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Need for speed
#1362623 Fri May 29 2020 04:54 PM
Joined: Feb 2020
Posts: 7
Bodini Offline OP
New Guy
Heh Folks,
I have a 51 3100 fully restored. The engine is a 235 and the numbers say it's a 58-62 block. I have an SM420 bolted behind it, torque tube rear with the 3.55 setup. The truck has 15 inch wheels with P225x75 tires in the rear. She runs like a dream....up to 50 mph. It would be nice to at least go 55-60 if I get on the highway to go somewhere. If I bump up to 16 inch wheels and tires is that gonna give me 5-10 mph more? Should I go with a "regular" 4 speed, open rear end with lower gears? If so, what easily swapped 4 speed and rear end would you graduates of Truckology recommend? Thanks for any and all ideas.

Re: Need for speed
Bodini #1362626 Fri May 29 2020 05:24 PM
Joined: Aug 2019
Posts: 217
Shop Shark
With the tires and gears mentioned, you should be able to cruise 60mph at 25-2600 rpm. That's well within stovebolt capabilities.

Here's a spreadsheet if you'd like to play with tires, gears, rpm

Is the rear end actually 3.55?

'59 Chevy Suburban, NAPCO
Re: Need for speed
Bodini #1362642 Fri May 29 2020 08:24 PM
Joined: Sep 2001
Posts: 30,435
ace skiver
I can cruise for hours at 60-65 mph for hours with 16” truck radials.

MPG gets lower as you go faster.

15-16 mpg at lower speeds.
10-12 mpg at higher speeds.

Here is another RPM calculator (I use the calculator at the bottom) rpm alc.html []

Tim []
1954 3106 Carryall Suburban [] - part of the family for 49 years
1954 3104 5-window pickup w/Hydra-Matic [] - part of the family for 15 years
- 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 engines are not "splash oilers" - this is a splash oiler. []
Re: Need for speed
Bodini #1362666 Fri May 29 2020 11:43 PM
Joined: Feb 2020
Posts: 7
Bodini Offline OP
New Guy
Thanks guys. Yeah, I had the rearend rebuilt and the Patrick's 3.55 set up was used. But over 50 mph I feel like I'm pushing it.

Re: Need for speed
Bodini #1362676 Sat May 30 2020 12:44 AM
Joined: Jan 2002
Posts: 2,096
Shop Shark
Do you have a tach? If so, what RPM are you running at 50 mph?


Craig's '50 Chevy 3100 5 window
My truck
If I'm not working on my truck or VW camper, I'm fishing with the wife or smoking Salmon.
Re: Need for speed
Bodini #1362682 Sat May 30 2020 01:19 AM
Joined: Mar 2010
Posts: 9,443
Master Gabster
These engines are supposed to scream at highway speed. They are supposed to scream before each gear shift.
They are high torque, low horsepower engines by design. In order to get them to do work, you need to make them scream.
Once you get over the fear of the screaming, you will begin to enjoy them for what they are.
If you baby these engines, the combustion chamber becomes clogged with carbon. That's why you need to drive it like you stole it from time to time.
If it blows up, it means something was wrong with it to begin with.

Re: Need for speed
Bodini #1362685 Sat May 30 2020 01:32 AM
Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 21,005
I ran a 1958 Chevy DelRay coupe with a bone-stock 235, 3.55 gears, a 3 speed column shift, and 14 INCH WHEELS anywhere from 65 to 80 MPH routinely back when I was in college. Yes, it screamed, but it stayed together. If I'd had 16" wheels and a long enough straightaway (or a slight downhill run) I could have gotten it up to 100+ MPH!

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: Need for speed
Bodini #1362693 Sat May 30 2020 02:34 AM
Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 143
Shop Shark
Switch to 16 inch wheels and TALL tires. I can easily cruise my 53 truck with 235 with stock driveline at 60 mph and have pushed it to 70 mph plus on occasion with pedal to spare... 15 inch tires are just too small for these trucks in my opinion.

Re: Need for speed
Bodini #1362709 Sat May 30 2020 04:53 AM
Joined: Jan 2013
Posts: 1,805
Shop Shark
My 51 flys down the highway with traffic without issues!

Rearend: 3.55
Trans: 3 speed
Wheels: 15” (not a tall tire)
RPMs: roughly 3200-3400
Speed: roughly 70-75 (speedo doesn’t work, so using GPS)

Re: Need for speed
Bodini #1362710 Sat May 30 2020 05:08 AM
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 1,727
Fox Offline
A teacher, but always an apprentice.
If I haven’t driven my 1 ton (261, sm420, 4.10 rear with 215/85/16s) for a while, I feel like she is screaming down the highway too. After about 15 minutes, my foot gets heavier, the speed increases, and the noise seems to fade away as you get reaccustomed to it! Then, I drive imthat engine properly. Haha!

In the Stovebolt Gallery []
More pictures here []

1951 GMC 9430 1 ton dually—-Shiny!

1970 Chevrolet C10 - Grandpa’s- My first truck.—in progress to shiny
1972 Chevrolet C20- rusted
1970 Chevrolet K20 Suburban—rusted.
1950 Chevrolet 1300- in progress to shiny.

Parts trucks-
1951 GMC 9300
1951-GMC 9430
1951- Chevrolet 1300
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