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Technical A 265 Chevy build with a cool story

Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by bfalfa55, Jul 23, 2013.

  1. bfalfa55
    Joined: Jul 23, 2013
    Posts: 219


    I have found my way to the HAMB many time s I have researched this build, that must mean something ! The 265 I am building is the original 265 my dad had in his 55 Chevy back in 1960. He was pulling it to build a 283 because, of all things, the diaphram in the fuel pump let go, pump the crankcase full of fuel and the engine actually caught fire inside the block ! It was put out through the carb and set aside. It has not run in 53 years ! We being the "parts pack rats" were are, between my dad and I we have both held onto this engine since then. My son wants to learn how to build an engine, so he and decided to build this and put it in my 55, replacing the 350 my dad and I built 23 years ago for another car. I think it's cool that the last time a 17 year old touched this engine, it was his grandpa ! If your going to build a small block, it might as well be THE SMALL BLOCK. We have started disassembly and I have some question based mostly on all the knowledge I have gained from the HAMB. Hope you guy don't mind the book I am writing !!
    My dad never built this engine, and never had it apart, he is sure of it. That being said, I have found that prior to him buying his 55 back then, it would appear someone was in this engine. Popped the main caps and it looks as though they have some scoring on the journals. Don't know if it will be worth cleaning up and drilling for the balancer bolt or if I should just try and find a 283 small journal crank. Removed the old oil pump and popped out 3 pistons to see what I've got there. Pistons look good, don't have valve reliefs but do have locating notches pointing toward the front of the block. Are these factory installs or early replacement pistons ? Cylinder walls should clean up to whatever I want, they look very good. All the main caps are stamped with a number and all the connecting rods have been stamped already. Did they ever do this from the factory ? Also, I was under the impression that stock 265 rods had a start or some kind of symbol right in the middle of the rod, these have no markings. Is there a way to identify the rods ? They have GM on one side and one has a "7" cast into it and the other 2 have a "6" cast in them. Are these factory replacement rods ? None of the journals have a spot of rust on them even though they are void of oil after all these years. I am actually very surprised. Also, original oil pan has one spot the size of a silver dollar that is pitted and has a whole in it. This is where it sat on my grandmothers dirt garage floor for the first 30 years of it being out of the car ! Anyones insight into my questions above would be highly appreciated. Last pic is my parents almost 49 years ago to the month, 1964 !

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Sep 6, 2013
  2. if you can save the crankshaft by grinding it i would. the 265 crank is forged and worth putting some money into it. i can get a crank rods and mains ground for $100 around here

    all 265 and 283 cranks are small journal........but some later 283 cranks are cast
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2013
  3. bfalfa55
    Joined: Jul 23, 2013
    Posts: 219


    Thanks 36-3window. I hope they can clean up in .020. They aren't horrible, so hopefully it is good. I know these are forged so I really want to use it. It will not get spun above 7500 RPM, so @ .010-.020 grind, I should still be good. Can you shed light on some of my other questions by chance ? Some of what I have found is a bit puzzling.
  4. studebaker eric
    Joined: May 9, 2008
    Posts: 1,220

    studebaker eric
    from Fresno Ca

    I have run many a small block Chevy without a balancer bolt, with no problems. doesn't seem like a big deal if the rest can be polished.
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  5. Model A Vette
    Joined: Mar 8, 2002
    Posts: 1,014

    Model A Vette

    I believe the original 265 pistons were flat top with no relief.
    Remember that if you replace the cam the '55 engines had the back end of the cam machined because of their one year only oiling system. Just duplicate what is on the original cam.
    I would not worry about bolting the damper on as thousands of early sbc ran fine without the bolt.
  6. biscaynes
    Joined: Mar 16, 2008
    Posts: 1,639


    love the history, good luck with the build, more pictures! :cool:
  7. JeffreyJames
    Joined: Jun 13, 2007
    Posts: 16,588

    from SUGAR CITY

    Excited to see it coming back to life!!! It's coming full circle! I love these 265's and I plan on building another in the near future.
    djhalladay likes this.
  8. bfalfa55
    Joined: Jul 23, 2013
    Posts: 219


    Thanks guys. I would like to know if main caps and rod and bearing caps were number stamped from the factory ? I would also like to know if these are different rods. I thought all 265 rods had a mark cast in the beam that non of the others past 283's have. I will be modifying the block to modern oiling and will drill the crank because I will be running a modern compatible balancer. The build might be with a 4-71 blower in the future and I will need it for the pulley. Plans for this build is to be mid to low 13 second car. With modern technology in cams and heads, any horsepower saving trick I can use from the Super Stock guys, I feel this can be achieved. I will try to use older external items to look more old time. I have my dads staggered bolt Vette valve covers and will make whatever mounting needed to put them on whatever heads I end up with. I hope to see you chime in with any help you have JefferyJames. I have seen your avatar pop up on most every 265/283 engine build thread I have run across !
  9. black 62
    Joined: Jul 12, 2012
    Posts: 1,896

    black 62
    from arkansas

    no numbers from factory---make a 301 at least...
  10. 56sedandelivery
    Joined: Nov 21, 2006
    Posts: 3,843


    Like I said on the Tri-Five site, Chevrolet did a lot of warranty work due to the flat top, with no valve relief, pistons. Any kind of over-rev, missed shift, etc, and the valves kissed the pistons. The replacement pistons/blocks had pistons with valve reliefs. They learned the hard way with the "new" 265. Any new piston you get now will have valve reliefs. Your engine has to be a completely stock short block with those pistons. The rods are going to be the weakest point in your engine. At least use the second design, small journal, 327 rod, or an after market rod. After market will be cheaper in the long run, and stronger. The other issue with your motor is that it has no oil filter, unless it had the optional, remote cannister, oil filter. All 265's had heads with very small ports, and small combustion chambers. Most any other head put on a 265 will drop the C.R., and they were only 8:1 in 55, and most 56, and the 2 barrel, 57, 265 to start with. The 56 4 barrel, and dual 4 barrel engines were only 9.25:1. The CC on these small port heads was about 55.6 CC's. The smallest stock SBC head is the 601 casting, 305 head, at 53 CC's. There are some after market heads with 49 CC chambers; I believe made by DART. Other than using small CC chamber heads, your only other way to build compression is with domed pistons, and those are going to be $$$$, and a special order item "these days". 7500 RPM is't going to come cheap with a 265. Not discouraging you, but it may be more realistic to just do a stock rebuild, with maybe a mild cam, and build the 350 to have on hand. JMO. Butch/56sedandelivery.
  11. Awesome story keep us posted on the build !
  12. bfalfa55
    Joined: Jul 23, 2013
    Posts: 219


    Thanks 56sedandelivery. You have given me some of the best info to continue with this build. It seems to be that this engine was rebuilt. I am still wondering what these rods were from ? All these parts that I don't use will still be set aside maybe for a milder engine in the future. Got the balancer, timing chain cover and timing chain off. Only have 3 pistons left to pull but it seems the "MOUSE MOTOR" has 3 rustier pistons due to the "MOUSE NEST" that was in it ! I guess mouse dropping and whizz are not good cylider lubrication ! Soaking them some more because the won't budge and I can't remove the crank.
  13. D.N.D.
    Joined: Aug 15, 2012
    Posts: 1,299


    Hi 55

    I used plenty of the 265' blocks for Crackerbox boat racing [ 68' to 76' ], we were limited to 272' cid and would bore them to .060 over, but I used the 56' year blocks because that was the first year for a oil filter

    One bad part is the main webs are paper thin, so I put on splayed bolt 4 bolt caps to keep the crank in place

    Your stock rods are not up to doing any drag racing on the new very sticky tracks, you are going to break that little jewel by having a blower on top

    Just rebuild it and maybe a 097 duntov cam and be happy with that, then put your money into a newer engine that will hold up at the drags

    In the 327' engine I ran in my gasser in 64' I made main cap straps and had special rod bolts made to try to keep it together on slippery tracks back in the day

    Please take care of that 55 motor as that stuff is hard to find, don't brake it!!

    Good luck with your 55 project

    G Don
  14. bfalfa55
    Joined: Jul 23, 2013
    Posts: 219


    Crank, pistons, lifters and cam are finally all out ! Need to knock out all the freeze plugs and unscrew the screw in plugs. Need to remove the draft tube to get one of the freeze plugs. Any suggestions of how to remove the tube ?

    The cam has part #3713103. What cam is it ? I also found something that I have never seen. On the gasket surface for the oil pan, right by each piston, there are stamped numbers also. They range from 7 to 10. Since it is most likely that this engine was serviced before my dad had it, what would these numbers mean ?
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2013
  15. bfalfa55
    Joined: Jul 23, 2013
    Posts: 219


    Engine is all apart and in good shape so far considering how long it has at. I ran across some pistons but I want to know what anyone can tell me about them. They are HEPOLITE pistons. Ever heard of them ? How good are they ? It was an old British company tp the best of what I can find. The pistons are in Canada but I personally never heard of them nor has anyone I have talked to. I see they have made tons of automotive and motorcycle pistons and it sounds like alot of people outside the USA swear buy the original old ones. Let me know what you know !
  16. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 7,486

    Rusty O'Toole

    Hepolite was a well known maker of replacement pistons for English cars and motorcycles. Never knew they made pistons for Chevs.

    I wouldn't touch them. Buy new pistons. Metallurgy has come a long way since the fifties.
  17. 56sedandelivery
    Joined: Nov 21, 2006
    Posts: 3,843


    Never heard of HEPOLITE; are they an old, NOS set? WAAAAAY back in the day, pistons used to come "semi-finished"; meaning the engine re-builder/machinist "final ground" the pistons to the standard or oversize size to be used. There are only a few places in the entire country that still have the equipment to do this "finishing", and the piston manufacturers won't do it for you (I checked!). So, be sure those pistons are't of that design. I learned all this the hard way when I bought a set of Thompson, forged pistons, advertised as standard size, and then found out what "semi-finished" meant. They were for a 265 also! Thompson pistons became TRW (T=Thompson), and that company has again been resold several times. They were a domed piston, and the seller did refund my purchase price due to his error in how they were advertised. That was why I ultimately gave up on my 265 build, and went with a 283 short block (a legal Super Stock short block). There are 265 pistons on E-Bay, but even there they're not cheap, and they are cast pistons. Before you buy these HEPOLITE pistons, you need to find out how far over the block will need to be bored; and it will if you have stuck pistons due to corrosive mouse urine. I remember in high school (66-69), all the guys with 265's built them into 272's (.060 over). The stampings on the block pan rails were for GM engine assemblers; it told them what the specifics were for the cylinder they lined up with. I can't be more specific than that however. Be careful of your oil pump and the swivel pickup; it's a part dedicated to only the 55, 265, and probably hard to find a new replacement. Butch/56sedandelivery.
  18. That casting # and its corresponding part #3713453 have been superceded by casting #3836686 and corresponding part#3836700. It is a 1955 passenger car, 8cyl with mechanical tappets, except the high lift cam.
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2013
  19. slammed
    Joined: Jun 10, 2004
    Posts: 8,162


    'Just rebuild it and maybe a 097 duntov cam and be happy with that, then put your money into a newer engine that will hold up at the drags' There is a carb/cam expert who would spin tighter than this SBC w/5.13 rear gears seeing that cam recommendation. RUN IT!
  20. bfalfa55
    Joined: Jul 23, 2013
    Posts: 219


    I guess they made them because of the cars in Canada that used Chevy engines. I don't believe they are so old as the 50's but I am trying to find out. They are cast to size pistons with rings and wrist pins. 2 sets, .020 and .040. both sets being sold as one package for less than $200. Here is a pic. They look to be a healthy casting. I will be running a retrofitted roller cam using Gen 2 spider and dog bones and 2.2 cyl./3.1 60 degree v6 roller lifters. The parts are cheap and doing the job is not that hard. The external look of the engine will be mostly period correct looking but the inside and heads will be more modern technology.

    Attached Files:

  21. F-6Garagerat
    Joined: Apr 12, 2008
    Posts: 2,650


    I had a 1955 265 I was going to use in my truck. Came across a 1957 283 that was .030 over already. However, some things I learned about the early engines.

    There IS a rubber rear main seal for these engines. Actually 2 different ones. One has these extra metal spacers. You don't want that one. You want this one: 265-283

    There are 2 different types of oil pan rubber end seals, thick type and thin type. Use the wrong one and you'll know it. I think (can't recall right now sorry) you need the thick type. Do a search, there is a way to measure your oil pan and timing cover to figure out which one you need.

    I got some stuff from summit racing for my motor. The guys on the phone there think a small block is a small block. Not true. The oil pump, up to 58 I think, is not the same as the pump for later engines. It's a deeper pump with a shorter drive shaft. The oil pump pick up is different and shorter also. I re-used my old pickup. You need the M48 pump like this one.

    These guys have the rubber main seal also, it's where I ended up getting my stuff from.

    Compression. Those nasty FelPro perma torque head gaskets are power robbers. They are something like .060 compressed thickness!!! i used a thin composition gasket from McCord that is .026 compressed. The way i see it, if youre to lazy to re torque 2 small block chevy heads you shouldnt be building one ya know. I used 3731539 heads with a bit of bowl work and bigger valves.

    I used a Howards Cams hydraulic that is close to the specs of a Duntov. I didn't need the notch with my 283 but neither will you if your doing the oiling mods. This cam and lifters was real affordable, nice stuff. Here's a pic of the cam card.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Aug 23, 2013
  22. George Miller
    Joined: Dec 26, 2008
    Posts: 413

    George Miller
    from NC usa

    Early 1955 265's had a problem with pistons. skits would some times break and the valves could hit the tops of the piston at high RPMS. They also had problems with fuel pumps. The spring in the pump would break. that made it sound like the engine was coming apart.

    I worked on many of these engine, and remember when GM used them in trucks to haul parts from Flint Mich to Saginaw. I also remember some small block chev engines came from the factory with .009 under size main bearings.

    The rods and caps were not marked, you did that when you took them apart, or made sure you kept them together.
  23. I also remember some small block chev engines came from the factory with .009 under size main bearings.

    I had one in a '64 Nova Super Sport. I did a quickey rebuild with the engine in the car on an apartment parking lot (I was in college at the time). It knocked like hell when I got it back together. Fortunately, I found an old guy at a machine shop that had heard of this. I went back in with some .010" undersize main bearings and it ran great.
  25. Bruce Lancaster
    Joined: Oct 9, 2001
    Posts: 20,966

    Bruce Lancaster

    Balancer bolt...this thing actually has nothing to do with holding the balancer on! According to the Small-block Chevy history book, early 350's with heavy front load (AC, power steering pump, 3 sheave pulleys...) had problems with crank snout failures. Putting the snout under load with the big bolt cured the problem. First year or two of the 350 lacked this bolt...I had a '69 without it.
    There is some very cool 265 stuff, full builds with dyno testing, in HRM in the 1955-6 time period. Hotrodders had just figured out that this thing was something special, capable of far more output than anyone (including Chevrolet) had expected.
  26. I am not sure, but do believe most of the aftermarket, small journal rods will work correctly with this set up...having the small journal, they are like 250 new for Scat and others.

    The aftermarket rods can be found new and cheap and add a lot of piece of mind, I would opt for those if building this motor, even if going near stock I would but sounds like you want to wake it up. I know small blocks pretty well, but to be honest don't know much about the 265.

    I like the history with the motor, that alone is cool, so might make sense to do the right things to make it last...also a nice home port and polish on some 1.94 fuelie type heads would be nice..or even use 305 HO valves that are 1.50 and 1.84 so they are not shrouded much. You may even might want to find some good used 305 heads and do them up as they also have real small combustion chambers, I think they are like 58CC and I believe the stock 265 heads should have 67CC chambers? if so you should pick up a point or so of compression.

    I also like the idea of that Howards Cam posted above...but what also might be good is this, the 327 350hp cam which is offered in replacement form by many cam companies

    Advertised Duration (Int/Exh): 280/280
    Duration @ .050 (Int/Exh): 222/222
    Gross Valve Lift (Int/Exh): .440/.440
    LSA/ICL: 113/109
    Valve Lash (Int/Exh): Hyd/Hyd
    RPM Range: 2000-5000
  27. bfalfa55
    Joined: Jul 23, 2013
    Posts: 219


    I don't think I will go with the Hepolites. I know they are quality parts but they look heavy and I don't want to hinder RPM.

    I have a well built 350 in it now that I could update but I like the challenge of what can be made with this little engine using more of todays technology.

    Thanks for the info F6. I know this has a few unique parts compared to all the other small blocks. I will definitely find those parts when the time comes.

    I do appreciate all the input, it really is helpful. I will be using some 305 type or L98 head with some port work and milling to get no more than 10:1. I like the roller cam idea because it does make an engine that is a little more street friendly and it should let the engine twist up alot faster than a flat tappet setup. I will certainly be measuring everything more than once by the time I am done, I'm sure ! So I will check for the undersize bearings. I don't know if this block will go .125 over. It is one of the earliest blocks produced (cast on the first day of casting and one of the first 3,000 some blocks assembled). If I can't find pistons to my liking and I can go .125, my dad has the original set of 270/283 vette pistons and rods he setup in the 283 he built for his car when he pulled this 265 out. I did a big degrease on it so it has some Chevy orange color to it instead of black oil and road grime ! I am going to do all the modifying to it before I get it tank cleaned. That way I am sure I got all the crap out of it. I will keep posting updates, hopefully more with pictures in the future. But keep all the info. and comments coming. They just help fuel the motivation !
  28. It will be nice to make some mods but tried and true combos will be just fine.....roller is . Nice but I'd want a drivable likely trouble free hydraulic...not gonna oil pull crazy revs....especially with stock con rods
  29. Have you checked Egge Machine Co. for pistons and other parts. They specialize in older, more obsolete engine parts. 800-866-3443.
  30. bfalfa55
    Joined: Jul 23, 2013
    Posts: 219


    Yes Bowtie, I actually have an Egge catalog, I know it's quality, it's just the price. I have enough other work to do now, if I can't find some pistons somewhere, they will be my first choice.

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