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Projects 1946 Chevrolet Truck

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by John F., Oct 14, 2020.

  1. John F.
    Joined: Oct 14, 2020
    Posts: 5

    John F.
    Member
    from WI

    I'm in the process of acquiring a 1946 Chevrolet Truck from a friend of mine that has been kept in a shed... no rust, very few dents, all panels and trim and glass have been kept in dry storage, original motor and transmission. I'd like to keep it fairly original and would have no problem rebuilding the 216 that's currently in it, however, I know most people upgrade these trucks to the later 235 that has the fully pressurized oiling system. I do plan on driving this truck and would like the peace of mind of a more reliable motor, but that would require me to find and buy another motor.... Now here's the curveball... I've always wanted a classic car with a big block V8, this truck just happened to land in my lap and I was more than excited to restore it when my friend told me it was for sale... I recently came across a 1967 Oldsmobile 425 big block V8 for sale in my area for $600, however, there is an unknown issue in the bottom end. Seller's ad reads, " it needs some work. Something broke in the bottom end of the engine. I don’t know what but there is metal in the oil. It does turn over." I'm half temped to buy this motor with the idea of rebuilding it and putting it into this old truck. I'm not experienced enough with these old trucks to know how much work would have to go into getting this V8 into it, plus I would have to find another transmission. So, I'm asking those with far more knowledge than myself, will the 216 be reliable enough after a rebuild (bearings, rings, gaskets)? Should I try to find a 235? Or would the 425 be worth the extra effort?
     
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  2. rustydusty
    Joined: Apr 19, 2010
    Posts: 1,716

    rustydusty
    Member

    I would opt for a v8. The 425 sounds like a crap shoot, a small block Chevy would be a better fit, like a 327 or a 283...
     
  3. 1934coupe
    Joined: Feb 22, 2007
    Posts: 4,128

    1934coupe
    Member

    A 425 Olds that needs work is not worth $600 unless it has gold bars in it. I have Olds engines 425's they are great motors but cost $$$$ to work on or build. For $600. you can easily find a running 455 Olds or a SBC.

    Pat
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2020
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  4. putting a newer engine in will require a lot more modifications than just the motor and tranny. every thing to do with the brakes will need to be changed, and so will the rear axle, driveshaft. the wiring in the very least will need to be adapted and a change to 12v would probably make sense. although the front end components can handle the bigger motor they would have to be in top condition. this is a big project.
    a rebuilt/restored 216 would be just as reliable as the later 235, just less power and more maintenance.
     
    tractorguy likes this.

  5. KJSR
    Joined: Mar 7, 2008
    Posts: 2,299

    KJSR
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Utah
    1. Utah HAMBers

    What makes the 216 less reliable than a 235?

    If I was going to a V8, I would go with a SBC....
     
    nunattax likes this.
  6. The 216 has Babbitt bearings in it. As you said, a 216 does not have full pressure lubrication. I have one in my 1950 Chevy 3100, and I treat it very gently.


    Sent from my iPhone using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
     
  7. cshades
    Joined: Sep 2, 2011
    Posts: 487

    cshades
    Member
    from wi

    the first question that needs to be answered, what is the planned use for the truck? are you going to drive it every day? are you going to run it on the interstate? as an owner of a lot of these trucks i can tell you one of these in stock form are ok to drive around town but i wont want one for a everyday driver with out a few mods. the brakes are fair the steering leaves a bit to be desired, they are noisy and rough riding. i have one that is stock, one that is modified and one that is under construction very modified. a sbc is the easiest fittment under hood but also requires a trans and rear axle replacement. i dont know how well the engine fits alongside the stock steering box because i never have tried that. i would also suggest boxing the front of the frame with a v8 install.
     
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  8. 1971BB427
    Joined: Mar 6, 2010
    Posts: 5,887

    1971BB427
    Member
    from Oregon

    I'd never pay $600 for the Olds with unknown issues. Could be an expensive boat anchor. Even $100 might be too much if it's beyond repair. If the engine was on a stand with the pan off so you could check the rods and mains, and see how badly they're pounded, then maybe it could get more money. But even then I wouldn't pay $600.
    I'd opt for a SBC for the Chev truck myself. A much lighter engine, and smaller dimensions. Plentiful cheap, and easy to install. Still need the same changes to trans, rear axle, wiring, but a lot less expensive, and easier to install. And it would work better with your current front suspension too.
     
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  9. John F.
    Joined: Oct 14, 2020
    Posts: 5

    John F.
    Member
    from WI

    Thank you everybody for your advice. I think I'm going to go with either maintaining the 216 or finding a 235/261 and leave the V8 for a future project. Does anyone have any advice on the 216? I'd like to stay with that motor as long as it makes sense. I do not plan on daily driving the truck, but I do plan on weekend cruising around town. I already figured that I'm most likely going to swap out the rear gear if I plan to do any highway driving. Does anyone know what it would take to convert the 216 from babbitt bearings to insert bearings? Or how to convert it to a fully pressurized oiling system? How about how to convert it to a 12v electrical system?

    As you can probably tell I'm pretty new to this era of automotive history...
     
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  10. In addition to the babbitt bearings, rod oiling is done by sheet metal 'dippers' attached to the rod caps that scoop oil out of a 'tray' in the oil pan. Those dippers are known to metal fatigue and break off, starving the rod journal and usually resulting in a thrown rod. Fun fact, they can usually be driven with the tossed rod but the vibration will loosen the fillings in your teeth...
     
  11. Elcohaulic
    Joined: Dec 27, 2017
    Posts: 1,282

    Elcohaulic
    Member

    Put a low compression seventies 454 truck motor in it.. Torque, torque and more torque.. Then run a Turbo400 with a 2.73 rear end so the highway will be your friend..
     
    swade41 likes this.
  12. rustydusty
    Joined: Apr 19, 2010
    Posts: 1,716

    rustydusty
    Member

    My brother has a '41 Chevy pick up with a 261. We have had this truck in the family since about 1965 (I drove it in high school) with no issues excepting maintenance. A later 6 would be a good option...
     
  13. tractorguy
    Joined: Jan 5, 2008
    Posts: 660

    tractorguy
    Member

    Part of the old truck "allure" is keeping it an old truck.......not a street rod/drag car. I have worked on 216's....235's.....261's back in the day and have a 235 and 261 waiting to be brought back to life. Any of the 6cyl.choices will work fine. Biggest factor is where and how you want to drive it. Also, these engines are very basic and easy to work on and quite forgiving of small amateur mistakes. Have fun
     
  14. Budget36
    Joined: Nov 29, 2014
    Posts: 4,274

    Budget36
    Member

    The machine shop in town used to (maybe still does) do insert bearings for Model A engines, I’m not sure what they did to the oiling system. But can tell you it was very expensive. You’d be money and power ahead by finding a 235 and having it rebuilt

    Only direct experience I have with a babbit bearing 6 cyl is my old Dodge engine, when I asked a different shop about putting in inserts they told me it would be less expensive to have new Babbitt poured, and that wasn’t cheap. 25 years ago was going to be around 5 or 6 hundred for babbit, I’d imagine all prices have gone up


    I’d suggest just get the 216 running and tuned we’ll, once you figure it out...ignition, carb, valves etc and confident with it, have a 235/261 built on the side. Start looking for a dual carb set up, split exhaust, etc. I like the sound of a FH V8, but still giggle like a kid with a warmed up inline 6
     
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  15. RJP
    Joined: Oct 5, 2005
    Posts: 1,656

    RJP
    Member
    from PNW

    Just rebuild the 216, and drive the truck exactly like they did in 1946 and recognize and live with all the limitations. You are restoring. Any modern updates and you're getting into resto-modding. Ill handling, marginal braking and rough riding was the norm in 46. Embrace the experience.
     
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  16. John F.
    Joined: Oct 14, 2020
    Posts: 5

    John F.
    Member
    from WI

    Experiencing driving in 1946 is the ultimate goal... especially given the fact that it has 4 speed non-syncro trans...
     
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  17. Cosmo49
    Joined: Jan 15, 2007
    Posts: 1,186

    Cosmo49
    Member

    https://www.instagram.com/p/CGNemkqjXFE/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link
    Here's a 261 with open exhaust.

    I have 115k miles on a 1949 1/2 ton with a 1956 235. I do have a 3sp+overdrive manual transmission which has taken me on many 1k trips, 70-75 mph all day long.

    Do the brakes 100%. This is a good time to convert to Bendix brakes. Get the 216 running, if not look for a 235 or 261. STOVEBOLT.com speaks this language.

    Good luck with your decisions. 121142029_389625162200368_9058653742018038653_n.jpg
     
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  18. John F.
    Joined: Oct 14, 2020
    Posts: 5

    John F.
    Member
    from WI

    The previous owner had the 216 running 5-10 years ago, so I'm not too concerned about getting it running. I've signed up for an account on STOVEBOLT but they have yet to activate it, I have done quite a bit of research on there, however. What RPM is your 235 turning at 70 MPH? A 1/2 ton should be running a 4.11 gear unless you've changed that out?
     
  19. KJSR
    Joined: Mar 7, 2008
    Posts: 2,299

    KJSR
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Utah
    1. Utah HAMBers

    I always learn something from you. I am very familiar with the scoopers but did not know they had failure issues.....good to know.
     
  20. Cosmo49
    Joined: Jan 15, 2007
    Posts: 1,186

    Cosmo49
    Member

    I changed out my rear axle for a '57 3.90 open driveshaft. The overdrive is .7 the rear 3.90 so .7 X 3.90 = 2.73, 3rd overdrive. Approximately 2200 rpm at 70 mph.

    TREMEC TOOL BOX

    Is a killer app for the phone!
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2020
    John F. likes this.
  21. The 216 was virtually indestructible, if running right. Not a "fast" motor, (one that likes high revs), but reliable. You may find you have a good 216, do a compression test, ect, a good tune, maybe a carb rebuild. I have rescued a few of these, after hearing "It's no good, there's something wrong with it, " etc, and finding dumb stuff like a bad carb, burnt valve, etc. From listening to some older blokes who had these, the secret is "Change the oil frequently".
    You may get many miles out of this engine, and you can save your loot for something faster!
     
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  22. Budget36
    Joined: Nov 29, 2014
    Posts: 4,274

    Budget36
    Member

    I had a guy buy a ‘56 pu rear from me years ago. He said that he was going to put the 3rd member in his ‘41 and use the brakes too, but keep his closed driveline. Heck, I didn’t know they’d swap, nor did I know it was a closed driveline either!
     
  23. Cosmo49
    Joined: Jan 15, 2007
    Posts: 1,186

    Cosmo49
    Member

    I had a 1949 housing, ‘49 axles and Huck brakes with a ‘57 differential after I burned off the torque tube axle mounts. This set up lasted me 115 k miles. I just last week converted to a Bendix brakes axle housing using the same differential and the less worn axles. In my case I went from closed driveshaft to open drive shaft because I wanted a 3sp+od transmission and more friendly highway rear than the 4.11.
     
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  24. Budget36
    Joined: Nov 29, 2014
    Posts: 4,274

    Budget36
    Member

    So was the guy dreaming/ misinformed? Or was he able to just swap the third member and brake stuff over to his housing? He didn’t impress me as a person who would or could modify much to fit. I’ve always been curious about that. Lol
     
  25. KJSR
    Joined: Mar 7, 2008
    Posts: 2,299

    KJSR
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Utah
    1. Utah HAMBers

    I have some reman 216 rods done by FelPro if you need some.......
     
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  26. The comment about treating the 216 gingerly is no joke, double clutching straight cut gears in the trans, steep rear gear, marginal brakes, shitty steering and 43 mph top speed lasted one year for me, I just couldn't take it any longer.
    If I was to replace the six with a six I'd go with a 292 or at minimum the 250, it just opens up so many more possibilities for transmissions and the use of the truck would be tremendously improved too.
    Now myself, I went from 216 to BIG BLOCK CHEVY and have zero regrets about doing so.
     
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  27. Cosmo49
    Joined: Jan 15, 2007
    Posts: 1,186

    Cosmo49
    Member

    In praise of the 216...

    A group of six trucks led by a 1950 Chevy with a 216 in the lead. We had no trouble keeping up but the driver of the 216 was not afraid to let the engine do it's work. In the bed of that truck was at least 6-7 hundred pounds of equipment as well as two adults in the cab.

    People conveniently forget that the logging trucks of the NW had 216s in them for many years, they achieved the task with gearing. People also conveniently do not know that the 216 was raced as well.

    We've become accustomed to gluttonous excessive unnecessary power. Dear Lord, new vehicles are quieter and more comfortable than living rooms. One takes that mindset into a truck with a 216 and of course one would find the power wanting. Well, that's just MHO now isn't it?
     
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  28. everything in life is a comparison.
    good trucks all original, good trucks hot rodded. which one is good for you?
     
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  29. bigdog
    Joined: Oct 30, 2002
    Posts: 567

    bigdog
    Member

    When I was in high school I had a '51 Chevy truck with a 216 and i drove it like a 16 year old for two years Foot flat on the floor, as hard as it would go. No problem with the motor, what killed it was a meeting at an intersection with a Buick.
     
  30. Bigbangtheory
    Joined: Mar 18, 2012
    Posts: 459

    Bigbangtheory
    Member
    from ohio

    Any pics of your truck? I just picked one up and it has a 425 nailhead motor. It's coming out and I am going with a 350-350 combo. I can't see staying with the 216 on today's roads. Put something in it where you can drive it and enjoy it more. My 2 cents.
     

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