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1956 Chevy 210 Sedan - Resto Tech

Ronney Kissinger Nov 1, 2003
0311_SUCP_01_z_022 24 RestoTech 2/2

Basket CaseRecently, my father and I purchased a '56 Chevy 210 sedan basket case. All of the bodywork has been done including new floor pans and rear quarter panels. The engine and trans are out of the car. The engine is out of a '57 Chevy and it has a cast-iron powerglide transmission. Both have been rebuilt recently according to the previous owner. My dad was looking at the engine and noticed it did not have the mounts on the side like he says he remembers from his '65 Impala. We looked in an assembly manual we have and found it has mounts on the front of the engine and not the side. The trans also has the old rubber mounts towards the rear of the transmission. My question is can we put the engine and trans in the car in one unit or do we have to unbolt the trans? We don't have a lift so all the work has to be done on the floor of our garage. With your experience, can you tell me what is the best and easiest way to tackle this chore? Also we need a good source to get the correct front and rear engine mounts. We are in the process of cleaning and painting everything else with the engine installation coming sometime near the Christmas holiday so you have plenty of time to answer our questions.Herbert LoweryVia e-mail

Thanks for the extra time to answer your questions, Herbert. With all that's going on around here, you will probably read this around the holidays anyway. Timing is everything they say!

Yes, you can put the engine and trans in your '56 as a unit without much difficulty even if you don't have a car lift. With a few basic tips, the job can actually be done in a couple of hours.

First, clear the way for the installation by removing anything you can see that might get in your way like the radiator (if it's still there), hood, windshield wiper motor, etc. It is also a good idea to remove the distributor from the engine along with the carb. You will need a good engine hoist that any rental yard can supply, along with the lift chain to attach to the first and last intake manifold bolts on opposite sides of the manifold. If you haven't removed the radiator support, don't worry. Just ask the rental yard for a balance bar along with the engine hoist. The bar enables you to tilt the engine up or down during the installation. It's important, especially if you lift the engine and trans over the radiator support. You will need to go almost vertical with the unit to enable it to slide back and down to clear the support. Without the balance bar, be prepared to do a lot of huffing and cussing.

The number one mistake I see is the use of jack stands. During the initial install, just leave it on all four tires. Raising the vehicle usually puts it out of range of most engine lifts height capability. In other words, you won't get the engine high enough to go over the radiator support. Once you have the engine in position, you can always leave the engine attached to the hoist while you jack up the car and put jack stands firmly under the frame.

The second most common mistake is installing the rear trans mounts on either side of the trans before the engine goes in. Don't do it! The mounts bolt to the rear of the frame extensions and with the car on the ground, there simply is not enough room to slide the trans with mounts under the frame and then back up to bolt in the mounts. I suppose you could dig a hole in your driveway allowing the trans to dip under and up, but I would suggest putting on the rear mounts after the engine is in position and sitting firmly on the front mounts. You can and should have already installed the front mounts before you lift in the motor and trans. Supporting the engine and trans with the lift, you can now crawl under and install the transmission mounts. The driver's side is a little tricky, but not all that bad. Simple, huh? Well, not exactly, but if you follow these few tips it should make the job just a little easier. The engine mount kits you are looking for can be found at fine stores like Classic Chevy International at (800)456-1957 or Danchuck at (800)648-9554.

That's about it. I'm sure with a little patience, that old reliable 283 and powerglide will find its home once again.

Disco Tech
I'm looking for a little help with the brakes on my '62 Corvette. The old drum units just don't get it anymore and I am a little tired of replacing wheel cylinders. I am the original owner and always wanted to keep it stock but these days safety is my main concern so I am willing to upgrade the front brakes to disc. Could you please point me in the right direction as far as a kit or parts? Great magazine. It is the first I pick up every month at my local supermarket.Ward BurlowPortland, OR

Boy, Ward, you have to pay more attention to our full-page ads, especially the brake ads. After all, they pay most of the bills around here, which in turn keeps the info flowing to you, our loyal readers.

Master Power Brakes is the place to pick up a complete bolt on kit for your Vette. The kit includes everything you need including a dual master cylinder, calipers, hoses, and brackets to make it truly a bolt-on project. Just give Master Power Brakes a call at (888)251-2353 or on the web at They also carry kits and parts for most popular Bow-Ties and a slew of neat accessories, exactly as they advertise.

Triple Threat
I'm looking for a set of carbs for a '69 Corvette 427 with the L-89 engine. We have a local swap meet about every 6 weeks in our area with a guy that specializes in Holley used carbs but he doesn't know the three part numbers I need for the three two-barrel carbs. He tells me the middle carb is different from the front and rear. Any help on how to identify the carbs would help. I already have the manifold with a casting number of 3937795. Hopefully, the intake is correct.Todd BenekeLong Beach, CA

Looks like the intake manifold will work, Todd. It's a 3 x 2 Holley for a '69 Corvette with the 435 horse 427. The carbs, on the other hand, are getting harder to find than a Ford at a Super Chevy Show! As you undoubtedly know, the number stamped on the air horn of the carb, commonly known as the list number, is the main identifier. The Holley guy at the swap meet is correct about the center carb being different. It carries a list number of 4056-1. The front and rear units carry the list number 3659. Also, below the list number should be a date code. If you can read it, it should be something like 9-6-1. The nine indicates 1969, the 6 equals June and the 1 is the week of the month. That's only an example but gives you an idea of the year the carbs were built and if you're lucky, the date codes will match your '69 Corvette. I'm sure with enough time and patience, you will find just the set you're looking for. By the way, the demand for the Holley 3 x 2 set up has been in such demand we understand that Holley has re-released some 3 x 2 carbs just for the restoration industry. It might be worth a call to Holley at (800)HOLLEY-1 or on the web at Check it out!

The car I am working on is a '59 Corvette with a later model 283. The engine is out of a '62 Impala, I think. I would like to convert the distributor to an electronic configuration while leaving the stock look. I have been told there is a conversion unit being sold that will convert it to all electronic and eliminate the points. It supposedly also only has one wire from the distributor to the coil making it look stock. I was also told the unit does not work on early Chevrolet distributors. How can I tell if it will work on mine? What company makes the unit? How can I contact them?Wil ParsonsVia e-mail

Yep, there is a slick unit now available through M & H Electric Fabricators that will replace your old point and condenser set up with a one wire hook up. The unit is super easy to install even with the distributor installed in the engine. It will fit all point type distributors manufactured by GM from 1957 forward. The easiest way to identify your unit is by the distributor cap itself. If it has a window with a sliding door to adjust the points, the M & H unit will fit-no window, no fit. The '55-56 V-8 engines used a closed cap with spring clips, while the '57 units incorporated a window for point dwell adjustments. The electronic unit, however, requires using a full 12 volts and necessitates wiring around the ballast resistor. M & H Electric Fabricators are located at 13537 Alondra Blvd, Dept. SC, Santa Fe Springs, CA 90670, (562)926-9552. Give them a call for any other questions. They welcome inquiries like yours. Hope you get a charge out of your new ignition, Wil.

Match Game
Could you help me identify an engine my local wrecking yard says is a match for my '75 Chevelle? The engine is clean, neat, and complete. They claim it only has 45,000 miles on it. It does come with a 90-day warranty so I guess I have nothing to lose. I just want to make sure it is a match and will fit my Chevelle. The numbers stamped on the passenger side front are F0619C CTU and the casting number, according to the yard manager, is 3951509. Hope you can help. If you need more info or numbers, let me know please. The car came with a 400 V-8 originally, but was taken out by my brother some time ago and sold...bummer!Matt HelmSun Valley, CAVia e-mail

Let's get right to the decoding, Matt, and see if they have what you need:F = Built at Flint motor plant06 = Built in the month of June19 = Built the 19th day of the monthC = Chevrolet Motor DivisionCTU=Suffix code which indicates a 400 engine from a Chevelle with either a 350 or 400 trans. 175 horsepower

Casting number 3951509 also indicates it came from a Chevelle or Monte Carlo and is a 400 engine. To be sure, though, I would ask the yard manager to show you the casting number on the driver's side rear of the block. If you can verify it is as stated, I would say the engine is a good candidate. To be absolutely sure, I would pop a valve cover and check for casting numbers on the cylinder head which should be 333882. All these numbers correspond to a 175-horse version of the 400. Looks like the wrecking yard has found a good match for your project and we're excited to see more readers resurrecting the next generation Chevys.

Resto Tip Of The Month
Last month we talked about stripping fillers and lead out of your body panels and repairing rust. This month we will be looking at repairing dents and old body repairs. Old repairs like plastic fillers or lead need to be removed due to possible rust under them. You will need to know the extent of the repair. Don't just dress them up.

In repairing dents, the metal needs to be as straight as possible before you use any fillers. When something makes a dent it also stretches the metal. If you tap out a dent it will most likely be out as much as it was in. Plastic fillers were made only to finish your repair, not to cover it up. If you can get behind the dent, you can tap it out with a body hammer as much as possible. If you can't get to the entire dent, you will need to use a stud gun to weld a stud in the lowest part of the dent so you can pull it out as much as possible. In the early days, bodymen would drill holes in the dent so they could pull it out. If you strip the body panel and it has holes in it you will need to weld them up with a MIG welder. If the holes are small you can weld a stud in the center of the hole with a stud gun. In doing this you can use the stud to pull the dent out further.

Metal work takes a lot of patience when done correctly-you can't cut corners in this repair. Sometimes you tap out a dent and it pops out too much and when you put pressure on it, it will pop back in. This is called an oil canning effect; you can't just fill the dent up, you will need to shrink the metal with a torch. If you look inside the body panel and it has holes and burn spots about the size of a quarter you will know it has been pulled out and shrunk.

In choosing products like plastic fillers and primers you need a product that has a good track record. You want this repair to last many years. I use 3M products because of their durability and Evercoat is making some good plastic fillers. Also, something new is 3M sprayable filler for finish blocking.

Metal work is hard to explain in writing, it takes experience to know how the metal should be repaired. These tips may only be helpful in knowing what you are looking at and/or how your bodyman is doing your repairs. If I can help in any way I am just a phone call away or if there is any other areas that I can help just e-mail (

Next month we will be looking in the areas of primers and the proper way of blocking for paint. You see, a Gold Class paint job is in the preparation. You will love it when your plan comes together. -Ron

To contact the author of the Resto Tip of the Month,please call or write him at Ron's Restorations PO Box 66 Siloam Springs, AR 72761 (479) 524-2767

Resto Tech is intended as a guide to assist readers with their restorations of Chevrolet vehicles. SUPER CHEVY will print as many letters, with responses, as space permits; unfortunately, no personal replies can be made. Address your personal questions to Resto Tech, Super Chevy Magazine, 774 S. Placentia Avenue, Placentia, CA 92870 or by email to



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