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Old 05-01-2012, 09:05 AM
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Buick Nailhead interchange

As I embark on my next foray into the hotrodding, I am faced with a questions I can't answer. I purchased a '54 Buick Super with the original 322 nailhead still in the frame rails. Is the mid 60's 425 nailhead block the same external dimensions? does it have the same bellhousing bolt pattern ? I am going to slam this one and need street torque!

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Old 05-01-2012, 01:00 PM
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I can't tell you anything about the block demensions, but both engines will have the same BOP bell housing pattern. The only difference between Buick Oldsmobile/Pontiac is that the starters are on opposite sides, but most BOP bells have pockets on both sides.

Bill
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Old 05-01-2012, 02:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WDCreech
I can't tell you anything about the block demensions, but both engines will have the same BOP bell housing pattern. The only difference between Buick Oldsmobile/Pontiac is that the starters are on opposite sides, but most BOP bells have pockets on both sides.

Bill

WE ARE TALKING NAILHEAD HERE! Not post 1966 Buick..Nailhead is nailhead only.. No other GM division interchanges.

Buick nailheads are all the same basic dimensions. Except. A 322 belhousing/flywheel/starter won't fit later engines. It, for some reason is larger. Starting with 364 and all later the belhousings are all boltable to the blocks. Some starter/flywheel complications exist.

425 engines are taller by about 1/2 in. Also a little bit wider than the 322-364. (longer stroke=taller deck).

Love those old nailheads. Back in the day they were stacked like cordwood at the boneyards all along the north end of Flint, Mi. $35.00 exchange for a 300+ horse brute.

Just sold a 425 I built for a Studebaker project. Scrappers stole the truck and several dozen engine cores. So I had to let the old girl loose to a guy with a 65 Riv.

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Old 05-01-2012, 02:46 PM
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swapping little for big

Thank you for the info. My plan is to pull the 322 nailhead and 2spd auto sell it to a ratrodder, then replace with a 425 nailhead and 3spd transmission. I would like the path of least resistance as I have no space to remove the body from the frame. Keep those ideas coming gentlemen
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Old 05-01-2012, 02:49 PM
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I know Buicks are odd and there is a lot of miss-info out there.
Been around Buicks all my life, had a number in cars, my brother is a nationally known expert in them and our dad sold them from 1957 until 1977. There is a lot I don't know, but one call to my brother will get anything else if you need it.

This is the basics.

53-56 they made a 254 and a 322. They look nearly exactly the same as the 364-401-425 other than as mentioned the bell housings are completely diffferent. No parts enterchange to speak of other than valve covers. They do look nearly exactly the same but are narrower than the later motors. My brother can take one look at just about any part of these motors and tell you what year it is though. So there are some slight differences in appearance.

57-66 (I think all the way to 66) they had the 364. It is about a quarter inch wider than the 264-322. The intake can be ground out to fit the early motor, it is that close to being identcial. It's hack, but I have seen it many times.
The 364-401-425 have square exhaust ports, while the 254 - 322 have round, some headers will swap, but it's wrong. The valley cover on 364-401-425 all interchange but the 264-322 is longer and will not go on the later motor.

The 401 was made from 61 (I think it's 61) until 66 and the 425 was from 63-66. They are identical in every way outside of the bore. The block nor heads or anything else is different, they are exactly the same out side of bore and pistons. The 401-425 is another 1/4" wider than the 364 at the intake (so you have the 254-322 then approx quarter inch wider is the 364 then another quarter inch is the 401-425). So again being the intake bolts on flat you can grind the holes out on a 364 to put on a 401-425, but it's hack.

The 364-401-425 up thru 63 had a different crank, for the dyna flow. From 64-66 they bolted a ST300 and a ST400 (Same basically as the Chevy TH400 but with a variable pitch torque converter). Though my brother sells a bushing to covert a dynaflow crank to use with the ST400 or ST300 (two speed like a Powerglide but with a variable torque converter).

The 401-425 will NOT bolt into a 54. The trans is totally different and the 54 has a closed drive line so the entire drive line needs to be changed.

Brian
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Old 05-01-2012, 04:00 PM
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And yes as Bob said the bell housing is unique to Nailhead, they are the ONLY motor with that bell housing. So you are limited to those transmissions or bell housings.

Just a bit of trivia, the Buick Nailhead ST400 used in 65-66 with the VP (variable pitch converter, it has two different stall speeds) transmissions were found in other cars though, how about Aston Martins, Ferarris and Rolls! Because of the odd short bell housing (the back of the block hangs out over the flywheel) making an adapter is very easy and they were used into the seventies on these cars.

Brian
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Old 05-01-2012, 04:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chromebonesdad
Thank you for the info. My plan is to pull the 322 nailhead and 2spd auto sell it to a ratrodder, then replace with a 425 nailhead and 3spd transmission. I would like the path of least resistance as I have no space to remove the body from the frame. Keep those ideas coming gentlemen
You will have to replace the rear end also. Non of the post 61 (if I remember correctly). Trans will work with the torque tube rear that earlier Buicks used.
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Old 05-01-2012, 05:07 PM
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You guys rock !

SO . . . I really need to find a donor pre 66 buick donor car with the 425 and strip the driveline
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Old 05-01-2012, 05:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chromebonesdad
SO . . . I really need to find a donor pre 66 buick donor car with the 425 and strip the driveline
I'd run a Ford 9 inch and forget the Buick rears, any of the big cars that would run the 401 or 425 had HUGE rear ends, very heavy. The Skylark Gran Sport 65-66 had a little "ten bolt" style rear but those cars are too valuable to use for a parts car.

Brian
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Old 05-01-2012, 07:29 PM
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Had a 65 Buick Skylark Gran Sport back in the day. I put a BBChevy in it. One of the mistakes of youth...
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Old 05-01-2012, 11:40 PM
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It wasn't a mistake THEN, it was a choice you made with the information you had at the time. The car was worthless, compared to a Chevelle, they still are. It's like my buddy who always regretted selling his 57 Vette for $800, that's all it was worth when he sold it!

Besides, for every Gran Sport that was trashed, it makes mine all that much more valuable and cool to own. Thanks!

Brian
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Old 12-02-2012, 05:12 PM
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Interesting stuff; I didn't realize some of these nailhead facts.
I would comment on the 401; it was introduced in 1959.

"Where'' are you in your project now? (It is Dec 2012 now; not May).
There are several 3 speed options for your choosing.
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Old 12-02-2012, 07:08 PM
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Good evening all, well here's the skinny. I bit the bullet and decided that if I'm installing air bags the easiest way is to pull the body. Bessie is completely stripped to the shell, unattached from her support and going on to a body dolly next weekend. then we'll take a sabbatical for the holidays. based on the cost of swapping the driveline, we will rebuilding the stock 322 then hanging a centrifical supercharger in that enormous engine bay. I will keep posting progress on twitter under our monniker suzyqkustoms
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Old 12-02-2012, 08:26 PM
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What do you run into if you want to put a straight shift behind a nailhead. My 372 Olds's crank was not drilled for a pilot bushing. Will all the nailheads accept a manual trans?

John L
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