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Old 05-04-2005, 10:10 AM
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235 engine rebuild

I have a 235 motor, that I would like to rebuild. I am a rookie and have never rebuilt an engine. It's for a 49' chevy truck that is getting a complete rebuild. I know some people will say ditch the inline and get a v8, but I really like the inline motor's. I have another good runner in a 54' belair, and I think they just look and sound better than the v8's. Anyway, I have taken the head off and the cylinder walls looks good, but the pistions seem stuck. One of the push rods was bent really bad, but I have not taken the lower end off to see the condition. I have not checked to see if there are any cracks in the block, but it doesn't appear so. I will say that when I drained the oil, it was brown with water in it, but it had been sitting outside with an unsecured valve cover for some time. It did also appear to have some fine metal flakes in the oil/mud I drained. I have purchased and read cover to cover books on engine rebuilding, and it seems within' my ability, but I get a little nervous when they talk about the exact tolorances that need to happen. Is this a waste of time, and if so, who sells good rebuilt inline 6's?

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Old 05-04-2005, 10:35 AM
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First off, building an engine is actually just an assembly process. Your local machine shop will take care of 99% of the critical dimensioning and finishing on the parts. Your job is to check their work with plasti-gage on the bearings, feeler gauge on the piston gap in the cylinders, straight edge on block and head surfaces, etc., then to do a very careful assembly job being sure you pre-lube everything with the proper assemble lube, torque all bolts to spec, make sure gaskets go on properly, etc. The machine shop will take care of 100% of the important head/valve work so you just need to tell them exactly what you want (for example, dead stock to factory specs or milled heads, bronze valve guides, custom springs, multi-angle seat, hardened exhaust inserts, etc.) then you just bolt them on.

Now about the 6 vs an 8. By all means go with the 6. I am putting this hopped up 235 in my '53 pickup;


These are marvelous engines and you can easily get 1hp/cu.in. with a little effort.

I highly recommend you do not use the '49 engine though. Prior to 1954, the 235 had several features that were not very attractive, including no oil pressure to the rod bearings, they got their lube from a 'splash' system. 1954 and later engines are totally 'modern' w/ hydraulic lifters, full oil pressure, etc. The easy way to tell them apart is the early 235 had the valve cover held on by two studs that go up through the valve cover whereas the later, desirable engine has 4 slotted screws around the rim of the valve cover.

Sounds like your engine may be junk. Water in the crank case usually ruins stuff quickly. Metal shavings in the oil is of lesser concern since the parts that were being shaved are likely bearings that will be replace in the rebuild. As long as the crank, block, and head, and hopefully connecting rods are in good shape, no problem. Your machine shop will do a detailed inspection of all the parts before they start working on them and give you an honest evaluation. Pistons, bearings, oil pump (new ones are pretty cheap), lifters, probably the cam, and misc expendable parts will be replaced.

In fact reportedly Toyota bought the casting patterns and molds from Chevy and built and installed the 235 in the Land Cruiser I think up into the 80s. As I understand, Toyota even left the Chevy casting markings on the foundry patterns! When I bought my '53, some previous owner had already dumped the original engine for a modern model. If you want to get really tricky and you can find one, Chevy also made a 261 and GMC trucks came with the same engine in displacements of 270 and even a 302!

Last edited by willys36@aol.com; 05-04-2005 at 10:45 AM.
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Old 05-04-2005, 10:42 AM
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Thanks for all the info, much appriciated, and damn fine job on your project. I wish I was that far along! The 235 I have is from a latter model 59' full oiler. I have done some homework, and I think this is a good candidate. How do I check if it has hydrolic lifters?
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Old 05-04-2005, 05:51 PM
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I'am glad to see your going with the latter 235 block. If your going to go though the expense and work of rebuilding a 235 by all means use the full oil system block.
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Old 05-04-2005, 06:17 PM
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There are books out there on how to hop up the 235 engines. I have one some where that I bought to build one for the 41' Chevy I had. The later engines work best as stated and sound sweet with spilt exhaust!
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Old 05-04-2005, 08:16 PM
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If you have hydraulic lifters, the rocker arms will have ball ends @ the push rods and will be screwed down 'tight'. Mechanical lifters will have ~0.015" clearance between the valve stem and rocker tip.

Hop-up tips -

Mill the head 0.100" for ~9.5:1 compression. Use a 244deg camshaft Got mine from Clifford. Do a minimal clean-up bore, don't go for much added cu.in. Use a Clifford single 4-bbl manifold (with manifold heat provision) w/small Holley or Edelbrock carb. Use Fenton cast iron split headers and dual exhaust. Convert it to electronic ignition ( I show a cheapie but effective way to adapt Chrysler electronics to the stock 235 distributor in my Journal). Modify the engine for full flow oil filter like this (go to 'Tech Tips', click on 'Full Flow Conversion', click on 'Chev 235/261 Full Flow' follow the directions). As you may have noticed I installed a 2004R OD tranny using a Langdon's Stove Bolt Engine Co. adaptor so I won't be screaming @ 3000rpm @ 60mph.

Last edited by willys36@aol.com; 05-04-2005 at 08:30 PM.
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Old 05-04-2005, 10:22 PM
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Back in my day I worked at a Mobil gas station. We had one customer that was my age and had a '65 Chevelle with a 235 built to the hilt. He was first in his class for 2 years at the local strip here and could take a lot of V8's too. It sounded like a darn Cessna taking off, but really hauled!
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Old 09-22-2005, 07:53 AM
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Sorry to dig up an oldish thread but my questions relate to a few items mentioned here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by willys36@aol.com
I highly recommend you do not use the '49 engine though. Prior to 1954, the 235 had several features that were not very attractive, including no oil pressure to the rod bearings, they got their lube from a 'splash' system. 1954 and later engines are totally 'modern' w/ hydraulic lifters, full oil pressure, etc. The easy way to tell them apart is the early 235 had the valve cover held on by two studs that go up through the valve cover whereas the later, desirable engine has 4 slotted screws around the rim of the valve cover.
I can get the following engine from rlackey, in return for some welding work. Although it came from his '54 Belair it does seem to have the two valve cover studs you mention and not the slotted screws around the rim of the valve cover. Does this alone mean it's not the 'full oil pressure' motor or are there other things I should look at too like maybe casting numbers etc. You see here in S.A. it's possible they still had old stock on motors and used that instead of sticking with correct specs.



The '52 I want to put the motor into has got a factory fitted dash from a '50 and that's why I'm now wondering how to make sure.

Quote:
Originally Posted by willys36@aol.com
If you have hydraulic lifters, the rocker arms will have ball ends @ the push rods and will be screwed down 'tight'. Mechanical lifters will have ~0.015" clearance between the valve stem and rocker tip.

Hop-up tips -

Mill the head 0.100" for ~9.5:1 compression. Use a 244deg camshaft Got mine from Clifford. Do a minimal clean-up bore, don't go for much added cu.in. Use a Clifford single 4-bbl manifold (with manifold heat provision) w/small Holley or Edelbrock carb. Use Fenton cast iron split headers and dual exhaust. Convert it to electronic ignition ( I show a cheapie but effective way to adapt Chrysler electronics to the stock 235 distributor in my Journal). Modify the engine for full flow oil filter like this (go to 'Tech Tips', click on 'Full Flow Conversion', click on 'Chev 235/261 Full Flow' follow the directions). As you may have noticed I installed a 2004R OD tranny using a Langdon's Stove Bolt Engine Co. adaptor so I won't be screaming @ 3000rpm @ 60mph.
Does the rocker arms look different if it has mechanical lifters?

How drivable is this combo of mods, apart from using the 2004R OD?

What kind of power does this combo make?

Last edited by Neophyte; 09-22-2005 at 08:04 AM. Reason: spelling
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Old 09-22-2005, 02:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neophyte
Sorry to dig up an oldish thread but my questions relate to a few items mentioned here.



I can get the following engine from rlackey, in return for some welding work. Although it came from his '54 Belair it does seem to have the two valve cover studs you mention and not the slotted screws around the rim of the valve cover. Does this alone mean it's not the 'full oil pressure' motor or are there other things I should look at too like maybe casting numbers etc. You see here in S.A. it's possible they still had old stock on motors and used that instead of sticking with correct specs.



The '52 I want to put the motor into has got a factory fitted dash from a '50 and that's why I'm now wondering how to make sure.



Does the rocker arms look different if it has mechanical lifters?

How drivable is this combo of mods, apart from using the 2004R OD?

What kind of power does this combo make?
the '50-'52 235's were basicly the same as the 216 but has got a bigger bore and uses a little bit bigger carb. The engine you have a picture of is ither a 216 or a '50-'52 235 ( even tho the '53 engines are not full preassure oiling, but there not babbit bearing where the bearings are poured cast in the motor which the '50-'52's were ) the top attaching Valve cover with the 2 nuts on top. To tell if it is a 216 or 235 you can run the casting numbers found right to the left of the fuel pump and slightly below, or if it is original to the car, and it has a powerglide trans than it is a 235 any other way, it is a 216, cause the 235 was never offered with a 3 spd and the powerglide was never offered with the 216. stock early 235's are 6.6 to 1 comp ratio, you could probably go to 8 to 1 without a problem by shaving the head.
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