Desperately need some 350 advice

Discussion in 'Small Block Tech' started by kdessinger, Jan 3, 2014.

  1. kdessinger

    kdessinger Member


    I have a beautiful 1972 Buick Skylark with the 350ci & TH300 that I love but she ended up spinning a barring.
    I have her sitting at the mechanics right now to do a full rebuild when the shop calls and tells me this motor has already been rebuilt once before. So they will not rebuild it again because they are concerned with the walls being too weak.

    So I've been searching high and low for a 72' Buick 350 that will fit. I live in Houston and have literally called 40 different places. The closest thing I could find is a 1975 Buick 350 from a Century. My mechanic says this motor is not compatible. :( Why would the 75 Motor not fit into a 72 chassis?

    I have found at least 50 Chevy 350's but I've read that the conversion is not even worth the time (Not to mention I don't want chevy stuff in my Buick).

    So I'm at a loss what to do ... Does anybody know where I can get a running 350ci that will fit in my 72' Skylark?
    Or tell my if its possible to get a 75' engine in my 72?

    Thanks a bunch!
  2. Bogus919

    Bogus919 Silver Level contributor

    I guess some questions that need to be asked are. How soon do you need an engine and how far are you willing to go to get it?
  3. CraigFaller

    CraigFaller Well-Known Member

    From the sounds of it, I would find a new 'reputable' machine shop if at all possible. A '72 Buick 350 is the same as a '75 Buick 350 when it comes to physical dimensions and mounting so they obviously don't know what they are talking about. Which would make me question the reasons they feel it cannot be rebuilt.

    They must be referring to the cylinder walls being too thin? Most Buick 350's are able to overbore up to about .045-.060" but should always be checked to be sure. Did they tell you what it was over-bored to already?

    * EDIT *

    I suppose I shouldn't say that you need to find a new machine shop as that may be a bit premature, however some details on the reasoning behind why they can't rebuild would help clear that up. How much is it over-bored currently, does it actually require an additional overbore.. etc
  4. alec296

    alec296 i need another buick

    Find a new shop fast. I'm sure they could get a exchange rebuild from many places. I would think they will try something to get your car from you cheap. 75 engine will work if its a Buick engine. don't discard your engine till you have it measured . Some on here have bored engine past .060 with no problem. What did they take off go tell you to inspect engine. Get all your parts and take the car home or to a better shop.I'm sure someone on the board here is near you and can help.
  5. kdessinger

    kdessinger Member

    My budget for a replacement engine is about $1000 so if I could get one locally for that or in the USA shipped it would be great!
    This is the motor I was about to buy from ebay:
    $800 shipped from PA to TX! I thought that was a great deal.

    My mechanic measured the current bore to be .030 over. His main concern were several hairline cracks he found. I believe he said they were on the cylinder walls. They put it this way to me "We can attempt to rebuild this engine but I cannot warranty it nor can I guarantee the work". They originally were offering me a 3 Year/100Kmi warranty, which I why I chose this shop in the first place.

    This is my first Buick, I didn't realize how rare the motors were.

    ---------- Post added at 02:08 PM ---------- Previous post was at 01:52 PM ----------

    I have a feeling you are right. I'm going to have the beast towed home tomorrow.
    I don't know why so many people want to scam you, its so sad.
    Finding a good mechanic is going to be a task here in Houston.
  6. CraigFaller

    CraigFaller Well-Known Member

    Hmm there are some board members from Texas on here for sure, hopefully some of them can chime in on a good machine shop, or possibly someone has an old 350 laying around that would be a good candidate for a rebuild. Buick 350s really aren't that rare, you just have to look around for them. They were in a good amount of Buick (and some other GM division) cars from 1968-1980. Lots of people going for performance have taken their old 350s out and replaced the with 455s You could try to PM CarmanTX and see if he would know of a good machine shop in the area. Might mean a bit of a roadtrip for you though.

    Do you still have a line on that 350 out of that '75 century? If it's a running engine, you may even be able to swap it in, if it's not running, it may be a good candidate for a rebuild. If it can be had for a fair price, I'd look at that as an option.
  7. Nothingface5384

    Nothingface5384 Detail To Oil - Car Care

    yeah it should easily be rebuildable

    max is .090 which is unluckly for most blocks but i'm sure your block can go .060 to .075 with no trouble
    i'd go elsewhere!
    how much is that 75 350 out of the century?
    check Craigslist
    you may find a complete running engine for 50bucks to 300
  8. 300sbb_overkill

    300sbb_overkill WWG1WGA. MAGA

    Why and how did the engine "spin a barring" how were you driving it when that happened? Did you lose oilpressure?

    I agree with Andy, get you're car out of there fast! It sounds like they dangled that warranty in front of you to get the car there. There is no way they found "hair line cracks" on the cylinder walls,that sounds like the biggest line of BS I've heard so far this year! The engine needs to be out of the car stripped totally apart to be able to check for cracks,and it will either be cracked or not cracked,no such thing as "hairline cracks" that can be seen!

    If that shop was any good they should be able to repair your engine without rebuilding it by removing the crank and having it reground and re-install with undersized bearings as long as the block wasn't damaged by the bearing spinning.And if the spun bearings were the rods then those pistons should be removed to recon the rods that spun bearings and re-installed. It should be a $500-$800 job to repair the engine while not removing it from the car.

    If the block was damaged from a spun main bearing,the repair would be more involved. The engine would then have to be removed stripped down and line bored or line honed to fix the block. Seeing how the engine has been rebuilt at some point,it probably doesn't have that many miles on the rebuild so the bores shouldn't need boring to a larger size. While the block is out it should have the cylinders honed and new rings on cleaned pistons,and new cam bearings installed would be a good Idea if its stripped down this far. And re-assembled after the machine work is done and the block is cleaned with new cam bearings,new rod and main bearings and new rings. This senerio will cost around $1,800 - $2,500? You can get that price down if you do some of the work yourself,like remove and install the engine yourself should take around $400 off the bill,if you assembled the engine yourself probably take $150 - $250 off the bill(depending what is charged for that labor)and you might be able to fix it this way with your $1,000 budget? Goodluck

  9. kdessinger

    kdessinger Member

    Derick, that was extremely helpful. All of you guys have given me some excellent guidance, thank you very much.
    The shop quoted me $1800 for the entire rebuild job, which was fine because they were going to warranty their work. I'd be happy getting her running again for around $2k.

    The Spun Barring happened while on the highway during normal operation. The oil pressure dropped to 0 but my brother was driving it at the time while I was asleep in the passenger seat. He pulled off the road before the pistons locked up thankfully. So the motor does spin freely, which is why I opted for the rebuild. I have grey sludge sitting on the heads underneath the valve covers so there was obviously some metal grounded down to a paste.

    With all the advice I got today I think I have a new plan of attack. I'm going to pull my car out of the shop ASAP and bring her home. I'll pull the current motor out and keep that as a project to rebuild myself later. That 1975 Century motor is still available for $800 (Shipped) so I'm going to go ahead and order that.

    Now I just need to find a decent shop around here. :cool:
  10. CraigFaller

    CraigFaller Well-Known Member

    I would put out some feelers on the Buyer section of the forum and see if there are any 350 engines for sale. $800 is pretty expensive for a 350, although you did say shipping included. I'd check to see if there are any nearby since I'm sure you could get one for $150-$250. Just trying to save you a few bucks!
  11. Bogus919

    Bogus919 Silver Level contributor

    Give it a few days and search around like Craig said. Search Craigslist, eBay, ask members here. Heck, when I'm done with my 455 project, I'll have a complete running 350 to sell and I'll probably sell it for a couple hundred.... So $800 is a ton to spend on a 350. I bought my whole running 455 and th400 tranny for $250.
  12. 436'd Skylark

    436'd Skylark Sweet Fancy Moses!!!!!

    I just scrapped a good running 73. I couldn't give the thing away. Someone on the board must have one.
  13. alec296

    alec296 i need another buick

    If you spun a bearing you know that cylinders are good unless you overheated engine to cause both problems. A resurface on crank and replacement rod and bearings with a hone might be all you need depending on what caused bearing problem. pur a booster oil pump plate on it in case it was an oiling problem. Clean everything good to get metal out and bolt it together. I doubt you have many miles on rebuild so cleanup and repair. This is probably what shop wanted to do they just want to avoid giving you the warranty. Means more $$ for them.

    ---------- Post added at 05:43 PM ---------- Previous post was at 05:33 PM ----------

    I guess we all should start hoarding Buick 350s
  14. carmantx

    carmantx Never Surrender

    I agree with everybody above on the 350 search. They are a little hard to find, because nobody tries to sell them. They just don't bring much money. I have sold many for $75. I'm in San Antonio, so not too far away, but I don't know a good shop there. I will ask around though.
    You came to the right place for help.
  15. Briz

    Briz Founders Club Member

    I have a running (was when pulled 2 yrs ago) "72" 350 Showing 90 K on the car it came from. Leaks like a siv so needs re gasketed before install. complete pan to carb 350.00 Im in North Florida.
  16. magilla2

    magilla2 Well-Known Member

    There are running Buick 350's on eBay for $500 delivered. Craigslist may also reveal some good local deals.

    I live in Little Rock. I just found three Buick 350's in my local area for my Jeep. I have broken down two.

    I can spare you a 350-2V for $150 (what I paid) if you're willing to make the trip. It is a WC code clock (1972).

    Spencer Robinson
  17. philbquick

    philbquick Founders Club Member

    Worst case: Rock Auto has long blocks for $1,750 ea. They have 4 in stock. They also have crank kits for $225.

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