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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
hello everyone. I am working on a 56 chevy custom rod. i will be using a 57 283 in the car. i want to use a 4 barrel distributor instead of the 2 barrel distributor because it just looks cooler: similar to dual point distributor. i found a 56 distributor (1110878) on e bay. when i got the distributor i noticed the lower shaft area is different than the distributor that came with 57 283 2 barrel engine. will i have a problem trying to use the 56 4 barrel distributor in my 57 283 2 barrel engine? thanks for any help. i know i will find my answer here.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yes they are intergangeable: fitment is not aproblem. My question is regarding the shaft and whether or not it will pose a problem for oil passages. Casting is different on 56 distributor than 57 distributor. I have 283 with 56 265 distributor.
 

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Yes they are intergangeable: fitment is not aproblem. My question is regarding the shaft and whether or not it will pose a problem for oil passages. Casting is different on 56 distributor than 57 distributor. I have 283 with 56 265 distributor.
I am far from being an expert, but I've been around for a long time. :D

I know that there have always been "issues" using/switching 265 and 283 distributors, either way.

AND the problem has to do with the shaft and the blockage of oil to one bank of cylinders.

Hope someone that REALLY knows the scoop will respond. Also, as I recall, inter-related to this issue is the camshaft, and whether or not it has a groove or not in the last cam journal.

Chuck
 

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A 1955-56 distributor will work in a later engine but there are a couple of things you need to be aware of.

The lower bushing in these early distributors get oiled directly from the RH lifter oil gallery. These early engines had low pressure “pulsed” oil pressure in the lifter galleries. Starting in 1957 Chevrolet quit using pulsed low pressure to the lifter galleries and went to full oil pressure. If you are using an early distributor and your oil pressure is too high, and the lower distributor bushing is worn, you can end up with more oil in the distributor than the drain above the lower bushing can handle. Excess oil can make its way to the top of the distributor housing and leak out. As long as you are not using a high pressure oil pump, and the lower distributor bushing is in good shape the early distributor will work fine in a later engine.

The other thing to watch out for is the groove on the distributor housing that passes oil to the RH oil gallery doesn’t go completely around on the early distributors. The groove is interrupted by a flat that allows oil to drain away from the lower bushing drain hole. It is critical that these early distributors are installed in the correct position. If you get the oil drain flat in the wrong position you will have a massive internal oil leak. When Chevrolet went with the “splash oiled” window distributors in 1957 they eliminated the lower bushing oil drain hole and the machined flat. They were then able to machine the oil groove all the way around the distributor so that no matter what position the distributor was installed oil would still pass to the lifters. In other words they made it idiot proof. As long as the early distributor is installed in the correct position the flat will not cause any problems in a newer engine.



 

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For what it's worth....

In the mid-70's I was going to rebuild my '55 265, but when I took the block to a local machine shop to get the cylinders honed, they told me they were too worn and I had to bore it out and buy oversized pistons, rings, etc.

Long story short, for only $15 more, I bought a 283 short block (bored to 292) and slapped my same manifold and heads back on it. It ran like a top with the original 265 distributor. Never had a problem with it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
hey guys. thanks for the responses. lots of great info.sounds like i wont have a problem as long as i stay away from high pressure oil pump. what about high volume oil pump?
 
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Farmboy. As I rebuilt my 265 (cause I like It, close to same price) your knowledge and posts are spot on and appreciated. Regards Lloyd
 
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