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Bob Riding
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I have the opportunity to purchase a rebuilt C54 Chrysler Spitfire 265 motor from a friend at a very good price.

 

I was looking for a powerplant for my stalled '52 Suburban project and after some research and help from Forum members, I think I can fit it into the wagon with only minor modifications. I have the bill of sale from the machine shop and it looks like they did a thorough job:

They magna-fluxed and hot-tanked the block, resurfaced the head, installed new valve guides & lifters, rebored and honed .030 over cylinders. Installed new 030 over pistons and rings, reconditioned the rods with new pins and bushings, ground and polished the crankshaft, installed new rod and main bearings. Fitted new cam bearings, and installed a new oil pump. They then reassembled the long block.

 

Costs were: parts $203, labor $890, total $1109. The year was 2003!

 

In one of his excellent videos, @keithb7 states that rebuilding a Mopar flathead, parts alone will run you about $500/cylinder. I can testify to that price range, as I have a 230 motor in a local machine shop for hot tanking and magna-fluxing. They quoted me $5,000 to rebuild it and 6-9 months to get it done!

I will be able to purchase the Spitfire for less than the cost of the original rebuild so obviously, I MUST BUY IT!

 

I'm excited about resurrecting the motor, but not sure how to proceed. It was never run, and has been in dry storage for almost 20 years. I know - Marvel Mystery oil in the cylinders and using a drill in the the oil pump shaft to lube the bottom end - should I use standard 10-40w with an additive like Lucas TB Zinc-Plus for break in oil?

Any other cautions/suggestions?

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40 minutes ago, Bob Riding said:

using a drill in the the oil pump shaft to lube the bottom end

 

Don't think that is going to work. unlike the later V8's and like the slant six the oil pump is driven directly by the cam, there is no intermediate shaft you can pull and so you can prime the oil pump.

 

Motive sells a pressure based oil priming setup, you can probably use an ordinary garden sprayer to make your own version.  Just plumb it into the main oil gallery

 

https://www.motiveproducts.com/products/1730-powerefill-1gal-with-pinch-clamp?pr_prod_strat=use_description&pr_rec_id=e496101d5&pr_rec_pid=4094873174105&pr_ref_pid=5402803653&pr_seq=uniform

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I’d get an engine stand. Roll it over. Take off the pan. Have a look. Any rust from condensation? Remove oil pump. Pack it with 105 engine grease. 
 

If there is cylinder wall rust, I’d consider a hone. Lube up rings and reinstall. Add assembly engine bearing lube to all bearings. Cam lobes and tappets.  Lube up front and rear seals before cranking it over. Reinstall oil pan. Fresh engine oil.  Tie-in an oil pressure gauge. Monitor pressure while cranking it over. As per my start up video. Once you have oil pressure give ‘er and start it up. 
 

Thats just what I’d do.  The oil that they used to assemble that engine is gone. Or completely deteriorated.  An ill prepared start could do a lot of damage to it. 

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3 hours ago, Sniper said:

 

Don't think that is going to work. unlike the later V8's and like the slant six the oil pump is driven directly by the cam, there is no intermediate shaft you can pull and so you can prime the oil pump.

 

Motive sells a pressure based oil priming setup, you can probably use an ordinary garden sprayer to make your own version.  Just plumb it into the main oil gallery

 

https://www.motiveproducts.com/products/1730-powerefill-1gal-with-pinch-clamp?pr_prod_strat=use_description&pr_rec_id=e496101d5&pr_rec_pid=4094873174105&pr_ref_pid=5402803653&pr_seq=uniform

What he said. .

  Before puling the head and pan, I'd invest in a cheap borescope attachment for my phone and take a look at the cylinder walls and lower end through spark plug holes and oil drain plug. 

If it looks ok then proceed.

There are a lot of ways to go about it, but you need pressure fed oil into the main oil gallery, and turn the engine by hand as it feeds in.  That'll get it to all the cam, main and rod bearings.  Even a cheap drill powered pump will do the trick.  You can pump in more than needed to assure it gets everywhere and drain the excess.

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I'd put the factory Plymouth crank studs back in too....four six or eight depending on which bolt hole  flywheel you use.

Have to remove the pan and main cap to do so.

NEVER MIND!

Had to go out and look at a 265 in the shop. No ridge on the backside of the crank flange to prevent the Plymouth  half moon crank bolts from spinning.

This goes for all FD and torque converter crankshafts.

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Edited by Dodgeb4ya
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Castrol GTX classic 20-50 oil zddp & Phosphorus.pdfCastrol GTX classic 20-50 oil zddp & Phosphorus.pdfcould also use redline Break-in oil when cranking over the motor.  Also does the engine have an oil filter?

 

There isa new Castrol Product Castrol GTX Classic 20/50 weight that has the largest amount of ZDDP, Phosphorus and Boron in the oil.  Might want to read up on the product.

 

I did a posting on this oil a while ago.  This oil can not be used in modern cars because it will damage the catalytic converters.

 

All modern oils do contain lower amts of ZDDP, Phosphorus and boron so that the newer cars will run without damage to the convertors.

 

Valvoline VR1 is another good quality oil.

 

When speaking to the Castrol rep he told me that basically any quality oil even the WalMart brand is better than the old oils that were used when these cars and engine were first produced.  The flat tappets do need some form of zddp but we are not putting on the extremem pressure on them or the cams like the cars that have the roller cams and are reving up to higher rpms.  Most cars ran around 50 mph and when we started froma light we came off the line around 10mph then did a shift at 20 and then again at 30 and then got the cars upto 50 MPH which was the standard mph for our cars.

 

refer to the two articles from Castrol and also Egge on ZDDP.  Great reading material and information on ZDDP.

 

Rich Hartung

Desoto1939@aol.com

ZDDP Egge Information.docx

Edited by desoto1939
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All the above ideas to make everything that motor was rebuilt to do.

 

Worth a few bucks to have it all cleaned and freshened! 

 

That Suburban of your is a clean as can be and worth all the time and effort!

 

DJ

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9 hours ago, Plymouthy Adams said:

personally I don't think the majority of these cars and engines are near as tired as their owners.....🤡

I certainly drip and squeek more than my car and it's 15 years older than I am. Dodge built a better machine than my mom (let's not throw stones at my poor maintenance).

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13 hours ago, desoto1939 said:

Castrol GTX classic 20-50 oil zddp & Phosphorus.pdfCastrol GTX classic 20-50 oil zddp & Phosphorus.pdfcould also use redline Break-in oil when cranking over the motor.  Also does the engine have an oil filter?

 

There isa new Castrol Product Castrol GTX Classic 20/50 weight that has the largest amount of ZDDP, Phosphorus and Boron in the oil.  Might want to read up on the product.

 

I did a posting on this oil a while ago.  This oil can not be used in modern cars because it will damage the catalytic converters.

 

All modern oils do contain lower amts of ZDDP, Phosphorus and boron so that the newer cars will run without damage to the convertors.

 

Valvoline VR1 is another good quality oil.

 

When speaking to the Castrol rep he told me that basically any quality oil even the WalMart brand is better than the old oils that were used when these cars and engine were first produced.  The flat tappets do need some form of zddp but we are not putting on the extremem pressure on them or the cams like the cars that have the roller cams and are reving up to higher rpms.  Most cars ran around 50 mph and when we started froma light we came off the line around 10mph then did a shift at 20 and then again at 30 and then got the cars upto 50 MPH which was the standard mph for our cars.

 

refer to the two articles from Castrol and also Egge on ZDDP.  Great reading material and information on ZDDP.

 

Rich Hartung

Desoto1939@aol.com

ZDDP Egge Information.docx 195.49 kB · 0 downloads

Yes, it has an oil filter and it might be full flow. I heard Chrysler did that at some point in the 50's.

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The engine in my 46 pickup was originally in my dad's 51 Plymouth. It wiped the bearings at 127 miles from rebuild. They thought at the time it was due to not being cleaned enough. Part of me thinks though it was at least partially due to the amount of time(years) between when it was built and the actual start up. If I was buying that spit fire it wouldn't see an attempt at rolling over until I pulled it apart and relubed all the bearings.

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1 hour ago, Young Ed said:

 If I was buying that spit fire it wouldn't see an attempt at rolling over until I pulled it apart and relubed all the bearings.

 

Absolutely.  When I think about rebuilding my engine: The amount of time, skill, patience, money, tools, shop space, and more adds up to a lot. It is too much of a risk to not take the pan off the engine and prep it right. A hard lesson to learn if things go sour at start up. Especially a 265 which many of us covet.

 

 

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6 hours ago, Bob Riding said:

Yes, it has an oil filter and it might be full flow. I heard Chrysler did that at some point in the 50's.

 

That big ole canister on the side is in fact a full flow filter, one of the first as a matter of fact.

Chrysler wasn't convinced for some time that a full flow filter was a good idea. They thought it might plug up and stop the oil flow.

This inspired them to engineer a "second chance device" into the system. It worked to by-pass the filter so that flow would not be reduced.

However, the pressure seen on the dash gauge would drop about 20 lbs.

It wasn't too long before a special plug was installed to do away with this as a plugged up filter never became a problem.

Most spin-on filters have a by-pass valve built into them because the fear persists.

 

On the two industrial engines I have, have the feature that the holes under the filter housing are threaded, making it tempting to install an oil cooler and a remote spin-on filter.

It should be noted that the by-pass filter is a 10 micron filter, while a full flow is 30 micron.

As far as I know one could plumb in a by-pass filter along with the full flow filter.

 

When it comes to keeping the oil clean the biggest improvement is Positive Crankcase Ventilation. By placing the crankcase under a mild vacuum, any moisture from combustion is removed. Moisture along with acid ( also a product of combustion ) creates sludge. Now you filter it out or you can stop it from forming in the first place with PCV. The additive package in modern oil is designed to counteract the acid ( diesel oil also gets acid in it but it is sulfuric acid while gasoline has hydrochloric acid, that is why each has different oil specs )

So....my theory about the optimal Chrysler 237-251-265 oiling system would be an oil cooler in place of the full flow filter, a spin-on by-pass filter, a PCV system and modern high quality oil of your choice. That seems to cover all the bases.

 

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6 hours ago, keithb7 said:

 

Absolutely.  When I think about rebuilding my engine: The amount of time, skill, patience, money, tools, shop space, and more adds up to a lot. It is too much of a risk to not take the pan off the engine and prep it right. A hard lesson to learn if things go sour at start up. Especially a 265 which many of us covet.

 

 

Which is what happened to mine. After 172 miles it needed to get pulled back out and get new bearings. Extra expense, lots of work to pull it again, and the stress of pulling the engine out of a freshly restored/painted car.

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UPDATE: Pleasant surprises yesterday- I pulled the pan after removing the oil drain plug. Nothing came out, but there was enough residual oil in the bottom of the pan that when I rotated it on the engine stand I had drips of what looked like brand new engine oil. It took a while to get the pan off, as the cork gasket and whatever sealant they used in 2003 was tough to scrape off. There were little bits of cork gasket in and around the inside of the motor, so I rigged up a shop vac with a small hose and got it all out (at least what I could see).

 

I pulled off the main caps and then the rod caps, but checked them with the torque wrench first to see what they were torqued to from the rebuild. Chrysler calls for 85 ft lbs for the mains and 40-45 ft lbs for the con rod nuts. Both checked out.

The residual lube that was present was gray colored, and no sign of wear -it was still slippery. I cleaned the bearing surfaces and added red assembly lube (tops only as I didn't pull the pistons), and re-torqued them to specs.

Inside the engine was clean, no rust. Valve springs and tappets looked new, as did the underside of the pistons and bearing surfaces. Top of the pistons as seen through the sparkplug hole were silver. The cylinder walls had good hatch marks. Sparkplugs looked like they had never been fired. I slowly rotated the engine (sparkplugs removed) and there was significant resistance, but it was smooth. 

Startup may be in a few months, but I want to get the motor ready ahead of time. 

Questions:

  • Should I still put Marvel MO or engine oil, in the cylinders?
  • How can I make sure I got all of the little cork bits out of the crankcase (or does it matter)?
  • How do I lubricate the piston-side of the bearings, or is that a non-issue? I don't want to pull the pistons unless I have to.
  • Are the AC Delco R45 sparkplugs a good choice, or is there something better?  
  • Anything I need to do to the water pump? No zerc fitting present, but it is 20 yrs old.

Thanks!

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 Looking great.  You are well on your way! A most fortunate find. Won’t hurt to put some MM oil on top of the piston and work them up and down by hand turning the crank.  Lube up that top end a bit. 
 

Set tappet clearances. 

Edited by keithb7
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22 hours ago, keithb7 said:

 Looking great.  You are well on your way! A most fortunate find. Won’t hurt to put some MM oil on top of the piston and work them up and down by hand turning the crank.  Lube up that top end a bit. 
 

Set tappet clearances. 

hey keith- Where was the dipstick location on your '53 motor? I can't seem to zero in on where they put it! 

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A great find! I would also go the MMO route. It won't hurt anything, aside from creating a lot of smoke when you get it running. Lots of debate on oil. I've seen some suggest to start with non-detergent for break-in. I haven't been real picky about what I regularly use in my flatheads; as was mentioned previously, anything is much better than what these engines saw 70+ years ago. I typically buy whatever 10w40 is on sale. Whatever I did, I'd change the oil and filter for the first time no later than 1k miles.

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