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early engine heads

Updated: Jan 13

Early engine cylinder heads: The early engines were very experimental. The 322 was different every year. The 53s were totally different. Different combustion chamber design with poor quench, and you set the timing thru the bellhousing skirt. You can count on one hand, the parts that didn't get changed after 53, but thats for a different post. The 264 got introduced in 54 to replace the specials straight 8... And made more power than the 53 322. Buick constanty made changes, even halfway through the year. The heads are different every year. 53 is one year only. 54, 55 and 56 are the same casting, but 55 has the bigger exhaust valves. Halfway through 55, the pushrod holes got opened up bigger too. Technically 54 and 55 were 264 heads that they used on the 322 as well, since the valves were unshrouded in 56 just to accommodate the 322s larger bore since the 264 wasnt made anymore. You should not use a 56 head on a 264 and the 53 head wont fit on 54 to 56 engines. it will bolt on of course, but combustion chamber and piston design don't match. when we build 322s, we unshroud the valves on the 54 and 55 heads. You can upgrade your 53 engine with the later heads and later pistons however. Connecting rods became stronger with no wrist pin pinch bolt halfway through 55, and they switched to the 56 four barrel intake, valve covers, and valley pan, mid year. 53 to 55 also used a longer pushrod with a shallower lifter. Despite popular belief, multiple 322 variations were still made after 56, all the way thru 59 in huge chevy trucks such as fire trucks and school buses

Early engine cylinder heads: The early engines were very experimental. The 322 was different every year. The 53s were totally different. Different combustion chamber design with poor quench, and you set the timing thru the bellhousing skirt. You can count on one hand, the parts that didn't get changed after 53, but thats for a different post. The 264 got introduced in 54 to replace the specials straight 8... And made more power than the 53 322. Buick constanty made changes, even halfway through the year. The heads are different every year. 53 is one year only. 54 and 55 are the same casting, but 55 has the bigger exhaust valves. Halfway through 55, the pushrod holes got opened up bigger too. Technically 54 and 55 were 264 heads that they used on the 322 as well, since the valves were unshrouded in 56 just to accommodate the 322s larger bore since the 264 wasnt made anymore. You should not use a 56 head on a 264 and the 53 head wont fit on 54 to 56 engines. You can upgrade your 53 engine with the later heads and later pistons however. Connecting rods became stronger with no wrist pin pinch bolt halfway through 55, and they switched to the 56 four barrel intake, valve covers, and valley pan, mid year. 53 to 55 also used a longer pushrod with a shallower lifter. Despite popular belief, multiple 322 variations were still made after 56, all the way thru 59 in huge chevy trucks such as fire trucks and school buses

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