🔧 BUILD Quarter Life Crisis. It's a thing. v.GN

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Your highest dreams will not come true overnight, and even if they do your life will never be perfect. It took me way too long to realize that, but this car was the expensive lesson I needed to get me there. Let me explain.

I've been a Buick fanatic nearly my whole life. Being the owner of a show quality intercooled Grand National race car was a life goal of mine. After being fed up with an overly ambitious restoration project that wasn't even Buick bodied nor powered I dropped everything and gave up. The project got parted out, and I started shopping for something better. I couldn't afford a good Buick yet, so I looked for something I could fix up and flip. Meet Nacho!

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I had always had a little thing for El Caminos and I picked this beauty was only $3800. It ran like complete garbage, but it was completely rust-free! I thought that fixing the obvious vacuum leak would make this an easy $5000 car.

I brought it home and immediately removed the carb. Some goof put a spread-bore to square-bore adapter between the stock intake and quadra-jet.

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Score! I didn't want to fall in love with it, so I started taking it to cruise nights with a for sale sign in it. I even tried to road trip it home to Lisle, but I didn't make it far.

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I was about to stop for gas when I noticed white smoke rolling out behind me. I knew I was not going to make it, so I turned around. I knew it was officially game over when I heard a loud pop and saw a big splash hit the windshield. Only I would blow a head gasket and pop the radiator hose on a stock low output 305. :rolleyes: A tow truck got me the rest of the way home.

I wasn't taking a lot of pictures of my work back then, but here's a little taste of my first major start to finish engine repair!

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I had always wondered why the car ran so consistently rough and painfully slow, but I figured that was just the 305 life. As it turned out, this POS had terribly mismatched heads! One side was stock, and the other side had some kind of large chamber 350 head with a 305 gasket. The fact that it ran without blowing the head gasket for as long as it did was a miracle, but I was not happy about blowing the flip.

After scoring some very cheap ebay reman. heads, painting a few parts, and slamming it all together I got serious about selling. Within a couple days, I sold it to a very motivated buyer for $5100. After the purchase, tires, engine repairs, plates, and insurance, I made $200. Those were not the profits I wanted, but a profit nonetheless. Nothing ever goes exactly as planned.

Once again, I was without a project and still without a Buick. Depression resumed. I started my search for the "perfect" 30 year old car. Not wanting another basket case, but also not wanting to get hosed, I turned to the family friend who got me into Buicks in the first place. He helped me find "the one". Here I am in 2016 about to drive a Grand National and call it my own for the first time in my life.

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...Now the real story begins.

Mr_Roboto

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From what I remember, the differences were minimal to none on the crank except the rear which was set up for a FWD pattern flexplate. This would have been nearing 2 decades ago now though. Car-part has a few of them listed, if you're willing to drive may be worth the cost just to get it. The other neat thing you get is what amount to Turbo T/A heads.
 
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v6buicks

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How would I drive the pump? Would I need to use an LG3 crank gear too?

I wouldn't want to attempt an S2 cover. That sounds like a huge can of worms. Custom water pump pulley, custom heater hose setup, converting from s house to elbow, converting to the newer cam sensor (if that's even possible) and switching to the S2 timing chain. While I think this would all make the engine a lot nicer in terms of serviceability, I still want the engine to look mostly like an LC2.
 

v6buicks

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I couldn't get this gerotor pump conversion out of my head even though I knew attempting it was going to throw me way behind schedule. Gathering some parts, and viewing the differences for myself was the only way I could talk myself out of it.

It's kind sad to think about, but Series 1 and earlier FWD 3.8 stuff is getting scarce. I cannot even find pictures of those timing covers anywhere on google except the Turbo Malibu page that turbocharged400sbc posted. Therefore, I'm only interested in trying this if I can use a combo of LC2 and Series 2/3 parts. Those are all still everywhere and
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L36 on left LC2 on right. LG2/LG3 below.
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Now here's the L36 cover with LC2 gasket to find all the differences. The crank sensor side looks fine, but the pump side needs work.
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I've seen a couple really old turbobuick.com threads where Series 2 pumps were adapted, but the pictures are lost and the descriptions seem incomplete. I could probably figure out what needs to happen, but in the end I think it's a bit more work than it's worth. At least I can prime the Buick pump with a simple tool where I would need to make something to prime an S2 cover. I'd need to make new oil cooler lines and such too, so this is getting to be a big can of worms.

The other problem is that it doesn't seem like anybody ever figured out a solid way to drive the S2 pump gear. Fitting a chopped crank gear by chopping the back of the balancer resulted in cracked balancers. The whole point to me was having reliable and easily supported oil pressure. The fast start conversion with type 2 ignition also sounded like a very nice upgrade too, but I would probably be in just as good of shape with a lot less man-hours if I just upgraded the well supported Buick pump, and went to a TR6. I could probably just do the fast start type 2 without the gerotor as well, but that doesn't seem like a very straightforward conversion either.

I guess I just talked myself out of it. I want to keep this simple. I have enough on my plate right now.

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Turbocharged400sbc

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see the thing is that none of them have used the SII style crank gear and pump drive from a rollmaster set. double roller chain pitch is the same, you just cant use the short deck chain with the SII pump. keep in mind the early fwd/SI pump was double flat drive, where the late SI and SII was the spline drive. just need to cut the balancer snout shorter., no flats or splines on it.

i still insist that someday i will finish my SI/SII hybrid...

keep in mind that this style of gearotor would do well with a welded and remachined front cover for the pump scroll

i love the assortment of various oil filter necks on the old gal's
 
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v6buicks

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see the thing is that none of them have used the SII style crank gear and pump drive from a rollmaster set. double roller chain pitch is the same, you just cant use the short deck chain with the SII pump. keep in mind the early fwd/SI pump was double flat drive, where the late SI and SII was the spline drive. just need to cut the balancer snout shorter., no flats or splines on it.

i still insist that someday i will finish my SI/SII hybrid...

keep in mind that this style of gearotor would do well with a welded and remachined front cover for the pump scroll

i love the assortment of various oil filter necks on the old gal's
There were a couple guys on turbobuick playing around with the S2 pumps and gears. It sounds like your method of cutting down the timing gear and balancer was tried, but unsuccessful. I was curious about that because it sounded much easier, and I already had all the parts. I guess machining that much off the snout results in almost immediate failures though.


Flat drive sounds like the only way to go. If I had a mill and knowledge of how to use it without becoming TCGs second most clicked google link, I'd still be all over this conversion. After all the welding, machining, and crossing fingers, I think I'd end up with less confidence in the end-product than a stock pump and cover.

It's still not fully off the table. I might still get a couple spare covers and a balancer for my buddy to play with, but I don't want to rush it to be done this spring.
 
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v6buicks

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I don't think I mentioned this, but I managed to sell that beat to shit alky kit for full asking price. I was expecting to get laughed at, but I like to leave room for haggling when I can... Oh well. I'll take it! I think $300 is a deal for both of us. I think it's time to buy some abrasive media and TA goodies.
 

Mr_Roboto

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Just wanted to say on the oil pump, is the risk of trying to reinvent the wheel really worth it vs going with something that's just okay but not great? It's not like the 258 I'm trying to use that supposedly has a reputation for breaking cams and timing chains at higher RPM and where getting oil pump efficiency may mean less stress on parts.
 

v6buicks

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Just wanted to say on the oil pump, is the risk of trying to reinvent the wheel really worth it vs going with something that's just okay but not great? It's not like the 258 I'm trying to use that supposedly has a reputation for breaking cams and timing chains at higher RPM and where getting oil pump efficiency may mean less stress on parts.
That's kinda my point too. I was all for it when It sounded easy. I was under the impression that the LG3 cover had the same upper half as the LC2 and would bolt right on. I had also completely failed to take the drive sprocket, crank sensor, and balancer into account, so it sounded like a cheap and easy upgrade until all the details started coming in. I think it would be a lot more common if it was.
 
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v6buicks

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I've been waiting on parts since the last post. I finally got everything I needed to make progress again and almost immediately made a major mistake.
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I forgot to take the valve core out to the compression test hose. Since the car has shaft rockers, I took those off before checking for TDC knowing that I wasn't going to put them back on to check the rest. That obviously didn't go well for me and I dropped the first valve right out of the guide. I don't even know where the seal went which is weird.

So fuck me. What's up, pistons?
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Cylinder walls look kinda meh but oh well. Time to clean these gasket surfaces and shop for a head gasket.

This whole project officially sucks.
 
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v6buicks

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That a Victor Reinz?

Doesn't look like a Blue.

You'll get there man, be patient. Look on the plus side, you can do those a hell of a lot easier now. Fucking jelly your project is moving, I'm too much of a wuss to hit the cold garage.
Thanks man. I was told that the heads had never been off this car, but I have no idea.

I ended up buying 2 fel-pro 9441PTs and a set of stock replacement ARP 6 point bolts. I would have gone with 12 point of it weren't for the 2 month estimate, but 6 is totally fine.

220v garage heater is the second best garage mod I ever did, but my garage was already drywalled and insulated when I moved in. It certainly makes winter projects a million times more enjoyable. I almost didn't even go out tonight because my number one mod was failing. My fluorescent lights are burning out. I started looking for LED conversions or replacements but got frustrated. Maybe if I had full lighting, I wouldn't have made this mistake! ?

I just got a scary/bad idea, but now is the time to consider the fact that my intake runners are ported while the heads are not.... Should I at least make an attempt to smooth the transitions or just throw it back together with a bad step?
 
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sktchy

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So, cheap aluminum air fittings from tractor supply thread pretty nicely into spark plug holes and a little thread tape seals em up while your doin springs.

Get a can of copper spray and hang your gaskets and coat em before putting them on and it'll save alot of bs.

As for the heater I agree on the 220v and for the lights the leds are hit and miss. Mine are great but after a couple years I've got a couple tubes that only work when they want to and remember to take the ballasts out of your fixtures.
 

Mr_Roboto

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LED retros are way worth it. Fuckall if I'll ever run a flourescent tube again if I can avoid it. I got the ballast removed ones, they were great.

My problem is I got a 5500W heater and I have no drywall, no insulation and no ceiling. Doesn't do shit obviously.

I'm pretty sure those are at least an OE style HG. May be wrong on that, but they are obviously not "blues" or the likes.
 
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v6buicks

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I was going to proceed with pulling the engine yesterday, but you know how things go with this project....
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The hydraulic cylinder on my crane decided to leak all its fluid since the last time I used it. This is really frustrating since I replaced it just a couple years ago, but I can't be mad since it's just another $60 HF unit. I first tried to take it apart and source a name brand seal kit, but removing the main nut seemed impossible, and I wasn't about to spend a week looking at seal part numbers.

I spent a few extra bucks on a whole new cylinder with good reviews on Summit. I wanted one with air actuation, but it didn't seem worth the extra $100. This whole ordeal kinda pissed me off and made me quit for the day. I couldn't seem to win anything except for more messes!

Today I went in with a different attitude. I needed to make progress, and there was plenty of things I could do away from the car. I had everything I needed to start blasting parts, so I figured it was time to get the long awaited blast cabinet online.
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The first patient.
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All those modifications I did seemed to pay off because this was a breeze even with my severely undersized compressor. I can't wait to blast some more junk that I thought would require replacement.

I believe the next order of business will be to clean a space on my work bench for disassembling, cleaning, and painting cylinder heads. The new hydraulic cylinder and a bunch of other parts should be here tomorrow.
 

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