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Can I convert '50 216 to full press lubrication?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by joel, Mar 30, 2013.

  1. joel
    Joined: Oct 10, 2009
    Posts: 1,695

    joel
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    My son has a '50 conv. and a spare 216. I seem to remember you could swap cranks or have the 216 crank cross drilled to get rid of the scoop fed rod lubrication. I know the best is to swap for a 55/62 235, but this was my dad's car and he would like to keep it close to original. Here are some pics of the car.
     

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  2. waldo53
    Joined: Jan 26, 2010
    Posts: 848

    waldo53
    Member
    from ID

    Beautiful car!!! It's cool to have a car that's been in the family for a long time. Yes, a 216 can be machined for full pressure oiling and insert bearings. It's cheaper to just drop in a '54 - '62 235 but then it's understandable why you want to keep the original engine. Is the 216 tired and ready for a rebuild? I would run the 216 until it dies of old age before undertaking a rebuild. The 216 is an amazing engine, much stronger than given credit for. There's a 216 group here on the HAMB if you feel the need encouragement.

    Good luck with the car whatever you decide.
     
  3. joel
    Joined: Oct 10, 2009
    Posts: 1,695

    joel
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Thanks for the reply. Long story, but the car has a good 216 in it now and the original engine needs to be rebuilt. I thought I could do it on the sly and surprise the kid. I informed my son about watching the oil level closely because those engines don't oil well if it gets low. I wouldn't rebuild it if I couldn't get pressure to the rods. I'll look into the 216 group.
     
  4. waldo53
    Joined: Jan 26, 2010
    Posts: 848

    waldo53
    Member
    from ID

    The 216 has a unique system of oiling the rod bearings. At low RPM the dippers on the rod journals just dip oil out of the pan, at higher RPM oil is diverted to nozzles that squirt the oil into the dippers, forcing it into the journals. Actually works pretty well. The biggest 216 killer(s), in my opinion, were the old cast iron pistons that tended to eat the babbit bearings alive. If the engine has ever been rebuilt, chances are it has alluminum pistons now. And then sustained high RPM driving under load, which can be helped considerably with a 3:55 rear end. If your car has a Powerglide trans, it already has the 3:55's, if not, a simple rear end change to a Powerglide set-up will give you easy highway speeds. I had a '49 back in the late '50's with alluminum pistons and a PG rear end. Drove the absolute crap out of it for years, even surprised more than one '55 Chev with V-8 (notice, I didn't say I beat them). You can have the rods machined to use insert bearings, which make it a whole lot easier to replace if needed.

    Again, nice car!
     

  5. Normbc9
    Joined: Apr 20, 2011
    Posts: 1,123

    Normbc9
    Member

    It is done a lot. I have sent a few photo's. I do suggest you get in touch with a good local Motor Machine Shop that has a CNC setup for the crank drilling. Precision is worth a lot. Then I suggest you look at www.inliners.org . It is a great site for Technical advice. I drive a '32 with a '47 216 setup with full pressure, HEI and some other items. It runs great, is fuell\ efficient and also has good power.
    Normbc9
     

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  6. 6inarow
    Joined: Jan 24, 2007
    Posts: 2,244

    6inarow
    Member

    Mo on the 216 group has a really really cool 216 full pressure rebuild. Becks machine in california specializes in these full pressure conversions

    Inliners international is your group. Join them (us)
     
  7. junkyardjeff
    Joined: Jul 23, 2005
    Posts: 7,492

    junkyardjeff
    Member

    If you find someone that can do the work to pressurize a 216 in your area post the info as I have been considering doing the same,I see you are in Indiana and I am in Ohio and dont want to ship parts across the country to get the work done. I am thinking about finding a 37 216 to convert to full pressure for my 37 p/u.
     
  8. Dale Fairfax
    Joined: Jan 10, 2006
    Posts: 2,585

    Dale Fairfax
    Member Emeritus

    Wouldn't it be more cost effective to install a 235 crank in the 216 block? The journal sizes are all the same (at least in '49-'52).
     
  9. raengines
    Joined: Nov 6, 2010
    Posts: 227

    raengines
    Member
    from pa.

    Awesome car!!! if it were me........I'd keep the original 216 stored and safe and build a newer engine to play with. ( that's what I did with mine :) )
     
  10. 'Mo
    Joined: Sep 26, 2007
    Posts: 7,435

    'Mo
    Member

    That convertible looks great, joel and I love the history!

    Two books I highly recommend to all early Chevy owners are California Bill's "Chevrolet, GMC, and Buick Speed Manual" (1954), and "How to Hop up Chevrolet and GMC Engines" (1951), by Roger Huntington. Both are widely available in reprint.

    The subject of pressure oiling is pretty well covered between the two books, as well as the dependability of the stock system. I believe the Huntington book stresses the benefits of aluminum pistons (as was advised above by waldo53). With a .060" overbore, you can use inexpensive, std. size 235 aluminum pistons. Re-balancing the crank, although nice, is not necessary. With a good re-build you needn't worry about dependability (especially with 3:55 gears.) An aluminum cam gear is a good move, and I believe there is some information on Beck's site regarding rear main seal upgrades.

    Although my #I build is pressurized, I have taken the above approach to build #II, without apprehension. (Though I did use NOS .030" over aluminum 216 replacement pistons.)

    Good luck with your build. It is a good thing that you have planned!

    Thanks, 6inarow. That means a lot to me!
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2013
  11. junkyardjeff
    Joined: Jul 23, 2005
    Posts: 7,492

    junkyardjeff
    Member

    I think the width of the rear main is wider which will require the block to be machined,that is what I was told when I was thinking about having a early 235 converted to full pressure and using a later 235 crank so probably the same with a 216.
     
  12. Tnomoldw
    Joined: Dec 5, 2012
    Posts: 1,563

    Tnomoldw
    Member

    :)What is the additive said to be bad for the bearings?:eek::confused:
     
  13. HEATHEN
    Joined: Nov 22, 2005
    Posts: 7,591

    HEATHEN
    Member
    from SIDNEY, NY

    There's an older guy around here who ran both 216s and 235s in dirt track cars, and he told me that as long as the stock 216 oil nozzles were aligned correctly, he had no lower end problems; this was with engines that had been converted to aluminum pistons and aftermarket rods that used replaceable bearing inserts.
     
  14. Curt B
    Joined: Oct 15, 2009
    Posts: 325

    Curt B
    Member


    Stroke is different.
     
  15. Dale Fairfax
    Joined: Jan 10, 2006
    Posts: 2,585

    Dale Fairfax
    Member Emeritus

    Yeah, but if you're gonna replace pistons anyhow----



     
  16. HEATHEN
    Joined: Nov 22, 2005
    Posts: 7,591

    HEATHEN
    Member
    from SIDNEY, NY

    To compensate for the longer stroke, Chevy made the 235 block taller. You'd be pushing the pistons above TDC in a 216 block.
     
  17. raengines
    Joined: Nov 6, 2010
    Posts: 227

    raengines
    Member
    from pa.


    right on the money HEATHEN, having the oil pan targeted is a must for the engine to live.
     

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