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Any shame in running a 216?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Devin, Nov 28, 2013.

  1. 49ratfink
    Joined: Feb 8, 2004
    Posts: 17,984

    49ratfink
    Member
    from California

    in my world 216's are for stockers, or if they run well, they are temporary. V8's are a lot more fun. especially when you pass a trio of bombs doing 50 on the freeway while you are doing 80.
     
  2. hey man, hows it goin? I've got the 216 motor, tickin away just fine in my '48 chevy. decent mileage, reliable if not beat on. remember, the motor uses cast iron pistons from the factory. but, along with that, theres a 216 specific group here on the h.a.m.b, check em out! the main guy is building a KILLER motor-even found aluminum slugs for it! pretty sweet stuff :)
     
  3. Devin
    Joined: Dec 28, 2004
    Posts: 2,352

    Devin
    Member
    from Napa, CA

    Sweet, thanks for the tip! I'm drowning in work right now and haven't had time to even pick the car up. Can't wait


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  4. I've got the stock 216 and 3 speed in my car. As some other guys said it's not fast but I managed to keep up with traffic and my buddies this summer. I have the rear end out of a '53 Automatic waiting to go in in next month that will hopefully make it even better. I also just bought a small digital tachometer to keep and eye on the RPM. (I'm going to hide it under the dash or glove box when not needed.)

    Check the gaskets and seals out. As soon as I started to drive mine the rear main seal started to leak then let go all together. It wasn't easy to fix. We should have pulled the motor to change it not try to do it in the car.
     
  5. Rusty Heaps
    Joined: May 19, 2011
    Posts: 670

    Rusty Heaps
    Member

    I hope there's no shame, otherwise i'll have to hang my head low. My avatar has the 216 in it. i would recommend a '51-'52 powerglide rearend for it though, so you'll have a better gear ratio and Bendix brakes for the rear, also you can do this with the entire front suspension as it's a simple bolt in procedure if your on a tight budget.
     
  6. junkyardjeff
    Joined: Jul 23, 2005
    Posts: 7,734

    junkyardjeff
    Member

    I am thinking about going back to one in my 37 p/u,tossing around the idea of making one a full pressure motor but if my 235 decides to go sooner I would have no problem installing a good running stock 216.
     
  7. telekenfun
    Joined: Mar 9, 2010
    Posts: 250

    telekenfun
    Member

    Devin, Feel no shame! Chevy stovebolts moved the nation back in the 50s and in my case even into the 60s. There was always a stovebolt Chevy that got me to school, to college, to work and to the parts store. We needed to get to the parts store for parts we broke the previous weekend in our 55,56 57 V8s. Ha, time and again and it was always a Chevy six that got us there. But it wasn't kool then. Overtime I came to love and respect the old Chevys for their reliability no matter how badly we treated them. Never had one let me down. Now 50 years later, I've come full circle back to enjoying inline motors in general, for their torque,smoothness, and their uniqueness. I have graduated from the Chevys to a Buick straight 8 and a 54 Jimmy pickup. But love for my old hopped up 261 is still there even if it's long gone.
    There are several old sayings that we need to keep in mind when planning a project such as this:
    " Nothing is as simple as it seems"
    "While I'm at it I'll just -------- is a guarantee of incompletion".
    When you change one thing, you will be changing everything".
    "Slow and easy wins the race".
    "Keep it simple stupid".
    "Nothing ever goes as planned"
    "Imagination outlasts Ambition"
    Multiply all labor estimates times "pye" (3.14159)
    So just do what must be done to get the car running and safe.
    Then, start planning the improvements you want to make.
    Both my "Inlines" have gone through modification, modernization, hop-ups and upgrades. I never took them out of service until everything was acquired and prepared to make the change. In every case all the sayings above came to be true.
    I'm not trying to discourage you from wanting to change or upgrade your car, but to prepare you for the task. I suggest that you get it running and safe to drive. Then start planning your upgrades.
    As for recommendations:Swapping in a 5 speed would mean acquiring adapters, floor shift, driveshaft, an open differential, transmission tunnel work, etc. Swapping a rearend isn't as easy as they make it sound. The rear spring center bolt is in the wrong place for an open drive so spring also need to be changed. Using the original springs with a later housing will alter your wheelbase. Later springs are wider than the stockers, so perches will need changing. The E brake lash-up will also need addressing. "Spring Wrap" will become an issue unless you install a 4 link of some kind.
    Changing to a 51-54 power glide 3.55 rearend is a good idea for greater highway speed except for the fact that the Chevrolet division never thought a 216 had sufficient torque to pull that taller gear. All powerglide cars had 235 engines. The 1950 Powerglide 235 looked like a 216 with its tall tin side cover but inside it had a "High-Torque" crank that is what makes a 235. Don't try to outsmart GM.
    To use the 216, and stay as original as possible I suggest that you go on a witch hunt for a "Truckstell TIP-TOE MATIC" overdrive. These Overdrives where available as a dealer installed option from 47-54. They came as a kit with a shorter torque tube and all the linkage to facilitate their use. These units will allow the low gearing your 216 needs for acceleration and town driving while providing a 26% overdrive for highway cruising. I have one installed In my Jimmy and it works great. One of these will actually allow your 216 to survive the modern world. The install will take a day. After that start getting a 261 ready. Then with a 261, you will be able to run 75-80 with that guy who snickered at you in a previous post. And you'll only be turning about 2800 rpm.Meanwhile he's wondering "whats he got in there?"
    Best regards and Good Luck with all your endeavors, KB aka telekenfun.
     
  8. I didn't read what everyone else had to say but I know it will blow up.............
     
  9. Ratfink said it, they work. Until you've had V8 power then you'll wonder what the hell you were thinking. Until then they're fun to beat on, and tough, and sloow

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  10. Devin
    Joined: Dec 28, 2004
    Posts: 2,352

    Devin
    Member
    from Napa, CA


    Wow and thanks for the outstanding info. Your adages are well noted as I've just about completed my roadster build although multiplying the expense by pye is a bit conservative and optimistic! :)
     
  11. kyvetteman
    Joined: May 13, 2012
    Posts: 760

    kyvetteman
    Member

    I drove a '46 Chevy PU in high school (while everyone else was driving Novas, Chevelles and Camaros) and loved it. I wrung out the 216 one too many times and it let go, replaced it with a 235 and bolted on some Offy goodies and ran the sh*t out of it! I'd say go with and have a blast, but have something over in the corner of the garage ready to swap out when it lets go, cause it WILL let go.
     
  12. 'Mo
    Joined: Sep 26, 2007
    Posts: 7,435

    'Mo
    Member

    Great info on the 216 can be found in the two following books (both reprints of mid-century classics):

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Keep the revs down, and the 216 is a durable motor. After all, the same basic engine (216 and H.T. 235) powered the entire Chevy fleet (both cars and trucks) for 15 years (1937-1952). Many are still on the road today!
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2013
  13. Johnny La-Chingas
    Joined: Feb 12, 2009
    Posts: 74

    Johnny La-Chingas
    Member

    Drive it till the wheels fall off than replace it with a 235.. My 216 in my 51 coupe won't die so I just stay in the slow lane, they are good motors!!
     

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  14. '41 Chev
    Joined: Feb 23, 2013
    Posts: 76

    '41 Chev
    Member

    If thea 216 is in good shape, you can run 65 all day safely with the orig 4.11 gear. Run it 70 and it wont live very long. I'm told the 216 got insert rod bearings in late '48 but that may not be true.

    I just sold a fully rebuilt '41 216 with insert rod bearings and put a Vortec 350 in the '41. 'Just got tired of being limited to 65 mph. The 216 was very willing to go past 65 (saw 85 once for a short distance). They'll wind til they blow.

    To keep it simple, find a PG 3.55 gear set (it comes out the front of the housing as a unit). That'll let you run 70 safely. The "chunk" will swap through '64. In high school, ('54) I had a '47 chevy with a 3.55 rear. It was a ball to drive (and we have a lot of hills and 2 mountains here).

    As to brakes, '51-'54 car brakes will give you Bendix design. Corvette used this same brake exactly thru '62. That's what I put on the '41 ('60 Vette) and it stops great and matches the brakes on my '56 car rearend.

    Whatever you decide, have fun with good luck!
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2013
  15. Devin
    Joined: Dec 28, 2004
    Posts: 2,352

    Devin
    Member
    from Napa, CA

    I have a spare set of tri-five backing plates and all brake parts. Will they bolt up to the '50 rear end?


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  16. harleyjohn45
    Joined: Aug 27, 2012
    Posts: 190

    harleyjohn45
    Member

    My 36 has the original 207. runs great, all 79 HP.
     
  17. harleyjohn45
    Joined: Aug 27, 2012
    Posts: 190

    harleyjohn45
    Member

    Our new 48 chevy truck was a babbit pounder, after I ruined the engine, my dad installed a 51 with inserts. No more problems.
     
  18. kirby1374
    Joined: Dec 16, 2008
    Posts: 427

    kirby1374
    Member

    My old 37 had the 216 and I don't remember it being real slow. My car before that was a Nissan Sentra so that doesn't say much.
     
  19. Devin
    Joined: Dec 28, 2004
    Posts: 2,352

    Devin
    Member
    from Napa, CA

    Can insert bearings and full flow be retrofitted in the Babbitt engines? I don't care as much about speed for this build, I just want to be able to safely and reliably keep pace with modern traffic.


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  20. 'Mo
    Joined: Sep 26, 2007
    Posts: 7,435

    'Mo
    Member

    No, they won't bolt up. Neither will the '51-up Bendix units.

    Yes. Your rods can be machined, and replacement bearings are readily available. Converting to full-pressure oiling is possible, but a bit more involved. It is hardly necessary, however.

    The real key to keeping the 216 alive is in replacing the cast iron pistons with aluminum ones. Here is a reply I posted on freezerburn's excellent build thread on the 216 board.

    "...Now consider that each piston changes direction twice per revolution (D./U., U./D.). At 3000 RPM, a piston changes direction 100 times PER SECOND! It's easy to see why these motors beat themselves to death at speed! A 1/2 lb. weight savings per slug will have a tremendous effect on engine longevity.

    In addition, aluminum dissipates heat better than iron, and will be less prone to develop 'hot spots' (from the plug) while in operation. This may serve as a deterrent to those nasty head cracks, as well!

    (A reminder to readers: With a .060" overbore, it is possible to use low cost, Std. size 235 aluminum pistons in your 216. And, while beneficial, it is not necessary to re-balance the crank of the straight-six engine.)"

    If you want to build the 216, you really should start with the the two books mentioned in post #43. In the meantime, check out the 216 board. In addition to freeezerburn's build thread, have a look at my pressure motor ('Mo's build #I) and my babbit/splash motor ('Mo's build #II).
     
  21. 'Mo
    Joined: Sep 26, 2007
    Posts: 7,435

    'Mo
    Member

    No, they won't bolt up. Neither will the '51-up Bendix units.

    Yes. Your rods can be machined, and replacement bearings are readily available. Converting to full-pressure oiling is possible, but a bit more involved. It is hardly necessary, however.

    The real key to keeping the 216 alive is in replacing the cast iron pistons with aluminum ones.

    If you want to build the 216, start with the the two books mentioned in post #43. In the meantime, check out the 216 board (linked in my signature).
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2013
  22. Devin
    Joined: Dec 28, 2004
    Posts: 2,352

    Devin
    Member
    from Napa, CA

    Well, I finally got the old girl home and after checking the engine over, she's frozen up! Shame or not, I'm going to search for a 235, 261 or Jimmy to replace the 216. I would really like to keep the 3 on the tree and get a powerglide rear end unless someone can talk me out of it. I'm looking at this build as a resto-custom if that even makes sense lol. If anyone has an engine or rear end (NorCal possibly socal) please PM me. Thanks for all the advice so far, this car is going to be a huge project and learning experience. ImageUploadedByH.A.M.B.1388256394.333522.jpg ImageUploadedByH.A.M.B.1388256420.520832.jpg ImageUploadedByH.A.M.B.1388256456.039138.jpg


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  23. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 17,898

    gimpyshotrods
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I am a big fan of an overdrive transmission and a modern rear end the in these. A broader range of gears makes these cars more pleasurable to drive, on today's road.

    Would be a floor shifter, though, but you could keep the stock pedals.
     
  24. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 17,898

    gimpyshotrods
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Or you could un-stick the 216.
     
  25. Devin
    Joined: Dec 28, 2004
    Posts: 2,352

    Devin
    Member
    from Napa, CA

    True. however, I removed the valve cover and the rockers head and spring are rusty and the oil is milky with water in it. Considering the price of a rebuild, I'm guessing the cost to benefit ratio isn't in my favor.


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  26. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 17,898

    gimpyshotrods
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Yup, let that one go.
     
  27. Devin
    Joined: Dec 28, 2004
    Posts: 2,352

    Devin
    Member
    from Napa, CA

    I have a saginaw 4 speed with the 2 ring input shaft lying around. It's a rebuilt trans. Wondering how this would do? I'm just trying to avoid replacing everything although that's most likely what will happen anyway. It's just too easy to justify dropping in a running sbc I have lying around also. One thing leads to another...... You know the drill


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  28. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 17,898

    gimpyshotrods
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    The 4-speed could be made to work, but mostly just puts 4 gears within the same range as the original 3. I would go all the way to 5, if going all-in.

    The V8 can cause exhaust headaches with the stock steering column. I have found that mid-70's on smog manifolds seem to do the trick, but just are not sexy.

    I am close by, if you need help.
     
  29. R Pope
    Joined: Jan 23, 2006
    Posts: 3,309

    R Pope
    Member

    My vote goes to the 261/P'glide rear setup. That's what I'm gonna do with my '52 moredoor. Adapt the early water pump to the 261 so it looks right and fits behind the rad in stock position.
     

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