Small Block Decode - Confused - Team Camaro Tech
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old Jan 20th, 12, 08:56 PM Thread Starter
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Small Block Decode - Confused

Have come across a complete small block with the following details, which has me a bit confused. Any reasonable explanations as to why a 69 block could have a 70's application code and what appears to be a '71 partial VIN (other than the obvious restamp possibility, since it is not a 'desirable' application)?
Block Casting Number: 3932388
Block Casting Date: B 13 9
Pad Application Code: V1222CGC
Partial VIN: 11C122257 (seems to indicate vehicle assembly at South Gate, CA)
FWIW, there is no sign of the block having been decked.
Any help, especially from someone who knows what vehicles were assembled at South Gate in the early 70's, would be much appreciated. I think it was Chevy II / Nova, but may have been others.

1969 04A Van Nuys-built Z/28. Cortez Silver with dark blue interior and VE3. Sold Clippinger Chevrolet. Raced at Lions in LA.

Last edited by ZLP955; Jan 20th, 12 at 10:13 PM. Reason: typo for South Gate
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old Jan 20th, 12, 09:55 PM
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Re: Small Block Decode - Confused

We have seen that late 1969 castings for rears, axles and engines before and that have 1970 application codes since the 69 model year was extended past August change over. Explanation is over at CRG.

But having a 1971 vin stamped? Unless maybe it was a warranty or recall replacement engine and the vin was stamped on it to tie it to a vehicle - having been replaced by corporate - to close out the recall or warranty replacement for some reason.


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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old Jan 20th, 12, 10:17 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Small Block Decode - Confused

Thanks Brian,
Yep, as well as the '71 partial VIN, it seems incredible that a February 13, 1969 cast block would not be assembled into a complete engine at Flint until December 22, 1970, for the '71 model year....

1969 04A Van Nuys-built Z/28. Cortez Silver with dark blue interior and VE3. Sold Clippinger Chevrolet. Raced at Lions in LA.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old Jan 20th, 12, 11:52 PM
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Wink Re: Small Block Decode - Confused

GM Southgate Final built only Full-Size (GM B-Body) vehicles during those years - no mid/ChevyII-Nova/anything else
They did assemble some Vegas and Monzas there for a couple years in the mid 70's, but reverted to B's again until the 80's, when a small number of front drive "J's" were assembled to supplement Lordstown assembly for one year and then the plant closed ...

As to why a given block would be/or was retained so long prior to final assembly - I have no idea ...
It surely wasn't for a defect or re-work - wouldn't have happened - if a block failed an inspection for a defect and it couldn't be corrected in QC prior to moving to the next machine station it was 'recycled' off the line to the scrap yard for final 'Hot Rework' in a furnace

Either the casting mark is a line mistake or substitution for a damaged casting info plug set (not real likely) or the production process distorted the '0' to look more like a "9" along the way (most likely).
And judging from the casting number given I would suspect there's light to be shed on the other info just by having a good study of it ...
I have seen one verified casting that was months off from it's final line assembly date and it was an experimental casting that was used for testing and confirmation checks and set back into the line at a later date - but this was NOT a common practice!

Pictures of the Casting Number, Casting Date and Suffix/VIN may help with answers ...

Hopefully JohnZ will chime in on this

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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old Jan 21st, 12, 04:38 AM
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Re: Small Block Decode - Confused

Quote:
Originally Posted by ZLP955 View Post
Thanks Brian,
Yep, as well as the '71 partial VIN, it seems incredible that a February 13, 1969 cast block would not be assembled into a complete engine at Flint until December 22, 1970, for the '71 model year....
I can see that happening. There is a Oct or Nov Z/28 built in late 69 that has a 68 casting date block that was assembled in Oct or Nov. of 69. Unusual? Yes. Possible? Still yes.
Blocks, engines and the like were not done on a first in first out basis. For whatever reason, the block was probably ignored for a long period of time, but was still considered interchangeable with the 3970010 block.

Of course, I am assuming the stamps are all original. And my guess is that they are.

Lynn

Last edited by bilodeaulynn; Jan 21st, 12 at 12:00 PM. Reason: clarify
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old Jan 21st, 12, 01:39 PM
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Cool Re: Small Block Decode - Confused

Oddities such as this do pop up from time to time and I really have never heard or seen an 'Ah! That makes sense' reasoning put forth ...

I've heard;
* the "Secret Test Engine" theory
* the 'Reworked' due a line worker mistake and then snuck back into the assembly line theory
* the 'Lost' in the warehouse theory
* the 'Warranty Return' and then repaired theory
* even the Chevy used it to race and then returned it to the assembly line theory

Non of these is plausible or even possible

Development or 'Test' engines - other than a unit selected from the line to do a sample data run or other minor QC check - were requisitioned by the engineering departments and were encoded (stamped) on the pad with an identifier code that included the Work-Order number traceable to that group or department.
These parts were closely tracked and often destroyed after the work or tests were completed - sometimes even during the test
There were/are lots of different coding systems depending on the Part(s) be used, Department and/or Intention of the parts (Prototype/pre-production/production testing) being modified or developed/tested - no need to go into all of them here, there's been numerous publications with the info in them ...
All Warranty 'Adjustment' engine parts were destroyed under GM requirement - that's not to say a block or other parts didn't sneak out of a dealers back door at times - there's something in my shop to prove that 'could' happen ...
There were also some parts released for "Field Testing" and/or 'Evaluation' (remember GM DID NOT Support any Racing during these years ... ) that found their way around through the years and have ended up in some pretty interesting places

Sooooo - I would guess we're just gonna have to follow that great philosopher Forest Gump is saying "Stuff Happens" and let it go at that.
Remembering - of course - that these are THE EXCEPTION, never the Rule

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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old Jan 21st, 12, 05:01 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Small Block Decode - Confused

Thanks everyone for your suggestions - appreciate your time. I've attached a photo of the block casting number, but I haven't got any available of the casting date, app code or partial vin stamp at the moment - block is a couple of hours drive away from me - but certainly looked genuine to me. Engine is currently configured as a 350, std bore, and has low-comp heads on it, so find it hard to imagine it as a restamp....

1969 04A Van Nuys-built Z/28. Cortez Silver with dark blue interior and VE3. Sold Clippinger Chevrolet. Raced at Lions in LA.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old Jan 22nd, 12, 09:44 AM
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Re: Small Block Decode - Confused

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vintage 68 View Post
Sooooo - I would guess we're just gonna have to follow that great philosopher Forest Gump is saying "Stuff Happens" and let it go at that.
Remembering - of course - that these are THE EXCEPTION, never the Rule
I agree with John. It is odd. But I think we need to see good pics of the casting date, assembly stamp and broach marks to figure this out.

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