1947 Chevrolet 3100 Thriftmaster 6EPJ3165, original 216 engine, built in Oakland Ca, 65th 3100 made?
Today was a good day. I woke up at 7, put a cup of coffee in me and a tank of gas in the Sprint at 7:40 -didn’t think I needed it but did it out of caution at the beginning of the 80ish miles to my dads house, managed to get almost 13 gallons in it. Running out of gas would have been my fault but still would have dampened my enthusiasm for the Sprint. It took about 2 hours to get there, getting wound up weaving through fairly uptight traffic from Oakland to Napa and then unwinding from Napa to Middletown on the pastoral two-lane sweepers. Plan was to do some work on the truck engine, help with some garage organization and eat a good hamburger.
The Sprint, still tink tink tinking from the spirited drive over the switchback dense hill from Calistoga to Middletown. Our friend John couldn’t get over the Sprint, it’s simplicity, sophistication and style. I don’t blame him, I’m still stuck on it.
Okay, so the last time I was going on about the truck, I mentioned that the engine was stuck. I pulled the bell housing and flywheel off without much fuss -Giulietta’s are WAY more complex. Once they were off, I threaded two flywheel bolts in a few turns, got out my 30″ breaker bar between them, gave it a good push and the engine turned over with just the slightest sensation of overcoming some stuck thing. So, I have to admit, I expected to find some horrible water damage, a dead squirrel, something, but nothing so dramatic, just the lightest ring-to-cylinder wall attaching rust that can just barely be seen in the picture below. Cool.
A few more pistons than I’m used to. Almost surgically clean -even after nearly 20 years just sitting, waiting to be started after the rebuild. I can just barely catch the corrosion on the cylinder walls with my nail -am thinking it will be fine after a light clean up.
So, once I got the engine to turn over my dad got excited to move on to other things. He bought one of those engine hoist crane things from Harbor Freight that comes in two boxes that say not to pick them up by the straps, are orange, and if manufactured in the US would cost $1000. Anyhow, I spent 30 minutes impressing the old guys, looking smart and all putting it together based on the bunch of times I’d used the one my previous shop mate has. Once it was assembled we hoisted the engine onto the stand and set to removing the oil pan. After we successfully spilled a gallon of unused engine oil mixed with mystery oil and whatever else 20 years added to it while turning it over, we did a big clean up then pulled the pan. Wow.
I stuffed a towel in the breather to keep it from dripping too fast. Is this a 216? That scale rust I think was immigrating from starter to block. My most immediate question is -what color was a Chevrolet engine when placed in a new 1947 3100 truck?
The oil pan. Old timers make it sound like the designers of this engine relied on luck to get oil around the crank journals and connecting rod big ends, and dismiss it to such an extent that catalogs don’t carry rebuild parts -they just say “spend $200 on a 235, spend 10 years wearing it out and then spend $1500 on parts rebuilding it. No thanks, this engine got my dad a lot of places for a lot of years and didn’t get pulled and rebuilt because it needed it, rather, because it seemed like the thing to do.
Okay, so you only see a few minutes worth of work above, what else did I do you ask yourself? Well, we cut a hole in a wall and moved a bunch of dirt around to build some storage under the house. We went and had hamburgers, I had an Ortega burger. You know -the usual green pepper of the long thin variety, cheddar cheese and some other stuff. My dad had the teriyaki burger -you know what was on it. After lunch I spent $31 getting two tires mounted on the front of the Sprint -thank you for the hand me downs Laurence! I also spent some time rubbing on the trucks paint with Hand Glaze and Mag polish trying to decide if we could get away with not painting stuff. More on that later.