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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My son wants to learn how to build an engine, so we are building the original 265 from my dads high school 55 Chevy ! My dad pulled this engine in 1960 to build a 283, it has not run in 53 years but did come in his car as well as many of the parts in my current car ! The plan is to build it and have a mid to low 13 second street car. I am not staying period perfect, I like the challenge of seeing what potential this little power plant has using the huge selection of modern parts and pieces but with the small budget mind set. As of now, my car weighs about 3000 lbs. with me and gas in it. I am planning on making it as light as possible and using every horsepower saving trick there is. I am going to use some of the Stock Eliminator and Super Stock guys tricks that I can do myself without the killer price tag of their engines. I would like to hear anybodies suggestions, 265/283 builds, anything you can add that will help us out. This is not going to be a quick build we are going to take our time and do it right. It will be balance and blueprint built. Any and all help or criticism is appreciated except, "just build a 350". The car has a 350 now that my dad and I built budget minded thinking 23 years ago and I know how strong it runs. It sat for 20 years before I put it in this car and I know it will need gaskets in the near future just because things are old. If I wanted to make easy horsepower, I would build an LS Architecture engine. Nothing sounds cooler that 3" stroke small block whizzing up in high RPM range !
 

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You hear the same type of thing in the Ford camp. Build a such and such instead of the engine you have. Good luck with your build.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Even if it falls short of what I want performance wise, the kid learned how to build THE ORIGINAL small block chevy and we can always put it little coupe or pickup but I think it will work out just fine. We might even build it with a 4-71 blower. I am also considering going to a 5 speed and uping the gears from 3:70 but only time will tell.
 

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I have a 283 small journal crank with rods and pistons. If you have use for it let me know. I was told it was 283 but I will have to check the part numbers first.
Mario
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I may be interested. I may be most interested in the crank. I know 55 and 56 265 cranks don't have a bolt in the end of the crank to help hold the harmonic balancer. I will be drilling and tapping it at least.
 

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I will bring it down from storage and take some pics and post them for you. Gotta wait till an 80 degree day shows up. Its a sauna up there. LOL
mario
 

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The biggest obstacle you'll have in building much HP in a 265 is the bore diameter. It will restrict the use of large valves, as they wont clear the cylinder wall. I think the largest valves you can use will be 1.94/1.50" and that wont breath well if you start pushing a lot of air through it with a blower. Aftermarket heads using valves that small will be out, so probably need to use the old cast iron factory 1st gen camel humps that used the 1.94 intakes. They can be ported and cleaned up to probably flow as much as a 265 can handle. They also have small 58cc combustion chambers, which will help build HP. I think there are some newer heads that flow almost as well, and have similar valve sizes, but might not have the same small combustion chamber that help build compression.
I love the small bore and short stroke, but it will be a challenge to get into the 13 sec. range with a 3000 pound car. I did so back in '71 with my '55 gasser and a 283. I ran the early camel humps, a pair of AFB carbs and a Weiand dual quad intake. Lots of porting and polishing. Also swapped pistons to a set of TRW forged in 11:1 compression, and a factory Duntov 30-30 solid lifter cam. Backed with a Muncie 4 speed, and 4.11 gears in a stock rear housing. I sure hope you make it!
 

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I actually have small runner heads that were upgraded to 194 valves that ran on a 327. I was going to use them on the mg build. Supposedly they were very low mileage. I left them with a friend to go through them before I use them. Maybe I'll use my 291's and sell those instead.
Mm
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I know it will be a challenge but that will be the fun of it. Even if I don't meet the goal, the kid learns and it will still be a fun street machine. There are some 58cc chamber after market heads with 1.94's that should work well if I go with them. L98 heads from the late 80's are also a good head from one of the machine builders I spoke too. I may also go with the small 53cc chamber 305 heads. They flow better than old power pack heads by far and can be ported to flow better too. this will be a slow take our time and find the best parts build. We will keep everyone informed. Right now the varnish still has this thing stuck ! Just bought a new can of PB Blaster, it will loosen up !
 

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I have a 283 I hope to save someday. I don't know if there's any truth to it, but I was told a 265 crank in a 283 is a hot set up because the 265 crank is supposed to be considerably lighter. The engine I have is kind of a mutt because it's a '66 block with very 1st generation '55 265 heads. Very tiny ports. I also have a small journal 327 I'll start out running in my Henry J, with power pack heads that may end up on the 283.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
It is possible that the 265 crank is more balanced for 265 pistons and rods. .125 bigger diameter x the length of the piston might add up to more weight that we realize. Only issue I would see is how you would balance the whole rotating assembly of the 265 crank with 283 pistons.
 

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The heads I have I believe came from a 307 2 bl. With the 1.8 valves. My friend had them upgraded to a 194. We were going to use them but I bought my son a set of rpm heads as a gift. I need to get the cast heads back from the shop.
This older stuff is new to me.
Mario
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Update on the 265 tear down. Everything is really stuck ! Pulled 4 lifters, Cracked the top of 5 trying to get them out and they still aren't out yet ! Not rusty at all, just varnished in good ! Popped the main caps and it looks as though they have some scoring on the journals. Don't know if it will be worth cleaning up and drilling for the balancer bolt or if I should just try and find a 283 small journal crank. Removed the old oil pump and popped out 3 pistons to see what I've got there. Pistons look good, don't have valve reliefs but do have locating notches pointing toward the front of the block. Are these factory installs or early replacement pistons ? Cylinder walls should clean up to whatever I want, they look very good. Since I am sure my dad knows he never had this engine apart, I feel someone or a dealer had it apart before 1960 when my dad bought it. All the main caps are stamped with a number and all the connecting rods have been stamped already. Did they ever do this from the factory ? Also, I was under the impression that stock 265 rods had a start or some kind of symbol right in the middle of the rod, these have no markings. Is there a way to identify the rods ? They have GM on one side and one has a "7" cast into it and the other 2 have a "6" cast in them. Are these factory replacement rods ?
There is a back story to this engine as to why my dad pulled it. He was having a problem with it back then, it was running like it was flooded. The oil seem to have gas in it and he figured it was washing down the cylinders. He and a friend changed the oil and pulled a plug out. When they cranked the engine over with the plug pulled, the engine fired and actually caught the inside of the on fire !!! It would shut off and they had to blow a fire extinguisher down the carb !! After removing and checking over the engine, he found that the diaphram in the fuel pump split and pumped fuel into the crankcase. Maybe some of the extinguisher crap is helping to keep stuff stuck. None of the journals have a spot of rust on them even though they are void of oil after all these years. I am actually very surprised. Also, original oil pan has one spot the size of a silver dollar that is pitted and has a whole in it. This is where it sat on my grandmothers dirt garage floor for the first 30 years of it being out of the car ! Anyones insight into my questions above would be highly appreciated.
 

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I haven't had a 265 apart, and the early '57 283's I've done have been so long ago I can't remember if they looked anything like what you described. I do remember that rods often had different numbers cast into them, and no rhyme or reason as to what they meant.
The scoring on the mains isn't a big deal, unless it's too deep. I'd expect to have most cranks turned, and 10 or 20 wont hurt the strength. Drilling a crank for a balancer bolt is very easy! It's amazing how soft cast iron cranks are, and the indent in the end will keep the bit centered good enough to not get off. Just start with a 1/4" bit and work your way up to the size needed to tap for 3/8 NF thread. Don't need to go any larger for a SBC crank bolt.
I've had lifters stick often, and I usually get a pair of vise grip pliers on the tops. Lock the pliers on the lifter, then spray with penetrant, and twist them back and forth as you pull up firmly. Keep spraying penetrant if it starts to stick again, and they will work their way out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Crank, pistons, lifters and cam are finally all out ! Need to knock out all the freeze plugs and unscrew the screw in plugs. Need to remove the draft tube to get one of the freeze plugs. Any suggestions of how to remove the tube ?

The cam has part #3713103. What cam is it ? I also found something that I have never seen. On the gasket surface for the oil pan, right by each piston, there are stamped numbers also. They range from 7 to 10. Since it is most likely that this engine was serviced before my dad had it, what would these numbers mean ?
 

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Are you referring to the draft tube on the outside rear, or the inside under the intake? If I remember correctly the outside has a bolt and strap that holds it in place. Inside is pressed in, so needs to be tapped or wiggled out of it's press fit. Once the outside is off you might get a drift punch and tap around the edge of the inside breather to move it out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
It is pressed in at the back but not the one under the intake. Look in my first post where mt son is wrenching on it and you can see how it is configured. It is actually up through the back of the block behind the flywheel. I have seen 283's with one that bolts on the back and is 2 pieces, but this is different I think.Being that it is just a bit different than your typical small block, I am just trying to get everybody's opinions.
 

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I'm pretty sure it's still pressed in. If it was mine I'd cut a 2x4 in half and bolt the two halves together; then drill between them with a holesaw to make two half round troughs in the 2x4. Then bolt the two halves on the end of the draft tube, and use a small 4 lb. sledge to tap on the 2x4 to drift it out of the block. This will keep from deforming the tube, and hopefully be able to reuse it if you want.
The other option would be to cut it off at the top, and drive a freeze plug into the hole to seal it off. Then set it up like later SBC with valve cover breathers and PCV valve. Unless you want the nostalgia of a draft tube, the later system will work better, and be cleaner too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
Thanks 1946Austin. That is a great idea and probably the only way I will get it out. I am trying to keep somethings nostalgic like that but with a modern twist. I am thinking about leaving it and attaching a breather on it like you would have on a valve cover but who knows, maybe I will change my mind. Right now I just want to get it torn down and hot tanked.
 

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The can inside the lifter valley is a breather on these, so probably redundant to have a 2nd breather. It would be tough to see the down draft tube in most applications, so not having it would probably not be noticed. These engines also used a oil fill/breather tube on the front of the intake, so to be true to the "look" it would need that also.
I'd rather have one that breathed well, and had a PCV valve, even if it wasn't nostalgic, so even if I had the intake breather, I'd eliminate the down tube and use a PCV valve.
 
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