292 in a 68
Recently I have noticed a lot of questions on the VCVC (Vintage Chevy Van
Club) message board concerning 292 engines in early vans.
In 2002 I installed a 292 in my 68 so I thought I would try and write down what I
encountered in the process. I am writing this from memory so If I left any thing out or if
you need clarification on something you can contact me.
When I was looking into to putting the 292 in the van I couldn't find anyone who had done
it or new what to expect. I was told by several people that it was a "drop in".
The only difference that I was told about was that the 292 deck was about 3/4"
taller than the 250.
I figured that all crate engines were pretty much the same so I went with the best price.
I bought the engine (a long block) from Kragen auto Parts who got it from an outfit in
Pennsylvania. The price was $960. I also had to pay a $150 core charge since the engine I
was pulling out was a 250 and not a 292.
I also bought a new fly wheel. I got one for a 12" clutch.
There are several differences between the 250 block and the 292.
The first thing that I noticed was that the side covers were the same length but were
about an inch taller on the 292. Had to buy a set.
The right motor mount on the 292 is where the fuel pump is on the 250 and the fuel pump on
the 292 is where the motor mount is on the 250.
The right motor mount would not clear the the block so I had to make some spacers to move
it out about 1" then I had to modify the cross member to move the mount forward
to match up with the 292. The cross member had already been modified once to allow
clearance for the front drive shaft.
The 12" clutch fly wheel is larger than that on the 250 so the bell housing wouldn't
fit. I had to get a 292 bell housing. I traded my old aluminum bell housing for it.
The clutch actuator pivot that bolts to the 250 bell housing had to be
modified so it would work on the 292.
The bolts line up on the bell housing ok after the ears are bent a little but there isn't
a hole for the front bolt to go into on the block. I welded a short piece of 1/2" rod
stock to fit between the front of the plate and the block. This keeps the plate from
flexing when you step on the clutch.
The 250 starter would not fit so I bought one for a 292.
The water pump on the 292 is different than the 250. The 292 pump has an extra pipe that
is connected to the lower part of the thermostat.
I decided to use the pump off the 250. It seams to work fine.
The HEI just barely fit.
After the engine was installed I had to cut away some of the insulation on
the doghouse cover so that it would close properly.
The fan, pulleys, harmonic balancer and water pump are from
the original engine.
The left side of the 292 is pretty much the same as the 250. The
manifold's and generator all fit fine.
A 292 exhaust manifold would be nice because it has a 3 blot flange where the
230/250 has a 2 bolt flange and tend to loosen up often. Some day I'll have to try and
What I had to buy to make this work.
292 Long block
2 side cover plates
When I first started the engine It gushed oil from the rear main. As it turns out the
rebuilder had put the rear main seal in backwards.
I replaced the seal.
There are other oil leaks that I haven't fixed yet. that is why everything in the photo's
looks covered with oil and crud.
Ok that's about all I can recall right now. I hope this is helpful to
anyone that is thinking of putting a 292 in an early Chevy van.
I love the 292 It has a lot of torque.
I can drive over Donner Summit (7200 ft) at 55 mph and don't have to shift down to make
it. That is a large improvement over the old 250.
GOOD LUCK !
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