200-R4 Tool set

Steve87GN

Oh come on...its just a 6
Hey everyone. So, a few months ago, I blew the rings on the motor. I guess 200k and a new turbo don't mix too well.

Anyways, with the current situation (and all opinions aside), I'm thinking about rebuilding the motor myself. I feel ok in pulling it out myself with the right tools, but have a couple questions:

- Any good suggestions on where to put the trans?
- Anything I should look at doing while the motor is out?
- Anything to be aware of when pulling the motor out or putting it back in?

Now, as for the motor, I'd like to take the opportunity to work it over a bit, but I still want it to pass CA emissions (without knowing a guy). So, nothing crazy and must run on 91 octane. Here are some things I'm thinking of:

- Roller cam
- Roller rockers
- Porting the heads and intake or upgrading said parts
- Girdle for the bottom-end
- Addressing any internal issues (i've heard oiling can be improved?)

I have already done some upgrades that I would like to re-use if possible:

- PTE 5558 SS bearing turbo
- 80 lb. flow-matched injectors from TurboTweak
- TH DP with cat
- RJC SS exhaust
- HR Parts 'N Stuff motor and trans mounts
- Kirban 3.5" aluminum DS

So, what are your thoughts? Favorite gaskets? Bolts or studs? Stroker maybe? Any other upgrades to think about?

Thanks as always!
 

TurboTGuy

Gray Beard Member
Take it to Lou in Lake Forest.

He's already made any mistake(s) you might make and learned all the hard lessons from those mistakes.

He will hand you back a sweet running car you won't believe was possible.

End transmission.
 

Steve87GN

Oh come on...its just a 6
Thanks, but not helpful. Is he open? The People’s Republic of CA is being dumb over reopening the state.

I’m looking to do this since most shops that would do this are not open. And, it’d be nice if I can do this with my boys and teach them along the way.
 

Turbo6inKY

Short Guy
Thanks, but not helpful. Is he open? The People’s Republic of CA is being dumb over reopening the state.

I’m looking to do this since most shops that would do this are not open. And, it’d be nice if I can do this with my boys and teach them along the way.

You can certainly learn by doing. But you'll probably fail on the first one. So budget to rebuild it again. You didn't say whether you'd rebuilt an engine before, so I'm going to assume you haven't. From an educational and risk standpoint, it's wise to do a stock level overhaul for your first time.

You can accomplish a stock-level rebuild with a mildly improved hydraulic flat tappet cam with the Haynes manual. Replace the main cap bolts with ARP studs, use ARP rod bolts, and use the ARP head bolts. And find a machine shop that is actually familiar with these engines, even if you have to travel a few hours to get to them. Make sure they have a torque plate for the final hone.

But this list:

- Roller cam
- Roller rockers
- Porting the heads and intake or upgrading said parts
- Girdle for the bottom-end
- Addressing any internal issues (i've heard oiling can be improved?)

That's going to send you down the rabbit hole. Probably not what you want to bite off on your first engine rebuild.
 

TurboTGuy

Gray Beard Member
Thanks, but not helpful. Is he open? The People’s Republic of CA is being dumb over reopening the state.

I’m looking to do this since most shops that would do this are not open. And, it’d be nice if I can do this with my boys and teach them along the way.


Lou is "open", call him. He will also educate you, if you are willing to learn. He won't give away his "military" grade secrets. But he will tell you how to keep the thing together.

Call him.

949.378.1590,

Tell him Guy Cunningham sent you to him. I know of many, many, many unsolicited "Lambs" that will agree with me here.
 

TurboTGuy

Gray Beard Member
You can certainly learn by doing. But you'll probably fail on the first one. So budget to rebuild it again. You didn't say whether you'd rebuilt an engine before, so I'm going to assume you haven't. From an educational and risk standpoint, it's wise to do a stock level overhaul for your first time.

You can accomplish a stock-level rebuild with a mildly improved hydraulic flat tappet cam with the Haynes manual. Replace the main cap bolts with ARP studs, use ARP rod bolts, and use the ARP head bolts. And find a machine shop that is actually familiar with these engines, even if you have to travel a few hours to get to them. Make sure they have a torque plate for the final hone.

But this list:

- Roller cam
- Roller rockers
- Porting the heads and intake or upgrading said parts
- Girdle for the bottom-end
- Addressing any internal issues (i've heard oiling can be improved?)

That's going to send you down the rabbit hole. Probably not what you want to bite off on your first engine rebuild.


As to the "rabbit hole" the man above references.... It's deep, and has many, many twists and turns. Most of them, you don't know how to navigate, nor have the limited resources to do so.

If you aren't a Turbo Buick pro, or know one that will work for very little money, and you want to go beyond any stock configuration, even if just a cam, enlist the help of a pro and save yourself a BUNCH of headaches.

I've said a mouthful, but I only mean to guide you in the proper direction and not completely empty your wallet along the way.

Lou is near. Call him.
 
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TurboTGuy

Gray Beard Member
Oh, and he's grumpy.

Grumpy, Grumpy, Grumpy.....

BUT, he's a good guy.Don't let his grumpy old attitude chase you away. Tell him I sent you.

He's open for business.
 

Steve87GN

Oh come on...its just a 6
Thanks everyone. This is most helpful! I’ll give Lou a call on Tues. I appreciate all the help!

As for the rings, when I drove it last, I went to full boost then got a lot of blue-grey smoke. When I got her home, I started hearing knocking. I pulled plug #1 and it was covered in oil, but no chocolate milkshake on the dipstick. Sound like the rings? Maybe something else?
 

Gene Van Horn

Active Member
Dont even waste your time. Wait till Cali reopens and get the engine to someone who has Buick experience and built several before or choose one from the board here and ship it out. Especially with the upgrades you want to do. I know one in philly if interested, might be to far for you. Also with those upgrades not going to be cheap. Might be able to get done for five or six grand,MIGHT, that’s if you want to run more than a hundred miles.
 

Turbo6inKY

Short Guy
Thanks everyone. This is most helpful! I’ll give Lou a call on Tues. I appreciate all the help!

As for the rings, when I drove it last, I went to full boost then got a lot of blue-grey smoke. When I got her home, I started hearing knocking. I pulled plug #1 and it was covered in oil, but no chocolate milkshake on the dipstick. Sound like the rings? Maybe something else?

Lack of milkshake only means you didn't break the water jacket and get coolant in the oil. It could still be a head gasket. The stockers like to fail at the top of the cylinder into the lifter valley. No water jacket breech. Or the hypereutectic pistons will crack right along the wrist pin. Or it could be the rings. Or burned valve. With 200K miles on it, all kinds of stuff could have let go. You're not going to really know until you tear it down. Which you should wait to start on until after you talk to somebody local like Lou. The builder might not want you to tear it down for them if you decide to have him build it.

For what it's worth, I did what you're contemplating. After blowing a head gasket at 69,000 miles, I did a mild rebuild with 0.010 over pistons and a Comp 206/206 hydraulic flat tappet. With all the machine work (rods reconditions, turning the crank, bore/hone on the block), and me assembling it, it was still close to five grand... ten years ago.

I then started racing the car hard and a few years later a rod bearing let go after a particularly fantastic detonation event. It was so violent it damaged the piston, trashed the #1 rod bearing, lifted the head, and actually deformed the top of the cylinder at the spot where it happened. It still made it back to the pits and onto the trailer under its own power. So I had to go back through it all. That time, I put the good stuff in it after going to Boost Crew and picking Brad's brain. I gave up on reading up here and went to somebody that had blown up more engines than I have fingers and toes. It's not that the proper info isn't here. It is, but pulling it all together and separating the bad advice from the correct advice is hard. This place has been going for over twenty years. There's a lot here. And these aren't like the LS. Every one ends up being different, so providing a "recipe" that'll just work is impossible. And the good builders don't have time to take a picture of every step and post a sticky thread here showing everything they went through. They're six to eight weeks backed up with engine builds.

So I went all forged rotating assembly, steel caps, etc. That build ran fifteen minutes. A defective (brand new!) front timing cover side loaded the oil pump gears and filled the engine up with aluminum shavings. Back out of the car and back apart to be cleaned and put new bearings in it, and I managed to source a genuine GM front cover out of Boost Crew's discard pile to replace the brand new Silver Seal I'd bought that ruined me.

So, third time was the charm. The current engine is a monster and I'm pretty worry free. Had a scare with oil pressure that turned out to be a bad sensor, but now it eats transmissions.

If I were you in your position knowing what I know now, that engine would go straight to a good shop for a forged rebuild. It would have been a bargain at $8K (back then) compared to what I ended up going through.

So again, we're not being dicks or trying put you down or think you're stupid or anything like that.. The rabbit hole is indeed deep and treacherous. The learning curve is steep, and mistakes are costly.
 

rodruckus

Taking out the Euro trash
What's full boost? How many lbs are you running on 91 octane? The problem likely didn't occur because you had 200k mi on the motor. You likely overboosted and leaned out. You may want to add an Alky kit for safety during the rebuild? Otherwise, don't be surprised if you blow it up again. Unless your tune is spot.

Also, you need to check out that turbo, because turbo+oil+water=garbage.
 

ttypewhite

Well-Known Member
My 2 cents is pull it out yourself, send it to get it done properly and reinstall it. For a first time rebuild, your list is more then anyone would want to handle on the first time, and I don't think anyone is kind enough to walk you through a step by step tutorial on each intricate procedure. Too many variables that need to be done right that will give you all kinds of grief. On your list:

- Roller cam
- Roller rockers
- Porting the heads and intake or upgrading said parts
- Girdle for the bottom-end (REMOVE FROM LIST)
- Addressing any internal issues (i've heard oiling can be improved?)

I have already done some upgrades that I would like to re-use if possible:

- PTE 5558 SS bearing turbo
- 80 lb. flow-matched injectors from TurboTweak
- TH DP with cat
- RJC SS exhaust
- HR Parts 'N Stuff motor and trans mounts
- Kirban 3.5" aluminum DS

I would ditch the girdle and use ARP hardware throughout the bottom end, put forged pistons in and steel main caps along with the rest of your list.
 

Turbo6inKY

Short Guy
I would ditch the girdle and use ARP hardware throughout the bottom end, put forged pistons in and steel main caps along with the rest of your list.

After seeing what was involved in the girdle, I agree. They're just not worth it. At all. A quality forged crank, steel caps, and good fasteners largely solves the problem.
 

TexasT

Texas, Where are you from
Have you done any kind of diagnostics other than, "hey, this is what I think?" Have you put a compression gauge on any of the cylinders(mostly the one you pulled the oily plg out of), and done some real world testing? A turbo seal can introduce oil into an engine and so can the pcv valve if you have that hooked up. Im all about overhauling an engine but man, I just dont have that kind of time and money if it isnt needed. A leakdown would be my next action.
 

grass doctor

Dream Catcher
IMOP a girdle is only for holding broke stuff together and there to make you feel better ...when you put arp hardware in the bottom end ...it will need to be line honed with these new hardware to make sure its straight ...you will also need a decent amount of bearings to get clearances correct ..ETC...ETC...along with all the speciality tools required ... everything also depends of HP Goals and budget ... a lot of good advice has been posted GL in your goals ...
 

michael evans

Well-Known Member
Look at all the internals very closely as it sounds like it has been treated very rough.

Lean is very hard on pistons and rings.

Plan on throwing all the head bolts and internal hardware in the garbage.

Depending on if you go bolt or studs on the mains is if you need to have it lined honed (I would do all studs where I can).

Use Cometic gasket on all the main engine and SCE copper on the external.

Glue the gaskets to the valve covers with 3M adhesive.
 

Reggie West

Well-Known Member
TurboBuick.Com Supporter!
If you are going to use that 55/58 turbo you can get away with stock crank and rods and go forged pistons. Ported and polished heads are a good idea. Studs clamp a little better than bolts will. The front cover can be blueprinted and high volume gears put in it. You dont need to girdle the block. You need to buy an alky kit for sure no matter what. You wont make power on 91 octane gas alone on a Buick, the electronics are not good enough for that. They are 30 years old.

Cometic gaskets like to hold so well that they will burn up your pistons before they let go. The stock ones are a better fuse that go before the pistons do if you are detonating the motor.

If you plan on making more than 600 then do a forged rotating assembly now and you wont have to rebuild it later.

All of your bolt ons will work fine on a new build. Injector upgrades are not needed IF you buy the alky kit.
 
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