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How to Identify Chevy 350 Engines

Updated November 21, 2016

If you have a Chevrolet car or truck made between 1967 and 1997, there's a good chance it has a 350-cubic-inch engine. The Chevrolet 350 small-block engine was offered in many Chevrolet cars and trucks and in other General Motors vehicles as well. The 350 became Chevrolet's primary workhorse small-block engine after the demise of the 327 and 283 engines. The 350 is identified using both visual clues and casting numbers.

Count the number of spark plugs. The 350 is an eight-cylinder engine

Inspect the engine compartment to locate identification tags. GM usually places various tags, decals and other identification devices throughout the engine compartment. These usually provide any necessary information if it is not worn off.

Locate the casting identification number on the engine block. This number is stamped on a pad just forward of the right-side (passenger's side) cylinder head and may be hidden by the alternator. Remove the alternator if necessary. The ID number usually consists of eight digits in a combination of numbers and letters.

Decode the ID number according to Chevrolet's code system. For example, the number V0908CNJ breaks down as follows: V is the engine plant, followed by the month and day of manufacture and the engine suffix code. ID number V0908CNJ was manufactured at the Flint engine plant on October 8 and was originally installed in a 1970 Caprice with 250 horsepower. To decode the engine suffix, cross-referencing is necessary.

Tip

Many early car models (late 1960s through early 1970s) have a plate on each front bumper that identifies the engine.

Warning

The Chevrolet 350 is often modified. Observing other engine parts, such as the cylinder heads, helps identify your engine if discrepancies arise.

Things You'll Need

  • Chevrolet part number cross-referencing list
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About the Author

A native of New Haven, Conn., Floyd Drake III began writing in 1984. His work has appeared in the "New Haven Register," Medford's "Mail-Tribune" and the "Ashland Daily Tidings." Drake studied journalism at Southern Connecticut State University. After working as a reporter in Oregon, he is now based back home in New Haven.