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What to do with this broken 283 V8

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by FolksWaggin, Sep 1, 2014.

  1. FolksWaggin
    Joined: Oct 15, 2010
    Posts: 36


    Hey everyone, I've got a 283 Chevy motor from the late 50s (3756519) with a broken and twisted connecting rod and a couple of chips in the bottom edge of the two cylinders adjacent to that broken rod. I'm wondering how to tell if it's worth trying to fix it, or if its only value is in parts for someone else's Chevy V8. The motor has been sitting for over 25 years. I bought it when I was in high school with plans to put it in a 48 Olds, but never got around to it. My scoutmaster had it in his 1940 Ford convertible back in the 60s.

    (Sorry about the bad pics--the motor is crammed into the back of my shed)
  2. vtmopar
    Joined: Jun 5, 2013
    Posts: 47

    from Vermont

    Honestly its a 60 year old engine that's broke.
    the only way to tell is to tear it down and have it checked by a machine shop.
    when it comes to engines don't cut corners it will cost you more in the long run.
    slack likes this.
  3. The 283 is a great little engine,but you really need to let a machine shop check it out.

    I would build it if it checks out. HRP
  4. FolksWaggin
    Joined: Oct 15, 2010
    Posts: 36


    Thanks, guys. I figured someone will have to tear it down and give it a good look over. I guess what I really meant is, "what is the chance that an engine with a few chips in the block is salvageable?" I just don't want to invest a lot of time into it if the chance is pretty slim.

  5. aaggie
    Joined: Nov 21, 2009
    Posts: 2,531


    The 283 was a good engine and I blew up my share but there is no intrinsic vale that makes it any better than other SBCs. If you want to use it by all means go for it but take it to a reputable machinist and have them check it out before spending any money on it.
  6. It will probably have to be bored so any minor scars in the cylinder will be cleaned up,if the cylinder is damaged the engine builder can use a cylinder sleeve.

    Some people don't like the idea of a sleeve but I have a pretty sweet 327 that have 2 sleeves and it runs like a bat out of Hades. HRP
  7. indyjps
    Joined: Feb 21, 2007
    Posts: 3,935


    Tear it down, you probably have a chipped lower bore and a spun rod bearing on the crank. The crank can probably be turned, as long as the block isn't cracked the chips in the bore won't make much difference as long as they are below the piston stroke, ring travel, smooth the chips with a grinder. 283's are short stroke so I doubt it will be an issue. I've built many engines with lower cylinder damage with no issues, used to build claimer stock car engines and that damage is pretty common. The rods are the same as any small block chevy.
    Old wolf likes this.
  8. For the $$$ it will take to rebuild you can buy a new crate motor. Or at the very least a running worn out Truck with a 350 in it. Personally I'd find a local High School Auto Shop and give it to them. I mean really, how important can it be if you've already had it for 25 years and done nothing with it?
    The Wizzard
  9. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 9,298

    Rusty O'Toole

    Do you specifically want a 283? If you do, look around for another one. They are not that scarce. If you find one cheap you should at least get the rods out of it, and if it has a better block, crankshaft etc. you can use the best parts from both to build a good engine.

    But, other than that, you would be better off scrapping it and getting another motor like a 350 or 305.

    PS I can see the appeal of a 283 in a T bucket or other light weight rod. Plenty of pep for a light car, free revving, snappy acceleration and throttle response, and good gas mileage.
  10. I agree with pist-n-broke. I know a couple engine machine shop guys. When they get guys dropping off engines like in the state like yours,they will usually advice them it's not worth it. Go to your local pick a part and find a nice 350. Look at the casting # and with a smart phone find the info on the internet. If it's 350 or 400,4 bolt mains,etc.
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2014
  11. Personally,I would rather have a 283 or 327.

    I realize you can buy a new crate engine for the same money,maybe even less but I still like the older engines. HRP
  12. 327Eric
    Joined: May 9, 2008
    Posts: 1,514

    from Diablo Ca.

    Take it to a machine shop and get it magnafluxed. No big deal. The 327 in my Studebaker started the same, has a couple chips in the block. I'd rather have a 283 Than a 350.
    doinbad likes this.
  13. I'd decode the numbers on it and see what it's out of before anything else.
  14. lewk
    Joined: Apr 8, 2011
    Posts: 763

    from Mt

    I'm building a '35 Ford right now. I've got a 4 bolt 350 under the work bench and a 283 on my engine stand that I'm going to back up with a '60 T10. This is a traditional site and I'm trying to build a car that is as traditional as I can afford to build it. Newer is usually more powerful, more reliable, etc, but this site is about old stuff. I'm excited to build my 283 and see what it can do wound up tight with some gears behind it.

    Tear your 283 down and get it checked out. If you check out, go for it. I don't know what the market is like in NW Connecticut, but around here I see 283s on Craigslist for $100 to $250 for a build able engine. 327s seem to sell in the $500 range.
  15. verno30
    Joined: Aug 25, 2008
    Posts: 1,044


    I see 2 scenarios

    #1 It means the world to you. Ya know, sentimental value and such. In that case, who cares about the bill. Build this 283 because of the story behind it, your scoutmaster, his '40 Ford, etc.

    #2 It doesn't mean shit and it's just an engine. OK. Like has been said before, it's an old engine that is broken, the pistons are most likely seized in the bores (see pic #2), and it's really nothing special. The heads are not Power Pack or Double Hump heads. It's not from a Corvette. It's not from a Fuel Injected car. No one will really care. You can sell it on craigslist or do some research and sell it on eBay. Numbers hunters love that. FYI, I know of 2 complete 283's in my hometown currently for sale. 1 is a rebuilt long block for $300.00 and 1 is a running long block with ??? miles on it for $100.00. Please don't think your sitting on a gold mine.

    Either way, good luck.
    Hnstray likes this.
  16. If the block doesn't check out, at least salvage the crank, then go find a 327 block. Nice traditional 301!
  17. My 283 started out some what in that shape had to put a sleeve in it but if its what you want its worth it.
  18. Verno has it nailed exactly. If it's special, price be damned- and it's gonna cost- that crank photo looks pretty rusty. If it's just a 283 to you then start with a better one. I love 283s (and 307s and 327s) but I don't think I've ever actually paid money for one. Everybody pulls their running 283 out to put in a 350 or 383 stroker and tries to sell the 283. I see them listed for 50-300 all the time- complete/running.
  19. Hdonlybob
    Joined: Feb 1, 2005
    Posts: 3,907


    All interesting posts above...
    My .02 cents is if you like the 283's like I it...(Unless it is totally broke)
    When I rebuilt my '63 Biscayne and swapped the 6 cylinder everybody told me go 350 ,350 350, and more of 350.
    All valid reasons, with one major exception....I graduated in 1962, and there were no 350's yet....and I always loved the little 283's.
    I wound up with a 283 bored .60 over with an old Corvette L79 cam...used 202 HO heads, full Corvette 2 1/2 Ram Horn exhaust including pipes, and some other stuff...with a (4) speed stick trans.
    It is a wonderful sweet running little engine and will squawk the tires if I want to easily.....which I rarely do.
    And if I drive it nicely will get ~16+ mpg.
    PS. yes I get some crap about adding newer parts to it, but I am not trying to pretend that is is stock...same with my Biscayne...(check the grille)...
  20. jack_pine
    Joined: Jan 20, 2007
    Posts: 348

    from Motor City

    350's are boring if you can afford to take that stance since they are plentiful.

    It's hard to understand if fixing the 283 is a good idea unless you have an idea of what kind of project you would use it for.

    Posted using the Full Custom H.A.M.B. App!
    1927graham likes this.
  21. So many valid points. Being closer to 70 than 60 I can relate to them all. For me the #1 question has always been how do I get the most for my $$$ and still be accepted. I finally decided I build my Shit to drive, not to park and have others critic them. Once you decide where you fit there it's a lot easier to decide what to use when building. Of course if you have endless cash supply it don't matter. At this time it don't even sound like there is a car for the motor.
    The Wizzard
    turboroadster likes this.
  22. BradinNC
    Joined: Mar 18, 2014
    Posts: 213


    If the 283 is from the 50's , I think it's a good chance it will have a steel crank.
    Old wolf likes this.
  23. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 27,536


    The casting number reads as 58/61 Corvette or 58/62 passenger car or truck. the suffix number stamped in the pad would determine what it came out of originally.
    If it were me I tear the little sucker down and see what I had. Mark the main caps first if they aren't marked to make sure they go back in the correct spot and pull it apart. then you will know if you haave something worth building, selling or trading or just some scrap metal to sell off or use as shop decoration.
    Tearing it down from it's current state is only going to take a couple of hours in most cases unless some of the pistons are frozen in the holes.

    Economics says that it's cheaper to get a 350 and build it and it is by all accounts. Pure enjoyment says a nice little 283 that is bored out a bit is a hell of a lot of fun even though you may have spent a bit more on it.
    Only the basic cost of the internal engine parts is different though. The cost of hot tanking, machine work and assembly is the same as any other small block. Volume sales gets the price of parts down and low volume takes them up.
  24. 1934coupe
    Joined: Feb 22, 2007
    Posts: 4,126


    If you need 2 rods PM me I have 2 you can have I'm in Rhinebeck NY close enough to NW CT. Personally I like 265s, 283s and 327s

    tb33anda3rd likes this.
  25. 56sedandelivery
    Joined: Nov 21, 2006
    Posts: 6,372


    Low Po heads, last pic seems to be of a CAST crank with what's visible of the parting line, and the pistons have "full" skirts (old technology). IMO, it's scrap, nothing more. Lots of rust to boot. Save the valve covers for a crate motor that you can make "look" like a 283. JMO. I am Butch/56sedandelivery.
  26. Early 283's had staggered valve cover bolt holes and won't work on later heads.
  27. Mr48 decoded the cast number to be 58-62 and very few early 58s had staggered valve cover type heads so it's more than likely a standard set of straight across, small valve heads.
  28. ok, did i ever mention i love 283's?
    i picked this motor up from folkswagon last year to steal parts for my hot rod. i am finally getting around to checking it out. i was hoping since it came out of a hot rod from the early sixties it might have some cool guts.
    picture when i picked it up. DSCF4072.JPG
    kidcampbell71 likes this.
  29. number stamped on the pad was TI204D.
    some rust but the bores looked surprisingly good from under neath, so i pulled the broken rod off the crank. motor is stuck. DSCF4864.JPG DSCF4865.JPG DSCF4866.JPG
    hipster and kidcampbell71 like this.
  30. El Caballo
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 5,899

    El Caballo

    Looking forward to it.
    hipster and tb33anda3rd like this.

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