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232 rebuild

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  • 232 rebuild

    I've got a 1951 Commander and I've got the engine out of it
    and stripped down to the heads and short block. I've never
    been this deep into an engine, so I need help with some basic
    questions.

    First the simple question - if I want to replace some (or all)
    of the head bolts, what grade of bolt should I buy? Is it a
    good idea to replace them all?

    Second, pistons. This is a 232 V8 with nothing obviously
    wrong with it except age and use. In looking around at the
    main parts sources, I don't find any way to get replacement
    pistons for this engine, either standard size or oversize.
    So what does this mean for me? What are my options when I
    take the block to the machine shop? Am I limited to boring
    the minimum amount, and reusing the original pistons with
    new standard rings? Can I have it bored and sleeved to standard?
    It looks like for other engines I could have it bored as
    necessary, and go with oversized pistons. Are there other
    places I should be looking for pistons?

    This is new territory for me, so I'd be grateful for any advice
    from folks who have been there and done that.

    Jim Beckman
    Leonardo, NJ

  • #2
    Unless the existing bolts are damaged, I'd reuse them. I think you'll have a hard time finding the exact lengths that Studebaker used, and the exact length is critical (too long and some may bottom out, too short and not enough threads will grip properly). SASCO may still have NOS sets.

    Fairborn (and others) carry 232 pistons...

    http://www.fairbornstudebaker.com/parts.htm

    If you bore ANY amount you would have to change pistons. You can often hone and use the same pistons. Have your machinist measure the wear, ridge and taper on the cylinders to determine if you can reuse the existing pistons. You can bore and sleeve to standard, but this is expensive and your existing pistons may not be reusable even in standard holes (they may not be standard pistons...it is possible that this engine has been rebuilt sometime in the past).

    If this is your first rebuild, proceed VERY carefully. Read and re-read the shop manual. Find other material on rebuilding engines and study that. Find a good machinist to measure and evaluate parts for you and to advise you along the way. You'll also need him (probably) to resize rods, bore the cylinders, grind the crank, replace valve guides, redo valve seats, etc. etc.




    Dick Steinkamp
    Bellingham, WA
    Dick Steinkamp
    Bellingham, WA

    Comment


    • #3
      One word of advice on the head bolts. While you have it stripped down, I would run a tap into the threads as well as clean up the bolts with a wire wheel. You do not want to have a false reading when you torque them back down or wring the head of the bolt off as I did on a '62 Willys Super Hurricane. After using carbon tipped bits to drill it out to use an easyout, I ended up snapping that off too. Ended up having to resort to carefully burning it out with a torch, something I never want to do again.


      Guido Salvage - "Where rust is beautiful"

      Studebaker horse drawn buggy; 1946 M-16 fire truck; 1948 M-16 grain truck; 1949 2R16A grain truck; 1949 2R17A fire truck; 1950 2R5 pickup; 1952 2R17A grain truck; 1952 Packard 200 4 door; 1955 E-38 grain truck; 1957 3E-40 flatbed; 1961 6E-28 grain truck; 1962 7E-13D 4x4 rack truck; 1962 7E-7 Champ pickup; 1962 GT Hawk 4 speed; 1963 8E-28 flatbed; 1964 Avanti R2 4 speed; 1964 Cruiser and various other "treasures".

      Hiding and preserving Studebakers in Richmond, Goochland & Louisa, Va.
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      Comment


      • #4
        You can bore it .187" from 3 3/8" to 3 9/16" (259 size)and use standard 259 pistons if you want. I have two sets of heads; one standard and the other export that are 7.5 compression in case you are iterested. Very cheap. Shipping would be more than the heads.

        If you are interested in pepping it up a little you should go the 259 route and you can put the '55 and later heads on if you wanted to. Also you can mill any of the heads .060" or more to raise the compression. If this interests you, you can also putin an R 1 cam.

        Ted

        quote:Originally posted by Jim Beckman

        I've got a 1951 Commander and I've got the engine out of it
        and stripped down to the heads and short block. I've never
        been this deep into an engine, so I need help with some basic
        questions.

        First the simple question - if I want to replace some (or all)
        of the head bolts, what grade of bolt should I buy? Is it a
        good idea to replace them all?

        Second, pistons. This is a 232 V8 with nothing obviously
        wrong with it except age and use. In looking around at the
        main parts sources, I don't find any way to get replacement
        pistons for this engine, either standard size or oversize.
        So what does this mean for me? What are my options when I
        take the block to the machine shop? Am I limited to boring
        the minimum amount, and reusing the original pistons with
        new standard rings? Can I have it bored and sleeved to standard?
        It looks like for other engines I could have it bored as
        necessary, and go with oversized pistons. Are there other
        places I should be looking for pistons?

        This is new territory for me, so I'd be grateful for any advice
        from folks who have been there and done that.

        Jim Beckman
        Leonardo, NJ

        Comment


        • #5
          Your job is one that you never want to automatically assume anything on. I don't know how many miles it has on it, but mine had 86k and the cylinders werestill within specs as were the main bearings. The rod bearings were still sevicable but they aren't that expensive, so I replaced them. I put in new rings. The most worn item was the valve stem guides, I had them knurled when I had the valves ground because they weren't worn badly enough to replace.

          Cylinders will wear barrel shaped, so you need the right measuring equipment. One clue to cylinder wear is to feel how deep the ridge at the top of the cylinder is worn. If there's a noticable ridge, the middle of the cylinders are probably pretty worn. If not, a simple honing and new rings may do the job adequately. When you put new rings on any used piston, make sure the ring land is cleaned of carbon or you can but a ring then it reaches the worn spot on the cylinder at top dead center. Better mike every journal on the crankshaft, tools were made that would turn a journal with the engine intact and in the car. On those jobs they would usually turn only the bad journal. Get some plastiguage from an auto parts store to determine bearing clearance, the main bearings may be just fine, mine were. If any of the insert bearing have some copper or God forbid, steel showing, it's definately new bearing time. If you want to check things yourself, a set of 3 Chinese micrometers are $40 and telescopic guages $15-$20. With those you can measure everything but the piston, for the pistons, accurate Chinese vernier calipers are $20. Unless the pistons are visabaly scored and the cylinders quite worn, they're probably fine. You guys out there can laugh all you want, but I hate to admit it, that sort of Chinese tools are pretty accurate, or at least accurate enough. Should measure the parts yourself, myself or others here can tell you how and what to check.

          Comment


          • #6
            Two suggestions:

            1. Have someone who really knows engines to look at it for you. Five minutes and he can tell you what you've got.

            2. Unless this is a concours-numbers-matching restoration, 259" engines are still a dime-a-dozen. Don't bother to re-bore and rebuild your 232", just start with the best 259" you can find.

            thnx, jv.

            PackardV8
            PackardV8

            Comment


            • #7
              jv had a very good suggestion. Giving someone knowledgeable $20 or taking them to lunch would probably be money well spent. You know the old saying "You can't see the forest for the trees'? Well jv should be commended for seeing the forest where I saw trees.

              Comment


              • #8
                Hey, you guys are great! Thanks for the advice. I figured if I
                could just ask in the right place, I'd find the experts.

                The engine I've got pretty definitely isn't original to the car.
                The car is a 1951, but the engine is a later one. For one thing,
                it has the Stromberg WW carburetor on it. And the serial number
                on the block is up front, by the fuel pump, not back by the
                distributor. The serial number on the block is 527644.

                I've got the shop manual for 1951, and the chassis parts catalog
                for 1951 thru 1954. It looks like that serial number may be out
                of the range those cover. Any idea what I've really got here?
                I've measured the bore and stroke at 3-3/8 by 3-1/4 using a
                vernier caliper, best I could manage.

                There's a small ridge at the top of the cylinders. I'm not sure
                I could get the pistons out without taking it off, and I don't
                have the tool to do that, plus I don't have the experience or
                the tools to measure the cylinder bore properly. I was thinking
                of taking the block to a machine shop, and have them cut the
                ridges off, remove the pistons, measure the cylinders, and tell
                me what the numbers are, so we could decide how to proceed.
                Plus they could clean the block up and inspect it better than
                I could myself.

                Maybe it's worth it for me to buy the tools myself and learn
                to do the measuring? This is supposed to be an educational
                experience, and I'm not really in a hurry. Somehow all the
                measuring to figure out how the cylinders are worn seems like
                magic, but I suppose it isn't.

                Again, thanks for all the advice, I'm learning a lot.

                Jim Beckman

                Comment


                • #9
                  Hi, Jim,

                  Learning is good. Tools are good. Enjoy the experience. However, understand, when you are done learning, the block is still going to wind up in a machine shop and they are going to measure it all again.

                  Back in the bad old days, your block would have been given a quick hone, the pistons would have been knurled and thrown back together with some new rings, valve job, knurl the valve guides and ready to run another 50KMI. Probably cost you $200 in 1959.

                  thnx, jv.


                  PackardV8
                  PackardV8

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Jim, Without a "V" or some letter as a prefix, that engine number you give is not an engine number. CASTING number maybe, but not an engine number.

                    Miscreant adrift in
                    the BerStuda Triangle


                    1957 Transtar 1/2ton
                    1960 Larkvertible V8
                    1958 Provincial wagon
                    1953 Commander coupe

                    No deceptive flags to prove I'm patriotic - no biblical BS to impress - just ME and Studebakers - as it should be.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      [quote]Originally posted by Mr.Biggs

                      Jim, Without a "V" or some letter as a prefix, that engine number you give is not an engine number. CASTING number maybe, but not an engine number.
                      ----------------

                      Aha! I should have known that a number obviously cast into the
                      block wasn't the serial number. So a little solvent and some
                      more elbow grease brought up the serial number back by the
                      distributor pad where it should be: V79115 which is reasonable
                      for being the original 232 engine in this car. I was also wrong
                      about the carburetor. Careful reading of the chassis parts
                      manual shows me that the Stromberg WW is correct and original.
                      Well, I said this was supposed to be a learning experience,
                      and I'm making progress.

                      It also dawned on me that I can get a pretty good idea of the
                      condition of the cylinders just by measuring each of them
                      with the pistons at the bottom of their stroke. So I'm going
                      to get the tools and try that. One remaining mystery is
                      whether or not this engine has been reworked previously.
                      I can see that the bolt on the front of the drive shaft has
                      been removed once previously, since it has a big notch where
                      somebody used the "cold chisel" method to get it started.
                      So I figure to make some measurements of the cylinder bores,
                      take a look at the bearing inserts for wear, and probably
                      measure the crank journals. Then I might have a reasonable
                      idea what sort of rebuild is needed before I go talk to
                      a machine shop.

                      Again, thanks for the help and advice.


                      Jim Beckman
                      Leonardo, NJ
                      1951 Commander Starlight

                      Comment

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