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Old 05-18-2016, 01:50 AM   #1
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Default Snag in engine upgrade

In my last post, I posted that I was tearing down the upper part of the engine and repairing/replacing parts. Some snags I ran into...
The heads were taken off and taken to the head shop. I was about to call after 6 weeks of waiting, when i found out the owner of the shop had passed away. :/ The upside was, the friend that referred me to the shop is good friends with the deceased family members and was able to recover the heads. unfortunately, nothing was done with them.
The good thing was that while waiting for these heads to be done, I bought 2 new heads and put them on the car. Bad part... the bolts holes for the rocker arms in the head are 5/16, the original set up was 3/4.
So my question is, do I need to go get a new rocker arm assembly, or will the 5/16 bolts work with the original rocker arm set up?
Ugh! I just want this project DONE already!
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Old 05-18-2016, 03:24 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Azimpulse View Post
In my last post, I posted that I was tearing down the upper part of the engine and repairing/replacing parts. Some snags I ran into...
The heads were taken off and taken to the head shop. I was about to call after 6 weeks of waiting, when i found out the owner of the shop had passed away. :/ The upside was, the friend that referred me to the shop is good friends with the deceased family members and was able to recover the heads. unfortunately, nothing was done with them.
The good thing was that while waiting for these heads to be done, I bought 2 new heads and put them on the car. Bad part... the bolts holes for the rocker arms in the head are 5/16, the original set up was 3/4.
So my question is, do I need to go get a new rocker arm assembly, or will the 5/16 bolts work with the original rocker arm set up?
Ugh! I just want this project DONE already!

Ummmmmmm . . . original was 3/8", right?

If yes, I think there'* enough meat there to have a machine shop upsize the heads to accept 3/8" . Not what you wanted to hear after installing them I'm sure. The other alternative would be new arms etc. I don't think an extra 16th of play would go too well if you just bolt in all of the 3/8" stuff with 5/16" bolts.
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Old 05-21-2016, 02:59 AM   #3
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Original was 3/8 yes.
Not really wanting to upsize, but I would buy the arms and stuff. THAT I can do. Would much rather have NEW in there anyway.
When the heads were put in, I employed a mechanic friend of mine (He works on VW'*) and his electronic torque wrench so we got precise readings.
Any suggestions on where to buy these new parts? Rock auto has been REAL good to me lately.
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Old 05-23-2016, 01:33 AM   #4
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Original was 3/8 yes.
Not really wanting to upsize, but I would buy the arms and stuff. THAT I can do. Would much rather have NEW in there anyway.
When the heads were put in, I employed a mechanic friend of mine (He works on VW'*) and his electronic torque wrench so we got precise readings.
Any suggestions on where to buy these new parts? Rock auto has been REAL good to me lately.
Yeah Rock Auto is cool. Sometimes I lean towards Napa. Sometimes I will find something good and find a better price on the same item at Amazon. I don't have any particular favorites, I just look for quality over price.
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Old 10-21-2016, 11:17 PM   #5
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Had a friend of mine that works on race cars come out tonight. This project was stalled because of the hot weather here in Phoenix. He took one look at the new heads that have been installed on the car since May and said 'This isn't going to work. The bracket holes are off"
Also in this time, I called American Cylinder Head and got a woman that just wanted me off the phone. After telling her I wasn't wanting to return the heads, I just wanted info, she finally listened. The rocker arm holes are 5/16 not 3/4 like in the original heads. She said I could contact Summit Racing and get everything there. I called there and talked to a nice guy who told me I could get the 5/16 to 3/4 adapter kit, however, the studs might be too long and when i go to put the valve covers back on, I'd run into problems. ok nix that idea....
SO.. bill came over tonight, told me the new heads are wrong. So.. back to square one. get the original heads to a shop where they can do an acid bath and check the heads to make sure they aren't warped. Bill said that the heads looked really good, so I shouldn't have to worry about cracks or anything.
After that, he said he would take the new heads off, and put the old heads back on again (requires new head bolts and 2 new head gaskets again). This way we both would know everything would fit back together.
I miss my car. :/
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Old 10-22-2016, 02:25 PM   #6
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What happens to the new heads? And did you ever find out what year they actually fit?
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Old 10-22-2016, 06:27 PM   #7
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If I had to guess, they could be 94-95 L27 heads. I believe those had a different size of rocker bolt hole. I also believe one size opened up the option of higher ratio rockers, but I don't remember the specifics (cuz racekar yo, LOL).

May be worth a look.
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Old 10-23-2016, 07:34 PM   #8
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What happens to the new heads? And did you ever find out what year they actually fit?
All I can find out on the net is that they fit 89-91 Buicks and that it'* compatible with my set up, which, it certainly is not.
I don't know what I should do with the new heads. They've been installed and I've already lost money on them. There'* no way I can get $600 back if i sell them, they have been installed already.
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Old 10-23-2016, 07:37 PM   #9
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If I had to guess, they could be 94-95 L27 heads. I believe those had a different size of rocker bolt hole. I also believe one size opened up the option of higher ratio rockers, but I don't remember the specifics (cuz racekar yo, LOL).

May be worth a look.
Racekar. LOL
That'* NOT what I want to do with my car. It'* had a good life so far, and with only 115K on the clock, I think it deserves more time on the road.
best part is, here in AZ I can get Collectors plates for it next year, AND.. it'* now exempt from emmissions (not like I have to worry about that anyway) and I can buy 5 years of registration, instead of the 1 or 2 years. With the collectors plates, registration is now $25 a year rather than 30 a year.
All the more reason to keep it on the road.
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Old 12-31-2016, 03:03 PM   #10
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**UPDATE**
Just got back from Germany this morning. 12/31 (currently 11:52 am Mountain time). I got packages in the mail, one, was my valve spring compressor, OOHHH!!!
So, I put my bags in the living room, went out to the shop and started putting valve keepers in.
Well, let me back up a little. The race car tech guy came over a week before Thanksgiving. He took the heads to the shop where they were supposed to be cleaned and shaven. The total cost was $68.00. The guy at the shop said he couldn't believe the heads came off a 25 year old car and NEVER warped. He said other than the dirt, he could have sworn they were bought brand new and just sat on the shelves.
Race car tech got a full time job, so I told him to wait until after the holidays (and when I got back) before doing any work on the car..
So, today I helped him out. If it doesn't rain, I'll be taking the new heads off the car, and putting on the original heads, with new head gaskets (again!) and new head bolts (AGAIN!). The VW in me says change out head bolts every time you mess with them. At $19.70 for a set head head bolts from Rock Auto, who can complain..... much.
I also want to point out that the Phoenix summers are brutal to cars. The Buick was covered with a tarp over the summer, although the haboobs coming through here (Desert dust storms, yea I still laugh at that name too!) tropical storms and whatever kept blowing the tarp off, the car was washed almost every weekend, and it was waxed once a month, showing no worse for wear.
So.. Do I want to crawl under the car and disconnect the exhaust headers again today? Naaawwwww. I think I'm going to bed!
Happy New Yea everyone!
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