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232 Rebuild; What Makes Sense?

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  • 232 Rebuild; What Makes Sense?

    I'm in the middle of rebuilding the 232 from my '52 Commander. The cylinders are well worn but nothing that a .030" overbore won't take care of. This is where I'd like to solicit your help. While I realize that I can get new aftermarket pistons to accomodate the increased diameter, I would prefer to go with NOS. What is the likelihood that I might find what is needed in new old stock? What might you do if you were in my shoes? I would certainly appreciate any advice that you could offer and a big "thanks" in advance1!

  • #2
    I would get the new aftermarket pistons. IT would not be original, bored .030 over, even with NOS pistons.

    [img=left]http://www.alink.com/personal/tbredehoft/Avatar1.jpg[/img=left]
    Tom Bredehoft
    '53 Commander Coupe (since 1959)
    '55 President (6H Y6) State Sedan
    ....On the road, again....
    '05 Legacy Ltd Wagon
    All Indiana built cars

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    • #3
      You asked for advice, so here goes:

      FWIW, first of all, I'd never spend the money to rebuild a 232". There are 259"s thick on the ground; many offered free to a good home. The 259" is half-again better engine, costs less to rebuild than a 232" and pretty much bolts in.

      However, if one is sentimentally attached to the original engine, if modern hypereutectic pistons and moly rings are available for the 232", they are much superior to the OEM cast pistons and rings. Try Phil at Fairborn.

      thnx. jack vines

      PackardV8
      PackardV8

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      • #4
        nother question here. Is it possible and feasable to
        bore the 232 and use 259 pistons, and bore the lifter
        bores out and use later lifters? Just askin

        Tex E. Grier

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        • #5
          Later lifters are .903" the early 51-54's were 1". You can bore the 232 block out to 3 9/16" but that is it. Why? Bore it .020" and drive it, then you can get another 5 or 6 bores and a half a million miles out of it.

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          • #6
            The real limitation with 232" is the low-compression heads and the teeny-tiny valves. A 259" with a bump in compression, 4-bbl and duals feels like a rocket ship compared to a 232".

            thnx, jack vines


            PackardV8
            PackardV8

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            • #7
              Hey Jack , you makin me feel purty good talking like
              that. I got me a rocketship.[:I]

              Tex in Alabama












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              • #8
                I have a 51 starlight that still has the original 232 V-8 motor that I was planning on rebulding but wanted to update the motor to a 259 my plans were to bore the block to a 259 and install nos 259 flat top pistons using 259 exhaust manifolds and the 289 570 heads with hardened seats on the exhaust valves and leave the 1" lifter bore with new lifters which I believe are lighter weight than the originals and using the original 232 rocker assemblies with the original push rods and have the original cam ground to .425 lift with a 260 degree duration. Am I doing this wrong or what should I change or do? It is important to me to have the original engine in the car that it came with which is also the vin number used on the title but just wanted a little more power out of it since it has the automatic transmission. This car will be restored to its original condition with the exception of the engine. Any advice from any of you would be greatly appreciated. Thank you, MLN

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                • #9
                  Hi, MLN,

                  FWIW, the camshaft you describe is essentially the R1 specs. The R1 cam was designed for premium fuel 10.25:1 compression ratio 289" displacement. It will reduce low speed torque more than is desirable for a 259" automatic. You can help the low speed torque by decking the block and milling the heads so as to end up with least 9:1 - 9.5:1 compression. With the R1 cam, the R1 valve springs are mandatory.

                  For normal driving, the standard 259"/289" cam and 9:1 compression would be my choice. Find an early 4-bbl intake and a good WCFB or late intake and 500 CFM AFB/Edelbrock.

                  thnx, jack vines

                  PackardV8
                  PackardV8

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                  • #10
                    I've rebuilt 4 different 232s, the last one was mine and so I drove it awhile before I sold it. I had it bored .030 over, ground the crank, did the heads, etc., and boy did it run sweet, plenty of power, too! I took it by the machinist who did the work and he was really stoked-said it was one of the smoothest running V8s he ever saw, and he's seen many!
                    It's really a matter of taste, I think you could sink about the same amount of $$ into a 259 or 289, as most of the parts are reproduction, or new. [8D]

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                    • #11
                      I've often wondered if the 232 gets any better mileage than a 259. Say 232 with 3sp overdrive in a 53 hdtp?

                      53commander HDTP
                      53 Champion HDTP
                      64 Champ long bed V8
                      64 Champ long bed V8
                      55/53 Studebaker President S/R
                      53 Hudson Super Wasp Coupe

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                      • #12
                        In my experience, it depends upon which 259" plus condition and tune.

                        The 232" has smaller ports and valves, so has higher gas velocities in the ports at low RPMs. It has lower compression ratio, so makes less power from each stroke. The slightly smaller bore has less ring friction.

                        Most 259"s have a point higher compression ratio, thus are more efficient.

                        Bottom line, if each engine is built and tuned to specs, the difference would be minimal.

                        thnx, jack vines

                        PackardV8
                        PackardV8

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                        • #13
                          Thanks so much for your thoughts on this. There's really no right or wrong way to go, it's just a matter of taste and budget. I do know that the original engine was fine with the exception of a bad crankshaft bearing that resulted in realy low oil pressure. The day that I bought it I drove it from Indianapolis to Kalamazoo with no real problems. While it doesn't have to be totally original, I'm really not looking for a lot of performance either. I can see myself driving it for an hour or two in the summer and then parking it for a week or two. Even though the valves are still tiny, I might pick up a little HP with the new set of 7.5:1 heads that I'm planning on using. Reliability is probably my biggest concern. I gotta tell you though, from a displacement to weight standpoint, this is the heaviest 232 cu. in. engine I've EVER worked on!

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                          • #14
                            I usually dump the 232 block, use a 289 and move all the externals over to keep it looking just like a 232. I keep the bigger exhaust manifolds, but that's about the only way to tell.

                            JDP/Maryland
                            JDP Maryland

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                            • #15
                              Several years ago I dumped the 232 in my 53 HT in favor of a rebuilt 289. Obviously, the power went up considerably, but the gas mileage did too...by 25%. The 259/289 is so much more efficient than the 232, and so much more fun! I did as JP said...made it look like the 232.

                              Fred
                              Fred

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