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More Engine Questions
#1374343 Fri Aug 21 2020 11:18 PM
Joined: Jul 2013
Posts: 135
JoeR Offline OP
Shop Shark
The more I read, the more confused I get, lol. I was thinking about switching out the 216 in my '46 truck for something a little more modern but close enough looking to the original, so a 236 or 261 seemed like the answer. Most of the ones I'm finding are in need of rebuilding but I'm getting number on rebuilds in the $3,500 + range. And that's assuming the block and head have no cracks. The prices I'm getting for the rebuild of the 216 are about the same, and that includes replacing the babbets with bearings. Now I've found a 235 that allegedly has been rebuilt. The casting numbers of the block is 3835911 and the head is 3836848. According to Advanced that block number was either a '53, '54 or '55 Corvette, a '54 truck, or a '55 car. The head was a '56 or later head. According to the current owner it was in a '54 truck and it runs. It's less than half of what they're asking for a rebuild so perhaps this might be the better way to go.

Any tips or suggestions?


Re: More Engine Questions
JoeR #1374344 Fri Aug 21 2020 11:29 PM
Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 9,449
Grease Monkey, Moderator General Truck Talk & Greasy Spoon
The price being quoted for rebuilding is about on par for today’s machine shops. Way overpriced for a “Unknown Quality”, used, rebuilt engine. You should be able to pick up a running 235 for less than $1000 that you can do compression tests on before you buy it. JMO🛠

'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!
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Re: More Engine Questions
JoeR #1374358 Sat Aug 22 2020 12:53 AM
Joined: Jan 2000
Posts: 561
Shop Shark

Re: More Engine Questions
JoeR #1374404 Sat Aug 22 2020 01:37 PM
Joined: Jul 2013
Posts: 441
Shop Shark
Without disassembly or assembly (so machine work, parts - grading from stock components - valves, pistons, cam, etc, etc) I probably have about 3k in my 292 rebuild. So that doesn't seem too far off a top to bottom build.

Re: More Engine Questions
JoeR #1374406 Sat Aug 22 2020 01:44 PM
Joined: Dec 2008
Posts: 1,543
Shop Shark
Too many shops will replace everything they can find, whether you need it or not.

Re: More Engine Questions
JoeR #1374409 Sat Aug 22 2020 01:53 PM
Joined: Jul 2013
Posts: 135
JoeR Offline OP
Shop Shark
Thanks Don. I'm going to see where that guy lives and maybe take a look at it this weekend. I'll try and see the other "rebuilt" one too and see if they're worth what the owners are asking.

One of the local rebuilders I've found said he'd check out the 216 block and head for cracks or any other flaws that would make it not rebuildable for about $100. I think I'm going to do that since I'm going to remove it anyway to do the rest of the work.


Re: More Engine Questions
JoeR #1374428 Sat Aug 22 2020 04:28 PM
Joined: Jan 2013
Posts: 1,893
Shop Shark
I was quoted at 2k for a complete 261 rebuild in San Antonio. Most of which is parts.


Last edited by ndkid275; Sat Aug 22 2020 04:29 PM.
Re: More Engine Questions
JoeR #1374471 Sat Aug 22 2020 09:15 PM
Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 21,912
Keep asking, and pretty soon somebody will toss out a number you want to hear. Of course, it will be a total WAG, but that doesn't matter- - - - -internet advice is worth exactly what if costs you to read it! I can "rebuild" a stovebolt engine with a cost of anywhere from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand, depending on what I want to claim is a rebuilding job. If you're a real cheapskate, I can do it for the cost of a few cans of spray paint!

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: More Engine Questions
JoeR #1374479 Sat Aug 22 2020 10:19 PM
Joined: Dec 2008
Posts: 1,543
Shop Shark
Marks on the crank journals that you can't feel with your fingernail, rust spots that didn't clean up with the hone but are below the ring travel, the stock oil pump, hardened valve seats, rockers with no visual damage and tight on the shaft: these are frequently good enough to leave alone.
If you're told you need main caps, line boring, sleeves, etc: find a different core.

Re: More Engine Questions
JoeR #1374495 Sun Aug 23 2020 12:38 AM
Joined: Nov 1995
Posts: 4,852
Unrepentant VW Lover

Just some food for thought, having lived your dream now through 3 trucks needing engine work... My first was the '39 with the seized 216. So I had that completely rebuilt (babbit and all) that ran about $4,000 by the time I stopped writing cheques. And that was back in '92. Not sure what that would have been in today dollars. At the time, the old timers who did it told me upfront that being a babbit pounder added $1,000 to the rebuild. Anyway, it was a beautiful engine and ran perfectly. But it was still a babbit pounding 216 that absolutely screamed like it was about to come apart at anything over 45 MPH.

Next up was a '49 (my second frame off resto). I removed the 235 that was in it and had it rebuilt very professionally. This was about 10-15 years ago. Again, the completed price tag was over the $4k mark. Again, a beautifully running engine.

Current truck (the '49 1-ton) had a nice running 216 in it (low-mileage truck that came from a family friend). But .... still a babbit pounding 216. The truck was not suitable for any driving beyond the county line. This time, I skipped the 235 route and went straight to the 261. Not sure what I have in that one, but it was a group effort (led by Hotrod lincoln!) anyway and we made a get-together, workshop and tech tip out of the whole thing (check out "Rebuilding the 261" in our Tech Tips section). I was able to use most of the peripherals from the 216. And I got the kit from Jim Carter to use the 216 valve cover. I was lucky to get a '54 261, so the water pump/fan is in the right location, so no adapter plates, radiator relocation or any modifications required to slip the 261 in there. Meaning that today, when you look in my engine bay, only a Stovebolt Geek would be able to tell that it isn't the original 216 staring back at you. But yet I can cruise in traffic and do 60-65 on the highway all day long with a useful load in the bed. And my truck has the 9-foot bed, too smile

What I learned from all of this:
1. Originality or Driveability -- pick one
2. If you go with driveability, do not waste time, money or effort on a 216. Cubic inches are your friends and the more, the merrier. To keep close to original, stick with a straight six like a 235 or 261. A GMC 302 would be the nuts, but there is some work to do in fitting it into a non-GMC of an earlier vintage like yours. But still ...
3. Think of any unknown (to you personally) engine as a rebuildable core only, nothing more. Hotrod Lincoln taught me that and it is absolutely true. You will hear anecdotes from people who stumbled across freebies that ran perfectly ... for awhile. Most of those stories don't include the year or two later post script... I was once given a "Recently rebuilt, low mileage engine" that I happily installed as was and it ran great ... for awhile. Until an expert listened to it once (um, that would be ... Hotrod Lincoln!) and said, "You have to pull that engine and rebuild it" so we did and sure enough, the people who rebuilt it neglected to address scoring in the crankshaft journals or the piston that was missing a chunk ... Who knows when that engine would have failed catastrophically? So sure, you can run an engine as you find it, but you are betting against the house and you know how *that* goes ...
4. If you are going for an upgrade, go all in. Rebuild whatever you get and go big early because if you don't, you'll wish you had later. A 261 is a good choice for max power in the most form/fit replacement package. A 235 is second. Rebuilding your original 216 is a great option if you want to maintain originality -- but you might still want to talk to Hotrod LIncoln off line as he is cooking up a plan for rebuilding 216's to be as powerful as a 261 (or better). If you go this route, you might be able to retain originality while gaining driveability. But affordability may go out the window -- be prepared to load up the dollar gun and flip the selector switch to full auto.

Hope any of this helps ... or even makes sense.


"Paul! Peggy barada nikto. PEGGY BARADA NIKTO!!!!"

'49 Chevrolet 3804

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