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261 in my 54 Chevy?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by 54LedSled, Jan 22, 2013.

  1. 54LedSled
    Joined: Mar 11, 2011
    Posts: 362

    54LedSled
    Member

    I came across a complete disassembled 261 a buddy is willing to sell me for 50 buck-a-roos. I currently have a stock 54' 235/PG setup in my 54 Belair. Is it worth it to rebuild it and put in my 54 behind that stock powerglide? What are some install issues with the swap? :)
     
  2. NORTH30FORD
    Joined: Nov 19, 2005
    Posts: 165

    NORTH30FORD
    Member

    This should be a straight forward exchange. It's essentially the same block and I believe the '54 is already set-up with side mounts, apposed to front mounts. In my Fifty I had to swap the water pump for an earlier style pump to clear the rad. but it had an older style 216. '54 was the first (or second) year of the newer style 235 so you shouldn't have that worry

    Hope that helps?

    Peter
     
  3. 53sled
    Joined: Jul 5, 2005
    Posts: 5,818

    53sled
    Member
    from KCMO

    That 1000 lb powerglide will limit everything. the more gears, the better.
     
  4. mr.chevrolet
    Joined: Jul 19, 2006
    Posts: 7,915

    mr.chevrolet
    Member

    i agree with 53.
     

  5. Ole don
    Joined: Dec 16, 2005
    Posts: 2,915

    Ole don
    Member

    The 261 engine is the old standard to make a sleeper. Today it would work well with a five speed. If you dont like three pedals, a 200R4 would be cool.
     
  6. jalopy45
    Joined: Nov 5, 2005
    Posts: 527

    jalopy45
    Member

    Go take a peek at the inliners forum www.inliners.org , in the technical tips on the left side of page, this swap is described in detail.
     
  7. R Pope
    Joined: Jan 23, 2006
    Posts: 3,309

    R Pope
    Member

    If the 'Glide is good, go ahead and use it behind the 261. You will have to buy or make an adapter to fit the '54 water pump to the 261, or move the rad ahead a few inches.
    The 261 will really wake up the '54, while retaining a stock appearance. If you really want to notice a difference, find a stock 3 speed stick trans, the 3.55 gears you have now will make the old girl scoot along at today's highway speeds with ease.
    I am going to replace the 235 dipper in my '52 with a 261, I have a 3.55 gearset too.
     
  8. 54LedSled
    Joined: Mar 11, 2011
    Posts: 362

    54LedSled
    Member

    Are the rebuild parts hard to find?
     
  9. waldo53
    Joined: Jan 26, 2010
    Posts: 863

    waldo53
    Member
    from ID

    Rebuild parts are readily available. The 261 and the 235 use the same main, rod, and cam bearings. Most of this will be found at NAPA. Other sources would be Patrick's and Chevs of the 40s. I believe egge.com still sells a complete overhaul kit that's supposed to be top notch.

    I would also look at loosing the old PG, it's a good tranny and all but slow as mollasses off the line. Patrick's sells an adapter to put a Sag 4-sp in using your stock torque tube rear end, which already has 3:55 gears - a great combo.
     
  10. George Miller
    Joined: Dec 26, 2008
    Posts: 413

    George Miller
    Member
    from NC usa

    Maybe he will be lucky, and it will be a 1954 261. They had the 4 bolt water pump.
     
  11. 54LedSled
    Joined: Mar 11, 2011
    Posts: 362

    54LedSled
    Member

    I have a rebuildable 56' 235 I'm working on right now...I go look at the 261 this weekend...see if I can get the serial number off it.
     
  12. Snarl
    Joined: Feb 16, 2007
    Posts: 1,639

    Snarl
    Member

    to answer the question, the difference in performance isn't really enough to justify spending $2500 rebuilding an engine to replace a perfectly good 235. If the 235 is ready for a rebuild anyway, then go ahead and do the 261 instead.

    What year is the 261? a '54 or '55 first series would be a direct swap, newer and you will have water pump and motor mount issues to resolve.
     
  13. 54LedSled
    Joined: Mar 11, 2011
    Posts: 362

    54LedSled
    Member

    Hey Snarl, thanks...yeah I'm gonna get the serial numbers off it this weekend and see exactly what I'm dealing with. I figure for $50 I can flip it...sounds like the best way to go is a 292...not sure about clearance issues in my 54 Chevy??
     
  14. belair
    Joined: Jul 10, 2006
    Posts: 8,802

    belair
    Member

    I want one sooo bad for my 55. I don't think a modern automatic will bolt up without an adapter. Look for the Captain's bars on the front driver's side on block where the oil pan bolts to the block.
     
  15. 54LedSled
    Joined: Mar 11, 2011
    Posts: 362

    54LedSled
    Member

    The 261? Maybe we can work a trade or something down the road :D
     
  16. chato0824
    Joined: Jan 7, 2008
    Posts: 51

    chato0824
    Member

    I built a 261 with Fenton headers and a Fenton intake with dual carbs and a T5 behind it. Also had a Howard's cam in it. Sounded bad ass and ran sweet down the highway at 75. Now I'm doing a ls and a 4l60e. Well worth it in my opinion. Just for me want something different. Good luck on it.

    Sent from my DROID device using the TJJ mobile app
     
  17. Snarl
    Joined: Feb 16, 2007
    Posts: 1,639

    Snarl
    Member

    Captains bars are above the starter.

    And some 53-54 235's had them as well, so if your looking at a stovebolt with the early style water pump and it has the bars, you need to check the numbers as well.
     
  18. Snarl
    Joined: Feb 16, 2007
    Posts: 1,639

    Snarl
    Member

    clearance issues with the 292? yes, it's a bit long, but it will fit. Best to use the '80-89 style 292 water pump, or convert to a 250 pump as these pumps are shorter than the earlier 292 pumps. Note that changing pumps usually means changing the balancer as well because of belt alignment issues between the WP and balancer. You would also be looking at upgrading the rest of the driveline if you want to stay with an automatic, and changing to 12 volts if it isn't already.
     
  19. Ironclad
    Joined: Jun 26, 2009
    Posts: 139

    Ironclad
    Member
    from Covina

    I'm doing a 261 with a 3 speed OD open drive line. Just found an engine just need to pick it up! Should be a good set up for my 41 coupe
     
  20. pdq67
    Joined: Feb 12, 2007
    Posts: 787

    pdq67
    Member

    Imho, I'd make a 3-speed stick OD work, but remember, the old cast-iron cased P/G has a rear pump so you can shove her off a hill and drop her in gear to start her!! BTDT!!

    pdq67
     
  21. GYROE-1
    Joined: Aug 22, 2011
    Posts: 17

    GYROE-1
    Member

    Just my 2 cents, Im building a 53 bel air but Im going with a inline chevy 250ci out of a 68 chevy pick-up...its about 200 pounds lighter than the stock 235. as for transmissions I went with the 2004r hydramatic-3speed with an overdrive for crusin on the highway. the gearing is somewhat the same to a 700r4 but the 200 is more narrow. the less fab work I have to do to my tunnel the better. and the best part is... both the 700 and 200 will bolt directly to my 250 inline. so weigh your options. its your car build it to fit you lol! hope this helps.;)
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2013
  22. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 9,608

    Rusty O'Toole
    Member

    The 261 makes a great swap in six cylinder Chevs. In Canada, the 261 was the base engine in 1955 to 1962 Pontiacs. The Canadian Pontiac was basically a Chev with Pontiac trimmings.

    A 261 equipped Pontiac could outdrag a 283 Chev or Pontiac, up to 50 MPH everything else being equal. Above 50 the V8 would pull away.

    The point is, the 261 is no slouch and a lot of them were swapped into Chevs in Canada in the old days. It goes into the Chev easily and performs well. It even looks stock .
     
  23. Ironclad
    Joined: Jun 26, 2009
    Posts: 139

    Ironclad
    Member
    from Covina

    That's the best part Rusty, it's a bolt on and I want a traditional hopped up engine in my ride! I am shooting to keep the shifter on the column also!
     

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