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1950 Chevy Inspection


STuTZ693
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I plan to go look at a 1950 Chevy Styleline Special 2 door sedan with 26K miles 216 engine and 3 speed tranny. This Chevy is advertised with original engine, running gear, paint, upholstery, and chrome. This is the third owner and there are to be some service records kept by the original owner.

I am curious to know what issues I should be aware of concerning this year of Chevy.

I am thinking of the Chevy as good drive and touring car for local trips of 150 to 200 miles with the AACA.

Thanks in advance for your assistance.

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I don't think there are any specifics to this model. In general, check for rust issues of course.

The three on the tree of this era Chevy tended to get sloppy with use and wear, when driving it, it needs to feel like a 26K mile car, nice and smooth and tight on shifting.

If it's truly original as described, and in nice condition, it would be a great car to have....

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I see no one has responded to you so I thought I'd chime in. I bought a 48 Fleetmaster with a stock drivetrain a little over a year ago. I've driven her to a good number of cruise-ins and shows since then. I believe the drivetrain in the 48 is almost the same as the car you're looking at. My car, equipped with the splash lube 216 and 4:11 rear end, will cruise OK at about 55 - any more than that seems to be really pushing it. From what I've seen on forums, and my experience with mine, I suspect that if one wants any longevity out of the 216, its wise not to push her over 3000 RPM much. The larger engine with a full pressure system should be able to handle higher RPM much better. The previous owner indicated that the engine in my car had been rebuilt, and, the engine's serial number indicates that it is a 48 model year 216. Hope this helps.

Regards:

Oldengineer

48 Fleetmaster 2dr Town Sedan

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Hello Oldengineer,

Thank you for the great reply. That is the kind of information I was wanting to know. From the research I have done so far it seems that replacing the 216 with a fully pressurized 235 was a common swap to improve performance. I was also surprised at the speed equipment available for the old Chevy 6.

The Chevy I am considering is so original that replacing the engine would be out of the question.

I have to decide if the 55 top speed is OK since I have been driving a 1951 MG TD for the last 40 years that has the same issue with highway driving with a rear axle ratio that limits the top speed to 55 - 60 MPH based on engine rpm.

The Chevy would be much more comfortable on our old bones than the MG.

My first car was a 54 Chevy but i really like the body style and interior of the 50.

Thanks again for the information.

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You're more than welcome. One thing you'll have to check on the 50 is her wiring. Make sure her lights are as bright as they're supposed to be. I discovered that someone had put 12 volt taillight bulbs in mine, and, they were really dim. Probably lucky I didn't get rear ended before I discovered it. THe other thing - somebody equipped my car with 6 volt halogen headlights - much brighter than stock stuff, and, they seem to work OK with original wiring set-up. I've run a couple of 30 mile trips in the dark with no problems yet. I gave the wiring harness in my car a close inspection and had to re-insulate a number of spots where the old cloth/rubber insulation had rotted off - leaving bare wire. Pay close attention to the 2 bakelite 4 terminal connecting blocks under the hood where the headlight, horn, and parking lights in the nose connect to the main harness. Mine died of old age and were in pieces. If you need new ones - NAPA carries them.

Regards:

Oldengineer

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Thanks for the electrical tips.

I have made up an inspection sheet and will include terminal blocks. I had already planned to check wiring were visible. The low milage does not matter on time sensitive wiring insulation and rubber parts.

Are you an old electrical engineer? I am a semi retired electrical engineer from an eastern Ohio steel mill in a younger live and have been doing industrial electrical system consulting in central Ohio for the last 30 years. I am down to two clients and only projects that look like fun!!

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Sldan:

I'm an old mechanical engineer. I'm still working for a big outfit (Johnson Controls Inc.) I'm 65 and thought I'd keep at it for another year or two. I've been working for Energy Services companies for the past 21 years. Did a 9 year stint with General Motors as a production engineer at a Delco Plant in Dayton, Ohio. Started with GM fresh out of college. After GM I did a 13 year stint - running a chain of retail stores, and, then jumped back into engineering.

Oh - one other heads up on these old Chevys with the torque tube drivelines - the lube in the transmission can migrate down the torque tube and overfill the differential. If that happens, it can cause the axle seals to leak lube into the rear drum brakes. I occasionally pull the diff. fill plug on my 48 and make sure the level is not too high.

Regards:

Oldengineer

Edited by Oldengineer (see edit history)
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