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1929 engine swap
#1366521 Fri Jun 26 2020 02:09 PM
Joined: May 2020
Posts: 12
1
New Guy
I've had a 1929 Chevy sitting in a barn for 10 years now, engine is bad. I haven't found a good replacement head, though 3 bad ones. So time to seriously consider a swap. I understand a 216 or 235 will fit in with some parts. 1938 ish transmission from a 1/2 ton , bellhousing from a 1938-46 truck, clutch/brake mount from a 1936-46 "big truck".

My questions are:
1. What am I leaving out?
2. There is a 1938 1/2 216 with bellhousing and transmission for sale on facebook. Can I just bolt this whole assembly in and then bolt (?) the clutch/brake pivot mount to that bellhousing? I understand the rear of this transmission will mount my existing driveshaft yoke somehow...
3. Does the clutch/pivot mount bolt on? Are they difficult to find?
4. The car has a brand new (10 years old, but less than 3000 miles) brass honeycomb radiator. Will that provide enough cooling for the bigger engine?
5. What else am I leaving out?

Thanks,
Dave

Re: 1929 engine swap
1929chevydave #1366612 Sat Jun 27 2020 02:31 AM
Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 20,391
H
Boltergeist
How "bad" are the cylinder heads you're dealing with? Cracks can be repaired, and valve seats and guides can also be changed. It might be simpler (and less expensive) to look into getting one of those heads reconditioned. It's also possible to machine the connecting rods for replacement bearings- - - - -I seem to remember that an Oldsmobile or Pontiac rod bearing can be adapted to the pre-216 rods.
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: 1929 engine swap
1929chevydave #1366613 Sat Jun 27 2020 02:58 AM
Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 8,671
Grease Monkey, Moderator General Truck Talk & Greasy Spoon
You use the word “Car”, are you working on a truck? From the rest of your post it seems like you are working on a truck. If so, I suspect the engine you refer to on Facebook could be made to fit with a few modifications. The experts will show up soon.


Martin
'62 Chevy C-10 Stepside Shortbed (Restomod in progress)
'47 Chevy 3100 5 Window (long term project)
‘65 Chevy Biscayne 4dr 230 I-6 one owner (I’m #2)
‘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: 1929 engine swap
1929chevydave #1366652 Sat Jun 27 2020 01:47 PM
Joined: May 2020
Posts: 12
1
New Guy
The "car" is actually a woodie wagon my Dad and I put together in 2004. I drove it all over the place, Pennsylvania, Maine, putting close to 3000 miles on it. Then the original head developed a crack. Every engine I've bought to replace it has a cracked head. The engine in currently has a slight crack between 5 and 6. And a mean grumbling from the min bearings. I reshimmed the connecting rods as they were very loose. Then got discouraged. Life brought me in different directions, but now with the corona virus, old projects are back on the table. My thinking is that with the better running engine, I'd have an easier time running around. If it's going to be too much, I may just decide to sell and move on.

Re: 1929 engine swap
1929chevydave #1366983 Mon Jun 29 2020 02:44 PM
Joined: May 2020
Posts: 12
1
New Guy
Yesterday I changed the oil, drained the old gas, put in a new battery, swept out what seemed like 8 pounds of mice droppings. A little cranking and a few squirts of starter fluid and it started up. Bad noise from main bearings, but settled down to a nice, if uneven, idle. I'm still leaning toward swapping out the engine. Can I use the 1937 (it IS a 1937, not 1938 as described above) drivetrain listed above, or will I still need to find a 38-46 truck bellhousing and 36-46 "big truck" clutch/brake pivot mount. I think the 1937 does not have bellhousing mounted pedals. Thanks, dave

Re: 1929 engine swap
1929chevydave #1367145 Tue Jun 30 2020 02:36 PM
Joined: May 2020
Posts: 12
1
New Guy
Dad wants to see if we can get the main bearings adjusted instead of replacing the engine (again). When I was taking shims out of the connecting rods, I'm pretty sure there looked to be at least 3 shims in the main bearings. At least that's what my memory says. I've since lost my shop manual, do the main bearings adjust the same as the connecting rods? Do they all just unbolt from bottom? Is the oil pump in the way of the middle bearing? It seems like that was a nuisance when I did the connecting rods. Then I guess we'll have to find a machine shop(previous guy out of business)for the head and see what that's all about. Thanks for your help,
-dave

Attached Files
side view.jpg (357.8 KB, 111 downloads)
Re: 1929 engine swap
1929chevydave #1367154 Tue Jun 30 2020 04:15 PM
Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 20,391
H
Boltergeist
In the days before Plastigauge came into being, bearings got adjusted by sandwiching a thin piece of shim stock between the crankshaft and a bearing cap, and shimming until the crank could be turned with a slight amount of resistance. The same procedure was done for every bearing in the engine, rods and mains. The really skilled Babbit bearing fitters "scraped" the bearings first, before shimming for clearance, trimming away any high spots on the bearing with a razor-sharp cutter made from a 3-corner file with the teeth ground away. That procedure still works well, if you're patient enough to do it. It's very labor-intensive. Findintg an oldtimer like me who still scrape-fits bearings is the tough part, but it's a skill you can learn if you're willing to spend some time. It involves coating the bearing with an indicator dye called Prussian Blue, turning the crank, and looking for bright spots, then gently scraping the soft metal away until you get a smooth blue smear with no streaks. Then shim for clearance. It will keep you out of the beer joinnts at night for weeks at a time! Have fun!
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: 1929 engine swap
1929chevydave #1367379 Wed Jul 01 2020 11:20 PM
Joined: May 2020
Posts: 12
1
New Guy
Today I dropped the oil pan and began inspecting and adjusting shims on the main bearings. I started with the rear bearing. It actually looked pretty alright. I used some plastigauge on it with two shims in place. Around 0.015. Moved on to the center bearing. Took a while to figure out how to drop the oil pump so the bearing cap could drop. (learned that if you take the 3 screws off the plate it's possible to have the whole pump fall apart, vanes and a little tiny spring will go zooming all over the place...luckily we had another to compare to when putting back together) Dropped the center bearing cap and found this....There were no shims on the cap. Looks like this is a bit beyond a home repair...Put everything back together. Now back to drawing board.

Attached Files
center bearing.jpg (250.49 KB, 92 downloads)
Re: 1929 engine swap
1929chevydave #1367383 Wed Jul 01 2020 11:42 PM
Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 20,391
H
Boltergeist
What condition is the surface of the crankshaft? If it's not deeply scored, you might be able to salvage things. Loosen or remove all the bearing caps so the crankshaft can drop a short distance, slip a piece of emery cloth between the shaft and the block, and "shoeshine" the shaft until it's fairly smooth, then use Prussian Blue to indicate where to scrape the bearing material in the cap and smooth it up. If you run out of shims before getting the score marks smoothed out, it's possible to file the mating flange of the cap to reduce the clearance, and keep on fitting and checking. The only thing you won't be able to do is smooth out the upper bearing, at least without taking the engine completely out of the car and removing the crankshaft. With as much remaining bearing material as the photo shows, that one is very fixable.
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: 1929 engine swap
1929chevydave #1367445 Thu Jul 02 2020 02:05 PM
Joined: May 2020
Posts: 12
1
New Guy
Thanks for the reply Jerry. I guess the photo doesn't show it clearly enough, there is virtually no babbitt material left, just the underlying shell. The crank doesn't look to bad, a scorch mark where the center bearing is. I would have to assume that the crankshaft is bent though, right? If all the babbitt is worn from the center, but plenty left on the back (verified) and the front (assumed), wouldn't that mean the crankshaft itself is "bad"?

In the meantime, we have the original engine which my Dad pulled in 2008. That engine needed rings (we put those in shortly after finding out the "good running" replacement engine wasn't) and a new head. It's been sitting in the corner since I got discouraged and stopped working on it. I think we are going to make a stand for that engine, swap heads and see if it runs....

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