Buick 350 Shortblock build

Discussion in 'Small Block Tech' started by DauntlessSB92, Jul 20, 2014.

  1. DauntlessSB92

    DauntlessSB92 Addicted to Buick

    You are right I am off on my exhaust valve being sunk reasoning because that would require a shorter pushrod. So in that instance I can't explain away the fact that the heights were inconsistent on one head. We did discuss this when I brought the motor in. I told them I want everything as close as possible, if new seats needed to be installed or extra time needed to be taken I was willing to pay for that. I explained that just because I have adjustable rockers doesn't mean that these heads wouldn't end up being sold to someone who would use the stock rocker shaft so I wanted everything as close as possible.

    Then I pick up the heads and brought them back to my shop and find that with a straight edge it's clearly visible how far off some of the valves are. When I called them to ask about it they said they didn't worry about it because I had adjustable rockers. Even though I specifically said forget that I have adjustable rockers I want the heads to work with a stock valve train too.

    I explained thoroughly to these guys that this motor wasn't a high mileage re-ring job. I was willing to pay the cash for a close tolerance quality machined block and set of heads. I explained this would be a high horsepower engine. They certainly charged me a labor intensive price that's for sure.

    There were things so obviously wrong with this motor my friend (engine builder who got me started on working with cars) said it was screwed up (he used harsher language than that) and that I better take it straight back and not even bother unloading it off the truck.

    The cylinder hone crosshatch had no angle to it. It was just swirls in the bore. The cam bearings were scratched up and the oil holes were in a different position for each bearing. The connecting rod caps on 2 rods looked like they were ground down with a dremel. The oil galley ports at the front of the motor that I went through the effort of threading and polishing out the old stake marks? They epoxied plugs in and then proceeded to make 8 stake marks on each plug. I gave them the brand new threaded oil galley plugs. I gave them new dowel pins, when I got the motor back none of them were used. They put the old pins on the deck, the intake dowel pins were missing.

    I'm sorry I could go on and on. The quality of work I received was unacceptable. I'm not an agressive guy or even an outspoken guy. It was extremely difficult for me to explain just how pissed I was to them. They charged me $2250 for an unassembled motor. I even had to spend $100 out of pocket to replace the can bearings they screwed up and they didn't even think they should take that off the bill. I brought my motor back twice to have them fix mistakes. This was supposed to be an assembled short block but when I picked it up and asked what happened they said they had no idea I wanted that. Even though they opened the box of rings I left them. I told them they will receive $2000 and not a penny more. They told me get the hell out and never come back.

    I'm sorry this isn't directed at you, I know you are a builder and a machinist and probably dislike to see people hurt another's reputation over misinformation and I agree. I'm not a machinist and I don't know all the ins and outs of what this takes. Precision engine services in Middletown, Ny is not a quality machine shop. I felt like giving up on this project and parting it out after dealing with them. I finally sucked it up and said I'm just going to check everything the best I can and move forward.

    The silver lining is I think I have found a good machine shop to work with and if I build another motor I'll definitely have him do the work, it's just upsetting I didn't know about him before. The guy had a TA V6 block sitting on a stand. He knew about the oiling modifications, the cam bearings. I mean it was enough to reassure me I didn't have to explain anything to him.

    Anyways sorry about all that. So my exhaust valve sunk theory is not right, which makes sense because these heads only had 40,000 miles on them when they came off my motor anyway. I see what you are saying on how the heads could vary so much between each other. I don't think it's a rocker mounting issue since all the intake valves are a different height from the exhaust on the left cylinder head. I will be checking ptv with a dial indicator and checking springs once I get the push rods and I'll check every cylinder. The deck had almost .070 taken off of it and the pistons are at 0 deck height so with the much higher lift cam I'm definitely worried about it. Cylinder #1 intake valve seemed okay as I put the pushrod tool in and rotated the motor over with no issue.
  2. Thumper (aka greatscat)

    Thumper (aka greatscat) Well-Known Member

    If you want me to get pushrods for you let me know, you can probably use the same length across the valves with the adjustable roller rockers and still be within spec. I've done a lot of motors with more differential w/o issues.
    With the amount of material removed from the head, 0 deck and aggressive cam check piston to valve clearance carefully. Just because nothing hit when you turned the crank doesn't mean you're a go.You need to ascertain that you have at least .80" int.and .100" exh. clearances to the piston to be ok. I've run less as I'm sure others have too.but this is a good safe area to shoot for.
  3. DauntlessSB92

    DauntlessSB92 Addicted to Buick

    I'm not too worried about the difference in pushrods either. This motor won't see north of 6000 rpm. I will certainly be checking every cylinder for ptv. I wasn't thinking and installed the heads with headgaskets so I could measure pushrods (should have just installed without gaskets and added gasket thickness) so I want to avoid taking the heads back off. So I'll rotate the motor and check ptv at several points as the piston approaches tdc and as it moves past tdc to bdc using a dial indicator on the spring retainer and pushing the valves down until it contacts the piston. I have 8 checking springs so it should be quick
  4. 8ad-f85

    8ad-f85 Well-Known Member

    Yikes! I'm so sorry you went through that! :mad:
    I remember catching tidbits along with reading this thread.
    I guess I didn't remember the crux based on your comments.

    I'm sorry you even relived that from typing your response out!
    I'm glad you can move forward with a positive attitude. :cool:
    This should be quite beneficial to the forum, for you to share that experience.
    Wow, sounds like extreme incompetence and ignorance!

    I was not taking sides, just offering a perspective based on the things I see most often.
    It definitely is a 2 way street, with communications and expectations being the biggest problems.
    I also didn't mean for it to read directly at you, more like using that post to illustrate those points.

    This is a perfect example of why it can make better sense to pay for the best and that the cost of shipping is minimal compared to the perceived savings.

    I certainly wish for the best on this project!
  5. DauntlessSB92

    DauntlessSB92 Addicted to Buick

    The thing I worried about with shipping was time and communication. Looking back at the past year, I would have been way better off sending the motor to someone like Jim Wiese and having it built intake to pan. Looking at the money I've spent this far the cost probably wouldn't have been that much more. Hopefully I've found a good machine shop that's local to me now. I'll decide that once I have my converted intake back. Hopefully I am at the light at the end of the tunnel though. I should have the motor completed next weekend or so and then it will be time to start wiring the fuel injection system.

    I also have to finish painting the frame, run a new rear brake line and plumb the new rear disks. I have to reroute my fuel line too as I'm not too happy with how it currently wraps around the frame before coming up over the passenger inner fender.
    11224679_10204932884551151_7604576419806367665_n.jpg 12507240_10205427386593393_8040743474366448741_n.jpg
  6. DauntlessSB92

    DauntlessSB92 Addicted to Buick

    Really wishing I had this shortblock assembled by someone. Now i'm trying to degree the cam and of course no one makes a crank socket for these Buick cranks. So there is no way to turn the motor counter clock wise without screwing up the degree wheel accuracy once the bolt loosens up. I'll have to either get a different engine stand that will allow,me to mount the flexplate to the back of the motor or I'll need to have a 1.385 crank socket machined to 1.440. Both options mean this won't get done this weekend or next. Oh well.

    Any suggestions ?
  7. Mart

    Mart Gold level member


    Attached Files:

  8. DauntlessSB92

    DauntlessSB92 Addicted to Buick

    Much appreciated, I knew there was an easier way to do all this. I have the heads on already so I'll have to use speak plug piston stop instead of a stop plate. I guess I was somewhat productive. I got my center caps to fit[​IMG]
  9. Mart

    Mart Gold level member

    :laugh: I usually invent something I need to get the job done.:TU:
  10. DauntlessSB92

    DauntlessSB92 Addicted to Buick

    I tried to make some more progress this week. I think I have the cam degree process pretty much nailed down but wasn't happy with the inconstant results I was getting. I was using a dial indicator to find TDC (By eyeballing TDC and then checking degree wheel at .050" in each direction and adjusting to true TDC accordinly) but I feel there still is too much room for error that way so I'll make a piston stop. I'd also like to call TA because they do not give a recommendation for how to install the cam. Using the 0* keyway though I find that everything matches the cam card closely except my LSA (Which came out to 112.25 instead of 113). I'll recheck everything after calling TA. I'll order a new dial indicator and stand as well because the stuff I have has seen better days. Looking at these cam specs I still worry that this motor just won't feel too impressive before the turbos. With 212* duration @.050" and .544 lift for intake and exhaust on a 113 lobe separation it seems this cam won't be anything special. I'm sure it will be a torque monster but I feel a lot will be left on the table, especially when the new heads come out.

    I got my intake manifold back, I'll still have to send it out to have the bungs welded and the bottom of the bungs ported to match the intake runners. Looks good so far though.

    12743968_10205612788668329_1014292703666335658_n.jpg 12742744_10205624442679672_1360517101792741048_n.jpg
  11. 8ad-f85

    8ad-f85 Well-Known Member

    OK...this is said with a smile, what type of accuracy are you looking for?
    All you really need is repeatability for an indicator. That's as much process as it is equipment.
    For new holders, I recommend Noga articulating-joint stuff and a 1" travel drop-indicator with .100"/rev.
    You don't need test indicators reading tenths for general engine blueprinting.
    The same type of indicator in a bridge is all you need for TDC, but an adjustable holder is perfectly fine.

    These things vary if you spend the time to check,
    Every lobe of the cam, every throw of the crank unless you paid extra to correct it, imperfect cylinder or lifter bore position, cam and crank tunnel not true to each other...
    Now think about what distorts due to heat at running temp, flex, chain stretch...
    Some thin-cast V8's have been said to twist as much as .060" from front to rear under full load on the dyno.
    Block flex has been said to account for double digit hp losses.
    Cylinders run at slightly different temps...etc....
    Asymmetric lobes can goof with angle readings.

    Skip the piston stop, you are fine.
  12. Thumper (aka greatscat)

    Thumper (aka greatscat) Well-Known Member

    Agreed ,if I'm 1-2 deg. I'm good.
  13. DauntlessSB92

    DauntlessSB92 Addicted to Buick

    I figured I was fine I mean I know that what ever difference I was getting from the cam card was due to measurement error or tool error. I have the cam 2 degrees advanced right now but I'm thinking I should call TA for their recommendation. So if they say 2 degrees is good I'll leave it but if they recommend something different it would be nice to pick up better equipment. I've borrowed the dial indicator and base and the degree wheel I have is 11" and not the greatest quality. I guess though one can assume that if almost everything matched the cam card when the cam was installed at 0* advance then it should be fine to return it to that position without redegreeing the cam.

    I shouldn't be splitting hairs I should be getting this motor done and in my car haha.

    So all that aside am I wrong for thinking this cam is a little small for my application?
  14. 8ad-f85

    8ad-f85 Well-Known Member

    You can read within a degree using the factory dampener, and trust it if verified.
    Not too many builds get the cam retarded intentionally.

    As far as your cam being small or whatever, how does it fit into your build goals, flow #'s, etc.?
    Influencing the torque curve a bit lower rather than attempting to make it work higher up is generally good advice.
    I'd rather err towards greater amounts of high velocity flow and a smaller cam than take a wild stab in the dark and chase tail trying to make the other way work.
  15. DauntlessSB92

    DauntlessSB92 Addicted to Buick

    I'd be very pleased to see 300 to the wheels. I don't think it's that far off since I was making 260hp to the wheels with the stock motor. With all the work and money put into this build I just don't want to end up with something that has to be deep into boost to make any power. I have stock heads with oversized valves but I always knew that would be temporary until the new heads came out. This motor should make a ton of torque with this cam though. It will be fuel injected and I'll have a professional help me with a dyno tune so I can make the most out of It. I've changed so much on this car I guess I'm just hoping it will all be worth it.
  16. 8ad-f85

    8ad-f85 Well-Known Member

    Sounds like it will be a completely different animal :)
    Forget peak hp, the torque curve and response are where it's really at for street fun.
    Dynos don't tell the complete story anyways because of things like sweep rate, time elapsed under a specific load, step testing, correction, etc.

    2 engines with similar read outs can have very different acceleration characteristics.

    You are definitely going to have some fun.

    My apologies for forgetting this was a boosted build!
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2016
  17. pmuller9

    pmuller9 Well-Known Member


    Do you know what size turbos you are going to use?
    Are you doing a Mark Burton turbo kit or a Do It Yourself kit?

    When you get the aluminum heads, will you have them ported or run them as is?

  18. DauntlessSB92

    DauntlessSB92 Addicted to Buick

    Not sure on turbo size yet, I'll start calling some people once I am ready to shop around to see what will work best for my setup. I spoke with Mark about having some turbo manifolds made up so as long as he is still on board with that I hope to start there. I will probably have the TA heads ported if I can find someone reasonable to do the work. I'll be able to order the heads bare with just a matching set of valve so that should free up some cash.

    I guess once I have the car together without the turbos and make some passes at the track I'll see how much more I'll need to meet my goals. I ultimately would be thrilled with a mid to high 11 car. Any more than that and I'd have to do a bunch more work I'm not ready for at this point
  19. pmuller9

    pmuller9 Well-Known Member

    Sean was running a pair of 50mm turbochargers with the Mark Burton kit with 20 psi of boost.
    The cam was an off the shelf 214/218 on a 114 LSA and was a good match with slightly modified heads.

    The 212/212 high lift roller will have killer midrange and will work well.
    Running N/A it will be a super RV cam.
    IMO I would not advance the cam any further than 2 degrees.
    If it were mine it would be installed straight up because you don't need more low end torque with that profile. It's going to have a very strong low end as is.

    Beyond this power level I would be looking at a good set of forged steel rods.

    There is more variation to the power band related to the A/R ratio of the turbine housing than moderate changes to the cam profile.
    An A/R ratio in the .60 range will spool quicker but will restrict exhaust flow at the upper rpm range causing power to drop off early. Great for low rpm torque monster applications
    Ratios in the .80 to .96 range have less restriction and operate more efficiently at making higher rpm power but have longer delays before full boost.
    A lot of street users prefer having the boost come on more smoothly and controlled especially on wet roads.

    The next decision was see how far the kit could be pushed by switching to a fully ported iron head that flowed in the 260 cfm range which we believe is close to the out of the box flow of the new aluminum heads.
    With a larger cam and higher rpm with 20 lbs of boost yields 800 hp but that is more than the 700 hp practical limit of the two 50MM turbos. A set of 57mm turbos would be needed.
    In order to prevent the turbos from being over run to destruction we kept a fairly good intake duration but decreased the exhaust duration to kill the engine Volumetric Efficiency after 5500 rpm. 224/218
    Effectively the engine produces huge midrange power but as you hit 6000 rpm and beyond the engine ceases to pump much more additional air and the turbo is not driven beyond its limit.

    An all out effort cam and ported iron head (or an out of the box aluminum head) has the potential for 1000 HP

    If you port the aluminum head you are well beyond 1000 HP.
    Of coarse this is based on what we hope the flow numbers will be but I would expect the ported flow to be over 300 cfm.

    One of the reasons for this discussion is to help you plan.
    The present head and cam combination determines the size of the turbochargers.
    If you spend the money for aluminum heads do you take advantage of the extra flow with larger turbos and a longer duration cam for a lot more power?
    With more power there is a need for forged steel rods. Buick 350 cap screw rods are pearlitic malleable iron.
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2016
  20. UNDERDOG350

    UNDERDOG350 350 Buick purestock racer

    Not to bash pmuller but we don't know what the new heads will be capable of until they are actually made. Oh and tested.

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