Ring in the new with some quality time with your old truck! A great time to tackle a winter project. If you do not have access to your truck, start your parts list for spring!
The days are officially getting longer now, you know!
I heard it was a gas gussler and the gearing is important. I'm starting from a blank frame so I'm thinking the Muncie M20 (4 speed manual) and getting a Nova rear end. I'm also reading the T5 overdrive tranny is a good choice. I'm looking to make this a nice and comfy highway driver. I do have the IFS setup for the front so that will help. Always looking for comments and advice.
I have the Muncie 420 in my stock 1953 1/2 ton truck, and I have a 261 engine with torque tube and 4:11 rear gears. The granny-low first gear is about 7.1:1 ratio and un-useable in traffic. 5mph and the engine is screaming. It is only useful for pulling a heavy load, pulling the truck into the garage, or a parade. I use 2,3,4 for driving. And with the 4.11 rear end, 55mph is about top end and the motor is somewhat wound up. So I'm wondering if maybe a newer 4-speed (maybe the SM465) or T-5 might be of better use in your truck since you want a nice highway driver.
-Patrick 1953 Chevrolet 3100 261 / 4-speed / 4:11 / Commercial Red
I think FlowKooler makes the only high flow water pump I know of. They don't make it in chrome but if you juice it up it's a good choice. There are kits for the motor mounts out there.The 292 takes a small block bellhousing and pretty much any trans you want. I would also upgrade your radiator and might as well get one with a shroud and electric fan as a kit. My old rear end is a 12 bolt 6 lug from a junkyard 40 years ago. There are people here that know what to get a rear end from, Then just weld your perches on and bolt it in. Find a longer drive shaft and have it shortened. The 292 is an awesome engine, torque monster. I'm putting one in my 53 3100. You can find them on ebay running for around $500 sometimes with free shipping. The 292 and 250 share the same head. The 292 is basically a stroked 250. Good luck. There is lots of bling available for the 292. Here is a tamer version of the one I'm building now.
I have a straight front axle with everything stock, minus disc brakes and anti roll bar on the front. I seat belt kids in and go. She rides smooth without any issues. I can comfortably keep up with traffic without thinking that I will die.
I have a 48 3600 with a 292, T5 with .86 OD, and a 4.11 14 bolt rear end. When I swapped the rear end, I should have found a 3.73, or searched for a .72 OD transmission. Otherwise, I really enjoy it. You will have to modify engine mounts, and the fan does sit too low with respect to the radiator. I am still working on my final cooling solution. I am trying to stay away from electric fans.
My 53 with the 235 (slightly juiced) had 373's and SM420 trans in it. I drove it a couple of hundred thousand miles including a few cross country trips. It highwayed fine. I now have a Frankland rear end with 128 choices for rear end gear ratios. I know I'm out there but just showing what you can do.