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‘59 235 Low Oil Pressure #1331649 Mon Oct 28 2019 11:49 PM
Joined: Feb 2019
Posts: 385
P
Phak1 Offline OP
Shop Shark
I know that these old engines are notorious for being able to run with low oil pressure but my question is how low is too low. I’ve finally had a chance to put a few miles on my ‘52 Chevy with a 235 installed. It pegs the needle on the 30 lb. gauge when I first start it but falls to 15 lbs. when it warms up (180 degrees) and running at 35-40 MPH. At idle it drops to almost 0. There is no valve clatter from the hydraulic lifters and no other unusual noises.

I’m running 10w-30 Valvoline.

This seem unusually low to me. This engine was rebuilt in 2013 and then sat for 5 years before I got it.

Your thoughts!

Last edited by Phak1; Tue Oct 29 2019 12:10 AM.

Phil

1952 Chevrolet 3100 w/‘59 235 & hydraulic lifters
“Three on the Tree” & 4:11 torque tube
12v w/ Alternator
Re: ‘59 235 Low Oil Pressure [Re: Phak1] #1331657 Tue Oct 29 2019 12:43 AM
Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 1,979
B
Builder Offline
Shop Shark
How much oil does it burn? Try 10w40.

Re: ‘59 235 Low Oil Pressure [Re: Phak1] #1331659 Tue Oct 29 2019 12:50 AM
Joined: Feb 2019
Posts: 385
P
Phak1 Offline OP
Shop Shark
I haven’t driven it enough miles to tell if it is using oil. I don’t believe that it is burning oil because it doesn’t smoke and was rebuilt by a PO in a reputable shop. It came with the paperwork to prove it.

Last edited by Phak1; Tue Oct 29 2019 01:37 AM.

Phil

1952 Chevrolet 3100 w/‘59 235 & hydraulic lifters
“Three on the Tree” & 4:11 torque tube
12v w/ Alternator
Re: ‘59 235 Low Oil Pressure [Re: Phak1] #1331666 Tue Oct 29 2019 01:16 AM
Joined: Mar 2019
Posts: 387
G
glenns towing Offline
Shop Shark
possible inaccurate gauge. Id put 15w40 or 20w50 in it. See what gauge does then. Could try a different gauge also. Was the engine broken in or ever ran prior to you getting it?

Re: ‘59 235 Low Oil Pressure [Re: Phak1] #1331667 Tue Oct 29 2019 01:17 AM
Joined: Sep 2001
Posts: 28,910
tclederman Offline
Boltergeist
Heck, I’d try 20W50 oil - it is readily available and costs $20 (Walmart).


Tim
1954Advance-Design.com
1954 3106 Carryall Suburban - part of the family for 48 years
1954 3104 5-window pickup w/Hydra-Matic - part of the family for 14 years
Z-series (54/55) GMC 350 (2-ton) COE - now part of Dave's family
- If you have to stomp on your foot-pedal starter, either you, or your starter, or your engine, has a problem.
- The 216 and early 235 engine are not "splash oilers" - this is a splash oiler.
Re: ‘59 235 Low Oil Pressure [Re: Phak1] #1331677 Tue Oct 29 2019 01:43 AM
Joined: Feb 2019
Posts: 385
P
Phak1 Offline OP
Shop Shark
I don’t know if it was properly broken in because I didn’t buy it from the owner who had it rebuilt. That was two owners ago. The story I got was it was running when the guy parked it then it sat for five years until it was sold 9/18. I bought it in 2/19 and it wasn’t running supposedly because of an electrical issue. It had many other issues including electrical!


Phil

1952 Chevrolet 3100 w/‘59 235 & hydraulic lifters
“Three on the Tree” & 4:11 torque tube
12v w/ Alternator
Re: ‘59 235 Low Oil Pressure [Re: Phak1] #1331678 Tue Oct 29 2019 01:46 AM
Joined: Dec 2017
Posts: 578
D
Dragsix Offline
Shop Shark
What kind of gauge are you running and where is the line tapped into? I am with the others, try another gauge just to double check. Also, any chance you have an oil filter mounted? If so, what kind?


Mike
Re: ‘59 235 Low Oil Pressure [Re: Phak1] #1331683 Tue Oct 29 2019 01:54 AM
Joined: Jan 2013
Posts: 1,445
N
ndkid275 Offline
Shop Shark
Stupid question! If it’s a 1952 235, isn’t that still running babbit bar rings? If so, isn’t 15 psi about normal? My 216 normally sits between 10-15 psi.

Please educate me here as I don’t know much about the 235. Didn’t they change to full pressure around 1955.2?

Chris

Re: ‘59 235 Low Oil Pressure [Re: Phak1] #1331686 Tue Oct 29 2019 02:01 AM
Joined: Mar 2002
Posts: 8,912
truckernix Offline
Master Gabster
That is a bit strange because those numbers are about perfect for the low pressure version.

Last edited by truckernix; Tue Oct 29 2019 02:03 AM.

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!
Re: ‘59 235 Low Oil Pressure [Re: Phak1] #1331688 Tue Oct 29 2019 02:05 AM
Joined: Sep 2001
Posts: 28,910
tclederman Offline
Boltergeist
Yes, Chris,

The 1935 engines were babbitted bearings - and, the low pressure oil system, both as you describe.

The original poster/post says at the end of the first post: “ At idle it drops to almost 0.”

That is not good for the engine’s bearings.


Tim
1954Advance-Design.com
1954 3106 Carryall Suburban - part of the family for 48 years
1954 3104 5-window pickup w/Hydra-Matic - part of the family for 14 years
Z-series (54/55) GMC 350 (2-ton) COE - now part of Dave's family
- If you have to stomp on your foot-pedal starter, either you, or your starter, or your engine, has a problem.
- The 216 and early 235 engine are not "splash oilers" - this is a splash oiler.
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