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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys! Just like the title says, what all does an engine rebuild entail?

I have a 57 chevy 210 4-dr sedan with the original straight 6 "blue flame" 235 engine. I don't have a lot of tools for motor work and since I live in the Navy, don't plan to begin amassing those until I retire in a few more years (moving is tough enough, I can't imagine doing so with a full garage!!).

I don't know if the motor has ever been rebuilt, but eventually want want to have the motor rebuilt--and upgrade from 3 "on the tree" to a 4 or 5 speed. So...I am wondering what I am really getting into if I begin looking to get a rebuild of my current motor. Also, if this can even be answered, what might be a ballpark figure so I can begin setting $$$ aside. I am guessing a lot, but that is because I expect the worse--maybe that is my Navy training to be ready for the worst.

Here are a couple pictures of the engine...not sure that it helps for my questions. Please forgive the quality of pictures--they were taken with my phone.






Thanks!!
 

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RE: Engine Rebuild

There are sort of 3 parts to rebuilding an engine; a) pulling it out of the car and disassembling it, b) performing any required machining (and replacing whatever needs replacing), and c) re-assembly and putting it back in the car.

Step b) requires pretty sophisticated machine tools and normally is done by a machine shop.

The disassembly and re-assembly can be done with mostly basic hand tools plus a torque wrench (for re-assembly). You will need a hoist to get the engine out of the car and put it back in but these can usually be rented and you really only need it one day to remove the engine and another day to put it back in. Re-assembly is best done with an engine stand which can also be rented or if you know it is going to take you a while purchased.

A lot depends on how much you want to do yourself. In my case the rebuilder did the disassembly (which I found out afterwards was not typical), the machine work and the re-assembly. I had rebuilt an engine earlier in my life and while I knew I could do it I didn't want to invest the time and preferred having someone that does it all the time put the engine back together. If you've never rebuilt an engine and want that experience your 235 is a good candidate to do that on. You may save a few hundred dollars doing the disassembly and re-assembly yourself, but I think mostly it is the satisfaction of "I put this all together myself" that motivates someone to do the re-assembly.

From the pictures you posted I would say that engine has been well cared for or possibly rebuilt at some point in the past. If it isn't using oil or doesn't have any bearing or other issues you can very likely wait until you retire from the Navy to take on this project. You'll probably enjoy it more if you have no pressure to free up the garage or get it done to some set schedule.

Cost can vary pretty widely depending on what you do. Normally one bores all cylinders to make them true again and that requires replacing all pistons and rings with the correct over bored size. Everything else is kind of an inspect, replace or machine as necessary. So you could end up with a low of $1000 give or take to close to $3000 if you replace most internal parts and update valves to run on unleaded gas, etc, etc.

If the engine isn't giving you any problems and runs OK I would wait to do a rebuild. Enjoy driving the car as much as you can before diving into major repairs. In my case the engine sat for 30 years with old gas and oil and I didn't want to deal with what may or may not have rusted and what was going to break as soon as I started driving it. I basically mechanically rebuilt the car before I started driving it again (yeah I owned it those 30 years) and now I have a reliable car that I'm really enjoying.

Good luck with whatever you decide to do.
 

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OKC Sailor.....I did a few years (30) in the Navy myself....What is the Navy doing in Oklahoma?

As far as your 6 cyl rebuild goes, I'm torn on how to advise you....Is it running well now? Burn any oil? Have good power? Are you going to try to do most of the work yourself?....Try to determine its condition first by doing a compression test and a leak down test.

Even after that, figure worse case....Block cleaned and rebored.....New pistons/rings, rod/main bearings, cam/cam bearings, lifters, timiming chain set, gasket set, etc,etc....The list goes on and we haven't gotten to the head yet....Hopefully, someone who has recently rebuilt a 235 can give you a better $ insight than I.

Personally, unless I just had to keep the car original for some reason, I would think about going with an entry level 350 crate engine from GM that comes with a warranty.....I like this one for $2000 from Summit:http://www.summitracing.com/search/...-C-I-D-290-HP-Engine-Assemblies/?autoview=SKU
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Gbullman and 557,

Thanks for the responses. the engine actually runs rather well. I just kind of assumed it would need work...glad to hear that may not be the case.

As to the Navy in OK, I was wondering the same thing when I got the orders....but I am currently helping others join the Navy by working at the MEPS (where they do physicals and ship people to basic training for all services).

I like the idea of doing most the work myself. that IS why I got the car afterall.

thanks guys, i really appreciate your advice.
 

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If you are changing from a 3 on tree to a 4 speed, you are not keeping it original.

The best advice I could give you would be not to waste money on that 235, Since it does not enhance the value of the car.

Go with a 350 engine, it will be dependable and last for years.

Mainly because you will probably want to cruise in it, and maybe ad air etc, the most dependable engine is a 350. or an ls motor, you can get used ones fairly cheap or buy you a gm crate engine like David suggested.


Otis :)
 

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If you are changing from a 3 on tree to a 4 speed, you are not keeping it original.

The best advice I could give you would be not to waste money on that 235, Since it does not enhance the value of the car.

Go with a 350 engine, it will be dependable and last for years.

Mainly because you will probably want to cruise in it, and maybe ad air etc, the most dependable engine is a 350. or an ls motor, you can get used ones fairly cheap or buy you a gm crate engine like David suggested.


Otis :)
I couldnt have said it better myself
 
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