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235 Verses 261 Engine Which One Is Better?????
#1384603 Sun Nov 15 2020 01:16 PM
Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 376
M
Shop Shark
Looking to buy a 235 or a 261 engine was wondering if there is one better than the other and how much work would it be to remove a 216 engine from a 1953 Chevy pickup and installing a 235 or 361. Thanks to all!!!!

Marv.

Re: 235 Verses 261 Engine Which One Is Better?????
marvin ribbich #1384605 Sun Nov 15 2020 02:01 PM
Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 3,782
E
Shop Shark
Marv,

They are essentially the same engine, one is just slightly larger, thus more desirable in today’s traffic.

Ed


'37 GMC T-18 w/ DD 4-53T, RTO-610, 6231 aux., '95 GMC running gear, full disc brakes, power steering, 22.5 wheels and tires.
'47 GMC 1 ton w/ 302, NP-540, 4wd, full width Blazer front axle.
'54 GMC 630 w/ 503 gasser, 5 speed, ex fire truck, shortened WB 4', install 8' bed.
'55 GMC 370 w/270, 420 4 speed, grain, dump bed truck from ND. Works OK.
Re: 235 Verses 261 Engine Which One Is Better?????
marvin ribbich #1384606 Sun Nov 15 2020 02:01 PM
Joined: Mar 2010
Posts: 203
B
Curmudgeon
Need more specifics to give a better answer.
If the buying price was the same and both engines in about the same condition, buy the 261.
More cubes more horsepower.
235 and 261 share a lot of common parts but 261 specific parts are more expensive.
See the Tech Tips section for Engine Swap (216 to 235/261).

Re: 235 Verses 261 Engine Which One Is Better?????
marvin ribbich #1384609 Sun Nov 15 2020 03:06 PM
Joined: Sep 2001
Posts: 30,807
ace skiver
high pressure 235 vs (USA) 261 installed in a 1953 truck:

buoymaker gives good advice/response

please correct/amend the following list:

car 235s have hydraulic lifters
truck 235s have mechanical lifters
all USA 261s have mechanical lifters

you will be Pre-68 Dave's water pump relocator/adapter (and, most likely you original from motor-mount "plate")

depending on the year 235/261 the motor mounts will be different from the original-engine's

you should be able to use your radiator hose set-up on either

you would most likely have to do a little rerouting/bending of fuel lines on either

both will have larger exhaust/intake manifold ports compared to the 216

both will most likely need adapted/new fuel lines?

both can use your old clutch-housing/clutch-assembly/u-joint assembly and rear motor mounts


Tim
1954Advance-Design.com [1954advance-design.com]
1954 3106 Carryall Suburban [stovebolt.com] - part of the family for 49 years
1954 3104 5-window pickup w/Hydra-Matic [1954advance-design.com] - 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. [chevy.oldcarmanualproject.com]
Re: 235 Verses 261 Engine Which One Is Better?????
marvin ribbich #1384622 Sun Nov 15 2020 04:23 PM
Joined: Jan 2013
Posts: 1,663
S
Shop Shark
Went from a healthy running 235 to a healthy running 261 in my 53 1/2 ton. With the correct carb on the 261, it has a small noticeable power and torque increase at the seat of the pants.

Last edited by sstock; Sun Nov 15 2020 04:24 PM.

1953 Chevrolet 3100
261 cu inch, sm420, 3.55 rear, torque tube still,omaha orange, still 6 volt, RPO green glass, side carrier spare, all done
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bli...n05i04t1aokgm4p04jiwgffwhyyih5xbk0h00410
1964 GMC 1000
305 Big Block V6, sm420, the next cab off restoration
Re: 235 Verses 261 Engine Which One Is Better?????
marvin ribbich #1384623 Sun Nov 15 2020 04:43 PM
Joined: Nov 1995
Posts: 4,742
J
Unrepentant VW Lover
FWIW ... The Holy Grail here is the 261 with the "3733950" casting code. This block was designed as an engine for the late AD trucks ('54 and '55 1st Series) and they are a form/fit/function replacement -- requires no modification. You will need parts from your 216 to make it work (depending if you want to keep your 6-volt electrical system). Mine was made in 1959 as a crate motor for the '54/'55 trucks.

Not sure if the early 235's are the same way.

Later 235's and 261s require some mods to work.

Upgrading with the early 261 (if you can find one wink ) is easy -- your average orangutan with a hammer and an adjustable wrench could do it. Rebuilding it before hand ... um, not so much. wink

But either way, if you have a choice, go with the 261. Do 26 cubes matter? YES. That's an 11% increase. The difference on my truck (216 to 261) was that I went from a trailer queen (for longer trips, anyway) to a real highway cruiser. If you want to spend time cruising the Interstate or with guys who have done serious power upgrades to their trucks, every cube matters. You don't want to be the guy who the others are waiting for at the tops of hills. smile


John
"Paul! Klaatu barada nikto. KLAATU BARADA NIKTO!!!!"


'49 Chevrolet 3804

Re: 235 Verses 261 Engine Which One Is Better?????
marvin ribbich #1384625 Sun Nov 15 2020 05:13 PM
Joined: Aug 2018
Posts: 464
2
Shop Shark
Or if you are far north, source a 53 Canadian 235
it was standard equipment that year and it can take all the 216 accessories including the manifolds, and comes with the correct 6v starter ring gear.
The valve cover even looks like the 216, for extra car show confusion smile

Re: 235 Verses 261 Engine Which One Is Better?????
marvin ribbich #1384626 Sun Nov 15 2020 05:14 PM
Joined: Sep 2001
Posts: 30,807
ace skiver
headscratch "2. ALL 235's will require drilling for the water pump adapter plate (to mount it in the higher position)"
thumbs_up The early high-pressure truck 235s require no mods to install (as per John's other statement, below).

thumbs_up 3. "The early 261's require no mods to install." - 1954/55st


Tim
1954Advance-Design.com [1954advance-design.com]
1954 3106 Carryall Suburban [stovebolt.com] - part of the family for 49 years
1954 3104 5-window pickup w/Hydra-Matic [1954advance-design.com] - 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. [chevy.oldcarmanualproject.com]
Re: 235 Verses 261 Engine Which One Is Better?????
marvin ribbich #1384627 Sun Nov 15 2020 05:17 PM
Joined: Nov 1995
Posts: 4,742
J
Unrepentant VW Lover
I was editing my post while you were writing, tim .. smile My bottom line -- go for the/any 261. 216 to 235 is a good upgrade. 216 to a 261 is a *better* one wink Settle for a 235 if you can't find a 261.


John
"Paul! Klaatu barada nikto. KLAATU BARADA NIKTO!!!!"


'49 Chevrolet 3804

Re: 235 Verses 261 Engine Which One Is Better?????
John Milliman #1384628 Sun Nov 15 2020 05:20 PM
Joined: Sep 2001
Posts: 30,807
ace skiver
Originally Posted by John Milliman
. . . My bottom line -- go for the/any 261. 216 to 235 is a good upgrade. 216 to a 261 is a *better* one wink

Settle for a 235 if you can't find a 261.
thumbs_up - Amen


Tim
1954Advance-Design.com [1954advance-design.com]
1954 3106 Carryall Suburban [stovebolt.com] - part of the family for 49 years
1954 3104 5-window pickup w/Hydra-Matic [1954advance-design.com] - 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. [chevy.oldcarmanualproject.com]
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