Series 80 Motor, Still Struggling

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    I have been working over 5 months with a stuck aluminum head. All bolts have been removed. A rig was installed consisting clamps, chain and an engine lift to break the bond between the cast iron head and the head. Thin wedges have been installed by the head gasket. A 50/50 mix of ATF and acetone have been extensive used (helped in stud removal). The passenger side of the head has lifted but the drivers side is still firmly stuck.

    Although the rest of the car is in very good driver condition, it appear that this car may be destine to become a parts car. I know engines for the 80 are as rare as hens teeth. I am asking anyone who has an extra motor, head or know of an extra motor or head  to prevent  the loss of an original 1926 Pierce Model 80 to contact me.

    If a cast iron head was available, the aluminum head would most likely come off with a lot heat (and would be destroyed in the process)

    I suspect due to the almost zero clearance between the motor and back wall,that a substitute motor (heresy to most  Pierce Owners) would likely not practical

    Thank You

    Art Lee



















    To be clear, you managed to remove all the cylinder head studs but the head and gasket are stuck?


    Yes Jim, that is correct


    Jim,   Let’s make a few assumptions here: 1) The head gasket has a copper surface in contact with the aluminum head and another copper contact with the cast iron block. 2) This assembly has probably been together for about 90 years in a hot environment. 3) No head gasket is perfectly tight, so some (conductive) coolant or exhaust gasses was between the gasket surfaces.

    If these are true, you are now into the high-tech world of bi-metallic bonding. Search for “bimetal bonding” bonding between Aluminum/Copper and Copper/Iron surfaces bonds are known, some with commercial uses such as thermostats. After reading, don’t expect the Aluminum/Copper bond to break at all without machining the gasket away. Try to split between the copper gasket and the iron block. If the gasket has a compressible asbestos core, you may be able to cut it with a very thin hacksaw blade.

    There is a discussion on reducing the Copper/Iron bond, but that chemistry is beyond me.  Check the “BBC.UK/Bitesize” site for a good discussion of this topic, including suggestions on reversing the process.  Regards, Herb


    Have you tried using engine compression?

    Put the plugs back in and turn it over.


    I believe that your aluminum cylinder head is from a Series 81, so you original cast iron Series 80 cylinder head was replaced sometime in the past.


    Interesting pickle, my only experience with stuck aluminum head was the aluminum and studs corroded, in that case we tried compression which didn’t work and ended up filling a cylinder with trans fluid to create a hydraulic lock and turned the crank by hand.

    How are you getting purchase to pull on the head? Through the spark plug holes?

    If one side is already loose then it seems there is a start at peeling. I am guessing that the bond holding things is primarily the turned copper flanges of the gasket at each hole since most of the gasket would pull apart away from the holes.

    I am wondering about threading some rod into each spark plug hole, drill holes in a 4 × 4 wood to match with bolts above to get as even a load distribution as feasable. The spark plug holes in aluminum of course aren’t the strongest, although if you strip one out you can probably repair.

    With one side loose already, the off center of the spark plug holes should provide some peel load instead of straight tension. I would load it up and let it sit awhile with the hoist loading it, and increase the load day by day to try and mimimize the risk of breaking the head before it lets go.

    You may have already done this to get this far. Actually, I am amazed you got the studs out first!




    Hi Jim

    I got all of the studs off. I think you are up to something with the multi metal issue. I have eliminated option of using the spark plug hole threads since with such a tight head/block bond, i will simply strip the threads. Have also eliminated the liquid in the cylinders since the valves do not close completely and the  piston cranks and/or babbit cold be destroyed.

    I believe the only practical option left is to pry up the passenger side of the head where there is a gap, install wedges and try to force the head to peal off towards the driver side, If that does not work I guess the cars only  chance for life is a combination engine/ transmission change out with more modern combination.

    Also thank you Peter for the information that the original head was probably  iron


    Here’s another variation. Either use the spark plug holes or tap the passenger side stud holes to hold a size larger stud than the cylinder head studs that are removed. Put a hefty piece of wood several feet long stud with enough length to rest against the drivers side edge, A hole passing through the stud on the passenger side and most if the length hanging out on the passenger side. Probably one of these at the front and one at the rear stud locations to nimimize bending or twisting the head. This will give more leverage to peel. Assuming it doesn’t come up on its own, keep the load on it while you hammer in wedges between block and gasket. It seems like something that once a little bit of progress is made it will come up quickly. If the head ends up ruined hopefully someone has another somewhere?


    Depending on how skillful you are you could try this

    Technical – Motor, Removing Stuck Banger Head, Inliner Head or Flathead Head | The H.A.M.B. (




    Make sure you are using Wooden Wedges, a bunch of them all around, in the gaps between the block and the head!

    Use six or eight of them.

    Whack one with a hammer, then move to the next.

    I did it in the past and it will work, if slowly.

    Move from whacking one wedge to the next and back again.

    I trust that will work and the wood will keep the block and head from being damaged.



    The head came off today

    Thanks for all the suggestions, the peeling off method was the method that finally worked

    Hope to see club members in Hersey and at the club dinner





    That’s great! After all the discussion I am curious as to what was stuck to what, gasket to block, gasket to head, gasket torn apart?



    First is appears that the  action between the steel bolts and the aluminum head formed an extremely tight bond. That is why the bolts needed to be removed. The head gasket failed and glycol anti freeze both liquid and dried were all over once thr head was removed. Exhaust gas probably helped cook the glycol  glycol . Three dissimilar metals copper, aluminum and iron did not help. Peeling the head the head was possible due to bolt removal. It is my opinion that with such a strong head/block bond, attempting to  remove using thread plugs in the Aluminum spark plug holes would have stripped them out.



    You should not be using traditional antifreeze with your car.

    It can cause your car to overheat and spew antifreeze, which is a frustrating MESS.

    I believe that a number of us use a combination of Distilled Water (available in gallons at your local supermarket) and an additive called something like PennCool (

    Then, you don’t have to change the liquid in your radiator but every zillion years.

    It may also prevent the bonding of dissimilar metals

    If I am incorrect on this matter, I am confident that someone will chime in.




    Glad you got your head off. Aluminum heads seem to be trouble in this way.

    perhaps tge PAS needs to investigate reproducing the iron series 80 head, given the modern methods now available which have lowered the costs of castings. Rather than making molds for the cores needed, the head can be laser scanned to create a computer model of it, then  the sand cores can be 3-d printed without molds.
    IMO it would increase the value of Series 80 cars and likely result in preservation of more of the cars.  What do you think?


    The old aluminum alloy is the main problem.  We have aluminum heads on most of our modern cars.  The early aluminum from the teens and ’20’s is very reactive to electrolysis and other corrosions.

    I’m planning on making a batch of new aluminum heads with higher compression to take advantage of our very good modern fuels.  The main problem is to find someone to cast the long heads.  Aluminum is much cheaper to cast and to machine than iron.

    I already have thread-forming taps for the spark plugs [VERY EXPENSIVE] which will make very nice and strong spark plug threads.  The rest of the machining is pretty standard.

    Art: if you need an iron S80 head, contact me.  There is zero reason to replace your engine, unless there is irrepairable cracks or holes in some major part.  The series 80 engine is not rare, what is rare is a good complete series 80 that is missing it’s engine or trans.. The engines and drivetrains always survive in one way or another. I literally have 5-6 chassis’s and front and rear axles and engine blocks and pieces..

    What you want to do is to keep your engine with your car, because the serial numbers are usually close to each other, you can see this by looking in your paper roster with the listings of S80’s. Most serial numbers for chassis and engine are within 20-50 digits.

    Greg Long




    I have used these people in the past.

    Barbare’s Aluminum Foundry, Inc. – Greer, South Carolina – (

    I don’t know if they have capability to do that length.




    Thanks Bill, the big problem with reproducing exhaust manifolds for the 8 cylinder cars and even the 12 cylinder engines is the length of the casting box.

    When I’ve got a good scan for the head and mold and internal passages, I’ll start reaching out to members for networking this project..  Thanks for the input..

    Greg Long



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