Motor quest


#1

I HAVE AN 86 EL CAMINO THAT ORIGINALY CAME WITH A V6 AND WAS CHANGED TO A V8 I NEED TO FIX THE ENGINE BUT DONT KNOW WHERE THAT ENGINE CAME FROM OR WHAT YEAR IT IS. ITS CARBURATED THAS THE ONLY THING I KNOW.


#2

No disrespect meant, but how could you possibly expect us to know where that engine came from or what year it is? An '86 El Camino will accept anything GM and longitudinal.

Find the engine’s serial number and ask a dealer to see if they can trace it.


#3

It could be any V8 GM made. It’s IMPOSSIBLE to tell without at least a pic (even then it’ll be very very difficult). Your best bet is to take it to a trusted mechanic and have him/her tell you what engine it is.


#4

My guess is, if the car wasn’t advertised as having some sort of monster motor in it, it’s almost certainly a small block chevy V8, probably a 350. The small block is probably second only to the air-cooled VW engine in sheer numbers produced and, though there were obviously some differences in their production run from the 50’s through the 80’s (and to the present day in crate-motor form), an amazing number of the parts interchange-- there’s a good chance if you walk into a parts store and say “I need a part for a chevy 350” you’ll get a part that will work.

Again, it’s just a guess. If you can post more details, like any markings on the valve covers or any serial numbers printed in the block or manifolds, we can maybe help you more.


#5

There is a flat spot, usually near the coil or on the front of the engine above the water pump that has a couple of letters and numbers stamped onto a flat “pad”. That’s the engine model code. My really old Motor’s Manual only goes to 1973 but it says for a V-8 350, the engine number location is on a pad at the front righhand side of the cylinder block. Typically, those older 350s have a letter code of CSA or CLR, CLB, etc. Yours is most likely a different set of letters, but look for the three letters. These letters are typically FOLLOWING the code numbers. You’ll need to use a good light, hang yourself on your tummy, start cleaning flat spots to get the crud off of those flat spots until you find letters and numbers. Take that to anywhere that has an engine model listing. Or post here. Maybe one of us old timers has a book with the engine codes listed. It’ll tell you year, displacement, V-8, and what transmission that engine type was put together with. It’ll also tell you what model vehicle GM put that engine in. It doesn’t matter much what model vehicle that engine came out of. Those 350s just flat-out work in just about anything that you want it to fit in regardless of whether or not the tranny is standard or automatic. Of course, some mounting modifications had to be made, but so many people were putting those engines into anything that we all, some how, figured out how to make 'em work right. I once had a 1950 Ford Tudor, 2-door. That little flat-head Ford engine had seen it’s better days. I didn’t want to wait around long, so I put a Chevy 350 (junk yard) engine in with a 350 THD trans. Had to make up my own drive shaft to adapt for length and to match up the yokes right. Also put a Chevy rear end in. That thing was fantastic! I got someone to give me $5K for it and he ended up with all of the old engine, tranny, and rear end. Guess what he did? He rebuilt the original Ford parts putting in a Merc. crank and a few other modifications, rebuilt the tranny and rear end, yanked the Chevy set-up out of it, put the original Ford stuff back in, and showed it off at those Dairy Queen Friday night shows, etc. He then got a good size cigar boat with a blown engine and put the Chevy set-up in the boat! I’ve done and seen some weird stuff. It just didn’t seem so weird back then. Even seen and rode trikes with Chevy 283s, 327s or 350s.


#6

I’m having a hard time seeing the engine from here. Can you drive it closer to your PC?


#7

I’ve got a pretty comprehensive engine application book but you need to post some numbers so it can be sorted out.
Engine block casting number is preferred followed by cylinder head, intake, and exhaust manifold casting numbers. It all helps because the small block Chevy (assumed to be a SBC here) is the most swapped motor on earth.
If it’s got the wide valve covers then it’s a BBC, lucky you…
:slight_smile: