by Floyd Drake III
Chrome engine image by Thomas Czeizinger from Fotolia.com
If you are looking for a replacement Chevy engine or looking for a hot-rod engine, locating one is as simple as identifying the identification numbers found on the block. Chevrolet has an efficient numbering system for all of its parts and a shortened version is stamped directly on the engine. Reference should be made to a list of Chevrolet engine identification numbers for identification. The code contains a five-digit prefix that identifies the date and place of manufacture, and a two- or three-letter suffix that provides all necessary engine information, including size, model year, and horsepower.
Find the engine identification number located on the engine block. The location of this number will vary depending on the size of the engine. According to the Nasty Z28 Second Generation Camaro Owners Group, the number for a small-block V8 is located on a pad at the front of the block on the passenger side, near the cylinder head; the number may be hidden by the alternator. For big block V8 engines, the number is on the block above the timing chain cover. The six cylinder numbers are on the passenger side of the block near the distributor.
Decodes the prefix of the engine identification number. The number is seven to eight characters long and includes both numbers and letters. An example is T0830CTY. The first five digits, or prefix, identify the location and date of manufacture. In this case, the engine was produced in Tonawanda on August 30.
Decodes the suffix of the engine identification number. The suffix identifies the engine displacement, horsepower, year, and vehicle model. In the example, ID number T0830CTY, CTY decodes as a 396 cid 1970 Camaro with 375 horsepower. The suffix should be compared to the list of identification numbers for a Chevrolet engine. Many online sites have important listings, but in case of any oddity or difficulty with an older engine, contact Chevrolet’s parts department for a definitive answer. At GM Parts Direct, you can enter the code in the search box or submit a request to customer service for suffix identification.