A Basic Guide to Decoding Your Chevy Small Block Engine ID

Your Chevrolet small block engine comes with two sets of codes: the engine code and the partial VIN code. Each one can tell you a lot about your engine.

Let’s find out what you can learn and how to decode each one!

Engine Code

Your engine code is an eight-digit number found on the passenger side of the engine. This code tells you where and when your Chevy engine was manufactured, how much power it produces, and what kind of car it’s supposed to power.

The first digit tells you where the car was manufactured. The next four digits tell you when it was manufactured. Then the last three digits give you the engine’s stats.

Engine code
This code tells us that the engine was manufactured on January 19th in Flint, Michigan for a 1970 396 Camaro. It produces 375 horsepower.

Let’s cover each segment of the code in more detail:

Assembly Plant Codes

Chevrolet has several plants across the United States. The first digit in the engine code indicates where the engine was manufactured using the information in this chart:

Code Engine Plant
F Flint (Motor)
H Hydramatic
K St. Catherines, Ontario
M GM of Mexico
S Saginaw Service
T Tonawanda
V Flint (Engine)

Engine Suffix Codes

The engine suffix code tells you a lot about the engine, including its year, CID, HP, transmission, and platform. To find out what your engine suffix code means, check out this extensive list on ChevelleStuff.net.

Partial VIN

Each Chevy engine gets a partial VIN so you can track this engine’s history. The format of the partial VIN has changed a bit over the years.

For Chevrolets produced between 1967 and 1971, the partial VIN was in the following format:

GM line number / series number / model number / body style / last digit of model year / assembly plant code / production number

The format for Chevrolets produced between 1972 and 1980 is as follows:

GM line number / series number / body style / engine code / last digit of model year / assembly plant code / production number

The format for Chevrolets produced between 1981 and 1984 is as follows:

Country of origin / manufacturer (General Motors) / division identification code / restraint system code / series number / body style / engine code / check digit / last digit of model year / assembly plant code / production number

Car Engine
Photo credit: Rich Niewiroski Jr.

Division Identification Codes

This code is always 1 for Chevrolet. If you’re curious, here’s a table for all the GM divisions:

Code Division
2 Pontiac
3 Oldsmobile
4 Buick
5 GM Overseas
6 Cadillac
7 GM of Canada
9 GM Overseas
C Chevy Truck
T GMC Truck

Vehicle Series Numbers

Refer to this table to find out how to identify the vehicle series in a partial VIN:

Series Number Model
L Impala
N Caprice Classic
Q Camaro
S Camaro Berlinetta
T Malibu
W Malibu Classic & El Camino
X Nova
Y Nova Custom
Z Monte Carlo

Body Style Codes

Refer to this table to find out how to identify the body style code in a partial VIN:

Code Body Style
17 Two-door hatchback coupe, six-passenger
19 Four-door sedan, six-passenger
27 Two-door coupe or notchback coupe, four- or six-passenger
35 Four-door station wagon
37 Two-door sport coupe, six-passenger
47 Two-door coupe, six-passenger
69 Four-door sedan, six-passenger
80 El Camino
87 Two-door sport coupe, four-passenger Camaro

Assembly Plant Codes

Last, but not least, here’s a table of all the assembly plant codes you could find on a partial VIN:

Code Assembly Plant
A Lakewood
B Baltimore
C Lansing (B)
D Doraville
E Linden
F Flint (Chevrolet)
G Framingham
H Flint (Buick)
J Janesville
K Kosai/Leeds
L Van Nuys
M Lansing
N Norwood
P Pontiac
Q Detroit
R Arlington
S St. Louis/Ramos Arizpe
T Tarrytown
U Hamtramck
V Pontiac (GMC)
W Willow Run
X Fairfax
Y Wilmington
Z Fremont
1 Wentzville/Oshawa #2
2 Moraine (T&B)/St. Therese
3 Detroit (T&B)/St. Eustache
4 Orion/Scarborough
5 Bowling Green/London
6 Oklahoma City
7 Lordstown
8 Shreveport
9 Detroit (Cadillac)/Oshawa #1
0 GM Truck Pontiac

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  • Posted on   10/23/17 at 12:00:00 AM   by Laura  | 
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Posted in How To Tips
Tagged with VIN code, engine code, how to