MG Engine Swaps Forum

Please Sign In or Register to Search

buick 215 vs. olds 215

Posted by reggo3636 
2015 Motoring Challenge
AutoShrine Sponsor
AutoShrine Sponsor
AutoShrine Sponsor
AutoShrine Sponsor

reggo3636 Avatar
reggie dernbach
cuyahoga falls, ohio, USA   usa
1970 Triumph GT6+ (MkII) "Jeremy Fisher"
1974 MG MGB GT "Marjory Stewart Baxter"
1979 Triumph Spitfire
2003 Audi A4 "Kenneth"
are they the same? will either work for a v8 conversion?

BritishV8 Avatar
Curtis Jacobson
Longmont CO, USA   usa
They aren't the same. Either will work. Many parts are interchangeable, but the cylinder heads in particular are quite different. Which engine is "preferable" is mostly a matter personal preference, although the Buick heads are very similar to the later Rover design. Basic identification information is included here:

After you visit that link, please notice that if you scroll to the bottom of any page of the British V8 website you can enter a search term. (There are several hundred related articles on the British V8 website.)

Jim Blackwood Avatar
* BlownMGB-V8
Gunpowder Rd., USA   usa
Generally, the Buick heads breathe better and the Olds is better suited to a blown or nitrous application due to the extra head bolt. Otherwise they are both very similar and entirely interchangeable.


Go here to see pics of a Olds F85 being built up.

I defy you to ban me.

Bugeyev8 Avatar
Brian Marshall
Plesanton, CA, USA   usa
1960 Austin-Healey Bugeye Sprite
1962 Chevrolet c10 "Grandpa's Truck"
1978 Triumph TR8
1997 Ford Probe GT
no matter both are junk, look into the later Rover V8s if your going to do all the work of a swap

Jim Blackwood Avatar
* BlownMGB-V8
Gunpowder Rd., USA   usa
Careful Brian, you'll get a bad reputation saying stuff like that. Now if you had said that the Rover casting process produced less scrap, or that Buick/Olds blocks and heads should be checked for casting porosity there'd be no argument with that. But it's quite clear from the numbers that they weren't all junk.


MVC-247S.JPG    45.2 KB

V8MGBV8 Avatar
Carl Floyd
Kinggsport, TN, USA   usa

Bugeyev8 Avatar
Brian Marshall
Plesanton, CA, USA   usa
1960 Austin-Healey Bugeye Sprite
1962 Chevrolet c10 "Grandpa's Truck"
1978 Triumph TR8
1997 Ford Probe GT
I meant no harm in that statement, I just hate to see another person make the same mistake just because its what everyone does, I have heard people that do this swap and are not pleased after its done, I have seen it a few times at the shop and some were wondering why they removed the 4 cylinder

These engines were not that great in the 60s when GM dumped them, the Rover engines are far better and produce more HP and have larger CID, I never said they won't make power but at what cost ?? I have run these engines for years and have built a few 5 litre 215s and in the end it was all a waste of time and money, I was never happy with the engine and I spent as much as a whole new car just on parts

The blown one on these links is nice but what did it cost to make ...what 300hp ?

you still have the poor oil passage issues , rope rear seal,castings that do not take years of neglect very well and out of 4 I got one that was not corroded bad enough to not use, the heads are terrible and you need to get a set of 300 heads if you want to get more than about 200 hp and these are almost impossible to find that have not become corroded, beaten by a broken valve or screwed up by a back woods machine shop, I have yet to see a set that cost less than 600 to rebuild

seeing the many BOP engines in all these cars does not prove anything but they fit, it says nothing to what they cost to build and how long they will run

If someone is looking for an engine to put in their car and drive, think about a japanese engine or at least a Rover, in their stock form the Rover is far better than any BOP ever was

If you in the Ca area I have acess to a cross bolted main 4.0 or 4.6 long block for 200$, also there is a place in San Jose with 2 sets of the 300 heads, its called GM Sports Salvage, they wanted 175$ for each set

MG four six eight Avatar
Bill Jacobson
WA, USA   usa
Wow Brian, I guess you don't like BOPs!
Rope seals! Does anyone actually use rope seals anymore when they O/H a BOP?
I always upgrade the block/cover to one piece rubber seals. Also enlarge the oil suction passages, install a high volume pump kit or use a latter Rover cover. Then your good to go.
Yeah it cost ya more than $600 to re-build one. But have you priced Rover parts lately?
It also cost me more than $600 to rebuild the stock MGB engine in my 67 roadster. We're not talking small block chevys here!
I agree the latter Rover blocks are better, however a BOP can be built to perform quite well in a 2100 lb car!
Twice the power, less weight, sounds like a win/win to me!


. You can hide this ad & support the site by upgrading to a Gold Membership ~ click here for more info
BritishV8 Avatar
Curtis Jacobson
Longmont CO, USA   usa
Brian's experience simply doesn't match mine either. I bought one Buick 215 in a running Buick Special for $150, rebuilt it, and I've run it without a single break-down on the road in my MGB since 1992. The engine wasn't especially expensive to build. Most of the parts for rebuilding it came from my local NAPA. It produces about twice the torque of the stock MGB motor. It really sounds great. It looks great (especially with its very smooth exterior finish.) It suits the MGB well, and it is by any definition an authentic "period modification".

Frankly, I think the oil passage issue has always been a big fat red herring. I think someone made that up so they could sell gullible people on some extra machine work. The rear rope-type oil seal isn't such a big deal either... but if you prefer a rubber seal, the simplest alternative is to simply use Ford part number C9AZ6701B. (I finally upgraded from rope seal to rubber seal last summer. The two-piece Ford seal is a couple millimeters extra long, but you can file its steel-wire core to fit nicely.) One clear advantage the Buick engine blocks have over Rover is that the cylinder sleeves will stay put, period, forever. Another advantage: if you're going to run a carburetor, the Buick 4-barrel manifold is quite good and has a nice low profile. If you're lucky, like I was, you can score a Buick bellhousing cheap too and bolt-up a T5 five speed. In short, there are lots of things going for these beautiful, classic motors.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2008-02-12 12:42 AM by BritishV8.

Jim Blackwood Avatar
* BlownMGB-V8
Gunpowder Rd., USA   usa
The blower motor, you guys are gonna love this: I bought a hacked up MGB with this engine sitting in it bolted to a TH350 with adapter plate AND a usable Olds 215 Jetfire turbo/ carb and manifolds for $1100. The engine had been rebuilt by Joe Lemley Racing Engines in Southpoint, Ohio and was a fresh rebuild. The Eaton M-90 blower took some arm twisting but also cost $1100 brand new. I built the intake from scrap parts I had laying around, and have maybe $500 total in the EFI/EDIS system. So that's something like $2700 total, maybe $3k. And you can now buy those blowers on ebay for $150 so knock a grand off that. Never mind the subtractions for parts I used or sold.

2 grand for 300hp in a package that weighs what the 4 banger did and bolts right in? Let me see you do that with a chebby. I will dub thee a Master.

I'm not saying it can't be done, indeed what I am saying is that it can. People spend a lot of money that they don't have to. The most expensive engine rebuild that I've ever done on one of these was $1300 in the early eighties and I used the stock pistons, but it put out 240 hp and hit 7 grand on many many occasions. Since then I've found many many ways to cut the cost. For whatever reason, none of those has involved the purchase of a Rover motor, but several have been BOP/SBB.

I have never once enlarged the oil passages. I have used rope seals. The one high volume oil pump I fitted was deemed unnecessary on the next engine and still sits there today on the old block, a testament to an ineffective and unnecessary band aid. I will say this. Any engine that you buy which is still running or was running recently is one of the good ones, and there were a lot of those, just look at the production numbers vs Rover. Not everyone was ignorant about water and antifreeze. Rovers would fare just as badly run on tap water. And as Curtis says, the die casting made for an attractive engine.

Personally I suspect that you are inflating your statistics a little to prove your point, but maybe things really are that skewed in your neighborhood. As far as output is concerned, ANY of the BOP's were more powerful in stock form than those used in the MGB by the factory, and you can take ANY stock engine and get more power out of it. So that means nothing. Comparing a 4.0 to a 215 is equally as meaningless as comparing a 4.0 to a SBB 340 which is also a bolt in swap using the exact same parts.

It is pointless to bad mouth a respected and valued engine to the enthusiasts who use it. To do so can only undermine your own credibility.


BritishV8 Avatar
Curtis Jacobson
Longmont CO, USA   usa
Jim wrote: The one high volume oil pump I fitted was deemed unnecessary on the next engine and still sits there today on the old block, a testament to an ineffective and unnecessary band aid.

I also started out with a high volume oil pump kit and I ended up removing it pretty early on too. I think they're a rip-off. IMHO, oil volume isn't an issue for these engines. I do think it's important to keep clean oil in the engine. Have you noticed that Glen Towery uses two great big filters. I don't go that far - but I do change my oil filter frequently. When I first built my engine I used the original (1963) oil pump valve body even though its wear surface was scuffed up. When I would start the engine, it took awhile for oil pressure to build up. After I changed to a brand new Buick V6 valve body, I've never had a problem with this - and I'm confident my bearings are happier! Incidentally, some people install a steel plate so that the wear surface at the end of the pump gears is more durable.

. You can hide this ad & support the site by upgrading to a Gold Membership ~ click here for more info

To add your reply, or post your own questions

Members Sign In   or   Create an Account

Registration is FREE and takes less than a minute!

Having trouble posting or changing forum settings?
Check the Forum Help File (FAQ) or contact the webmaster.

Join The Club

Sign in to ask questions, share photos, and access all website features

MGExp Menu

What's New


Forums ->


MG Midget

Buy, Sell & Trade

Vendor Market

MG Engine Swaps

Original MG



MG Magnette

1100 & 1300

T-Series & Prewar

Modern MGs

MG Motorsports

Member Meetup

MG 2015 Event

Other Vehicles

Off Topic


Forum Search

Random Topic

Latest Posts

Live Chat



Tech Library

Car Registry

Cars For Sale

Model Info



Member Map

MGExp Store

Search Site

Advertising Info

Smartphone quick link

Adjust Text Size

Larger Smaller
Reset Save