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Posted By: Babaganush Engines to stay clear of? - Tue Jan 07 2020 12:48 AM
From what I have been reading, engines that I may want to stay clear of are 265, 305, 216 and 235 with mechanical lifters. Is this the case? I’ve seen some early model chevy’s with a 305 and 4 SPD w/ granny gear that seen better suited for towing and pulling rather than driving on the highway. Any true to this? Thanks
Posted By: Hotrod Lincoln Re: Engines to stay clear of? - Tue Jan 07 2020 12:58 AM
Nope, they're all good engines. The GMC 305 will pull stumps, and it has trouble passing a gas station, but the rear end ratio, not the basic engine is most likely to cause the really bad fuel mileage. It's not altogether the engine's fault.
Jerry
Posted By: BC59 Re: Engines to stay clear of? - Tue Jan 07 2020 05:52 PM
What have you been reading?
Posted By: bartamos Re: Engines to stay clear of? - Tue Jan 07 2020 06:02 PM
The only issues with 265, 216, 235 may be the ones with early oiling issues. There is a 305 V8 and a 305 V6. Nothing wrong with either. Mechanical lifters are a proven system.
Posted By: showkey Re: Engines to stay clear of? - Tue Jan 07 2020 07:57 PM
216-235 with low pressure oil system and Babbitt bearings ................would be on the avoid list if high speed cruising was the end goal.

4 speed with granny is pretty much useless in “normal everyday driving.”.........no matter the engine choice. Been discussed here many times. Granny 1st gear is great for parades.
Posted By: sstock Re: Engines to stay clear of? - Tue Jan 07 2020 10:49 PM
Originally Posted by showkey
216-235 with low pressure oil system and Babbitt bearings ................would be on the avoid list if high speed cruising was the end goal.

4 speed with granny is pretty much useless in “normal everyday driving.”.........no matter the engine choice. Been discussed here many times. Granny 1st gear is great for parades.


How do you figure? You saying any transmission with a final ratio of 1 to 1 is useless? I will respectfully disagree.
The sm420 transmission is the stoutest truck transmission ever made, useless is a far cry away from the truth and as bold as you said it, I will say the complete opposite. See how long one of those saginaw 5 speeds will last in a 2 ton bigbolt.
Posted By: 52Carl Re: Engines to stay clear of? - Tue Jan 07 2020 11:08 PM
Every last one of them were the toast of the town when they came out. When they came out, I would have only avoided every other engine made except those listed (except maybe a Buick straight eight).
Chevrolet, buddy!
I currently am not in possession of a 216 in running condition, and it pains me deeply.
This thread has inspired me to blow a bunch of money to rectify this situation, and rebuild the one which I currently have in storage.
I may just put it on a roll-around cart in my shop and start it up from time to time just to listen to the wonderful music which these masterpieces sing.
Carl
Posted By: tclederman Re: Engines to stay clear of? - Tue Jan 07 2020 11:17 PM
Amen, Carl
Posted By: Hotrod Lincoln Re: Engines to stay clear of? - Tue Jan 07 2020 11:27 PM
Carl, I'm tinkering around with the idea of building a "216" that's actually got 266 cubic inches, has 9:1 compression, replaceable rod bearings, 30+ PSI oil pressure at hot idle, and doesn't leak oil out of the bellhousing. It's also going to be impossible for anyone to tell it's not bone-stock original! I'd love to build up a demonstration rig with my bellhousing dyno on a trailer and haul an engine like that around to various car shows, antique vehicle meets, etc.
Jerry
Posted By: tclederman Re: Engines to stay clear of? - Tue Jan 07 2020 11:33 PM
Well, Jerry

I think your project is a superb idea.

However, anyone would be able to see that it is not bone-stock-original 216: it won’t be leaving oil spots on the ground - the marks of a low-pressure stovebolt.
dang
Posted By: Hotrod Lincoln Re: Engines to stay clear of? - Tue Jan 07 2020 11:51 PM
Yep, 216's, Detroit Diesels, and Harleys- - - - -when they quit leaking, they're empty!
Jerry
Posted By: showkey Re: Engines to stay clear of? - Wed Jan 08 2020 12:53 AM
Originally Posted by sstock


How do you figure? You saying any transmission with a final ratio of 1 to 1 is useless? I will respectfully disagree.
The sm420 transmission is the stoutest truck transmission ever made, useless is a far cry away from the truth and as bold as you said it, I will say the complete opposite. See how long one of those saginaw 5 speeds will last in a 2 ton bigbolt.



Yes it’s a great transmission just:
Low first gear ( granny) is useless in normal driving other than parades. So it’s really a great three speed.
Posted By: glenns towing Re: Engines to stay clear of? - Wed Jan 08 2020 01:22 AM
On the other side of the coin, most newer 5,6,7 or more speeds transmissions are useless unless going 90mph down the hiway. But you wouldn't look for another trans to replace it with if you never drove on the interstate, would ya? ohwell
Posted By: Hotrod Lincoln Re: Engines to stay clear of? - Wed Jan 08 2020 01:28 AM
There's been a lot of flatbed trucks loaded with hay, thanks to a granny gear, a hand throttle, and a bungee cord on the steering wheel. My son used to do it that way all through high school- - - -all the driver did was get the truck pointed the right way, locked the steering, and then joined the rest of the crew bucking bales. At the end of the field, he did a 180 and they repeated the process.
Jerry
Posted By: tclederman Re: Engines to stay clear of? - Wed Jan 08 2020 02:11 AM
"Low first gear ( granny) is useless in normal driving other than parades. So it’s really a great three speed."

Jerry's story is better than mine:

I (my 1954 Suburban with a 1960 261 engine and SM420 transmission, and a 3.55 rear end) won a slowest truck race - they called the race due to time. (I have posted this story before - sorry).

Tune the carburetor to lowest maintainable RPM
Start off carefully in 1st gear
Pull out the throttle cable to the minimum rpm to keep the truck moving/creeping
Set the truck wheels straight ahead
Get out of the truck and walk next to it, talking with onlookers and judges
They stopped the race after all the onlookers left - the truck was still barely/smoothly creeping along.

And, this same truck will cruise all day at 65 mph (12-15 mpg).

I have always said that drive-train combination was perfect for winning such races, and for pulling VW bugs out of steep ravines, and for driving up the side-wall of a barn (I have done two out of three).

useless SM420 granny gear - hah

And, normally, I start in 2nd gear - allowing me to downshift to 2nd without grinding/double-clutching.

The only problem with having an SM420 is the floor-shifter. In is a pain in the ***** for the passenger in the middle front seat.
Posted By: Rusty Heaps Re: Engines to stay clear of? - Wed Jan 08 2020 04:40 PM
The 216 I have doesn't leave oil spots, however there are oil spots from the transmission at the front end of the torque tube. I have to say the 216 is a fine engine for the technology of the day and if treated right will serve you well. Wouldn't mind having a Buick straight 8 for another project I have.
Posted By: EdPruss Re: Engines to stay clear of? - Wed Jan 08 2020 10:23 PM
Granny gear is also useful for backing a heavy trailer.

Ed
Posted By: tclederman Re: Engines to stay clear of? - Wed Jan 08 2020 10:59 PM
That reverse "Granny" gear" is almost as slow as the forward "Granny" first gear:

SM420 4-speed Ratios (1954 truck)
Posted By: glenns towing Re: Engines to stay clear of? - Thu Jan 09 2020 01:31 AM
Granny gear also worked rather well in an old tow truck of mine years ago. Not just for pulling but going down steep grades in the winter with a veh on the back. Made it very controllable to say the least.
Posted By: Hotrod Lincoln Re: Engines to stay clear of? - Thu Jan 09 2020 02:01 AM
Tim, have you ever seen or ridden in Mongo's Doodlebug Tractor? He's won some "slow" races with that one by putting both transmissions in reverse and letting it idle. The direction is still "forward", but two crash box transmissions, both in reverse, really slow things down!
Jerry
Posted By: Wally / Montana Re: Engines to stay clear of? - Thu Jan 09 2020 05:23 PM
The 4-speed with granny is fine for me especially since I replaced the 4.57 with a 4.10 rear. I don't go faster than my ability to stop.

The granny gear makes a good parking brake since my original is not working.
Posted By: 1Ton_tommy Re: Engines to stay clear of? - Mon Jan 13 2020 08:55 PM
Last fall I bought a ranch with a lot of sagebrush, some of it too close to the house for fire safety. With 25 ft. of chain wrapped around each bush and the SM420 in first they don't stand a chance. Eventually, I put the wife in the cab to work the clutch pedal while I worked the chain. Two days later we had a huge pile of sagebrush.
Posted By: RAC1812 Re: Engines to stay clear of? - Thu Jan 16 2020 10:45 PM
He must be talking about a fast parade......

I drive 261 with a 1940 4 speed crash box.....hooked to a 2 speed transfer case....in 4th gear low range is about 20 mph with the engine screaming.

Never did figure out how slow it goes in first low range but I can walk out the truck..... walk around it and get in again no sweat........ amuses people at truck shows...

so I double clutch a lot and shift with my non - synchronized left hand........... the truck is RHD.....

........ahhhhh....... I don't use major highways......
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