As I had already decided that I wasn’t rebuilding the orignal 216, I started looking for a “modern” replacement. I had been searching for a 235 or 261, and while I was hoping for a 261, they’re not nearly as common as the 235.
The search stopped when on Kijiji I found a 1955 Chevy 235. Cost: $0. A couple of caveats, it was totally disassembled, and it was about a 4 hour drive from me. (Barrie, ON) I forwarded the info and photos to a few Stovebolt members and after some brief thought, I took a day off and made the drive. These are the photos I was sent prior to seeing the engine in person:
Would you of made the drive? 8 hours round trip.
Well I did make the drive, and even better, a new friend I met on Stovebolt.com, Fred Nixon, agreed to make the 1 hour drive from his place meet me there. Having never seen the inside of an engine, let alone a stovebolt I was more than happy to have his advise and experience.
This is ~500 pounds of engine loaded into the back of a 2007 Nissan Versa. It was a slower ride home with the rear end of the Versa dragging and with construction along Hwy 401 sudden stops became a real test for the brakes!
The engines history was described to me brief at best. As I was told it was running in a 1955 car when the oil pressure dropped, the engine was stopped, pulled disassembled and that was where it was left. I was informed that there was less than 400 miles on it. Sounded nice if it was true!
Got it home and laid out all the parts, and try to take an inventory. I’ve never dabbled in any time of engine repair – let alone a fully disassembled engine so I wasn’t 100% sure what I was looking for! It was a learning exercise just knowing what to call the parts so I could describe what I had to other ‘bolters.
Ultimately the issue of the engine presented itself when I started to look at the crank and rods. Pistons 3 & 4 had spun their bearings and the journals on the crank were burnt and scored. I brought the crank to a local engine builder and he told me that while the crank might be repairable, a replacement might be cheaper.
I took the builders advice and started the hunt for a new crank. I had made some contacts at local cruise nights and they were about to come in handy! Ended up meeting a local guy with an acreage and 20 – 30 various chevy vehicles on his property. In one section of his barn was all engines – along the wall were 6 or 7 235’s! He had picked one out for me and I took it for $200. I was good to go!
This engine had seen a few miles, so I was optimistic about the crank condition. I pulled the crank and decided I would use the cam and lifters as well, so I kept them in order for reassembly. Before I pulled the crank and cam, I wanted to make sure I could see the timing marks align, it wasn’t obvious at first but I eventually found them. I had to decide weather or not I was going to have the crank bored to an oversize or not, so I checked the mains with plastiguage. I was happy to find that all the mains were within the top of the accepted range! Gap acceptance for the mains is .015 – .004.
Now that I was convinced the crank had life left in it, I decided to give polishing a try with some emery cloth. I was pretty happy with the results.
The advantage to having a second fully assembled parts engine was I was able to take it apart and see how it went together. But sometimes this caused confusion as some parts didn’t look quite the same. For instance my push rod and lifters. The lifters LOOKED different and the rods were a different length. At first I thought it was hydraulic vs solid, but this wasn’t the case – both were solids.
The lifter on the left was from the original 235 and the one on the right from my parts 235. The matching rods both came out to a same total length, so I just chalked it up to different lifter options.
The engine when picked up wasn’t ready for paint, but it was considerably cleaner than the 216 that came out or the parts 235. Still I had to clean it up. I pulled the freeze plugs, and oil gallery plugs, sprayed it with heavy duty engine degreaser and then blasted it with the pressure washer. I then dried it with compressed air and blew out all the oil passages as well.
Part of using a newer model 235 in the older truck was dealing with the waterpump. The newer 235 water pumps were longer and physically positioned lower on the engine. Also the longer shaft would position the fan where the rad would be. To over come this there are a few options, I choose the relocation bracket solution. This relocation bracket uses the older pump on the newer engine. This way you don’t have worry about longer shaft, and the fan is positioned where the original engine would have it, fitting in the fan shroud.