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Featured Hot Rods School me on Buick Nailheads please.

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by lothiandon1940, Oct 24, 2018.

  1. I was going for a Nailhead a friend had to put in a project. The core motor was $2200 but it came with a switch pitch and trans with a BOP pattern. Use the 400 trans and make sure you get the flex-plate that came with the engine. To make it easy, stick with the 401 or 425 unless you can buy a motor and trans complete. Stick shift stuff is hard to come bye but get all the parts from one car. I figured it would have cost around $5,000 to put the engine together. I ended up getting an Oldsmobile 215 and have around $2,000 in the engine, adapter and transmission (350) this includes cam, lifters, valves, headers (2), chrome tans parts, new wires, distributor overhaul, 6 Holley 94's, Rover intake, rover pan, balancer, water pump, pulley, rings bearings gaskets. The engine came with new Egge pistons and a reground crankshaft.
     
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  2. I had a look in my Chevy parts manual, which covers 46 -63 model years. I am missing the engine section, but I was able to determine that the Hydramatic was offered with the truck six cylinder and the small block V8 engines. There is no reference to the Buick engine, because the parts manual does not cover the larger trucks.
    To solve the mystery, I would need a GMC parts book that covers the big trucks, because this parts manual only covers up to the 30 series.
    It looks like the best alternative, would be to adapt a TH400 or a 700R4 to the older block. I saw one installation where a TH400 was adapted to an engine by cutting off the bellhousing at the front pump, and bolting an adapter from a donor transmission that was welded up with a plate that bolted to the front of the TH400 by using longer bolts. I believe that Ken Bell used to offer a similar type kit.
    Bob
     
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  3. classiccarjack
    Joined: Jun 30, 2009
    Posts: 730

    classiccarjack
    Member

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  4. classiccarjack
    Joined: Jun 30, 2009
    Posts: 730

    classiccarjack
    Member

    No different than a Hemi I see...

    Sent from my Moto Z (2) using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
     
  5. A REAL '56 322 is the way to go. The 401/425 is the easiest to find parts for, I would shy away from the 364 (one off)....but don't give up on a true '56 322. The best intake for a 401/425 is the old Edelbrock B262, second is the stock 4x2 and third is the stock quadrajet (made only 1-2yrs depending on who you ask)......THAT'S IT.

    I do have a '56 322 stashed away for something....
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2018
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  6. I'd be careful of the dual quad linkage, I had one stick open and damn near killed me, the slide block stuck to the rod and stayed open with the throttle closed. use a different positive linkage.
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2018
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  7. bundoc bob
    Joined: Dec 31, 2015
    Posts: 74

    bundoc bob

    On the THM400 issue, the Jeep 400 case appears the same
    as the Buick nailhead 400 case [but I haven't actually tried it] but one possibly useful factoid is that when Jeep began using the 350
    Buick engine [which takes a standard BOP bell housing] they used an adapter between the 350 and THM400. At least, for a while. About an inch thick, IIRC.
     
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  8. KustomKreeps
    Joined: Jan 7, 2016
    Posts: 301

    KustomKreeps
    Member

    Buick made them to replace the I8's so they are narrow meaning they fit well in many older cars.

    Adapters are out there for transmissions but can get pricey.

    The Eelco 2x4 intake is the best intake - a updated knockoff of the hard to find Edelbrock intake. Stock intake flows better than the offy. Be warned I wouldn't deal with the Eelco owner again. I count my self lucky I got my intake after most of a years wait, many emails, threats etc.
    Nailheads like a lot of carb. If you are use to Chevs then you will be scratching your head when you look at what many recommend for them. For instance im running two 600s on my 401.

    You can bore a 401 0.06 and a 425 0.030. Many seem to have cooling issues with worked 425s.

    Not many speed parts out there for Nailheads. Roller rockers, cams etc can be sort from TA Performance.

    read many times you can make about 1HP per cube once worked. So it wont be some huge HP monster but Buick never made them to be. Its why they named them from the torque numbers not cubes or hp etc.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  9. Hnstray
    Joined: Aug 23, 2009
    Posts: 9,654

    Hnstray
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Quincy, IL

    ^^^^^^^^beautifully dressed engine......the twin finned radiator caps are a nice touch! ;)
     
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  10. no55mad
    Joined: Dec 15, 2006
    Posts: 1,751

    no55mad
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from nipomo, ca

    401 with BW 4sp. Bell and flywheel from Russ Martin. Super fun to drive! MarchMeet15 002.JPG MarchMeet15 003.JPG
     
  11. Dan Hay, they, Dynaflows, go out if you change directions too fast, it breaks the sprag gear, take your time going from drive to reverse and vice versa.
     
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  12. sunbeam
    Joined: Oct 22, 2010
    Posts: 3,428

    sunbeam
    Member

  13. BoilermakerDave
    Joined: Mar 3, 2016
    Posts: 218

    BoilermakerDave
    Member
    from Las Vegas

    I have a switch pitch trans still bolted up to a 429 out of a ‘67 Caddy (motor has a spun bearing). Will that trans work with a nailhead of similar year? I’m making plans in my head...
     
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  14. Gman0046
    Joined: Jul 24, 2005
    Posts: 5,119

    Gman0046
    Member

    Saw an aftermarket Nailhead valley cover for sale on the HAMB Classifieds. Didn't say the year it was for.

    Gary
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2018
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  15. Hnstray
    Joined: Aug 23, 2009
    Posts: 9,654

    Hnstray
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Quincy, IL

    I don't think it bolts on....The last of the nailheads were '66 models....with the rounded look bellhousing bolt pattern....the Caddy engines, I believe changed to the BOP bell housing bolt pattern in '64 or'65.

    However, seeing as they are both TH400 transmissions, I think you can transfer the switch pitch related components to another TH400 trans case. BUT.....the ST-400 Buick used on the Nailhead is already a switch pitch and does not need conversion, if you can find one.

    So, unless you find an ST-400, you are left with adapting the Caddy pattern (BOP) case to a Nailhead block. Check the Bendtsen's website for info on what it requires. www. transmissionadapters.com

    Edit: Just checked Bendtsen's site and for 401/425 they only offer an adapter from nailhead to Chevy pattern case, not BOP. Wilcap may have something as they often differ in adapter applications marketed.
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2018
  16. Hamtown Al
    Joined: Jan 17, 2007
    Posts: 1,846

    Hamtown Al
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    1. Virginia HAMB(ers)

    Since we've got some knowledgeable Buick folks on this thread; I'm gonna ask the same question I posed on my cabriolet thread asking if y'all know what these exhaust manifolds might have come off of? Better yet; anybody got any they'd be willing to part with?
    This engine was installed in my old 32 gasser so they are likely my best bet to use stock manifolds to put a 425 or 401 into my 32 cabriolet as both have mostly stock steering setups.
    DSC_0908.JPG
    DSC_0911.JPG
    All help is greatly appreciated.
    Al
     
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  17. KustomKreeps
    Joined: Jan 7, 2016
    Posts: 301

    KustomKreeps
    Member

    Look like the stock ones that came with my 65 401.
    I scrapped mine for tight tucks that dump center as pictured below. I would say my old stock ones are up for grabs but im the other side of the world and it wouldn't make sense to ship them when you could easy pick some up from russ martin or many others.
    [​IMG]
    Pertronix, Sanderson & TAperformance all make Nailhead manifolds. from memory TA has three types, the shorties, long and then slightly better flowing ones based on the 65/66 manifold.
     
  18. Hamtown Al
    Joined: Jan 17, 2007
    Posts: 1,846

    Hamtown Al
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    1. Virginia HAMB(ers)

    ^^^what model of 65 Buick did you have these stock exhaust manifolds? I’m pretty sure not a Riviera.


    Sent from my iPhone using H.A.M.B.
     
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  19. Hamtown Al
    Joined: Jan 17, 2007
    Posts: 1,846

    Hamtown Al
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    1. Virginia HAMB(ers)

    Back up.. fellas, I need some help figuring out these stock exhaust manifolds posted above.
    That driver side manifold is critical. I know I haven't gotten the 425 to run yet but I am working steadily on it.
    Those backfires out of dual fours continue to impress me!:eek::D
    Thanks in advance for the help.
    If you own or see a Buick; please take a look.
    Thanks again,
    Al
     
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  20. Al,
    I'll take a look at my stash, I have a few sets in the shop. That drivers side one does not look like a Riviera one to me. If I remember correctly the driver side manifold for a Rivi is a rear dump, looks like a dog leg with the outlet hanging out the rear of the manifold. That may be a 364 drivers side manifold for a single exhaust car that would have had a Y pipe that crossed under the oil pan, think 55 to 56 chevy manifolds. Ill look this weekend at the shop, the ones I have are all 401 and 425 manifolds.

    Jason
     
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  21. pretty sure that drivers side one would be a 60 or 61 364 manifold. I think the 401 manifolds were a little different for 59 to 61
     
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  22. Hamtown Al
    Joined: Jan 17, 2007
    Posts: 1,846

    Hamtown Al
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    1. Virginia HAMB(ers)

    I spoke with the fella that put the 401 in my gasser and he had a guy like Nailhead Jason that found one in his stash so not quite sure where got it. He said it might have been a passenger side manifold that they put on driver's side. I've been in touch with him and he's going to review it with his stash guy to see if they can figure out what we need.

    Thanks, Jason, for your continued help. Got any pictures of the 364 manifold in question? I've been scanning the internet for a picture of a manifold like on the gasser but no luck yet.

    I also managed to speak with the current owner of my old gasser that is pictured above and he's going to try to get some pictures to me of the part numbers on the manifolds which will absolutely solve the question about just what we need to try to duplicate that installation done in the gasser.

    Thanks again to all for your interest and help,
    Al
    BTW, the 425 in the Gran Sport parts car barked a few times today and roared with some flaming backfires but still not really running but I'm still working on it.
     
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  23. Hamtown Al
    Joined: Jan 17, 2007
    Posts: 1,846

    Hamtown Al
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    1. Virginia HAMB(ers)

    DSC_0908 (2).JPG
    I've blown it up to better see the details. Notice that the fourth bolt toward the front; starting at the firewall, is extra long and goes through nearly the entire thickness of the manifold. I can almost read the numbers but can't... anybody with better eyesight or recognize the header and from which side of a Buick?
    Thanks,
    Al
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2018
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  24. Al, below are a few pictures from Centerville Auto Repair. They have tons of good Buick stuff. I think the one you are looking for is the upper manifold in the picture with 2 manifolds. that is an earlier manifold 59 to 61. The other is the manifold you should have on the Riviera you have. you can see that the other one is way wrong, and will hit the firewall fast. I put a link there for the website, they sell used and new Nailhead stuff. Ill look through my stuff and see if I have one that will work for you.

    http://centervilleautorepair.com/exhaust
    364 manifold.jpg riviera manifold.jpg
     
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  25. looking closer, its not quite the same, but the top one in pic one would work. the ones I posted are 61 only, 59 and 60 are just a little different, but the outlets are basically in the same place.
     
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  26. Hamtown Al
    Joined: Jan 17, 2007
    Posts: 1,846

    Hamtown Al
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    1. Virginia HAMB(ers)

    Thanks Jason for your continued help. I had found that site and thought at first it was the one I’m hunting... but, like you, I realized it is not a match but might work.
    Do you know what body style had these manifolds?
    I’m still hoping to get part numbers from my old gasser.
    Thanks for your continued search for a manifold.
    Al


    Sent from my iPhone using H.A.M.B.
     
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  27. Hamtown Al
    Joined: Jan 17, 2007
    Posts: 1,846

    Hamtown Al
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    1. Virginia HAMB(ers)

    This looks like it might be it.
    ref 401 1962 Buick Invicta    same as on gasser maybe based on seeming thickness third bolt.jpg
    ref 401 1962 Buick Invicta    same as on gasser maybe based on third bolt (2).jpg
    I found this picture after looking at a bunch of 196X Buick ads on Craigslist.
    It looks to me to have that fourth mounting bolt going all the way through the thickness of the manifold.
    Anybody have or know where to locate a 1962 Buick Invicta?
    Thanks for your help,
    Bleary eyed Al
     
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