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Chevrolet 235 Oil Burnt

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CrestonM View Drop Down
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    Posted: 05 Oct 2021 at 3:38pm
Not burnt as in getting by the rings, but burnt as in smelling like tar and turning dark brown.
This is new to me…was hauling grain in the ‘51 and everything was going good…had put in a freshly cleaned radiator, temperature was normal at 180°.
Started noticing very light traces of steam/grey smoke coming from under the hood. The whole trip I kept a close watch on oil and water, and a few minutes later, oil pressure dropped from about 5-7 lbs to 2 lbs rather quickly, so stopped the truck. At idle it had no oil pressure. Didn’t knock but but sort of a light rumbling noise.
Opened the hood and the steam is coming from the sump cap. Pulled the dipstick and the whole lower end is blazing hot, hotter than I’ve ever felt. The entire length of the dipstick is steaming. It’s full of oil. But smells like tar. Coolant level is normal. Not getting coolant in oil I don’t think. Oil isn’t milky.

Let it sit about an hour, pull dipstick again. Still really hot, but still shows full, and oil is a bit lighter colored now. (Changed oil about 250 miles ago, so still pretty new) Engine started up, hummed like a sewing machine at idle, about 5-7 lbs oil pressure so that’s good (not a full-pressure 235, it has the dipper cups). Give it more throttle and the light rumbling noise comes back. Shut it down and towed the rest of the way home, not wanting to mess anything up more.

Any ideas? What causes oil to burn and get so hot when the coolant is perfectly fine? I’m hoping I didn’t spin a bearing, but I guess it’s time to pull the pan.

Thought I would change the oil with a quart or two of Lucas oil stabilizer included and see if that makes a difference. Would like to at least be able to get the wheat off the truck.
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LeonR2013 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote LeonR2013 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Oct 2021 at 3:50pm
Kinda sounds like a spun main bearing, but like you say time to start pulling stuff off. Valve cover and pan first.         Leon
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Brian Jasper co. Ia View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Brian Jasper co. Ia Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Oct 2021 at 4:51pm
With a quick loss of oil pressure, I’d be wondering if the pick up tube in the pan is restricted. Sounds like you’re in for an overhaul though. If you didn’t spin any bearings, it almost certain that you tore them and the crank up.
"Any man who thinks he can be happy and prosperous by letting the government take care of him better take a closer look at the American Indian." Henry Ford
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CrestonM View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote CrestonM Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Oct 2021 at 5:03pm
That’s what I’m afraid of. I just can’t figure out what caused it. I had never heard of that happening.
The oil getting real hot and burnt smelling, that is. I’ve heard of spun bearings, but not really sure what causes them either.

Edited by CrestonM - 05 Oct 2021 at 5:32pm
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Brian Jasper co. Ia View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Brian Jasper co. Ia Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Oct 2021 at 5:57pm
Oil does a few things, lubricates, cleans, and cools. If you’re not getting enough flow through the bearings, the friction creates extra heat and it welds the bearings to the crank. The only thing holding the bearings in place, if it has replaceable shells and not poured babbit is the crush fit of the bearing cap. The tangs are for alignment only. I don’t know when GM went to precision insert shells, but with dipper style rods, there’s a chance you have poured babbit style. You might be better off going with another engine. There’s a bigger six from the 60s, 268 I think that would go right in I’m told.
"Any man who thinks he can be happy and prosperous by letting the government take care of him better take a closer look at the American Indian." Henry Ford
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allisbred View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote allisbred Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Oct 2021 at 6:58pm
Need pictures of the ‘51 Chevy! My guess is mains. Rod will be a consistent noise from slapping.
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CrestonM View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote CrestonM Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Oct 2021 at 8:13pm
I know the rods are poured, but the mains are inserts. I had it apart a few years ago to put in new rings, valves, take shims out of the rods and reseal the engine.

I will see if I can get a photo of the truck to upload
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote JoeO(CMO) Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Oct 2021 at 6:56am
I think it was '54 when chevy went to all inserts, -ran into this when I had a 54

Edited by JoeO(CMO) - 06 Oct 2021 at 6:57am
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Steve in NJ View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Steve in NJ Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Oct 2021 at 7:44am
I'm wit' Brian and Allisbred. Sounds to me like you spun a main bearing. I've also seen where the pickup tube has fallen off to.  The ole' 235's were tough engines, but their oiling systems sucked, especially in the rocker shaft area....
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39'RC, 43'WC, 48'B, 49'G, 50'WF, 65 Big 10, 67'B-110, 75'716H, 2-620's, & a Motorhead wife
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Ray54 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Oct 2021 at 10:36am
Still have a rusted 1960 with a 235. We had it running 25 years ago but had no paper work so never drove it.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tomNE Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Oct 2021 at 6:55pm
and your sure it's a 235?   it had to have been put in there; those came with the babbit bearing 216's.  we always had to cut out the radiator support about 2in to get the radiator to clear the fan when we changed them over.

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CrestonM View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote CrestonM Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Oct 2021 at 10:18pm
Yessir it is a 235. And yes, you are right, it was put there. In 1951 at the General Motors Kansas City plant. Rod dipper 235s were used in big trucks several years before they were common in passenger cars and smaller pickups.


Edited by CrestonM - 06 Oct 2021 at 10:25pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote DaveKamp Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Oct 2021 at 1:38am
Aereation (sucking air bubbles in) will cause the oil TEMP of an engine or hydraulic system to skyrocket.

What's happening is pretty simple... air drawn in, gets compressed to less than 1/10th of it's size, and when it does, all the latent heat energy gets compressed into a very small space, where the oil around it becomes rapidly heated.

IF the circumstances are 'right', that little bubble has enough oxygen to support combustion, a little bit of that oil will actually ignite... it's called 'Diesel Effect'.

It results in extremely high oil temp, and rapid coking of the oil.

A plugged pickup will do it...  a pinhole leak in a pickup tube will do it... a crack in an oil pump, or a bad oil pump cover seal will also do it.
Ten Amendments, Ten Commandments, and one Golden Rule solve most every problem. Citrus hand-cleaner with Pumice does the rest.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tomNE Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Oct 2021 at 7:14am
thanks for that info; i had a shop in the 80's and were always on the look out for later 235's but they also had a problem with cracked heads.   I did't see many farm trucks that hadn't had the engine changed as the babbit bearing oil dippers didn't like hard work!
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CrestonM View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote CrestonM Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Oct 2021 at 8:51am
I’m not sure why this one hasn’t been changed. It’s got nearly 91,000 miles and has hauled combines and wheat its whole life. I figured it would’ve had more significant problems before now
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Brian Jasper co. Ia View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Brian Jasper co. Ia Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Oct 2021 at 9:28am
Originally posted by CrestonM CrestonM wrote:

I’m not sure why this one hasn’t been changed. It’s got nearly 91,000 miles and has hauled combines and wheat its whole life. I figured it would’ve had more significant problems before now
How much of the truck’s history do you know? In those days, 100k was pretty well used up in a car. In 70 years the chances are pretty good it’s been overhauled a time or two.
"Any man who thinks he can be happy and prosperous by letting the government take care of him better take a closer look at the American Indian." Henry Ford
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote CrestonM Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Oct 2021 at 12:50pm
My grandpa has owned the truck since 1954, when he bought it from a custom harvester who he went to church with. He said aside from a valve job and rings (I forget the mileage but it’s written inside the door) he never did anything to it.

Along with a few other things, I put rings and a new head + valves on in 2018. The old head was cracked on 4 cylinders so it was a little lacking in power. Has ran great up till now.

I changed the oil in it yesterday and filled with 3qt Lucas heavy duty oil stabilizer and 3 qt Shell Rotella SAE30. 15 lbs pressure cold, sounds good, throttle advances quickly. But has a light squealing noise that sounds like the belt slipping. When I quickly open the throttle, it goes away momentarily, but then comes right back, regardless if I leave the throttle at the higher RPM or return to idle. Ideas? I’m nearly certain it’s not the belt, especially since the noise goes away when accelerating, but I need to slip it off and make sure. Would’ve done it yesterday but it got dark.

Edited by CrestonM - 07 Oct 2021 at 12:57pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote allisbred Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Oct 2021 at 1:11pm
Sounds like the light squealing could be a slight vacuum leak if goes away while using accelerator pump. Have you used a stethoscope towards the bottom end? Another option is to send oil sample for analysis, it would determine what foreign debris is in the oil(we use this method at work frequently before pulling bearing housings apart) to help diagnose without extra labor being added. If the oil is burnt, you definitely have an issue that needs addressed before catastrophic failure. Could be a simple issue in the pump as suggested.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote CrestonM Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Oct 2021 at 2:55pm
I hadn’t thought about sending the oil in, I did save what I drained out, though, so that’s an idea. I held a very bright light to it in a dark room, and there’s no metallic shimmer to any of it, so that’s a good thing.

I’m hoping I can pull the truck to the field and run the engine just enough to get the hoist raised and grain unloaded. Then I can tuck it in the barn for inspection.

To answer the other question…no, I haven’t used a stethoscope yet. I have one, but it’s about 2 hrs away. I kinda thought it might be a vacuum leak, too, so I’ll have to do some checking. It didn’t leak before but I guess everything starts at some point.

Edited by CrestonM - 07 Oct 2021 at 2:58pm
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SteveM C/IL View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SteveM C/IL Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Oct 2021 at 12:08am
I know you're trying to avoid it,but you better drop the pan and find out what's wrong.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote DaveKamp Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Oct 2021 at 10:45pm
Does this 235 have an elastomeric harmonic balancer?  If so... the ring might be slipping.
Ten Amendments, Ten Commandments, and one Golden Rule solve most every problem. Citrus hand-cleaner with Pumice does the rest.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote shameless dude Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Oct 2021 at 3:20am
stick a Cummins in it!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote CrestonM Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Oct 2021 at 7:34am
Dave, this particular engine doesn’t have that type of balancer.

I was able to tow the truck to the field and run the engine just enough to get the hoist up to unload the wheat. However, even in that short amount of time, the engine decided to start telling knock knock jokes once the oil warmed up, but I didn’t think they were that funny. Towed it back to the barn, next step will be to drop the pan and probably pull the engine.

I like your idea, Shameless, do you have a Cummins to donate?
Other than that, I’m trying to decide if I want to rebuilt the original engine or find a later full pressure oiling 235 or 261. A 292 would work with an adapter plate.

I’d kinda like to keep the original engine, it’s lasted 70 years, was used hard for 40 and hauled combines and grain its whole life, so surely a good rebuilt would last me a while. Getting the rods machined for insert bearings should help add some longevity.

Or another thought I had…find something else to put in, but keep the original, overhaul it, and save it for when/if the truck more or less retires, then I’ll have the right engine for it.

Lots of options, just weighing pros and cons at this point.

Edited by CrestonM - 12 Oct 2021 at 7:37am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Jim.ME Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Oct 2021 at 4:50pm
If you really want to use it, go with your idea to put a 261 or a 235 in it.  Spray some oil or chain and cable oil in the cylinders of the 216 and save it, in case you want to rebuild it and install when you retire the truck.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote shameless dude Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Oct 2021 at 10:53pm
Creston retire anything?????? shucks....he takes all of the stuff outta retirement! i don't gots a Cummins, but do have a 454 that would make it go,go,go! just think...dual crome pipes up the back of the cab...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote CrestonM Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Oct 2021 at 9:11am
Sounds like Shameless had me figured out!
I drug a cotton stripper out of the weeds that hadn’t been to the field since ‘91, going to harvest with it this year if all goes as planned. Previous owner is excited to see it run.
I like your 454 idea! When you gonna bring it to me? Chrome pipes would make it look good!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SteveM C/IL Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Oct 2021 at 9:20pm
You don't need an adaptor plate,just a bell housing from 63 or later when GM made the mating the same. May have to get creative on motor mounts but not certain. They used same tranny til 65? Think large truck hsg had motor mounts. I know tranny hung off bell housing.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote im4racin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Oct 2021 at 9:36pm
Will need housing from pre 64 pickup. Big truck could be later. Stop over at stovebolt.com. They will know in the big truck section of the forum.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote JohnColo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Oct 2021 at 10:41pm
Wait until next July when you can stop by Shameless's place on the way to Hutch.  You might get a chance to find some other things he doesn't need, like maybe a "pretty" machine!
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