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#480952 - Thu Dec 11 2008 02:54 AM Detective story.... 1949 Chevy 4400 ton and a half
Harrell Offline
New Guy
Registered: Wed Nov 12 2008 02:22 PM
Posts: 17
Loc: South Dakota
Where to start? From the beginning I suppose. This is an overhaul of the engine in a 1949 Chevy 4400 ton and a half (hydraulic bed) grain truck.

The engine needed an overhaul, since the plugs fouled quickly and it smoked so either the rings were excessively worn or the valve guides or both.

First I enjoyed this project and the Chevy trucks are now my favorites. Normally, I am a tractor restorer / collector, but I love the Chevy trucks now.

Original engine or not? The engine # starts with HAA which, according to, is a 1950 216 engine block. I'm not sure if this information is correct... So, I ordered gaskets for a 216. But after I opened the engine, I saw the pistons have two compression rings and an oil ring and are clearly pistons for a 235. The rods are not babbitted. Thankfully, the gaskets are all the same nowadays, even the head gasket (Fel-Pro 7276 B) fits both 216 and 235 engines. The online manual,, indicates there is only one crankshaft for both engine sizes.

It may be that this is a 216 that was bored the additional 1/16 to accommodate the 235 piston. Why do such a thing? The difference between the 216 and 235 is only one horsepower. Hardly worth the effort. If it's not, then the online engine #s are wrong.

I didn't take the engine out of the engine compartment, but I wish I had now. Lots of crawling around on the floor. The bearing shells were in good condition but the rings were worn as were the valve guides and a couple of the seats were in poor condition. Not a single shim in the bearing caps.

Getting an oil line kit was impossible. EGGE, Chevys of the 40s and others had the wrong fittings in their kits. Jim Carter has a guy who solders them up and sells a home-made kit - I have one now... about a month late. I made my own. I'll add a photo of the fittings I made with an explanation if I can see how to do it.

My fittings protrude a little bit farther than does the original so the push rod cover has to be modified. But this is not hard to do. With a Dremel, I cut the dimple out of the push rod cover that accommodates the bend in the oil line tube and put it back with epoxy (relax, it works fine) but giving ample room to accommodate the new oil line fitting. Actually, I cut the dimple on 3 sides and bent it outward to accommodate the fitting. I put a piece of postal tape on the inside so I could fill the gap with epoxy. It works fine.

A major advantage of my fitting system is that it can be taken apart any number of times without destroying the fittings, unlike the original or the replacements you get from Jim Carter.

The push rod cover leaked oil before I started this overhaul and it still leaks. I'll take it off again and try to fix the leak by putting a generous amount of silicone sealant on the gasket, but if anyone has any experience / suggestions regarding the leaky push rod cover, please feel free to post them.

I can't seem to upload or paste the jpg file showing the fitting I made for the oil line.....

Harrell Sellers
Brookings, SD

#481038 - Thu Dec 11 2008 10:46 AM Re: Detective story.... 1949 Chevy 4400 ton and a half [Re: Harrell]
Bears63 Offline
Shop Shark
Registered: Tue Oct 28 2008 11:15 PM
Posts: 471
Loc: Watertown, South Dakota
I don't have much to add, unfortunately, I just had to say Hey. It's nice to see another South Dakotan on the boards wave
Mike "Bear" Shea
1963 Chevy C20 Stepside
1963 Chevy C10 Fleetside
1971 Chevy C10 Cheyenne
#481060 - Thu Dec 11 2008 11:59 AM Re: Detective story.... 1949 Chevy 4400 ton and a half [Re: Bears63]
Hotrod Lincoln Offline
Extreme Gabster
Registered: Mon Feb 23 2004 12:00 PM
Posts: 11518
Loc: Dellrose, TN
I'd suggest doing a bit more research on the block numbers, etc. To the best on my knowledge, none of the 216's had insert-type rod bearings, or full-pressure oiling to the connecting rods. The 216 and low-pressure 235 also had dippers attached to the rod caps, and troughs under each rod that were filled with oil by the pump. The presence of insert bearings indicates you've got a 1954-up 235 engine. With very few exceptions, the full-pressure 235's had a pushrod cover that stopped short of the cylinder head. The 216's and babbit-pounder 235's had side covers that extended all the way to the valve cover, over the spark plugs, with very few exceptions. Good luck on the rebuild! Keep us posted.

Edited by Hotrod Lincoln (Thu Dec 11 2008 12:00 PM)
I refuse to have a battle of wits with an unarmed opponent!
#481219 - Thu Dec 11 2008 06:45 PM Re: Detective story.... 1949 Chevy 4400 ton and a half [Re: Hotrod Lincoln]
John Milliman Offline
Geezer In Training
Registered: Fri Nov 10 1995 12:00 PM
Posts: 5498
Loc: Mechanicsville, MD
The best place is to run the block and head casting numbers by the listing at

Sounded like you had a real project going there!

John Milliman

1949 Chevrolet 3800
1963 Dodge M-37B-1 Power Wagon
1965 GMC-Darley Tanker For Sale!
1972 GMC 9500 Road Tractor

"I'm gonna get them bomb doors open if it hair lips everbody on Bear Creek!"
#481677 - Sat Dec 13 2008 01:01 AM Re: Detective story.... 1949 Chevy 4400 ton and a [Re: John Milliman]
Mikestem Offline
Shop Shark
Registered: Mon Sep 03 2001 12:00 PM
Posts: 612
Loc: St. Louis, MO
Jerry & Harrell,

IF the engine had been previously bored out to accomodate the 235 pistons, maybe they machined it for insert rod bearings at that time? Seems feasible, since I just had it done to my 216, and I don't think it's exactly a "new" trick . . .


If I recall the specs right, I think the Horse Power difference was 3 to 4 between the 216 & the similar 235, but the 235 had a greater increase in torque . . . not sure what this helps, just thought I'd throw it up the flag pole and see who salutes . . . ohwell

Please type slow, as I can't read very fast.

1939 Chevy/Central Fire Engine
1941 Chevy/American Fire Engine
1950 Chevy/American Fire Engine
In the Gallery
More Photos in Me Gallery
#481694 - Sat Dec 13 2008 03:19 AM Re: Detective story.... 1949 Chevy 4400 ton and a [Re: Mikestem]
kb3csw Offline
Shop Shark
Registered: Wed Dec 24 2003 12:00 PM
Posts: 1311
Loc: Pocomoke City, MD
mikestem more torque gives better pulling power. When hp and gearing are similar engine with more torque will generally tote the load better. rpm where engine developes the most torque will have a bearing on it also.
#481775 - Sat Dec 13 2008 11:57 AM Re: Detective story.... 1949 Chevy 4400 ton and a [Re: kb3csw]
OldSub Offline
Extreme Gabster
Registered: Sun Oct 05 2003 12:00 PM
Posts: 6663
Loc: Seattle, Washington
Check the casting numbers on the motor. I suspect you have a 235 that was stamped with the 216 numbers because the truck was titled off the motor instead of the cab.
Its true, I really don't do anything but browse the Internet looking for trouble... . . .
'55 1st GMC Suburban . '54 GMC 250 trailer puller project. '54 GMC 250 Hydra-Matic . '54 Chevy 3100 . '47 Chevy COE . and more...
#481827 - Sat Dec 13 2008 02:24 PM Re: Detective story.... 1949 Chevy 4400 ton and a [Re: OldSub]
truckernix Offline
Registered: Sun Mar 24 2002 12:00 PM
Posts: 8356
Loc: Bracebridge Ontario Canada
If you have an oil line going through the block then I would say it was or still is a low pressure motor. Maybe someone machined the rods for inserts. Of course the inside of the motor would tell you what you have.

For the side cover, I would forget the gasket and go with RTV. I found that to be a much better solution. You can only straighten out sheet metal so many times before it starts to crack.
1951 GMC 1 Ton Flatbed -- It is finally on the road and what a great time I have driving it!
1951 1 Ton Completed

My Chevy Master 4 Door is on the Road!

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