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Engine swap success/ fail (235 replacing 216 in '53 3600)
#1311124 Sun May 19 2019 03:14 AM
Joined: Aug 2003
Posts: 97
T
Shop Shark
So, I've had my '53 3/4 ton for 24 years or so now, and been using it as a DD most of that time. Since '04 I'm running a stock 216 that was a free gift from a nice gent back in Colorado who was going the SBC route. Well, the 216 was finally showing its age--low compression, almost no power, leaking lots of oil and coolant... so I decide it's time to swap in the sweet-looking 235 I picked up at a local auction for $90. I had the 235 up on blocks, got it all cleaned and painted nice, put in the flywheel from the 216 and a brand new clutch, and finally hoist it into place on the truck.

I'm itching to get everything hooked up to see how she runs. Fiddle with the timing for a few hours (should have realized the timing mark on the flywheel would be useless, as I put my original 216 flywheel on the '53 Powerglide hi-pressure 235), but finally got her to purr! So, let me slide the tranny back in place and get everything else buttoned up. Or so I thought; I've got the SM 420 4 speed up on blocks at the correct height under the truck, ready to just slide back into place. It takes some wiggling of course to get the splines into the clutch disc and then the front of the input shaft into the pilot bushing, but she finally snugs up.

And then the HORROR strikes me: the bellhousing on the new 235 does not align with the bolt pattern on my '53 SM 420!!! And here I was thinking all 1950s GM manual transmission bolt patterns were the same! The darnedest thing about it is it's only off by a little bit, probably less than an inch, so it's not really noticeable on just a casual visual inspection. I actually did measure the width of the bellhousing at the rear engine mount points, to be sure the old mounts would work, but I never even thought about checking that transmission bolt pattern!

Argggh, now I have to yank the whole engine back out, set it down on blocks, pull the clutch and flywheel, pull the bellhousing, install the 216's bellhousing on the 235, put the flywheel and clutch back in, and drop it back into place. I think I just added 3 or 4 hours to an already interminable project! Oh well: lesson learned: CHECK THE BOLT PATTERN!


1953 3600 Pickup
1946 Fleetline Aerosedan
1950 Fleetine Deluxe w/ Powerglide
Re: Engine swap success/ fail (235 replacing 216 in '53 3600)
Tyler Watts #1311130 Sun May 19 2019 04:43 AM
Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 20,330
H
Boltergeist
Which bolt holes aren't lining up- - - -top or bottom? I've never seen a car/truck trans that wouldn't swap, unless it was a pre-1953 car bellhousing. The 1954-up cars and trucks, 3 and 4 speeds, are supposed to have the same bolt pattern. The only difference is in the transmissions- - -trucks have threaded bolt holes at the bottom while car transmissions have threaded holes in the bell housing and the trans bolts in from the back with 4 bolts. You might be able to drill the threads out of the car bellhousing on the bottom and not have to swap.
Jerry


The murder victim was drowned in a bathtub full of Rice Krispies and milk.
The coroner blamed the crime on a cereal killer!

Cringe and wail in fear, Eloi- - - - -we Morlocks are on the hunt!
Re: Engine swap success/ fail (235 replacing 216 in '53 3600)
Hotrod Lincoln #1311131 Sun May 19 2019 04:46 AM
Joined: Aug 2003
Posts: 97
T
Shop Shark
Jerry,
It looks like all of them! I will post a few pictures with a ruler for reference when I get back under the truck tomorrow.


1953 3600 Pickup
1946 Fleetline Aerosedan
1950 Fleetine Deluxe w/ Powerglide
Re: Engine swap success/ fail (235 replacing 216 in '53 3600)
Tyler Watts #1311151 Sun May 19 2019 02:23 PM
Joined: Apr 2009
Posts: 542
H
Shop Shark
I had the same problem when I made the same swap in my 1952 3100 with a SM 420. I was trying to use the bell housing that came with the 235 I purchased. Not sure I correctly remember the details but I think I determined the bell housing was originally for a much earlier truck. Fortunately I was installing the engine and trans as a unit in a bare frame.

Re: Engine swap success/ fail (235 replacing 216 in '53 3600)
Tyler Watts #1311154 Sun May 19 2019 03:10 PM
Joined: Jan 2001
Posts: 4,946
P
Shop Shark
Here is a list of transmission bolt patterns from my blog.

Attached Files
Capture.JPG (33.93 KB, 160 downloads)

See the USA in your vintage Chevrolet!
My Blog
Re: Engine swap success/ fail (235 replacing 216 in '53 3600)
Tyler Watts #1311157 Sun May 19 2019 03:26 PM
Joined: Jan 2000
Posts: 2,039
J
Shop Shark
Both of my trucks, '46 and '53 had their original 216 bellhousings, starter, flywheel, clutch etc, with later 235 and 261s, no issues.


It's easier to get forgiveness than permission!
1946 1/2-Ton Chevy
1953 Chevy 3/4-ton Factory Stakebed
Re: Engine swap success/ fail (235 replacing 216 in '53 3600)
Tyler Watts #1311209 Sun May 19 2019 11:58 PM
Joined: Aug 2003
Posts: 97
T
Shop Shark
Here is a side-by-side of the two bellhousings. Bellhousings

The one on the left is the 216 (stock) bellhousing; the one on the right is of unknown provenance (it came with the '53 Powerglide 235, but is obviously not original to a Powerglide motor).

The next pictures show the difference in spacing of the bolt holes: left side right side

Attached Files
bell housings 1.jpg (50.84 KB, 109 downloads)
bell housings 2.jpg (93.33 KB, 109 downloads)
bell housings 3.jpg (92.53 KB, 101 downloads)
Last edited by Tyler Watts; Mon May 20 2019 03:04 AM.

1953 3600 Pickup
1946 Fleetline Aerosedan
1950 Fleetine Deluxe w/ Powerglide
Re: Engine swap success/ fail (235 replacing 216 in '53 3600)
Tyler Watts #1311210 Mon May 20 2019 12:03 AM
Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 20,330
H
Boltergeist
No pics visible- - - -needs a sign-in to Google!
Jerry


The murder victim was drowned in a bathtub full of Rice Krispies and milk.
The coroner blamed the crime on a cereal killer!

Cringe and wail in fear, Eloi- - - - -we Morlocks are on the hunt!
Re: Engine swap success/ fail (235 replacing 216 in '53 3600)
Tyler Watts #1311212 Mon May 20 2019 12:16 AM
Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 8,652
Grease Monkey, Moderator General Truck Talk & Greasy Spoon
Tyler, why not use the Stovebolt photo program? Instructions are posted in the left margin of every page.


Martin
'62 Chevy C-10 Stepside Shortbed (Restomod in progress)
'47 Chevy 3100 5 Window (long term project)
ā€˜65 Chevy Biscayne 4dr 230 I-6 one owner (Iā€™m #2)
ā€˜39 Dodge Businessmans Coupe
USAF 1965-69 Weather Observation Tech (got paid to look at the clouds)


"I fought the law and the law won" now I are a retired one!
Support those brave men/women who stand the "Thin Blue Line"! Hug a cop!

Re: Engine swap success/ fail (235 replacing 216 in '53 3600)
Justhorsenround #1311235 Mon May 20 2019 03:05 AM
Joined: Aug 2003
Posts: 97
T
Shop Shark
Roger that, Martin--I was following the old photo web link procedure. I added the photos as an attachment in my post above.

Last edited by Tyler Watts; Mon May 20 2019 03:05 AM.

1953 3600 Pickup
1946 Fleetline Aerosedan
1950 Fleetine Deluxe w/ Powerglide
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