I'm helping my buddy pull the tired engine from his '57 today. The
question is whether to rebuild it (a 283) or to replace it with a modern
GM crate engine. GM offers a small block for "pre-1985 vehicles) which
looks at first glance like it should drop right in. I wonder, however,
if it is really that easy!
Will the exhaust and intake manifolds from the original '57 still fit?
Any issues with starter motors or other accessories we should know about?
TIA for any good advice,
It's a front mount. It is also the first year where the small block
includes an oil filter. The original '55 design had no provision for
oil filtration. After considering the options my buddy has decided to
have the original engine rebuilt. We took it to a very good local
machine shop today. The casting on the engine shows late 1956
manufacturing, which is consistent with a 1957 model year car. It looks
like this is the original engine and as such it is nice to keep it with
the car. The machine shop guys were having lots of fun looking over
the motor. Wow, look, no place for side motor mounts! Wow, look at
those original slotted screws holding the timing cover in place. Yikes,
remember when there was no bolt securing the front balancer ... and so on.
When it was all said and done a full rebuild and balancing will be close
to the same cost as a new crate 350 would be, but the engine will be the
one the car came with.
If it's really an original, unmolested '57 MY engine that hasn't been
apart, take LOTS of digipix. Not only will they help you but other
restorers who obsess about things like bolt head markings will be overjoyed.
(all stainless hardware on my car...)
replace "fly" with "com" to reply.
John, would you still rebuild it if it happens to be a 265? IIRC, some
'57s came with the 265. Also, my same fading memory tells me most, if not
all, 265s came with a 3-speed transmission AND 2-bbl carb. The 283 came
with both 2-bbl and 4-bbl, both 3-speed and auto. Is yours an automatic, or
3-speed manual? I'd not spend any more than possible before it was
determined definitely which engine you have. Fondly recalling the 1st
family car, a '57 Chevy, I ever drove-- a bland, 6-cyl, 235, Blue-Flame
engine, 3-speed, no radio, no ps, no pb, and a 210-series at that, not even
a Bel-Air. Luck to you guys. s
We will find out today if it is a 265 or 283 based on bore diameter. It
is equipped with a 2-bbl carb and the horrid Powerglide 2 speed
automatic. He might have it bored out to 283 as part of the rebuild if
it is a 265 because pistons and rings for the 265 are rare and
expensive. This is also a 210 model with no ps and no pb, so pretty
similar to the car you remember.
I have similar fond memories of a '57 Chevy. Ours was a 150 series
4-door sedan, two-tone red and white, with the Blue-Flame 6, 3-speed
with overdrive and no radio or any other "fancy" options. I was really
bummed out when dad traded that '57 in on a '59. That '59 turned out
to be a real lemon.
One other thing I do remember about that '57: I got very good at
replacing blower motor switches - for some reason, that car ate them.
Remember also that '57 had 2 automatic transmissions available: the
Powerglide, which was available with the 6 or the V8, and the
Turboglide, which was available only with V-8s.
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