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Thread: Verifying the numbers - Engine and Differential ID

  1. #1
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    Default Verifying the numbers - Engine and Differential ID

    In the process of verifying the numbers on my '87 442, I've ran into a few snags. I'm looking for the place on the block and rear axle that have the ID codes. According to the CSM, the engine should have an ID tag on the left valve cover...unfortunately, one of the tags is gone. You can read the other one (the bar code number). According to several sites, the VIN number should be stamped on the block, under the head...haven't found it. Where should I look?

    As for the rear end, CSM says it should be either stamped on the right side of the axle housing or on a tag on the differential cover. I have not found either. It is an 8.5" differential, which is not hard to mis-identify. I'm just trying to authenticate that the drivetrain is original, just to be able to prove it if someone asks questions.

    I know that the VIN matches the SPID, the warranty information that was with the owners manual, and the original certificate of title and registration, so I know it is the same car that was bought new in '87. It would be icing on the cake to have everything else authenticated.

    BTW, I've tried looking for the build sheet under the back seat, but have not found it yet. Where else could it be?

    Thanks for the help,

    Oldsie
    '76 Cutlass S 350 (1981-83)
    '79 Cutlass Supreme 260 (1983-85)
    '79 Cutlass Supreme 350 Chevy (1989-1993)
    '77 Cutlass Salon 350 (1996-present)
    '98 Bravada - green - (2005) RIP
    '98 Bravada - black - (2005-2011) sold
    '87 442 (May 2010) undergoing restoration

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    Administrator 88hurstolds's Avatar
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    The axel VIN is on the front of the RH tube, its not a vin, just a date code and ratio code, if its rusty forget it...

    The VIN on the trans is above the pan on the drivers side behind the linkage, the tag has nothing to do with the VIN.

    The block is where you said it is below the head towards the front, theres a pad there, numbers are hard to see and probably filled in with grease.

    Not all cars came with a build sheet, my 87 didnt...
    Its in a number of places... under the carpet, headliner, door panels... wherever.
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    85 442 White/Claret - T-tops
    85 442 White/Sage
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    The axle tube is pretty rusty...couldn't see it even with trying to clean it. As for the VIN on the block, tried cleaning it off...probably will have to wait til I pull the engine sometime...would take a bit of cleaning to see it. Thanks for the help!
    '76 Cutlass S 350 (1981-83)
    '79 Cutlass Supreme 260 (1983-85)
    '79 Cutlass Supreme 350 Chevy (1989-1993)
    '77 Cutlass Salon 350 (1996-present)
    '98 Bravada - green - (2005) RIP
    '98 Bravada - black - (2005-2011) sold
    '87 442 (May 2010) undergoing restoration

  4. #4
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    Found something kinda strange the other day, after I removed the driver's side manifold. Underneath of that, on the block between the motor mount, was a metal tag, glued to the block. Reads "931100229". Tried researching to see what that was, no luck. I looked at the block casting, which has a different code than normal...6509 GM 5.0L G. I did find on one site that it was an 87 307 motor, and they said this info came from Mondello's technical manual, which I don't have, unfortunately. I did check the pad on the left side of the block, and there is no vin number. Is this the 87 VIN 9 block? I think the block was replaced at some time in it's life, and judging from the amount of grease and crud, was done a long time ago. Pan and valve covers still have paint, but the block and heads have very little. Looks like they kept the pan and all the other parts, like the balancer, manifold, carb, and so on.
    '76 Cutlass S 350 (1981-83)
    '79 Cutlass Supreme 260 (1983-85)
    '79 Cutlass Supreme 350 Chevy (1989-1993)
    '77 Cutlass Salon 350 (1996-present)
    '98 Bravada - green - (2005) RIP
    '98 Bravada - black - (2005-2011) sold
    '87 442 (May 2010) undergoing restoration

  5. #5
    Administrator 88hurstolds's Avatar
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    If there is no VIN stamped it could have been replaced.
    I've heard of that tag before but have never seen it, could be a GM Goodwrench replacement and the tag is a part number.
    Lightning Rods repair service:CLICK HERE
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    1988 H/OCA Advisor
    88 H/O #1 of 4
    88 CSC White/Claret - T-tops
    88 H/O Triple Black
    87 442 Black/Gray - T-tops
    85 442 White/Blue - T-tops
    85 442 White/Blue - T-tops
    85 442 White/Claret - T-tops
    85 442 White/Sage
    84 H/O Aero Commemorative #2199 - Sunroof
    83 H/O #2400 Sand Gray - Sunroof
    83 H/O #1607 Sand Gray - T-tops
    83 H/O #727 Maple
    "Keep them Rockets lit!"

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    I've never seen or heard of one. I did find a link to a GM document, with engines for different makes:

    http://www.enginepartswarehouse.com/...ERALMOTORS.PDF

    It lists that block code, and says it is for 85-90 307s, with roller lifters, except for 85 442, and says it's VIN Y. The other listing is for 81-84, VIN Y or 9.
    Hopefully, if they replaced the block, they kept the original cam (if it was still good). All the other parts are there, the aluminum intake, carb, damper, 7A heads, and so on. As far as the document goes, I don't know how accurate it is, considering that the block was probably replaced years ago (maybe under warranty). The VIN 9 could have been listed with that block code back then.

    Is there a good way for me to check the cam lift with a dial indicator, without removing the manifold? I'd like to verify that it has the correct cam in it. If not, I may have to pull the manifold and take a reading from there. Would be nice to know whether I have all the right parts for the VIN 9 engine.
    '76 Cutlass S 350 (1981-83)
    '79 Cutlass Supreme 260 (1983-85)
    '79 Cutlass Supreme 350 Chevy (1989-1993)
    '77 Cutlass Salon 350 (1996-present)
    '98 Bravada - green - (2005) RIP
    '98 Bravada - black - (2005-2011) sold
    '87 442 (May 2010) undergoing restoration

  7. #7
    Administrator 88hurstolds's Avatar
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    I have the cam specs in an Olds manual called "Wild About Cars".
    I'll look for it and post the numbers soon.
    Lightning Rods repair service:CLICK HERE
    Seller Feedback:CLICK HERE
    1988 H/OCA Advisor
    88 H/O #1 of 4
    88 CSC White/Claret - T-tops
    88 H/O Triple Black
    87 442 Black/Gray - T-tops
    85 442 White/Blue - T-tops
    85 442 White/Blue - T-tops
    85 442 White/Claret - T-tops
    85 442 White/Sage
    84 H/O Aero Commemorative #2199 - Sunroof
    83 H/O #2400 Sand Gray - Sunroof
    83 H/O #1607 Sand Gray - T-tops
    83 H/O #727 Maple
    "Keep them Rockets lit!"

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    I ordered the Mondello book, and just got it today...wow! What a great resource! Already have one question answered about the block (for the most part). In the section about block numbers, it has the "6509" block at the bottom, and it does state it was for 1987, and has the .921 lifter bores for the roller cam. I did not see anything about whether it had the VIN 9 cam, but it's probably a good bet that it does. I did read a post by someone recently who worked for an Olds dealership in the late 80's - early 90's. He said that when they had to replace an Olds short block, they were allowed a little over 6 hours to change it. That's all they said that GM would pay...that was to remove the sheetmetal, engine, replace the block, and get it back together and on the road. They weren't even given time to paint it, which does make sense considering that the block has no paint, while everything else does. Judging from the way they put the engine back together, it certainly looks like it (gaskets hanging out, bolts missing, etc.).
    BTW, I also picked up a nice engine hoist (towable), an engine stand, and a parts washer, for a great price. Now for the weather to warm up...
    '76 Cutlass S 350 (1981-83)
    '79 Cutlass Supreme 260 (1983-85)
    '79 Cutlass Supreme 350 Chevy (1989-1993)
    '77 Cutlass Salon 350 (1996-present)
    '98 Bravada - green - (2005) RIP
    '98 Bravada - black - (2005-2011) sold
    '87 442 (May 2010) undergoing restoration

  9. #9
    Administrator 88hurstolds's Avatar
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    I have one of those Mondello books signed by him from the Muscle Car and Corvette Nationals back in 2011.
    Lots of useful information in there.
    GM never meant for these cars to last and it's sad that they would throw everything together like that.
    Lightning Rods repair service:CLICK HERE
    Seller Feedback:CLICK HERE
    1988 H/OCA Advisor
    88 H/O #1 of 4
    88 CSC White/Claret - T-tops
    88 H/O Triple Black
    87 442 Black/Gray - T-tops
    85 442 White/Blue - T-tops
    85 442 White/Blue - T-tops
    85 442 White/Claret - T-tops
    85 442 White/Sage
    84 H/O Aero Commemorative #2199 - Sunroof
    83 H/O #2400 Sand Gray - Sunroof
    83 H/O #1607 Sand Gray - T-tops
    83 H/O #727 Maple
    "Keep them Rockets lit!"

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