Posted By: 46 Chevy Mom 216 Babbit - Sat Jun 13 2020 05:57 AM
After hours of using a garden trowel, whisk brush, paint brush, screwdriver, and shop vac to remove several inches of debris in the tray under the motor (it probably has a proper name, but I'm a newbie) I uncovered the engine stamp.


My title says it's a 1946 so I assume, since it was built post WWII, that it's a 1946 build with a 1942 engine? That's my first question.

My second question is: I'm going to make it my daily driver. I travel [via highway or back roads] about 12 miles to work 5-7 days a week. Other than that, and a weekly grocery trip I'll just be going to occasional car shows - no interstate or OTR driving. What motor do you recommend? Hubby was talking about a 235, but we're checking out our options (practicality, cost...). While hubby was active duty his dad traded parts for the motor that's currently in hubby's '68 Camaro... Researching an engine is new to both of us, and I want to make an educated decision. Any input is greatly appreciated!

* I've attached a few pictures of the motor, what I cleaned out of the passenger side (oddly enough there was zero debri on the driver's side of the motor!), and a couple of parts that we believe to still be original. I find them fascinating, since he's 74yrs old, so I thought I'd share. 😊

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Posted By: 3B Re: 216 Babbit - Sat Jun 13 2020 11:16 PM
Hy 46 Chevy Mom, those engine side pans are actually kind of rare, most of them were removed for some reason and never re-installed. Are you thinking of replacing the current engine because it has a problem? A tuneup including a compression test, oil and filter change and a good listen while its running will tell you a lot. If the engine does turn out to be a bad one, then you have a few choices. All the different Chevy sixes manufactured up to 1962 can be swapped into place where your 216 is, with varying slight challenges. Give us some more information and we can make more specific recommendations.
Posted By: Dusty Re: 216 Babbit - Sun Jun 14 2020 07:42 AM
The 839910 casting # on the block is a Canadian number for 1942 - 47 216 .

If the engine starts and runs , give it an oil change , adjust the valves and drive it daily . smile
Posted By: John Milliman Re: 216 Babbit - Sun Jun 14 2020 12:01 PM
My Reference corroborates Dusty's -- that it is a 216, 1942 to 1951 (in US trucks, anyway)

Before attempting to run it (unless it's already running), you might want to check out our Tech Tip for starting a dormant engine.

Other folks on this site have used babbited engines (low oil pressure engines like yours) for daily driving under the conditions you are anticipating for yours, but they do require a little more care and attention than some of the more modern engines do (like regular valve adjustments and oil changes ... and a few other things I can't think of at the moment). Daily use is doable with a 216, but not merely drive, park, repeat.

The best advice we can give you is that if your original engine will run, then get it running well. Get the truck driveable as is. Enjoy it for a season or two before ripping into any major projects. You might find you like it as is ...

BUT ... If you want to upgrade the engine to something that will provide more margin for daily driving (while retaining most of the truck's original "essence"), the good news is as 3B says -- you have plenty of options with a fairly good array of GM six cylinder engines over the years, ranging from the venerable 235 all the way up to the GMC 302. And as he says, some of these engines will require more modification than others.

I think the options fall into three broad categories for the average restorer:

Easy (No mods required) -- Engines in this category include swapping out for another (but better) 216 and the early 261. There might be others...
Not bad (some minor mods required, but still very doable) -- The mighty 235, later 261's (these two blocks are the most popular we've seen for re-engining)
Challenging (significant mods required) -- Later sixes like 250's, 290's, GMC 302 (or any GMC six, for that matter. They're different, rare and harder to find parts for, compared to the Chevy sixes)
Advanced/Graduate Level -- Diesels, V-8's. Sure, you can toss a v-8 in there ... and make all the modifications for it. Many people do. But you can't swing a dead cat at a cruisein without hitting 5 or 6 trucks with v-8's in them. But pull up in a '46 with a two-cycle oil-slingin' Screamin' Jimmy, a Cummins Battle Rattler, an Isuzu Rice Rocket or air-cooled Deutz and you will be a show stopper with your very unique truck. But there's a very good reason for that ...

But to start, here's a couple more Tech Tips:

Swapping out a 216 for a 235
Rebuilding a 261 -- Although it's an article about engine rebuilding, we do discuss how easy it is to replace a 216 with an early 261.
Swapping out a 216 for a GMC 302

A couple of things to keep in mind when pondering (Note, while most of this applies directly to the Advance Design Trucks, it applies to the '46/Art Deco Trucks, too)...

1. Most of the sixes that came after the 216 will need to have their water pumps raised to the higher position of the 216's. This is because of the body redesign that came with the Task Forces trucks ('55 2nd series to '59) that lowered the profile of the truck. They also need the "short shaft" water pump, because of the tight fit between the radiator and the engine. This is why you see a lot of Advance Design trucks with the upper radiator stand bracket cut -- to accommodate moving the radiator to the front of the bracket to provide clearance for the unmodified water pump ... You can just use the new motor as is without messing with the pump location, but this usually leads to overheating issues as the fan is only working on the lower half of the radiator. ... or you can use an electric fan .... which then requires converting the truck to 12 volts as noone I'm aware of sells a 6-volt radiator fan .... One must be careful when chasing rabbits down their holes like this as you can get lost down there frown ...
2. The later 235's had side engine mounts in the front. The earlier trucks like yours just had one under the timing cover. This is not that hard to address if you want to use one of those engines, but it is something to keep in mind as a data point for the over all project. I am not sure what the year cut off is for the engine mount dealio ...
3. *Some* sixes will interchange directly with the 216 with negligible modification. The 1954 261, for instance (and later 261's that were molded in the 1954 mold as replacements for the 1954 motors). Others, like the GMC 302, will require more modifications. But if you have the gumption, the 302 is a very sweet upgrade and will get LOTS of attention (and sheer coolness points) at the cruise-ins and car shows.

Posted By: 46 Chevy Mom Re: 216 Babbit - Tue Jun 16 2020 10:39 AM
@ 3B - I had no idea they were rare, that's pretty awesome! The current engine doesn't run. Hubby and I are mulling over our options. I'm hoping to pull the motor next weekend so we can see what we're working with. I'll definitely be back for more info - thank you!

@ Dusty - I Googled the # and found a restoration book with 4.5 out of 5 stars. If we go the rebuild route it's definitely on my purchase list. Thank you!

@ John - Thank you for the wealth of information!! I'm printing the articles you recommended right now. I have a folder that I'm keeping everything in so I can be as efficient as possible. I'd like to get him running sooner rather than later. 😁 I appreciate all of the advice, and resources!

We uncovered a few more markings when I power washed him again on Sunday. I think it's really neat that they're still intact, but you guys are probably used to seeing them. LoL Thank you all again for the advice and resources!


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Posted By: John Milliman Re: 216 Babbit - Tue Jun 16 2020 11:48 AM
Maria, If you are wanting a restoration book, probably no better one exists than Tom Brownell's How To Restore Your Chevrolet Pickup Truck" [] It's the book that got most of us started. In a way, it's responsible for this web site ... but that's a long story for another time ...

Also, look through our Tech Tip Library here on We have a lot of material you will find helpful and who knows, possibly even interesting ... smile Look for "Tech Tips" in the menu bar at the top of every page and click on it. It will take you right there. The Stovebolt Library is always open, No masks or social distancing required smile
Posted By: 46 Chevy Mom Re: 216 Babbit - Tue Jun 16 2020 12:04 PM
@ John - I just purchased that book about 30min ago (on the recommendation of this group). =) I've also printed a couple of the pieces recommended earlier, and put them in my "things to devour" folder. LoL I appreciate the help!!
Posted By: 46 Chevy Mom Re: 216 Babbit - Tue Jun 16 2020 09:23 PM
The engine will not turnover. We might need a hand crank to get it to turnover. Is there a place on the East Coast or Midwest that specializes on these early engines?
Posted By: Justhorsenround Re: 216 Babbit - Tue Jun 16 2020 11:38 PM
Have you read the Tech Tip on Bringing a dead engine back to life? Read it through several times. There is a section on what to do if the engine won’t turn over.πŸ› 
Posted By: 46 Chevy Mom Re: 216 Babbit - Wed Jun 17 2020 02:15 AM
@ Horsen - Yes, thank you. We have both scoured over it, and that's when hubby decided that we'd try to find a professional. We've got it almost halfway disassembled, and we've got quite a bit of work ahead without pretending we can rebuild an engine. LoL
Posted By: reidy Re: 216 Babbit - Wed Jun 17 2020 09:11 AM
In an earlier post John mentioned that there were no 6 volt fans. If you get two small 12V fans and wire them in series they should each only draw 6 volts.

Posted By: Hotrod Lincoln Re: 216 Babbit - Wed Jun 17 2020 02:06 PM
Best laugh I've had today- - - -so far, at least!
Posted By: reidy Re: 216 Babbit - Thu Jun 18 2020 08:24 AM
As Jerry pointed out don't listen to Steve. I have it on good authority that he was tired we he typed this. Two fans in series will only draw 3 volts each. Steve will now go and have a good lie down.

Posted By: Hog Wild Re: 216 Babbit - Sat Jun 20 2020 07:31 PM
I have a question I think 46 mom and myself might have found a 235 that just came out of a 60 chevy. It looked like correct mounting. Does anyone know if the mounting is the mounts the same? I am waiting on him to give the casting number to make sure. Thanks again for all the knowledge.
Posted By: Hog Wild Re: 216 Babbit - Sat Jun 20 2020 07:33 PM
I forgot to post it is a running 235 when pulled with a 3 speed. I would like to do a swap and get her on the road to enjoy it some before we do any major upgrades to it. I would like to keep it close to as original as possible.
Posted By: Hotrod Lincoln Re: 216 Babbit - Sun Jun 21 2020 11:06 PM
That engine will swap with a few modifications, such as changing the flywheel, bell housing, starter, and a few other components from the 216 onto it. The position of the 235 water pump is too low for the fan to align properly with the radiator, but one of our members ("Pre-68 Dave") makes and sells an adapter plate to allow the 216 water pump to be mounted on the late model 235 engine. That corrects the fan position and allow you to use the crankshaft balancer, generator, and fan belt from the 216 on the newer engine. The 3 speed transmission and bell housing from the 1960 engine won't interchange without a LOT of modifications.
Posted By: John Milliman Re: 216 Babbit - Wed Jun 24 2020 12:08 PM
I know this is a late entry to the conversation, but some phraseology used earlier in this discussion got me thinking that we might clarify the difference between "cranking over" or "Cranking" an engine, and "turning over" an engine. Are we, at times, a little too loose with those terms and using them interchangeably when we shouldn't? Some people use them/understand them to be interchangeable, others don't.

I think it's important, especially with a dead or unknown engine, to know the difference (when giving advice) between an engine that won't "crank over" (i.e., won't rotate when power is applied to the starter) and one that won't rotate, either by the starter (it hums or otherwise gives evidence that it is trying to do its job) or by hand with some sort of lever applied to the harmonic balancer bolt or to the teeth of the flywheel.

e.g., an engine that "won't crank" may merely have an electrical issue, whereas (to me, anyway) an engine that "won't turn over"/rotate freely (and we've checked to make sure it's out of gear wink ) may be seized or have other internal mechanical issues.

Semantics? Regional dialects? Maybe, but it could lead to further problems if we're not clear on this.

Just sayin'

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