954-1955 324s, will not work on 1956 324 with 1956 heads.
    1956: 324s got taller intake ports, larger valves, but kept same deck height. (1956 324 intake will not work on heads 1949-1955)
    1957: 371 had a taller deck height with same size intake ports.
    1959+: Taller deck than 1957-58 with same ports as 1956 324.

    All 1949-55 Intakes are created equal. 56 324s sound like a lone wolf, but are somewhat common. Later engines are alone too - Although port sizes are the same, the deck height will cause intake width problems that will need custom spacers or machine work to swap. This does not include "Log Style" (2 piece) manifolds which should fit 1949-55 engines or 1956-64 engines depending on port size.

    303 intakes won't work on later style heads on a 371 or 394. Probably not going to work on #10 heads. 324 & 371 intakes can go down on early style heads (49-55). Just port out early head runners to match larger intake ports. Angle bank is the same on all engines, 303-394. Don't forget to enlargen bolt holes on 371 intake if fitting to 303 or 324.

    Intake Port Measurements. *Castings may vary slightly and gaskets will be a tinge larger as may aftermarket intakes*
    303: 1-1/8 x 1-5/8
    324: 1-1/8 x 2
    Early 371: 1-1/4 x 2
    Late 371 & 394: 1-3/8 x 2-1/2

    As previously mentioned, intake ports on 54-56 heads are taller than 49-53 heads. Some intakes (Edelbrock OL396 3x2) are cast with the shorter ports but have enough material on them to be ported out to fit the taller ports.

    If you're good at welding, you may be able to adapt a Mopar 383 or 440 intake manifold.

    Headers: No company makes headers for this application as of 2012 (to my knowledge). A little searching will get you some header flanges, however. Build your own.

    *Want to run a J2 option but don't have a 371? No problem!
    Yes, you can run the 371 intake on a 303 or 324. Enlarge the bolt holes in the 371 intake, use a 371 intake gasket to pattern how much to port your heads so the smaller intake ports will not restrict the flow so bad. Just blend the openings down into the head ports around 1/2 inch to smooth out the flow from the intake to the cylinder head passages. The angle is the same, use 371 gaskets and bolt it on.

    (6) Camshaft & Valvetrain:

    Rocker Ratio:
    1949-1951: 1.5:1
    1952-1964: 1.8:1 (1959-1964 Rocker Arms are Offset)
    Cheap neat trick is to use 1.8/1 on early 1949-51 engines, add a four barrel intake, headers; will net you 60 dyno proven horses

    •Must use adjustable rockers or pushrods with solid cam or roller cam
    •Chevy lifters can be used but need shorter pushrods
    •Aluminum retainers were available from Isky (maybe others?) – possibly for use with standard locks, but have the problem of pulling through…
    •Cheap HP formula: swap early 1.5s to 1.8s, + 4 bbl + headers = 60 hp
    •Studebaker rocker arms from 1951-1957 232-259 v8 can be adapted. They have a 1.8:1 ratio
    •Rocker Arm Specialists in Redding, CA will make aluminum roller rocker setups for early olds engines.
    Prices vary depending on year.
    •DRE, who makes Comp Cams shaft rocker setups, will custom make them for early Olds for big bucks.
    •Crane is rumored to be producing early Olds rocker setups soon.
    •Comp Cams new beehive springs and retainers may be usable on early Olds. Olds started using beehive springs in ’58. Interesting how Oldsmobile was always ahead of everyone else.
    •Split duration cam 5 degrees more on exhaust, for hot rod setup put lobe center 108-110, lift under .600, advertised duration 290-305.

    More than one way to skin a cat. Olds, one of first to use beehive valvesprings were ahead of the game in the early 60's. Comp cams has a new beehive spring that is lighter and will reduce valve bounce plus raise RPM float levels. Perfect way to avoid retainer interference with rocker and get a high tech spring. Olds started using beehives in '58 because they were having break-in problems with the cam in '57.

    How to tell the ratio: The 1.5 was used up to 51 or 52, but lots of hotrod motors used both ratios depending on the cam grind. So, look straight down at the long rocker shaft where they go through the rocker stands. If the shaft looks like it must be almost touching the LARGE rocker stand bolt shank, then it is 1.8 stands...and unless the builer screwed up, then it should also be 1.8 rockers. The 1.5 rocker stands have the long rocker shaft just about dead centered between the LARGE stand bolt, and the SMALLER stand bolt. If this sounds confusing; the 1.8 rockers needed to be offset to the max to have the rocker line up, so Olds moved the rocker shaft right up against the Large stand bolts.

    One thing a lot of guys skimp on is a GOOD cleaning of the rocker shafts. Lots of sludge hides inside of rocker shafts. A bunch of solvent ,air pressure, thru all oil holes where the rocker arms ride. Clean, clean, clean, then run a Dill's pipe cleaner thru all passages until it stays white, and the same treatment goes for all rocker arms also. Then use a series -3 diesel oil.

    Cams: Forget horsepower, the engine that will go through usable RPM range in shortest time is the goal!

    There were three different factory camshaft "blanks". Not going to go into specs here, but will just talk about what fits what physically. '49-55 uses a small-journal short cam. The '56-8 cam has the same length as '49-55, but has larger journals. The '59-64 has the same journal size as '56-8, but is 1/4" longer (usually spotted by the gap between the flange and the first journal).

    1949-1955: Cam journal Diameter: 1.8724-1.8729
    1956 324 & 371: Cam journal Diamter: 1.9977-1.9985
    1956-1958: Interchange between each other, 1956 cams have lobes not as wide to accomadate smaller lifters. All replacement cams are wide lobe style.
    1949-1955: NO you can't just turn the cam journal down to fit because the lobes would not pass thru....just fubared the cam. Bore the block to the 56 spects and use the cam as is, or get the correct cam for small journal block that you have.

    If you're building for the street - a mild cam is the way to go! Having said that, it's always nice to have some overlap so the motor still cams a bit at the light; let's folks know that you've got some "go" to "go with the show."

    •PN2711 – grind 134 flat. 288 dur, .460 lift, 3.42 rear. Pulled hard to 6800 rpm, but doggy down low.
    •PN2712-grind 153 flat.296 dur, .500 lift, 3000 lb car, 4.56 gear, stick, drove nice & powerful but not good slower speeds

    •302 dur, .585 lift. (DON_WOW: Has a bitching idle, strong everywhere, pulled to 7600. 3.90 rear, 4000 lb car. Good combo, ran good
    everywhere. Did I mention a bitching idle??)

    * ? 224 Int. duration @0.50 - Intake Lift: 0.513 Exhaust Lift: 0.540 - Intake: 23-67 Exhaust: 72-28 (DON_WOW: This is a split duration cam and favors breathing on the exhaust side. You will need to get some heavier springs to run this lift, but you ought to upgrade springs anyway. Very pleased with the idle & grunt through the whole RPM range. This was for my 4750 pound 1958 98 with 3.42 gears and got high 13's at the track. Has a machine gun beat sound to the idle.)
    *C-7080-12-R 270 Int. duration - 280 Exh. duration - Int. Lift: 0.513 - Exh. Lift: 0.540 (Works on the street in a 4700# car with 3.42 rear, just a little soft on bottom end, but comes in strong at mid range. Less weight would let this one do its thing. Idle is a pleasant lumpty.)
    •C-284-8-B. 284 deg duration - Lift: 0.530 - Good cam for 324 bored 346. 4000 lb car, 3.90 gears, 12s. (DON_WOW: Lots of "Lumpy-lump" and pulls like a freight train. Got this in my 4 inch bore 324. 108 centerline instead of a 112 for lighter car. You might want
    to walk on the wild side. Don't sweat the stop light manners with the Hydro, it will be fine.)

    E2: (J2 Camshaft) 270 deg duration - Made for automatic cars and for “public” (wuss) driveability. (Mean sounding) Two inch cam bearing size would require a big hammer to fit into a 303 with 1.8725 inch hole.
    E3: (Track/Drag) 274 deg duration - Lift: 0.430 - Intake 28-66 - Exhaust 66-28 (DON_WOW: Good pick, lopey idle.)
    J202: Specs??
    J303: Specs?? (Lumpy, great top end power)
    3/4 Cam?? Classic choice back in the day?

    With a manual transmission and a light car you can run a "big" cam with 3.90 or 4.11 gears. 10:1 or more compression recommended. Shoot for a cam with 300 or so duration. A cam of this duration will hate low compression. If you're not a cross-state freeway flyer (Hot Rod Power Tour), choose a 290-305 grind for short runs & bang for your buck. Your Oldsmobile V8 will be happiest with a split duration camshaft, exhaust should be +5 degrees or so on exhaust. Keep lift under 0.600.

    If you choose to run a solid roller camshaft, you will need adjustable rocker arms. These are made from a rare metal called UnObtainium ($). Expect to pay a hefty price for them, or make your own for a lot less. Find a set of Studebaker V8 rocker arms. You don't need the shafts of rocker stands. Use 1962 Cadillac shafts. They're a lot less likely to break than those expensive McGurk rockers you were drooling over on eBay.

    DON_WOW: I have used cams of 280 - 230, 235 @.050 duration with the Hydro's. Idle set at around 650 to 700, gives that drive-in rock and roll vibe. Like C-9 said, don't worry about the bottom end with the low ratio of the Hydro's first gear. Hell, second gear is lower than some four speed manual box's first. You start getting into the 290 and above range on cams then low speed driving will be a pain with the slobbering. Had a 323 big bad cam in a Hydro once and in town it was a pig. Can't have all your cake and eat it...

    Solid Roller Camshaft Notes: Make damn sure to use Series 3 oil CD/SF rating. Will protect pushrod ends from wear.
    CI-4 is same specification.

    No adjustment on early engines - 49-64- is a bump in the road you have to cross when playing with Rockets. Stock hyd lifters will lay down and sleep somewhere around 4500 rpm. There is more than one way to skin a cat and fix this. The 303-324 blocks will take .842 dia lifter and you can use chevy hyd or solids. Adjustable pushrods or rocker arms will be needed. Rocker arms can be found , but look over carefully for worn out threads and cracks.Aftermarket brands vary in how good and how much abuse they have had in another life. Pushrods can be right to your doorstep brand new in any length from SMITH BROTHERS. Adjustable pushrods with stock rockers in good condition is a good way to go in that you have room to make up for milled heads, different head gaskets and decked blocks or regrind base circle on any cam.
    Solid lifters need 1/8 brass rod to plug side hole in chevy lifter. Another way is to shim stock hyd lifter to make it act as a solid. Solid s can run on hyd cam by setting lash .005 cold or .003 hot to make up for ramp on hyd cam. Got to be accurate with this, but there will be no noise or click to give this away. Too tight and you bent a pushrod. IF you have cam heads springs and manifolding to support these old farts will spin 7500 to 8000 rpm---no sweat. But RPM means------------ruins peoples motors------keep it under 7000 and live a looong time.

    Now for 371 and 394 blocks we have a problem in that the lifter is .921 dia. Anyone who has played with these ----Blownolds--- can attest to not finding new .921 lifters on your front porch cause somebody had extra. So here is the out on this, REED CAMS, STOCKBRIDGE, GEORGIA will regrind and finish old lifters and you will have a finish better than new ones. I recommend sending even new ones of any type to be worked over by REED. Good insurance when changing cams, or sticking in that new regrind. Rest of rocker arm or pushrod info same as 303-324 ,unless you you get into the grocery money and step up to custom built roller arms based on 440 mopar units, no need for this in steet driven car. Or maybe you like to pull valve cover and say --HEY CHECK THIS OUT--
    There is more on this, but later...........

    Chevy lifters cannot be used in '57-64 without re-sleeving the lifter bores back down. The '57-64 engines use a 0.921 diameter. But for hydraulics, the '65-7 .921 hydraulic lifters can be used. But don't try to use a '57-64 lifter in a '65-7 engine! Late Olds/Pontiac roller lifters are a drop-in for the '49-56 blocks, if building an early race engine with a solid roller cam. That is from Gene Adams who built Ken Bate's engine. For that matter, there is a hydraulic
    roller retrofit lifter for late Olds/Pontiac as well that I imagine would also work.

    If you must use lightweight retainers, stick to titanium or tool steel. There's a reason they don't offer aluminum anymore. Stock springs are pretty weak, any mild hop up & you better upgrade so the Rocket can rev.

    Front of the block has a bolt on cam thrust plate that earlier motors used. From gasket surface of front cover to cam button contact is 1 7/8 inches. Button is 1 3/4 inches overall, diameter of small end is 3/8 inches. Small diameter where it goes into cam is 7/8 inches long. Free length of spring is 1 inch. Make sure there is not shit in the hole----of the cam that would bind up the depth of the pin entry.

    It is possible to use a double roller timing chain from a GMC 370, but probably more economical/easier to use one from a late BB Oldsmobile and have the center reamed/drilled to fit the early motor. Ross Racing Engines can take care of this.

    Don't bother with the GMC 370 timing chain. Use a late Oldsmobile 330-455 set, the ream the center hole out to early Oldsmobile size. (0.750??) Drill thre bolt holes in the proper location. If this is too much trouble, for a price you can purchase a ready-done set from Ross Racing Engines in Ohio. They use the best timing set on the current market. Red Label Rollmaster. They will also modify your top gear for around $25 if you send it to them, so you can likely save some money by picking up a Rollmaster set (or other double roller set) for a late Oldsmobile someplace else. Try eBay. Rollmaster also has undersizes in 0.002, 0.004, and possibly 0.006. This is helpful if machinework has been done on the main saddles/caps.

    BlownOlds wrote:
    I can't see how a solid pushrod would do any damage to a lifter that has a hole in the seat. Never tried though. YEAH, .921's are a problem. There are options however, and DonWow just gave one option. I'll add to that tip that Delta Cams in WA also regrinds lifters. So does Shadbolt in Canada. Delta said $2 per lifter, plus shipping--that's real reasonable. I no longer throw away any .921 diameter lifter, even used hydraulics (including the '65-7 ones). McGurk used to sell slugs that go inside hydraulics to make them a solid (I still have a set). So that is an option, but you'll probably have to make your own. Another option is to have Sherman Racing do their magic on your hydraulics like they do for many of the NHRA stock class racers. This way you don't need an adjustable valve train, but it tends to act like a solid. Also suitable for high RPM. They do something to limit the travel. Conversions cost $225 on your cores. For more commonly used lifters, they will sell outright--- I got a set of .842 late Olds lifters for $250, shipping included. Wound up selling them back off when I sold my 442 project, but they are being used in a street-strip car right now and he is completely happy with them. For more info on the lifters, see:

    For my blown engine, I decided to go with a set of the OH-so-expensive Schubeck ultralight flat solid's instead of trying to use an old roller lifter. These are made of a special ceramic and are very expensive. But after listening to the superstock racers comments as well as two Olds racers who are using the Schubeck flat solids, I sprung the big money for a set. Don't ask how much. A note on the old Thomas magnesium rocker arms: I was told by an old-timer that they break. So I sold mine to a guy. He then broke two, just to prove it true.Used adjustable rockers can be sent to Rocker Arm Specialists in Redding, CA-- they refurbish all types of shaft rocker setups, no matter if the tips are worn or the shaft is grooved etc. They take care of all that. They also have available the more reasonably priced roller rocker setups for early Olds. I think the '49-58 ones are around $350 and the offset '59-64 ones are around $800. Other options for roller rocker setups would be Sharp's, DRE, T&D, and Jesel. They all have one-off custom programs. Be aware this is not cheap. But the profile-milled DRE, T&D, and Jesel arms are WAY nicer than an old blocky converted Mopar arm. Ah, it's nice to have options. Now, I gotta go outside and water my money tree. It still hasn't put on any fruit.

    I've had many sets of adjustable Olds rockers and by far most were ball-end screws. That means that an aftermarket cupped pushrod must be utilized, period. About three sets had the cupped screw so that stock-type ball-end pushrods could be used. But most likely whatever you do, you'll probably still have to order custom pushrods anyway since there
    are so many variables in a hot-rodded engine that will change the needed length.

    *Buick Nailhead Rockers will work for Early Oldsmobile, they just take a larger diameter pushrod*

    Oil filter adapter:
    Or grab one off a 394 – bolts right on (a 303 at least) – possibly all?
    Get three bolt version, shim gasket, clean, paint alum paint both sides, bolt before dry.

    Valvesprings for 324: (Possible to use Small Block Ford Springs or Dodge 440 Springs???)
    Coils: 7 Active Coils: 5 Length Free: 2.33 Wire Diam: 0.1875 Inside Diam: 1.070 Outside Diam: 1.441
    Valve Open - 149-163 - 1.463" Valve Closed - 85-95 - 1.829"

    (7) Ignition & Oiling:

    When you line up the dots on the timing chain and don't turn the motor , the number six piston is the one on fire. Drop the distributor in with the rotor pointing to number six, you most likley put at number one and were 180 out of time.

    1949-1955: No Window for points adjustment. Advance weights are below points. (D style cam gear)
    1956-1958: Window for points adjustment. Weights are below rotor. (D style cam gear)
    1959-1964: Hex Camshaft Gear.

    According to Mallory all distributors will interchange if you match the cam gear to
    your engine's year.

    If you wanted to put a 1964 distributor in your 1949 motor you would have to swap the
    camshaft gear or change the oil pump to a 1959-60 pump which fits the 1949-1960 engines.
    If you wanted to put a 1949 distributor in your 1964 motor you would have to swap the
    camshaft gear. You cannot use an earlier oil pump in the 1961-64 engines. The newer Oldsmobile engines (330,400,425,455) fit & are the hex drive only. Maybe they have different roll pin or shaft sizes? (0.5 or 0.49)

    Crane Cams makes an adjustable vacuum advance unit for the 1956 distributor, there's also a Petronix Ignitor kit for this unit. It will replace the points & allow you to only worry about replacing the cap & rotor.

    **Distributors got timing marks on it because it wasn't on the balancer.

    Oil Pumps:
    1949-1958: Same
    1959-1960: Can be used in 1949-1958 if you change the gear on the distributor and the shaft driving the pump.
    1961-1964: Get the right pickup for your pan.

    There are some parts that either interchange with the late Olds engines, but they are indeed few. As mentioned above, the late Olds timing set can be used if you modify the top gear. The '61-4 394 uses the same pump as the late Olds, so no problem using a high-volume pump on those years. The late Olds distributor gear should also work in the '61-64 engines, though I don't know if the length of the gear has to be either shortened or shimmed up (I haven't gotten that far yet in trying to use a bronze gear). The late gear should then, logically, work in the '49-60 engines if you change from a D-shaped pump shaft to a hex-shaped pump shaft (custom). The '59-60 371 and '59-64 rod bearings are the same as late BBO 400/425/455.

    No oil to top end? Key word is fresh, oil feed to rocker shafts starts at number two and four cam bearings. If they are not installed properly with lower hole in bearing lined up with camshaft to crankshaft oil passage and bearing seam at top center of block, oil feed hole is not in line to get oil up to rocker shafts. Easy check is pull rocker shafts off and yank
    distributor,then use drill and spin oil pump. No oil coming out of head opening, cam bearing is not right, got a gusher then shafts are dirty.

    Oil Filter Adapter: Want to switch from a cartridge filter to a spin on filter? Grab one off any 394 in the boneyard,bolts right on. Three bolt works on 303-324-371-394 just fine and looks same angle and seals on all size blocks. Get the shim gasket as long as your robbing the body, clean good, hit with aluminum paint on both sides and bolt on before paint is dry.

    Dennis Choinski speaks on interchanges:
    Many people and a magazine writer also have said that the 1959-1964 engines were longer so you could not use those parts say in a 57. I can see how they might think this. 1959-1964 cams are longer about .3 inch longer at the engine flange area. In 1961 main bearing #1 got longer so the crank looks longer. But they were sort of wrong. I have had a 59-64 head on my 54. Head gaskets come two ways, one made just for that engine with just enough holes in just the right spots for that engine, and a gasket that looks like swiss cheese with holes everywhere that can be used on many years. I have a 59 371 engine and that crank looks like a twin to my 57 crank except for bearing sizes. You can turn down the mains and offset grind the rods for more stroke and it does fit in the 57. A 57 could take .125 bore (394 size) and with that 59 crank .250 offset ground stroke its over 400 cubes. The 394 piston could be used. A .250 stroke is .125 up and .125 down so a piston with .125 less compression height would work and the 394 pistons have .125 less than 57 371 piston so everything fits. The 59 oil pump, distributor, front cover, water pump, and heads would fit also. This brings up the next item. A magazine now is running a 394 engine series and says that the front cover and water pump changed in 1959 and was the same till 1964. I don't think so! My GM parts book all my gasket books and my 59 engine front cover says no!!! It changed in 1963 not 1959.

    Can anyone prove me wrong? Don't say you know of a car because any engine can be put in any car like the 57 with a 64 at BACK TO THE 50's show I saw. Last minute add on. At a salvage yard with 100 or so 1949-1964 OLDS that I went to the front cover and water pump changed in 63 not 59 or a lot of cars had the wrong engines.

    7&7 wrote:
    If you look on Mondello's web site you will see a lot of interesting info on Oldsmobile oiling. Granted it mostly pertains to the mid 60's engines never the less if you look at your 303-324-371-394 you will see similarities in how GM machined these blocks. Further more I have a NOS Isky roller in the garage with original paperwork warning against rocker stantion height and rocker ratio. Use black molly on the next cam you install. And also break it in with Rotella T use this instead of oil for the cam break in. What did you use for a oil pump? Rebuild kit? If so, did they square the pump housing? Another way to get proper oil in a Olds is to dress the block completely. Smooth all the interior drain passages port/polish the pump discharge.Oh yea look at the installed height of your valve springs. If your springs are bottoming out then you will kill a cam in minutes.And since you are taking it apart take the spring cups off. This will help cool your springs a little. For $4500 you should have positive valve seals right? If you used 56 heads then your valve geometry may be off. Have them check that when you put it back together. With these early engines you have to make sure you line up all of the oil passages when you start swaping blocks,heads,stantions,rockers.
    Also the cam bearings in the early Olds have holes in them for correct oiling as well . Shit I could write for ever on what it could be. Good luck on figuring it out.
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2012
  3. Zaloryan
    Joined: Oct 13, 2009
    Posts: 25


    (8) Engine Build Recipes:

    Solid Roller Camshaft Notes: Make damn sure to use Series 3 oil CD/SF rating. Will protect pushrod ends from wear. CI-4 is same specification. Specs: Short Duration Comp EX Timing 68-38 in timing. 38-68 in Duration. 286 Lift, 0.440 Settings: Intake: 0.013 Exhaust 0.015

    Stroker Oldsmobile by DON_WOW (HAMB)
    C-T Automotive sold 5/8s stroker arms, lots, used with .060+ bore = 476 inches. 0.125 overbore and the 5/8 arm gives 489 inches. Slight grinding to get 1/16 gap at bottom of bores to clear rods and use of 371, 57-58 rods gets you home with throws turned down to 371 size. And number 23 heads are by far the strongest---no beefing needed. Machine shop in midwest ---Terre Haute ---did one for me forty years back way cheaper than C-T price. This shop is still in the know and open. Yeah, an arm in a 394 has some twist.

    303 Build by DON_WOW (HAMB)
    Any head will bolt on any Oldsmobile block, even the newer 260-455 or Batten Oldsmobile heads. Just try & get somebody to grind a camshaft to undo the valve tangle. Good Luck.
    Safe bore on a 303 is a whopping 0.125 inches. This gets you to a 3.875 inch bore. Any more & you better sonic check the block. Most will go to 3.9375 inch bore which equals 334.86 cubic inches. Easy way to go is use 1956 #10 heads - bigger valves, better ports, no hassle.

    1952 is the first year for 1.8 ratio rockers. Clean up combustion chamber and polish, use head gasket as a pattern & unshroud area around valves. Straighten port from opening to throat. Open throat to inside diameter of valve seat. Weld up center exhaust port with a divider and shape to increase exhaust velocity. Block off or fill crossover and blend. Mill heads to get total cc's in neighborhood area of 72-75.

    Grind off at least 50 grams off connecting rods saving 400+ grams of weight & rebalance. If you want to shoot the moon, stroke to 4.0625 for a 625 inch increase. Gives you a 395.7 inch displacement with a 3.9375 inch bore. Not too shabby for starting with a 303, eh? Can you say 'Torque?' With a few other cheap tricks the pumpkin colored motor boys are in for a shock. (Chebby)

    324 Build by BlownOlds (HAMB)
    Okay, here goes: Most of you will be building a street engine like my 324. I recommend stock parts for most of it. You can get stuff from Kanter's (, EGGE (, or Terrill Machine in Texas (254-893-2610). The machine work & block content from Oldsmobile is excellent. The blocks are VERY hard. My machinist fried the motor on his boring bar because he didn't take it slow. I warned him ahead of time & he did it anyway. Align honing/align boring the mains usually isn't necessary, neither is decking the block unless you just want a 0.010 cleanup cut. Crank & Rods are both forged, cranks usually only need 0.010 undergrind. I used BB Mopar ARP rod bolts, then had the big ends resized. Make for damn sure the machinist resizes the rods after the new rod bolts are installed or the operation will have missed the point entirely. The expensive part is having the small ends rebushed, but what the hell, all the racers use full floating pins so be glad the Rocket has them from the factory.

    Before assembly of the lower end, I like to scrub out the block at least three times to make sure all the honing grit is gone. Make sure & go through all the oil passages with rifle brushes, remove the two plugs from the lifter oil galleys, and the plug from the rear of the drivers side oil galley. This plug is accessed from a core plug in the back of the block and needs an allen wrench to be removed. When you get this plug out, run a wire through it to make sure oil will flow, this is how the distributor gear is oiled. A good double roller timing chain and gear set is made for the GMC 370 V8, it will bolt right onto an Oldsmobile Rocket. As far as Cylinder Heads, follow DON_WOW's advice on porting. #10 heads from a 1956 Oldsmobile are nice to have, but not necessary. #7 or #8 will work fine for the street, especially in heavier cars. A 0.040 cut on #8 heads will get you about 72cc chambers, and net around 9.5:1 compression. #7 heads might need 0.050 and #10 may need only 0.030 if you decked your block. Subtract 0.010 from these figures and you know how much to cut the intake manifold to keep it square. I don't recall the ratio, send me a message & I'll find it for you.

    (9) Vintage Speed Part Suppliers:

    Cragar – Manifolds, Adapters
    Edelbrock - Manifolds, Valve Covers
    Gotha – Manifolds, Valve Covers
    Hilborn - duh (Mechanical Fuel Injection)
    Moon – Valve Covers, Valley Trays, Timing Covers
    Isky (iskenderian) - Valvetrain
    Engle - Camshafts
    Offy - Intakes and valve covers
    Weiand - Intake Manifolds
    GOTHA, Thomas, and McGurk: variable ratio adjustable rocker arms and lifters/pushrods
    Spaulding, Mallory, DuCoil, Dupoint, Mr. Gasket, Joe Hunt, Vertex: Distributors and Magnetos
    Offenhauser, Edelbrock, Weiand, Cragar: Intake manifolds
    Ansen and B&M: Floor shifters for the early Hydramatic Transmissions
    Trans-dapt: Engine/Trans adapaters & remote oil filter adapters
    Hildebrandt: Oil filter bypass kits, Starter motor changeover adapters
    Schiefer, Weber: Flywheels and clutches
    Hurst, C-T: Engine mounts and engine/trans adapters
    Offenhauser: Main cap support strap kits
    Clay Smith, Engle, Crane, Howards, Herbert, Barnes, Iskenderian, McGurk, Almquist, Weber: Camshafts
    Cragar, Beatty, ISKY, M/T, Weiand, Delta: Blower drives for Olds engines
    MOON, Edelbrock, Offenhauser, Hidebrandt: Valve Covers
    MOON, Weiand: Aluminum race type front engine covers
    Grant, Mickey Thompson, Forgetrue, Jahns, McGurk: Pistons
    Mickey Thompson, Howards: Connecting Rods
    Mickey Thompson: Roller rockers
    Mickey Thompson:Stroker Cranks...C-T and maybe Reath, Howard, and Jewel may also have made them
    Paxton, Latham: Supercharger kits (Paxton using the McCullough supercharger)

    (10) Transmissions, Starters, Flywheels, & Adapters:

    1950-1964: Manual Transmission available. 1950 transmission was one year only, same for bellhousing.
    1953: 23,000 Oldsmobiles got Buick's Dynaflow transmission. (Hydramatic factory burnt down)
    1949-1956: Dual Range Hydramatic
    1956-1960: Jet-A-Way
    1961-1964: Slim Jim (Roto Hydro)

    1949-1953: 145 Tooth Flywheel
    1954-1960: 176 Tooth Flywheel
    1961-1964: 166 Tooth Flywheel

    1949-1952: 6 Volt Starter 9 Teeth
    1953-1956: 12 Volt Starter 9 Teeth
    1957-1964: 12 Volt Starter Different Bolt Pattern

    Starters from 1949-1956 will interchange depending on you electrical system requirements. Do you need a 6 volt system or a 12 volt system?

    1953: Only 12 volt starter for smaller flywheel ring gears.

    1961-1964 Starter housing is shorter with one bolt pattern. All housings will fit all engines, but watch your flywheel size/starter fit. Watch out when interchanging flywheels. They were externally balanced starting in 1957. If it were me, I'd keep the flywheel with the crankshaft. Cadillac flywheels can fit, but watch your balancing, tooth count, size, and bolt pattern. Different size bolts were used on the flywheel and crank pulley depending on the year.

    I never had a mini hi torque in my life. Used 6 volt motors with correct tail housing and gear to interface with whatever flywheel count was on motor. Be careful not to miss match lower cover. On throw away build up, later starter can be mounted upside down to early block to keep from having interference with side of block.

    If you have a newer transmission, you can purchase adapters to mate a TH350 to a 324 for $$$. Bendtsen's, Ross Racing Engines, Tanson, Wilcap all make transmission adapters. Research and figure out if they have something for you. Chances are they will.

    Manual Transmission: Factory parts are out there, but usually expensive. Northwest Speed is going to come out with some new parts soon, they are good people from what I hear, so check with them.

    Dual-Range Hydramatic: Cast iron case, weighs a ton and whatever. (Very tough transmission from what I have read, one of the best to get if you don't want to adapt a newer transmission) *Adjust bands internally (drop the pan) for best results. Adjust kickdown linkage to factory manual, keep clean fluid & Trans-X in it and you will be hard pressed to ever break this mutha.

    Slim-Jim: I think this is what everyone calls the Jet-A-Way. Two speed? Very light, but seems prone to breaking. Aluminum case.

    (11) Magazine Technical Articles:

    HOT ROD = July 1957: Interchange information. Put 1957 internals in 1949-1956 engines.
    HOT ROD = November 1963: Use factory crankshafts to stroke engines. 1959 crank offset ground fits 57.
    HOT ROD = June 1964: Swap factory Oldsmobile parts
    HOT ROD = November 1964: Compared "old" Olds V8s to "new" Olds V8s.
    HIGH PERFORMANCE MAGAZINE = January 1966: Discussed Oldsmobile in street rods & dragsters
    THE COMPLETE BOOK OF ENGINES = Compared old Olds to newer Olds & discussed interchange
    ULTIMATE AMERCIAN V8 DATA BOOK = Specifications & part numbers on Oldsmobile

    (12) Current Known Parts Suppliers:

    Fusick: (Stock & NOS engine parts)
    Mondello: (394 parts)
    Camcraft cams: (Camshafts for early 371/394)
    USA Parts Supply
    AutoTran (Slim Jim Transmission Parts)
    EGGE (Pistons, Custom Pistons, Rebuild Kits)
    Kanter's (Rebuild Kits)
    Ross Racing Engines (330-544-4466) (Make just about everything for these motors)

    (13) Oldsmobile Differentials:

    Conventional Oil: 80W-90 (Multigear EP is good)
    Synthetic Oil: 75W-90 (Syn-Star GL is good)

    Gear Choice depends mostly on your transmission & camshaft. Check the camshaft section for more detail.

    (14) Oil Choice

    As one who has spilled more oil before breakfast than this whole board will use in their lives, here is an opinion of a grenade inspector with only forty-five years dealing with lubes. The harshest use of motor oil is in off road construction and over the road service in machines and trucks. High sulfer fuel, dust and dirt,heat and extended service time needs
    the best oil money can buy. A little info, single grade oil is made from a 10wt base stock, and thickeners are added to get 20---30---40 and so on single wt grades plus the additive package. If you look at the molecular structure of single wt oil, it will be round balls, like ping pong or soap bubbles.

    A multi-wt oil is made from a 90wt base stock and thinners are added to get down to 10w30----10w40 ect plus the additive package. Structure on these oils look like noodles or cut rubber bands. Now when shit happins, maybe heater hose, radiator, too much load, way too wild burn out on wet spot, who do you love? When that number two rod bearing is hotter than a seventeen year old on prom night, or the pressure on the thrust bearing when the pressure plate slams home on the clutch. How about those super triple doublelock springs trying to wipe the smile off the cams face, not to mention the skirt fighting black death cause the bore is not the proper distance to dance.

    Do you want that ping pong bubble to burst? And it will when the deal goes down. Tim to look for parts and bucks. OK, same thing with a multi-wt oil, only those noodles and rubber bands will stand way more pressure and stay in a smaller space to still have a film between surfaces. When the heat overcomes the whole shebang and things start to boil off , the oil will be down to its base. Single grades will try to go back to 10wt and multi-wt will try to go to 90wt. No brainer on the one with the best protection.

    Series three API service,CI-4,CH-4,CF-4,CF/SL,SJ IS THE STUFF. Like URSA SUPER PLUS 15W40 (CHEVRON TEXACO), SHELL ROTELLA 15W40 or any other brand that has same API. Pick a brand and stay with it. Old or new, lotsa miles or new rebuild, this is the best. A side note, it will turn dark, because it is holding all by products and crud in suspension so the filter can do its job. This keeps metal parts clean and will free rings in used and old engines that have sat for a time. Worn valve guides and other parts are just that-worn. I have had some old engines dry up after 800 to 1200 miles do to ring seal improving with this oil. If you are happy with what you are now using , stay with it.

    I worked for Exxon Research & Engineering for 15 years, testing gasoline and oils. From what I learned there, it seems if you change the oil every 3-4000 miles, it almost doesn't matter what brand, or weight oil you use (modern multi-weights). We ran oils that supposedly had the least amount of additives in them to get SAE rating, and they showed almost NO bearing wear after 100,000 miles, the same as the oils with more additives. We even put additives in the gasoline, that were rumored to "drop out" and contaminate the oil to accelerate bearing wear. Still didn't seem to affect the bearings, as long as you followed a regular oil change schedule. This was in regular cars, running regular driving cycles, a combination of city and highway, with shutdowns, and restarts. Now, if you are really beating on them, or towing, or have super high HP engines, synthetics will offer the best protection under the higher heat/load conditions. The only ones that seemed to do better
    with better oils, were the turboed cars. Not changing the oil is a different story, but you guys all love your cars, and change oil, don't you?
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2012
  4. Thanks for the info.

  5. Rckt98
    Joined: Jun 7, 2005
    Posts: 1,044


    This is great, thanks. I have printed it off to keep with all the other info I have accumulated.
    There was a good lot of info on here a few years ago, I think started by RocketDamon?(spelling?) & added to by alot of very knowlegable people. I guess that thread is still here somewhere but I couldn't find it after a very brief look.
  6. Beachcomber
    Joined: Aug 4, 2010
    Posts: 283

    from Phoenix,AZ

  7. It's great to have things consolidated and organized. Thanks for your hard work!
  8. I would think that the Ford guys should be more concerned about a 346 olds than the bow tie group. I appreciate that olds info I keep hot GM engines around.

    I don't think you have helped your writting down information that you have gleaned by trying to bad mouth another engine group. Joe and Don are both gone I don't think your pissy remarks have done service to the memory of either.

    Anyway thanks for sharing.
    1927graham likes this.
  9. Zaloryan
    Joined: Oct 13, 2009
    Posts: 25


    Thanks for the replies everyone. Hope it will help you all out. Again, if you have information to add by all means speak up & I'll add it in.

    Interpret it however you like, I'm happy the information is of use to you. I simply compiled everything I could find into a guide meant to be easy to navigate. Would you please point out my 'pissy' remarks? I don't recall adding anything like that. If there were any remarks about Chevrolet motors they were most likely pulled straight from the source that I got them from.

    The only editing I did was proofread everything, delete an extra comma here, add a period there.
  10. Swede64
    Joined: Jun 17, 2006
    Posts: 203


    Great stuff. Thanks!
  11. F&J
    Joined: Apr 5, 2007
    Posts: 13,223


    More Olds can never hurt :)

    There are some errors in there, some mean very little, but the one about "all 49-55 intakes are created equal", could get a newb into the wrong ebay auction.:D
    kidcampbell71 likes this.
  12. Zaloryan
    Joined: Oct 13, 2009
    Posts: 25


    Thanks for checking all of that! :) What information needs correction? What made 1949-1955 intakes different?
  13. F&J
    Joined: Apr 5, 2007
    Posts: 13,223


    Well, it's misleading, because right after it says 49-55 are equal, on next paragraph, there are specs on "intake port sizes", which shows there is a difference in 49-55 if a person understood that the manifold sizes would be changed as well. A new guy might buy a 49-53 303 small port/small runner intake, to use on a very souped up 324, which really should have the 54-up big ports and larger runners.

    Other very minor things:

    -head cast number #3 is missing, it would be a 1953

    - starter voltage; 53 is actually a 12v, and is the only 12v starter for the smaller flywheel ring gears.

    -"1949-1964: Manual Transmission available" should read: 1950, not 49 on V8's. Also, 1950 should be mentioned as a one year only transmission similar to the Cadillac. One year only bell, too.

    Good job on putting this together, ... a lot of the post 56 info, I had not seen before, and I am still reading it all :) thanks!
    kidcampbell71 likes this.
  14. belair
    Joined: Jul 10, 2006
    Posts: 8,732


    Thank you for doing this.
  15. oldandkrusty
    Joined: Oct 8, 2002
    Posts: 2,128


    Unless I am mistaken (quite possible!), all 1953 Oldsmobiles had 6V systems. The
    53 Olds Fiesta convert my friend Eddie had for a few months certainly did, and that was one of the reasons that he traded it on a '56 Jag!!! The Olds kept chewing up starter motors and the 6V system just had a hard time keeping up with the electric demands of the car. He had it in the shop frequently. Boy, do I wish I could have afforded to buy that Fiesta convert. It was just a beautiful car and loaded with all the extras you could think of. Makes me drool just thinking about it.

    Anywat, those are my memories...
  16. F&J
    Joined: Apr 5, 2007
    Posts: 13,223


    No, 1953 was 12v, and I never knew that until I bought one last year. Here is the chart showing the 53 part number, and a pic of the 53 starter, same number, and a 12 volt tag.

    Attached Files:

    kidcampbell71 likes this.
  17. Paul
    Joined: Aug 29, 2002
    Posts: 15,444


    add Dynaflow to the factory transmission list
    after the Olds' transmission factory burned down in 1953 23,000 engines left the show room with Buick transmissions behind them
    kidcampbell71 likes this.
  18. WOW, lot of work here. Thanks for getting it all lined up. Will print this off for sure for my reference file.
  19. Sir Woosh
    Joined: Dec 1, 2008
    Posts: 2,273

    Sir Woosh

    Thanks so much for the great info! Will be saving this to make use of your efforts..............

    thanks again!
  20. rld14
    Joined: Mar 30, 2011
    Posts: 1,609


    Outstanding work!
    Joined: Jul 20, 2006
    Posts: 2,422


    53 was indeed 6 volt. It had a long narrow battery with 3 caps. One for each cell. A cell has 2 volts. My dad had a Holiday Coupe that I wound up with in High School. I took ou the engine and trans, overhauled the engine, puhched it to use 324 pistons, used a J-2 manifold, and put it into a 50 Ford 2 door I used a 54 starter and generator to get 12 volts
  22. racer756
    Joined: May 24, 2006
    Posts: 1,395


    Great compilation!

    I did not see a reference to Mr. Tony Lombardi of ROSS Racing Engines in there..

    A very knowledgeable source of Early Olds info.
    lothiandon1940 likes this.
  23. Atwater Mike
    Joined: May 31, 2002
    Posts: 10,671

    Atwater Mike

    Volumes of information: Most of it precious. I spent hours of time at Chic Cannon's Santa Clara shop while still too young to drive. Chic ran an Olds powered '29 roadster...
    "Noise by Cannon".
    This technical information ran like a teletype from Chic's verbal modulation when assembling...

    Chic Cannon was NHRA Tech advisor, worked with Wally Parks and Bud Coons, (CHP officer with NHRA Drag Safari in 1953) so when he talked, I listened.

    Thanks for sharing this: as I said, Volumes.
  24. d2_willys
    Joined: Sep 8, 2007
    Posts: 4,175

    from Kansas

    1953 Oldsmobiles were all 12V. Yes, they did have a very narrow, and long battery, but it had 6 caps.

    I believe what you are thinking of is a 52 Olds 98 holiday coupe which looked almost like a dead ringer for a 53. If you look at the front, you will see the parking light and grill differences, but the rest were very close to each other. Inside the dashboard was very different between 52 and 53.

    Oh, and the battery used on the 52 Olds 98's were long and very narrow, and were 6v with 3 caps.
  25. zman
    Joined: Apr 2, 2001
    Posts: 16,594

    from Garner, NC

  26. I vote to send money to tony at ross engines... he will read your mind and do the rest!
  27. I seriously doubt that you get this information from Joe for two reasons. #1 he would have known what cubes the combo makes and #2 he didn't have his head shoved up his butt.

    It is a good list of information that can be found in one place I will give you that, it is just a shame that you chose to throw in your own uneducated remark to a good list of specifications and possible modifications.

    By the way you don't have to bore or stroke a 350 GM motor to come up with 350 cubes. Come to think if it you don't have to bore or stroke a 394 either and you come up with more cubes and still have lots of meat left to rebuild. Hmmmn imagine that, take that you low deck 324 boys. :rolleyes:
  28. nochop
    Joined: Nov 13, 2005
    Posts: 2,179

    from norcal

    I'm building a Rocket for my coupe....Good S#@t here.Cheers,W
  29. F&J
    Joined: Apr 5, 2007
    Posts: 13,223


    Benno, unless I am on the wrong page, I think Zaloryan's only personal comments are just on the intro post #1. I am thinking everything else is just a copy/paste from Hamb archives.
  30. 48fordnut
    Joined: Nov 4, 2005
    Posts: 4,035


    Back in 56 I ran a 50 olds with many combos. The first was a 50 model 303 that I had the heads milled .125 a 52 olds 4 bbl intake and 1.8 rockers. This info was in a Car craft ,or H/R mag. worked well till I came up with a 324 bored to 4'' 57 heads, and J2 shim head gaskets. Ran a Engle 95 cam, that Jack Engle sent me with ,I think Gotha, rockers. I went to a 12 volt gen and used the 6 volt starter, all this hooked to a 50 olds modified cad lasalle trans and a 3.90 gear. ran well. BTW 324 was first introduced in 1954,Great info. Not for a novice.Thanks.

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