One of the fascinating aspects of large projects like this Buick straight-eight rebuild is that setbacks are only temporary; given the laundry list of smaller tasks, there’s always some way to make progress. Davin is still brainstorming solutions for the cylinder head assembly problems that cropped up last week, so this week he forges ahead by installing most of the rotating assembly into the engine block.
Of course, it never goes that easily. Davin has to chase the threads on the oil galley plug on the back of the block before he can install the adapter plate for the bell housing. Of course, with a cleaned and painted engine block, this is not the ideal time to create cutting chips; Davin meticulously removes the fragments from chasing that thread so they don’t run through the engine on its first startup. Luckily, there is an access port next to the plug opening, so a few blasts of compressed air and a small magnet take care of the dangerous material.
In go the cam bearings, and Davin measures the crankshaft and main bearings to ensure proper oil clearance. He does this to double-check that the machine work was done correctly and that the bearings are marked properly. Taking some extra time here saves the potential headache of assembling the bottom end of the engine and discovering that it doesn’t spin or that it is way too loose.
A final piece of good news is that the valve debacle has been resolved. As Davin tells it, the Buick 400 V-8 valves that he is using in this straight-eight are manufactured in two different styles, and it was pure luck of the draw that, of those two variants, the first valve order contained the wrong one. A quick phone call got the proper pieces to our doorstep in no time, and now the assembly of the cylinder head can continue as planned.
If you want to see what hurdle will pop up next on this engine—we all know it will happen—be sure to subscribe to the Hagerty YouTube channel to receive notifications with each video that goes live and never miss a problem-solving minute.