Nailhead in Texas

Discussion in ''Da Nailhead' started by 64xp715, Dec 15, 2018.

  1. 64xp715

    64xp715 Member

    This is my first post as I just joined V8Buick last night. First, I want to give a big Thanks to all who post information here; it is a great source for newbies like me.
    I recently retired and was finally able to fulfill a long time dream of once again owning a mid-‘60s nailhead Buick. My first was a 1966 GS 400 (401). That was 45 years ago. Three months ago I took delivery of a 1964 Riviera 425cid 1x4. I took it to a local (Longview, TX) shop to have the compression checked. The results varied from 86psi to 54psi with the others around 70. Not good news!
    Now my first of many questions to come. Does anyone know of a good nailhead shop in the TX area? I lived in NorCal for 30 years before retiring and had planned on being able to go to Russ Martin. However life got in the way and I found myself in Texas before I was able to get my car.
    Any suggestions would be appreciated.
    Nailhead Ronnie likes this.
  2. Nailhead Ronnie

    Nailhead Ronnie Life's 2 Short. Live like it.

    Congratulations on joining and getting a 425! Hope you can find a local shop
  3. gs66

    gs66 Well-Known Member

    Welcome! My first was also a 66 GS 401 back in 1975, still have it as a parts car. There are several gurus here who can help you with shop needs. Good luck!
  4. 64 wildcat conv

    64 wildcat conv Silver Level contributor

    Welcome. Before you get too far, check the compression after squirting a few drops of oil in each cylinder and cranking the engine a bit. If it has been sitting a long time the cylinder walls might be dry and the rings not sealing well.
    If the compression is still low do a leak down test to determine the source of the compression leak. It would be odd, in my experience for all cylinders to be low due to leaking valves or head gaskets, which is why I suggested retesting after oiling the cylinder walls.
    My 64 Wildcat has 110k miles, has never been rebuilt, and has compression from 145 to 165 psi.
  5. gsgtx

    gsgtx Silver Level contributor

    any machine shop that does good work and will take some feed back from the customer can rebuild a Nailhead. all the little odd ball stuff as been posted on v8 buick. the 3 big ones are keeping the tight factory clearances on rod and main bearings. cam bearing need to be checked, most times new cam bearing will fit too tight. never put in new exhaust seats if you can help it. read up on it, save you thousands of dollars.
  6. nailheadnut

    nailheadnut Riviera addict

    Look up Winston McCollum in Plano. He owns his own shop and has an exceptionally nice '65 Riviera. Last year at the ROA event he sat on the tech advisory board.
  7. bhambulldog

    bhambulldog 1955 76-RoadmasterRiviera

    Welcome !
  8. 64xp715

    64xp715 Member

    Thanks, I’ll see if I can locate him.
  9. 64xp715

    64xp715 Member

    Thanks.....I’ll give him a call tomorrow.
  10. 64xp715

    64xp715 Member

    I called Winston McCallum and he was most helpful. First, we discussed the very low compression readings that the shop here got. He helped me to understand that if the readings were really that low, the car was unlikely to even run. So, with is advice, I’ve put off a tear down of the engine until there’s a good reason to believe that something is wrong. He did strongly recommend checking the timing chain and replace if worn or especially if the gear has nylon teeth.
    Thank you for pointing me in his direction.

    BUICKRAT Torque Rules!

    If the car runs and drives good, those compression results are bogus. If it won't run, those readings may be accurate and I would look at the timing chain first.

    If the engine is flooded, you will also get low compression readings. Sounds like either timing chain or valve job,
  12. claude brooks

    claude brooks claude

    I bought a 1964 Riviera that was sitting by a building beside the hyway.I had seen this car for 10 years or so,finally stopped and asked if it was for sale .put a batt on it turned over,gave 500.00 took it home.drained the oil put new oil,think I put new plugs,messed with the carb and got it running.drove it down the road no brakes it ran fine.long story short put motor in a regal and raced at the drag strip.videos under 425 regal.never did comp check, took pan off trans and looked brand new.
  13. 64xp715

    64xp715 Member

    Christmas is past and the new year is close. The car does run and not badly at that. I’ve decided that the compression numbers ar BS and with the advice here and on Russ Martin’s site, I am planning to check/replace the timing chain and gears, pull the oil pan and do some work on the front suspension. Engine rebuild is off the agenda which could free up some cash for a 4L60E swap. Don’t know yet.

    I’ll figure out how to post pics and keep you updated.
  14. John Codman

    John Codman Platinum Level Contributor

    Welcome aboard the forum, Jim! Perhaps I didn't read the posts carefully enough, but I don't see where you mentioned the mileage on your Nail. The reason that I'm curious is that Nailheads are not (like Chevys, Pontiacs and Oldsmobiles) known for timing chain problems. Does it actually need a chain? The test is simple: Put a big wrench on the crank pulley and move it back and forth; With the timing mark lined up with the index, can you move the crank more then five degrees before the movement becomes difficult? You are feeling the slop in the chain; more then five degrees and I'll go along with Russ Martin, it's time to install a new chain with metal gears. I would add a bit to this though - if the mileage on the engine is in the vicinity of 100,000 or more then that, I'd skip the oil pan if the oil pressure is OK. What I would do is start putting some dinero away for a rebuild. Nailhead factory pistons are pretty much used up at 100,000 miles. They are known for cracking on the piston skirt at about that mileage; often the engine will run beautifully with a cracked piston skirt. It may even not use oil, as the crack is often below the oil ring. I once pulled a Nailhead piston with a spiral crack nearly 75% of the way around the skirt. The engine ran beautifully.
    I have no stake in Tom's business, but he makes some great forged pistons for the 'Nail. He is on this forum as Telriv.
  15. gsman66

    gsman66 Only in Texas....

    Welcome to the board and good luck with the Rivi. You're real close to my old hometown of Carthage, about 28 miles southeast of Longview. Some good folks up that way and some really nice cars.

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