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Old 04-13-2004, 11:15 PM
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swap 235 for 350?

Hey there guys. I have a tough decision to make. I just bought a 1953 chevy bel air that i plan on hot rodding. My eventual plan is to put a 350 in it, because it has a 235 straight 6. I have a few questions. First, is this a good idea? I know the 235 is a tough engine but i dont know if it has the giddy up im looking for. Im in high school and have very little money. I have the 235 out for cleaning and i want to figure out what to do with the engine swap before i get too far. Will a 350 bolt to the 3 speed tranny or will i need a new tranny? Wasnt the small block Chev introduced in 55, and would they have used the same 3 speed tranny? Thanks for all your help, guys. I kinda just starting to work on cars and i always get plenty of help from this site!
-Colin

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Old 04-14-2004, 01:37 AM
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The bellhousing pattern on the back of each engine is different, but the same basic trans was used up until about 1966.
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Old 04-14-2004, 07:09 AM
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You would be limited to the original trans which might be marginal behind a 350. Along with the rest of the drivetrain. You would have to replace everything in the drivetrain to convert it to modern automatic trans because of the torque tube driveshaft and rear.
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Old 04-14-2004, 07:54 AM
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Depends on whether you want a period hot rod or a modern belly-button car. Belly-button car is one like everyone else has. Th vast majority of cars out there have SBCs but there is a good reason for that. The engines are easy to find, easy to work on, cheap to build due to the huge availability of parts and make good power. I will never put one in any car I build since I don't want to be like everybody else but for a beginner, it's a good choice. I am putting a hot 235 in my '53 Chevy pickup with a 2004R OD tranny but they aren't cheap to build. A well built 235 will cost as much or more than a SBC 350 to build and won't make as much power. But they really look cool! Another problem you likely have is your 235 is not a very good design. Up to 1955 the 235 had no provision for pressured oil feed to the rod bearings - they use dippers that dip rod lube oil out of the pan. From '55 on they are full pressure engines and the stuff of legends. Someone had already switched the engine in my '53 pickup for a '56 which was a common swap. If your engine has a valve cover held on with two nuts on top of it it is the older engine. If it has screws around the rim it is the better late model engine.

There are several outfits making parts for these great old engines including Clifford Performance , Stovebolt Engine Co. . There are many others but these guys know their performance stuff. You can get tranny adapters for any tranny, blowers, fancy manifolds, cams headers, just about any hi-po part you can think of.
Jim Carter specializes in truck parts but is a good source for stock engine parts.
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Old 04-18-2004, 12:46 PM
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Thanks for all the help guys! I think I'm going to put in a small block chev but keep the original tranny for now. I took the 6 out and the bellhouse bolt pattern wasnt close to a 350 so i cant modify it. Would anyone here happen to know of a bellhousing that will fit a 350 with a clutch and still fit the orginal 3 speed tranny? Thanks again guys!
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Old 04-18-2004, 12:54 PM
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There is a adaptor to mate a SBC to the stock transmission. I see them on EBAY every now and then. I believe they are out of current production..


Maybe someone knows of a current supply.


Good Luck with your project.

DEUCE...General Rodding Tech Moderator


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