How much to refresh a 472/500?
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500, 472, 425, 368 Discussion, How much to refresh a 472/500? in Cadillac Engine Technical Discussion; Ok, lets say you find a 472/500, it is inside a warehouse with lots of other engines. The year, mileage, ...
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    How much to refresh a 472/500?

    Ok, lets say you find a 472/500, it is inside a warehouse with lots of other engines. The year, mileage, condition, anything is unknown, all you know is that it is a Cadillac 472 or a 500, and completle form the oil pan to the carburator.

    It has been sitting for well over 15 years or so, the owner of the place says all the engines there should be completly rebuilt form sitting so long.

    Something like this isn't a drop-in motor, but what would be involved? would you have to get head work done? I mean, what would the cheapest, just get it running route be, then what would the "do this while it is out so it is better later" be?

    Eh, I'll cut to the chase, a long time ago I looked at these engines, didn't have the money, and passed, then we saw the guy again, he still has them, still wants to sell them, and still wants the same price. He has 3 of them, he says they are 500's, but when I asked, he didn't know the year, they are not 425's, so there are 3 500/472 of various years, all in the same condition as mentioned above. Here is the fun part, while I didn't have the money 2 years ago, now I do, and with it getting harder to find these engines, and there are always cool projects for these things, I am buying all 3 of them. He wants $100 each, so I have the money, he gets $300 I get 3 engines, simple enough.

    Now I am only here in NY for 3 weeks or so, and while an engine swap is a pretty complex thing, my father has the resources and abality to do it, I am not talking about an all-out rebuild, massive HP, 12s car, but I'll pull the heads on these engines, see what shape they are in, and exactly what year/displacement they are, then I was hoping to be able to put it back together and maybe....maybe..... maybe swap a 500 into the '79 sooner then I planned.

    Here is the deal, If the heads are removed to inspect the engine, do they HAVE to be cleaned up, mill'ed or a valve job done? is it recomended since they are already off, or can I just clean them up by hand then stick them back on? We have connections to a machine shop, but time is of the essance, and I don't have much of it. Also, since the heads would be off, I think I would just go ahead and swap a regrind cam in it, I already have a 472 intake manifold I plan to cut the center section out of, so that will go on it, as well as a rebuilt carburator. Dual exhaust is planned in the future, but for now the stock will stay.

    So lets say that by miracle, the engine turns with a breaker bar, Could the bottem end be left alone? or would it all have to be taken apart, new rings installed etc... or since it is already that far, may as well replace rings and stuff? But then in that case would the pistons have to be replaced?

    I am getting the engines, but now that I have them, I am really intrested in getting one going, I will not have the chance to do it for another 2 years or so. I do not want to spend mega bucks to get the thing going either, but if it'll cost a little money to change and replace parts that just make sense at that point, I would.

    So lets say I spend $300 on the 3 engines, I already have the intake manifold gasket (the big metal one) and new valve cover gaskets, I also have a new, unused carburator rebuild kit. So *not counting* the regrind cam, lifters and push rods (maybe $250 all together there?) How much money are we talking to get one of these sleeping beasts running again?

    Or is this all a crazy plan, and I should let the engines sit until I am ready to do a full rebuild one day, and keep putting around with the 425 in the car now?

    Keep in mind, one day within the next 2 years, the car will need to make a trip from NY to FL, so I need it to be reliable, I trust the 425 to get me there, and back, multiple times, so I don't want to get involved swapping an engine, but have lots of problems... but then again these engines either run or they don't, and they usually do, and when they do they run great.

    Plus, a freshened up 472/500 with a mild cam, rebuilt carb, in my stock '79 with a (will be) shift kit.... I think it would make it a little more peppy then the 425 THEN I can really start to tell people the car is fast, as it is rather quick for a stock car of that size/era now

    This was loooooong.... Can anyone help? I'll be getting the engines in a couple of days, just a matter of me getting the trailer on my fathers Bronco, and us taking a ride there, I have the cash (mmm graduation) so I am ready to do this.

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    Re: How much to refresh a 472/500?

    After sitting for that long and not knowing if they have 20k or 300k miles I'd do a complete teardown/rebuild. You could leave the oil pan on and not touch the bottom end, but who knows what conditon the bearings, main seals, lower cyl wall, etc are in.

    As for pistons, if the cyl wall is in good shape and you can get away with just a hone then you can just do rings reusing the 30 year old cast pistons. If the walls are bad enough to have it bored, you can get away with using cast replacement pistons for around $250 IIRC. At that point, consider having the rods reconditioned and using ARP rod bolts. But IMO if you're doing the pistons and plan to be making any serious power, go with KBs or forged. KBs are about $375, forged runs around $500. I figure if you're doing pistons, may as well do KBs, and if you're doing KBs might as well do forged, and if you're doing forged might as well do pistons and rods. Forged is the strongest way to go and the only way if you ever get an itch for forced induction or nitrous. Forged internals, cam, and a 300 shot and you could really call that 79 FAST (or you'll grenade your rear or tranny.) Start with a solid bottom end if you don't want to pull the engine again later on.

    As for the heads and valvetrain, I'd get a cam kit from Flash or the equivalant parts from another vendors. The condition of the rest of the parts in the head will determine if they need replacement. I'm sure others can help fill you in on what to look for more exactly than I can.

    One more thing, be glad you're working on a big old car with a big engine. Not a smaller car with a medium sized engine shoehorned in there like a Taurus SHO, which is what I'll be helping work on tomorrow. Or a northstar like I'll be doing in a month or 2. Be thankful for the massive amount of room you have around the engine and the lack of millions of computerized parts...

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    lux hauler is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: How much to refresh a 472/500?

    If it were me, I'd pull it apart for an inspection. If everything looked ok, replace the rings, bearings and valve seals and call it good.

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    Re: How much to refresh a 472/500?

    Maybe you should check them all out, get the numbers off of them, and look them up, etc. Then you can figure out which are 500's, and what year. Take the heads off, etc. Then buy the best one there, and have another $200 to spend on it instead of buying the other engines, which will probably be there at a later date.

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    Re: How much to refresh a 472/500?

    You will not be able to use a breaker bar unless you install a front crank bolt. The bolt is not left in place after crank hub installation on any of these engines.
    Used spark plugs tell a story. Give them a good look. You are looking for an engine with a good top end that does not use oil. Get a couple of engine stands. Hook 'em up flip 'em over and pull the oil pan. Find one engine that has good looking cross hatch patterns and no scuffing on the cylinders. This is not unusual on one of these regardless of mileage. Take the worst looking engine and send the heads out if they are the same cc as your best engine. Keep them in case you are unlucky. Pop off the timing cover. You can pull the crankshaft and renew the mains and rod bearings without removing the pistons. Each rod cap is disconnected and the piston gets carefully pushed all the way to TDC. The crank can then come out for bearing replacement. Most times the crank will be within spec. If it needs a cut then consider another crank. Measure anything and everything yourself. Don't leave it up to someone who may want to drum up business for themselves. You can freshen the bearings and timing chain + you will be changing the oil pump housing anyway to fit into your car. Same for the pan and sump. If you are lucky then the heads will be OK. If you are unlucky then you will have a spare set of heads to pop onto your already installed engine. Don't play with the camshaft without first doing head work. If the lifters are still relatively flat then the cam will be fine.
    This makes a nice phase 1 baseline test. When you do get around to spending $3,000.00 for performance parts then you will know exactly what they do for you.

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    Re: How much to refresh a 472/500?


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    Re: How much to refresh a 472/500?

    You know, when i ripped apart my 472 i thought everything LOOKED pretty damn good. No scuffing in the walls, everything was clean... etc. Took it to the machine shop... crank needed a cut, needed to be bored over, needed headwork. I just told him... i want everything that needs to be done to be done.... i want it PERFECT.

    My learning experience here is dont get your self excited because stuff looks good, take it to a machine shop where they know what the hell they are doing. But now i have a nice new and improved/updated 472. Perfection in my case is costing about 3k just in the engine, but hell its worth it!

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    Re: How much to refresh a 472/500?

    Yeah JTraik, btw, how is your project coming along?

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    Re: How much to refresh a 472/500?

    Quote Originally Posted by JTraik
    You know, when i ripped apart my 472 i thought everything LOOKED pretty damn good. No scuffing in the walls, everything was clean... etc. Took it to the machine shop... crank needed a cut, needed to be bored over, needed headwork. I just told him... i want everything that needs to be done to be done.... i want it PERFECT.

    My learning experience here is dont get your self excited because stuff looks good, take it to a machine shop where they know what the hell they are doing. But now i have a nice new and improved/updated 472. Perfection in my case is costing about 3k just in the engine, but hell its worth it!
    If you cannot perform your own measurements and inspections then you are on the path towards being ripped off. If you give someone a blank check then they are sure going to use it. Many machine shops are used to cheaper American engines and have little or no experience with Cadillac. You don't just punch out cylinders because the engine has XX miles. If the cross hatch is visable and the piston skirts have minimal scuffing then leave it alone or waste $$.

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    Re: How much to refresh a 472/500?

    Unfortunatly, my cylinders were scratched . But it gave me an excuse to go .040 over

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    Re: How much to refresh a 472/500?

    Quote Originally Posted by terrible one
    Unfortunatly, my cylinders were scratched . But it gave me an excuse to go .040 over
    What kind of availability did you find on oversized pistons in different sizes?
    Just wondering.

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    Re: How much to refresh a 472/500?

    Quote Originally Posted by terrible one
    Yeah JTraik, btw, how is your project coming along?
    Quite good... firewall to front completley stripped and cleaned. I took off all of the front suspension parts. The hardest part on working on this car so far was the suspenion... the upperbj's are tacwelded in and needed to come out with my impact press... the lowerbjs i simply smacked out on an anvil... the hardest parts were the bushings which either i torched out or crushed and hammered... it was extremely frustrating. I have all new suspension parts all the way around the car (bushings, bj's, springs, shocks). Next step is painting the firewall-front frame section. Get my engine back from the shop and then the reassembly process... which will be aided by my 1968 Caddy shop manual i just got from faxon!!!


    My current project is finding a rebuilt cad plated delco-moraine booster... which is either extremely expensive or impossible to find. Oh and i got a new MC to go along with it...

    Ill go out and take pictures of it right now for you all to see and post it on my "At least it can roll..." topic!!!

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    Re: How much to refresh a 472/500?

    Where are you getting the suspension parts? Do they carry them for any other years? I need to replace all bushings I think.

    Ape Man,

    At first we were going to go .030 with KB pistons, but I have recently been told that we are now going to be going .040 over, because we couldn't find them in that size. I'll give more information later, because right now it is pretty vague.

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    Re: How much to refresh a 472/500?

    Quote Originally Posted by terrible one
    Where are you getting the suspension parts? Do they carry them for any other years? I need to replace all bushings I think.

    Ape Man,

    At first we were going to go .030 with KB pistons, but I have recently been told that we are now going to be going .040 over, because we couldn't find them in that size. I'll give more information later, because right now it is pretty vague.
    Right down at the parts store... they are pretty expensive, beware.

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    Re: How much to refresh a 472/500?

    Pretty expensive, eh? I need new bushings for everything having to do with the front suspension. How much were yours, if you don't mind me asking?

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