215 C.I. Aluminum V-8

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215 C.I. Aluminum V-8

Postby 80 MONZTA » Fri Jul 21, 2006 6:24 pm

O.K. Bugdewde, you got my attention with that. I thought that I would start a new thread instead of taking over that other one. I have Questions. :D

How much smaller is this compared to a small block Chevy? How much more room is there in between the rad. and the engine? I saw a Skyhawk in a Kingman Az. junkyard that had a Ford 302 in it, and was amazed at how much more clearance there was for the steering shaft.

What about the oil pan - any issues with the center link?

Are a lot of headers available or would they have to be custom made?

I suppose that the brackets for Alt. Power steering pump and Air cond. pump would have to be self-made?

And what about the motor mounts?

With this, and any engine with a compresion ratio of 11 to 1 does it require a higher octane than 87?
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Postby HotfootGT » Sat Jul 22, 2006 6:59 am

Start here for aa the info you need!
http://aluminumv8.com/
Howdy from Hotlanta
73 Kammback "Little Buddy"
62 Skylark 215 CI Aluminum V8
71 Dodge D-100 Sweptline
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Postby bugdewde » Sat Jul 22, 2006 1:10 pm

I bought my car with the 215 already installed.
These are the things I do know: Everything else will come from the D&D Fab guys in the link at www.aluminumv8.com on the other post

-The steering shaft does touch the exhaust manifold(on some installations). Slight grinding fixes this.
-Headers are available(probably not for Vega anymore) Block hugger style that will fit most anything. See D&D Fab
-Alt('63 only), PS brackets from a 215 bolt right up????? No issues other than lengthening the wiring harness under the hood for the starter, distributor, oil sender, ....)
-Oil pan has to be notched. It's in the articles.... "Vega conversion" or Can be bought at D&D Fab.
-High octane isn't needed(but I do run it). The aluminum heads(and block) dissipate the heat very well. No detonation.
-Special bellhousing is needed to mate to a later GM tranny(not chevy or BOP pattern) Not needed if using original tranny. Bellhousing can be bought at D&D Fab.
-Radiator clearance is tight. I have a 3 core rad and can get my hand(flat) between the rad and fan. A small ratchet/socket combo will fit, too.

Here's what I don't know for sure:
-Motor mounts are Buick V6 (D&D Fab will know)
-Might have to relocate the oil filter. Mine was. Looks like the stock location might interfer with the "K" member. My car doesn't have the legs of the "K" member. That's right. ..... No "K" member. No sagging either. I'll install one this time, though.

Here's some pics of what the car was like when I bought it. Very ugly and messy but it ran great :wink:
D&D FABRICATIONS in Almont, Michigan will have all your answers. They are at www.aluminumv8.com
Attachments
As bought top.jpg
Top view in car
As bought top.jpg (33.44 KiB) Viewed 4168 times
As bought side.jpg
Side view in car
As bought side.jpg (43.68 KiB) Viewed 4254 times
As bought steering clearance.jpg
Steering shaft clearance
As bought steering clearance.jpg (43.02 KiB) Viewed 4253 times
As bought steering clearance close up.jpg
Steering shaft clearance close up. Notice just a little of the OVAL have been ground off as well as a little of the manifold.
As bought steering clearance close up.jpg (26.35 KiB) Viewed 4266 times
As bought rad clearance.jpg
Rad clearance. Can fit a hand between there, as well as a socket and ratchet. .... but tight.
As bought rad clearance.jpg (37.17 KiB) Viewed 4191 times
Last edited by bugdewde on Sat Jul 22, 2006 1:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Dwight

'73 Vega GT Hatchback, mostly stock....
'72 Vega GT Kammback, 215 V8
'73 Vega Wagon - Currently in Limbo....
My rides: http://www.cardomain.com/id/bugdewde
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Postby bugdewde » Sat Jul 22, 2006 1:16 pm

Here's another comparison drawing of the 215's size compared to the MGA, Jaguar and Chevy 283......
Attachments
Comparison.jpg
Comparison.jpg (61.1 KiB) Viewed 4141 times
As bought oil lines.jpg
Notice the lack of the "K" member legs. Remote oil filter lines run under the support!!!!!
Oil pan is modified to clear centerlink, also.
As bought oil lines.jpg (39.39 KiB) Viewed 4141 times
Dwight

'73 Vega GT Hatchback, mostly stock....
'72 Vega GT Kammback, 215 V8
'73 Vega Wagon - Currently in Limbo....
My rides: http://www.cardomain.com/id/bugdewde
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Postby bugdewde » Sat Jul 22, 2006 2:46 pm

Just to keep the 215 info together:

www.aluminumv8.com
Newest D&D Fabrications site near Detroit, Michigan.(He has performed over 2,200 Vega conversions.......) Without a doubt, THE 215 PLACE

http://www.aluminumv8.com/catalog/2005C ... mplete.pdf
D&D Fab's catalog of 215 parts...... (large)pdf format

http://lotus.www.50megs.com/V8articles.htm
These are several OLD articles dealing with the GM 215. History, Stroking, Vega conversion, performance modifications, tests, Brabham and McLaren 215 based race engines, etc......

http://www.442.com/oldsfaq/ofjet.htm#Jetfire
Oldmobile 215 info. Olds 215 was the 2nd GM engine to produce 1 hp per cubic inch, right behind the SBC 283. Using a factory turbocharger on the Olds F85 JetFire. That's right. Factory Turbo way back in '62......

http://autos.groups.yahoo.com/group/215V8/
Good info here on the Yahoo groups. There are some very knowledgeable guys here. I think you'll have to join to view messages but it's free. Just like the Hbody groups there.


http://www.britishv8.org/British-V8-Back-Issues.htm
Newsletters(only a select few, not all available for free) based out of my area, Maryville, Tennessee that cover many aspects of building a 215(and derivatives) for MGs, Triumphs, Kit Cars, Sandrails, Dune Buggies..... etc...

www.v8engines.com
Way too much info here for the beginner. This is the UK's Rover 215(and larger) premier aftermarket supplier. These parts still fit US 215s. Great articles and writeups on various parts for the 215. such as Edelbrock 500 vs Holley 390 carbs, fuel injection, intakes, exhausts, heads, ignition........etc. See "Magazine Features by Chris Crane" on main page. for a better introduction to 215 mods.

http://www.intermeccanica.org/publications/a-l/a-c.htm
This is a list of articles on an American "Sports" car that used the Buick 215 before switching to the cast iron 300. It's the Apollo 3500 GT. This is the car that raced opposite Herbie The Love Bug. 215s were used extensively in many KIT CARS throughout the 60s and 70s because of their light weight for handling purposes. Not much use here for H-bodies, but there are unbiased magazine reviews of the engine from way, way back.......

Then of course, there's the Google searches for:
Buick 215, Olds 215, GM Aluminum v8, ['61-'63 Skylark, Special, F85 and Temptest], Rover v8, Rover 3500, Rover 3.5, Rover 3.9, Rover 4.0, Rover 4.6
Dwight

'73 Vega GT Hatchback, mostly stock....
'72 Vega GT Kammback, 215 V8
'73 Vega Wagon - Currently in Limbo....
My rides: http://www.cardomain.com/id/bugdewde
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Postby 80 MONZTA » Fri Aug 11, 2006 6:40 pm

bugdewde wrote:-Radiator clearance is tight. I have a 3 core rad and can get my hand(flat) between the rad and fan. A small ratchet/socket combo will fit, too.


Do you know if you have the original 215 water pump on yours? I have been reading, and see in the '85 Hot Rod pg.89, that the water pump and front cover from later model 300/340 engines are shorter. Maybe this would help some?
LeRoy
1980 Monza, 305/Th350 removed for LS1/T-56 swap, can't wait to :burn: My Project
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My 1976 "FRANKENHAWK" has a 1966 Buick 300...

Postby SKYCHICKEN » Fri Aug 11, 2006 10:21 pm

Which is similar to the 215!
The 215 has a CR of 11:1. To high for todays fuel prices, and it will not run efficiently on 87 octane.
215's also have SEVERE cylinder problems, thus their reason for not using those all alum V-8's past '64-'65 & selling the machining rights to RANGE ROVER. I would avoid this engine at ALL COSTS, unless you plan MAJOR MOD'S to it! It's only good for drag racing.

I installed a 231 water pump on the stock 300 cover. I'm running a flex fan, and have made 4 individual spacers (for each bolt) using 1/2" copper tubing! I have roughly 3/4 to 1" clearance. I'm running a four core rad, which was custom built at my local shop.

I made some aluminum plates (1/2" spacers) to slip between the motor mount support & frame stand, so as it lifts the driver side to clear the steering column.
To further clear the exhaust, I spaced the front of the manual steering gear, so as it changes the angle of the column. There is no strain on the column or the coupler.

The engine & exhaust are out of a '66 Special. The block bolted right to the bellhousing (T-50 5 Spd).
No grinding was required on anything.

This project clearly beats a Chevy V-8 installation. A Bone stock 2bbl is plenty for this car.
FRANKENHAWK has a 3.73 Posi (soon to have a 3.42).

Off Topic:
Right now, I'm on the verge of rewiring FRANKENHAWK using a 1996 Saturn (Under the hood) fuse box. Slight mods were made to the box, & it fits PERFECTLY between the fender well & Power brake booster!
I'm sick & tired of reaching under the dash for the fuses. with a roll cage, that gets old REAL QUICK!

I will submit pics in a few days/weeks for all to see.
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Hey BUGDEWDE...

Postby SKYCHICKEN » Sat Aug 12, 2006 7:01 am

That 72 looks like it could use a GOOD sandblasting & paint underneath!

There's a family business here that does a fantastic job. They do this sort of thing all the time.

They did FRANKENHAWK for $300.00! Sandblast, Prime & Paint, & it looks NEW!
That fee also included doing my hood, & miscellaneous body pieces.

Perhaps you have a business like this in YOUR area.

I advise that you remove the engine prior to having this done though.
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Postby bugdewde » Sat Aug 12, 2006 10:41 am

It sounds like you're running a 300 in a Skyhawk???????
Good to see another "Buick" V8 in an H-body.

I'll have to contradict your comment on the compression ratio and the use of 87 octane. I have used 87 on occasion with no pinging at all. I don't know the timing curve of the HEI distributor...... I do, prefer to use 93, though.

I have run my 215 off and on for over 2 years in every range of use you can imagine. I've lugged it up curvey mountain stream roads at 1000 rpm for 15 miles in 5th, I've blasted it around parking lots at 3000--5000 rpm in 1st and 2nd, I've put numerous miles on the interstate/highway, even over on your side of the mountain........ I went over the Smokies to NC and hauled some stuff back from Mike's place in Morganton, ....... and yes..... I've even broke it at over 7000 rpm(knowing my valve springs were rated at well under 6000..... Duh!). Honestly, I can't say one bad thing about this engine. Super Trooper, in my case.
Head gasket failures were common, but mostly due to the inadequate coolant in the 60's that didn't work well with aluminum blocks(corroded) which caused overheating. Most serious builders, "O"-ringed their decks.

Rarely are there cylinder problems..... unless you overbore the liners more than 0.040"......... or attempt to over rev and drop a valve into the piston.

As for the water pump... I use the short style.
I'm also going to be using a 300 timing cover when I put the 300 crank in so the timing tab will match.

Yes, car has lots of surface rust and a couple rust through holes needing attention. Car is currently completely stripped. Awaiting someone to weld up my rust.......... I've considered the blasting method and will do a major body RESTO when I get the rust issues fixed. That's not my area of expertise..........
Check out the pics by clicking on the link("1972 Chevrolet Vega GT") under my avatar and location....... or find it in the "garage" .
Dwight

'73 Vega GT Hatchback, mostly stock....
'72 Vega GT Kammback, 215 V8
'73 Vega Wagon - Currently in Limbo....
My rides: http://www.cardomain.com/id/bugdewde
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Postby SKYCHICKEN » Sun Aug 13, 2006 7:22 am

<<<It sounds like you're running a 300 in a Skyhawk???????>>>

YES! I found the car ('66 Special) in a field, looked under the hood, saw this BUICK V-8, got a hard on (just kidding), turned the crank (it spun) THEN got a hard on, and took the car to my house, stripped it, & crushed the body.
I spent $1000.00 +/- to COMPLETELY rebuild the 300. For a 1966, this should have had the ridge from hell in the cylinder. I was amazed that it STILL was able to only receive a heavy HONING. It still has the 3.775 bore diameter!

As far as the 215...

I went to Whites Garage in Germanton, NC, and he has a 63 Olds Skylark with a siezed 215. He want $300 for it. I was VERY CLOSE to buying it, but being that it was seized, & I was just getting ready to install the 300, I thought that I'd better not. Then I researched & read about the problems back then with the problems that were with the motor. Also, that stupid bell housing configuration!!!
You were RIGHT with the "O" rings. It also had the 11:1 CR, & w/ the cost of fuel, it was good that I didn't.

I'm surprised that you're getting away with running 87 octane in your motor. When I built my "Odd Fire" (V-6), I ran this w/10:1 (2232P Sealed Power) pistons and could not run anything less than 93! I was even buying AvGas (110 octane) & mixing it with the 93!

Did the 215 have another CR? Also...Are the bores "Sleeved"?

One thing that I'd like to point out about your Vega...

1971 & '72 Vegas always had the cool front end (grill). Back in the day, it was customary to install Datsun P/U truck REAR bumpers in place of the front bumper. These came off of (correct me if I'm wrong) early 1970's Datsun P/U's. I didn't actually do so, but it was popular, and it looked really good. The bumpers curve around the fenders (like your present bumper does), but what makes it different is that it stops just prior to the start of the grill. It also features a "Bumperette" at the ends! Just food for thought.
I cut mine (when I owned a '72), and it just didn't look the same.

Last, but not least, is that a Borg Warner T-50 trans? This goofy trans has reverse where 1st gear would be on 'Normal' Transmissions.
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Postby bugdewde » Sun Aug 13, 2006 10:09 pm

Unlike conventional cast iron........the aluminum block/heads dissipate the heat real well..... detonation/pinging is rare. That's why folks prefer to cook with cast iron rather than aluminum. Iron holds the heat longer and more evenly. Not a good choice for heat displacement.

There were various pistons available that offered different compression ratios:
Buick: 8.8, 10.25, 11.0
Olds: 7.75, 10.25, 10.75
Folks used to take the Olds pistons(wedge head configuration) and put them in the Buick semi-hemi head configuration and get well over 12:1, if not 13, back in the day. All on leaded pump gas..............

Yes the bores are sleeved. Original Buick/Olds versions have the block cast around the sleeves(very stable but not perfectly straight).
The later Rover versions have the liners pressed in(not as stable, but can be held in with a dowel/machine screw. The Rover versions have various upgrades thoughout the years in strength gusseting, etc.

Yes, I run a BW T-50. They are weak and not recommended for high torque engines like a V8. Be careful. I like them anyway. The low first gear(3.4:1) works great with my 2.56 rear gear. The 0.80:1 over drive is good with the 2.56, too. I blew two T-50s behind a mild 3.2L V6 I had in my first Vega. I don't "shock" the tranny with power shifts and speed shifts anymore, and so far, it has lived nicely(I have a spare, just in case).

As for the bellhousing pattern...... I've heard the guys on the Yahoo Groups "215V8" site just drilling the later tranny's bolt pattern into the bell with no issues. I currently use the Trans-Dapt style housing from D&D Fab.

I have heard about the Datsun bumpers before.........I think it's in one of my magazines....... or read it on one of these boards. Since I have two Vega bumpers, I'll cut and weld the ends on one and have it rechromed........ I love the split bumper look. My first Vega had split bumpers.

As you can tell........ I really like these little engines. When I get my body work done........ the car back together, you'll have to take it for a test ride to see how nicely a light 200 hp mill moves a 2000 lb car. That's 10 lbs per hp. And still handles like a stock Vega, not nose heavy like other V8 swaps. That's the fun part.
Dwight

'73 Vega GT Hatchback, mostly stock....
'72 Vega GT Kammback, 215 V8
'73 Vega Wagon - Currently in Limbo....
My rides: http://www.cardomain.com/id/bugdewde
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Postby Monza Madness » Mon Aug 14, 2006 12:58 pm

Just a little note, In the past couple of months I read an article in either car craft or hotrod they have a way of strengthening the T-50 with different gear sets. Still not a torque monster but it can survive behind a mild V8.
Roger
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Postby Hawk231 » Mon Aug 14, 2006 7:35 pm

You think you could dig that magazine up for me? I wouldn't mind buying a back issue for an article like that.
78 Skyhawk V6
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Postby bugdewde » Thu Jan 17, 2008 10:06 pm

To the top for those of you who have asked about the recent Aluminum 215 V8 article recently.
Dwight

'73 Vega GT Hatchback, mostly stock....
'72 Vega GT Kammback, 215 V8
'73 Vega Wagon - Currently in Limbo....
My rides: http://www.cardomain.com/id/bugdewde
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1972 Chevrolet Vega Kammback GT

Postby patrick1151 » Fri Jan 18, 2008 2:25 pm

Also talk to Ericseattle, he has a 215/4spd out of a Cosworth Vega in his Monza. I drove it and almost bought it at one point. That combo is very sweet.
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