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Projects Upgrade 56 Chevy 3200

Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by Scott71, Jun 22, 2020.

  1. Scott71
    Joined: Jun 22, 2020
    Posts: 5

    Scott71

    Hello. I have been reading a lot of the posts about upgrading transmissions on older Chevy trucks. I have a 56 Chevy 3200 with a 3 speed manual and a 235 under the hood. I really like the 6 and plan on keeping it, speed isn’t a factor to me. I will add an additional single barrel carb and run a 2 carb set up. I love the look of it
    I am looking for advise on other upgrades to do. My wife cannot drive a manual transmission so i have been looking for an old powerglide. How much more work is involved in swapping in a th350 or 700r4? I have decent mechanical skills but do not need to be getting in over my head. Any words of advise are welcome
    Thanks
     
  2. southcross2631
    Joined: Jan 20, 2013
    Posts: 3,852

    southcross2631
    Member

    Does your wife have 2 feet ? If so then she can drive a stick. she just doesn't want to learn.
    There are kits available to convert your truck to an automatic. You just need to do a google search.
     
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  3. belair
    Joined: Jul 10, 2006
    Posts: 8,468

    belair
    Member

    Duals on a 235 are a must. Other than the two carbs, there's not much left that doesn't involve getting into the engine. Disc breaks are my favorite upgrade on old iron, the next guy to post will tell you the stock brakes are just fine. A change in rear gears might be something to think about.
     
  4. Dbhsvr
    Joined: Jan 12, 2020
    Posts: 13

    Dbhsvr

    I used a S10 T5 trans in my ‘57 235. Was pretty straight forward, i changed the front shaft to match my original clutch disk, other option is to change clutch to match the T5.
     
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  5. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 46,449

    squirrel
    Member

    two posts later, drum brakes are fine.

    What's with wifes these days? My wife was driving a car with a 6 and three on the tree when I met her in 1981....and still has the car, and it still has drum brakes, although it has a couple hundred more thousand miles on it now, and a different engine and transmission.

    I'd slow down on the upgrades, and concentrate more on learning about the truck, fixing one little thing at a time, and getting it in tip top shape...then teach your wife to drive it. I remember my sister driving my 59 32 pickup when it still had the six and 3 speed, must have been in the late 1970s.
     
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  7. S10_Man
    Joined: Oct 29, 2018
    Posts: 18

    S10_Man

    An automatic might be easier to drive, but with a 235 they would be real power soakers. Not sure about the 700r4, but TH 350's will take about 25 hp to spin. Not that it can't be done, but you might be disappointed with the results. Given the right rear gears and some patience you could live with it I guess. Good luck!
     
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  8. miker98038
    Joined: Jan 24, 2011
    Posts: 480

    miker98038
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I'm not getting into what your wife wants to drive, I've had enough of them not to argue. You might look at a 2004 R. They're smaller and lighter, and I believe use less HP. I've had good experiences replacing PG's with them. The 1st gear ratio is higher than a 700, so that, rear gear, tire height etc, should be looked at too.
     
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  9. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 27,210

    Mr48chev
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    200R4 is a better choice than either a Turbo 350 or 700R4. It's designed to work with smaller lower powered engines. plus it has overdrive.
    They did sell those trucks with hydromatics but finding one for a six is going to be impossible and you are probably looking at 2K to have it rebuilt so it's reliable. Cast iron glide that bolts up to a 235 is a waste of good money as far as I am concerned. Not hard to find for a 55/61 Chevy car but again spendy to have rebuilt and there is a reason they call them slush buckets.
    There was a time when my now 93 year old mom could drive anything with wheels on it with any transmission you stick in it including a tanker fuel truck pulling doubles with a 10 speed and a splitter in it. She still drives but can't push a clutch anymore.
    I can commiserate with you Scott71, my wife of almost 51 years cannot get her left foot and right hand to work together in unison no matter what she is driving although she did take my 69 Cutlass S with the Muncie 4 speed to the laundrymat to do diapers 50 years ago when she ran out several hours before I was set to get home. The only time she ever drove that car on her own but she had shifted it from the middle of the bench seat plenty when we were dating.
    She was fussing that the Model A is getting a T 5 a while back as I can imagine that if it had an automatic she would be wheeling it to town on a regular basis.
     
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  10. Don't repeat this. ;) My girlfriend is to short. As it stands all ready, she's in the steering wheel of the red 56 210 (that's after removing stock steering wheel and mounting a shallow 14" to see if it would help). She drove it, it looked uncomfortable and contorted. o_O So automatic it is. But she can drive a manual and ride a motorcycle. :cool:
     
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  11. How much more work is involved in swapping in a th350 or 700r4? Attaching a modern transmission to the 6 might require an adapter. It will require removal of the factory bellhousing, which supports the rear of the engine, and fabrication of a transmission crossmember. New driveshaft might also be required. Then there is an oil cooler and shifter for the transmission. You can replace the radiator for the cooler, but the factory steering column will not work if you want the shifter mounted there.

    I have decent mechanical skills but do not need to be getting in over my head. This happens quicker than you think.
     
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  12. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 46,449

    squirrel
    Member

    I used 1950s factory shifter parts (combination of truck Hydramatic and 53 car Powerglide) to put an automatic column shift on the original column in my 57 Suburban...it can be done. It takes some effort. There have been a couple threads about this in the past few months, as a couple other guys did it.
     
    57 HEAP likes this.
  13. carbking
    Joined: Dec 20, 2008
    Posts: 2,831

    carbking
    Member

    My wife learned to drive in a 1963 Corvette 327/340 w/close ratio 4-speed and 4.11 rear.

    If your wife wants to drive it, she will.

    And before you decide for sure on an automatic, Google potential power loss from your 6 using an automatic.

    As far as dual carbs on a Chevy 6 cylinder, basically eye-candy with a potentially wee bit of gain (5~8 percent) if done perfectly.

    If done less than perfectly, still eye-candy, but potentially as much as 25 percent LOSS!

    Look at the intake port configuration of the cylinder head!

    If you want eye-candy AND gain (and it will fit) go with triples and smaller carbs running solid linkage.

    Jon.
     
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  14. Scott71
    Joined: Jun 22, 2020
    Posts: 5

    Scott71

    Thanks for all the info. Plenty to take in. Maybe best to make her learn to shift. Ha.
    So, sticking with the manual transmission and a dual carb setup. Aside from the new manifold, what else is needed. I have an oil bath air cleaner I would have to change? Do both carbs need to be identical? Anything else I am missing?
    Thanks
     
  15. Budget36
    Joined: Nov 29, 2014
    Posts: 3,632

    Budget36
    Member

    @Scott71
    The fellow in this thread wants to upgrade to a V8, he may have an adapter for your 235 needs.

    https://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/threads/1955-chevy-truck-motor-swap.1197708/

    And really folks, comparing a GM granny box to M20's, 21's, etc...mercy.

    Whether she can't, doesn't want to, won't...no matter. Man is out to make his wife happy. I know, no one saying she needs to learn how to, has ever made a compromise for thier significant other
     
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  16. belair
    Joined: Jul 10, 2006
    Posts: 8,468

    belair
    Member

    @carbking - what carbs do you recommend for a three pot set up?
     
  17. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 46,449

    squirrel
    Member

    who said anything about a granny box? OP said three speed...

    The thing is, wives driving old trucks---there's a lot more to it than having to shift. Get her to learn to drive it, then see if she likes driving it, at all. Maybe she'll love it. Maybe not. I know mine got tired of driving old stuff a while ago, although she did it out of necessity for years, and didn't complain.

    The steering, brakes, wind, hvac, ride, etc might be the next things that need to change.
     
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  18. Budget36
    Joined: Nov 29, 2014
    Posts: 3,632

    Budget36
    Member

    Hmmn, thought I saw 4 speed from the Op, still doesn't matter...even a '55 GM 3 speed isn't like driving a Muncie, now is it?

    I'm going to go out on a limb and say the OP isn't wanting an auto tranny out of necessity for his wife, maybe he'll confirm/deny that.
     
  19. carbking
    Joined: Dec 20, 2008
    Posts: 2,831

    carbking
    Member

    Not a "one size fits all" answer. Depends on: engine displacement, state of tune of the engine, type of intake manifold, transmission type, weight of vehicle, type of fuel available, familiarity of owner with the carburetors, and the way the vehicle will be used. Generally, the success of any modification depends on the homework done prior to buying the parts for the modification.

    Physical fit is the limiting factor on many triple installations. If there is no interference with the firewall or a brace, or......whatever, it is much easier to get good results (on MOST six-cylinders) with the triples, and possible to get great results. One needs to look at the cylinder head intake port configuration.

    For 1-barrel carbs, I generally recommend Carter type W (W-0, W-1, WA-1, WE), or type Y (YF, YH). Most of these are readily available, not expensive (exception - sidedraft YH), and parts are readily available by mail.

    Single barrel Strombergs or Zeniths also occasionally are recommended.

    Again, not a one size fits all answer. There are going to be others that will recommend different Carters, or different brands.

    Jon.
     
  20. Scott71
    Joined: Jun 22, 2020
    Posts: 5

    Scott71

    Thanks Jon,
    I have a manual adjust Rochester carb on it now. If I switch to a dual carb, is it better to use a particular carb set up? Stick with the manual or upgrade that as well. My truck is original except rear end. I haven’t had a lot of much finding another Rochester carb within a reasonable cost. I will start looking for 2 carter carbs. thanks
    Scott
     
  21. carbking
    Joined: Dec 20, 2008
    Posts: 2,831

    carbking
    Member

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  22. Scott71
    Joined: Jun 22, 2020
    Posts: 5

    Scott71

    thanks for the info. Hate to crush my dual carb dream but I don’t wanna do it purely for looks. There is a Chevy 265 with powerglide for sale near me. It came out of a 56 bel Air. Apparently it’s a Power Pack V8 with “factory carb”. Do you know much about them? I would love any input. I have had a bunch of 1st gen mustangs and a 68 camaro. This motor is a little earlier than I am familiar with
     
  23. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 46,449

    squirrel
    Member

    It's still gonna be a slow truck with the 265 :)

    The car and truck engine/transmission mounting was a bit different, and the Powerglide of the 50s (cast iron case) was never offered in the trucks of the 50s. The truck has a crossmember under the bellhousing, the cars had two "ears" off the frame, to mount the transmission. Truck frames are a channel, which does not resist twisting loads very well, the car used a square tube frame, which does, so the mount systems are well engineered to work they way they were designed. If you change stuff, not so good. The 265 won't have side mount bosses, nor a tail housing mount boss, so you can't easily use the later 3 point mounting system.

    Again, you might want to get everything working "stock" first, and see how you and your wife like driving/riding in the old truck.
     
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  24. carbking
    Joined: Dec 20, 2008
    Posts: 2,831

    carbking
    Member

    I don't have any road tests for proof, but would guess the 235 stock with manual transmission would be quicker than the 265 powerslide.

    Those were solid old trucks. Like Jim says, try it stock; you might just like it. We put over 100k on a Ford with 213 CID 6. I don't remember any speeding tickets, but it would do 60 easily enough.

    Jon.
     
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  25. anthony myrick
    Joined: Sep 4, 2009
    Posts: 5,930

    anthony myrick
    Member

    I could drive my 235 all day 55-60 mph with 355 gears.
    235s dont like being lugged around on low rpms like you may be used to on newer engines.
    You have a couple easy trans upgrades. One would be to locate a 3spd OD gm trans.
    or the s10 5spd. A saginaw 4spd just gives you better gearing, not an OD if that is desired. A sagnaw 4spd behind that 235 is a lot more fun than the 3spd. Im not a fan of the granny geared transmissions unless its being used to work like a truck, most have a long stretch between 2nd and 3rd.
    I loved driving mine daily but on the interstate it needed another gear. 323 gears would have helped but then you start getting into issues with the 235s limited power.
     
    Scott71 likes this.
  26. Why are so many people that are commenting completely ignoring this !
    Who cares what you would do of it was yours, IT'S NOT YOURS, just help the guy put an automatic in the damn thing so his wife can enjoy it....good greif
     
  27. Budget36
    Joined: Nov 29, 2014
    Posts: 3,632

    Budget36
    Member


    See, you missed the requirements to comment, all must know how to drive a column shift manual, and a floor shift manual transmission. If not, then you need to shame the OP into making the little lady learn.
     
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  28. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 46,449

    squirrel
    Member

    easy peasy, find a 1958 or later Chevy small block with an auto trans, and drop it in there. Not really worth commenting on that approach.
     
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  30. Budget36
    Joined: Nov 29, 2014
    Posts: 3,632

    Budget36
    Member

    So now we ignore the OP's request, and make him put a V8 in it? Seems he likes the 6, but what the heck, let the masses speak and tell him what to do, not help him out with what he wants to do.
     
    loudbang and swade41 like this.

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