CarTalk.com Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

72 Buick Skylark, Seized engine. Need advice

blessed are those of little faith, for they shall inherit what i dont fix for cheap

What about the brakes?

brakes atm are a question mark. they didnt bind so bad we pushed it with 3 men. and then worked when needed. beyond that i suppose they are there. the car wasnt sitting in a field or anything folks, a garage/barn. and its in fair shape overall, we pulled the car on a tow dolly home fine.

There’s nothing better than a barn find!

Tester

1 Like

Brakes likely shot. Don’t find out on your first drive.

2 Likes

I would try some healthy taps (not whacks) with a wooden block on top of the pistons. This can help the pbblaster get in to do its job.

I also would take the time ot do this engine right, probably going single oversize on the bores, new crank and rod bearings, and probably a new oil pump and timing cover (the surface the pump turns wears down).

https://www.rockauto.com/en/catalog/buick,1972,skylark,5.7l+350cid+v8,1023028,engine,engine+rebuild+kit,5316 kits.

I’m considering the first three overhaul kits on that link. Depending on how everything looks when it does come out

If you can have everything done for less than $10k I’d be surprised.

A decent paint job from a reputable shop will run at least $2k, even if you do some of the prep work yourself
Pretty much all rubber hoses will need to be replaced. Even minor body work will cost a grand,

If there’s rust in in any of the bores, you may end up with scoring which would necessitate boring the cylinders out, if you get to that point, I’d seriously consider getting a used LS engine and going with that.

I have a 1974 TR6 that I’m considering having restored. I’ve done everything I’m comfortable doing ( new shocks front an back, new brakes, new clutch, replaced some crossmembers on the frame, new carpet, new dashboard, had the seats redone, etc. But the rest of the job; paint, engine rebuild, new softtop, plus anything else it needs will likely cost around $10k-$15k all in. You seem to be in a somewhat similar situation with your car, I think that $2k is an unrealistic estimate.

2 Likes

Matt, keep in mind the posters here are sharing their experience with you. Posters that have done the work themselves, rebuilt engines, and revived old cars. Some are professional mechanics as well and all are sharing with you their experiences and estimates for costs. We don’t want you to get halfway into this project and run into a brick wall. I wish you all the luck in the world and access to cash if that luck doesn’t run your way!

2 Likes

One could by a '72 Skylark 4-door sedan (or something very much like it) in running condition for not much more than $2,000-$3,000. So as long as you know this is a money-losing proposition, have fun.

AS suggested, finding a good used LS engine and swapping that in is also a good idea unless you want to stick with the original to keep it as stock as possible. The LS would offer better economy, reliability, and power compared to 1972 technology. There are all kinds of aftermarket kits and adapters to put these engines in so many different cars these days, from Miatas to Mustangs. I assume GM used a pretty standard engine bay back in 1972 so would guess this isn’t a hard swap and that someone already has a kit ready for you to use without much custom fabrication.

Read the reviews on any parts you buy. I have heard some very mixed reviews on some of the low-cost auto parts purchased online. There is no point in putting all kinds of labor into this car if you end up having to redo jobs because of a failed repair due to a cheap part. It sounds like you are going to do a lot of the labor so that is a major cost saver right there.

I want to point out this isn’t going to be a show car. And as well that I appreciate all advice given. I’m from the south, and we have a make it work mentality down here. And things get done a little cheaper down here.

Iwill be making as many of the original parts work as possible. Repairing everything I can myself. I am still open to the idea of a replacement engine, if this one can’t be saved. I will keep a running cost on it and post things as it goes. So far only down 2 cans of pbblaster and 1 can of gunk. About 7$. Yes I know this will go up

mortor mounts lose, starter off, all hoses wires off. all thats left is to pull the radiator to be sure nothing bangs into it when the motor comes out. as long as i dont get stuck at work crazy late it should be out tomorrow.

Good luck with the project. Assuming you get the engine running, I wonder how sitting that long will affect an automatic transmission? I generally have a heck of a lot better luck out of engines than I do transmissions.

  1. You do not want a $500 paint job! 2. You do not want a $500 paint job! 3. You do not want a $500 paint job!

OK, those are the three rules of getting a cheap paint job. It will look decent for maybe a few months and then be worse than it is now. Get it done right! The sad thing about a cheap paint job is that it can make it more expensive to have it done right in the future.

Why? This a 1972 sedan for transportation.
,

1 Like

Clearcoat it and leave the “patina”. Looks better than a $500 paint job. It won’t qualify as a “rat rod”, though. Maybe a “rat cruiser”.

I’ve always wanted to build a “rat rod” 4wd or suv. Something like an early Bronco. I think it’d be cool to get it mechanically perfect, a nice interior, working AC, possibly a late model motor and overdrive trans, etc. But leave the body with the surface rust and dents it got over the years. Slightly oversized off-road tires on the stock wheels. A sleeper of sorts.

1 Like

Follow @Tester’s advice, but use kerosene instead of oil, it works better.

I have a friend who is a clock repairman and when he has a clock that isn’t running due to corrosion, he soaks it in ammonia. I’ve never heard of doing this to an engine, but it is something to think about.

That’s exactly Motor-Flush is.

I know people also use diesel fuel which is basically kerosene and a lot easier to get.

1 Like