Hello fellow parts people, technicians, truck drivers, or anyone else who is experiencing the headache of a lost or missing engine serial number. If you are reading this, chances are you have toured the internet looking for such information. Trust me, I have done the same thing. Not a whole lot out there is there? So, I decided to take it upon myself and do the research and post something that I hope will be helpful for someone.
First a little history as to what prompted this article. I am employed by possibly the best truck dealership in the land. We in the service department have many, many fleet accounts that we take care of. One of our accounts has an International glider. A glider is basically a cab and frame rails. The engine, drivetrain, and rear axles all come from another donor truck. Sort of akin to building a big model. This particular truck was married to a 8.3 litre Cummins midrange engine and a 6 speed trans. Whoever put this truck together neglected to record any information regarding engine, what kind of a truck it came out of, etc. Needless to say, the engine is a nightmare to find parts for. I searched the internet in vane, but could’nt come up with anything solid to draw from. Hence, this article. Let me go through the different engines and share with you what I have found.
Caterpillar – The usual spot to find the engine S/N is on the valve cover engine data tag. If this is missing, Cat is real good at stamping the S/N on the right side near the rear of the engine. I do not know if this applies to all the engines, but I know it’s there for the big bores.
Cummins – The engine data tag is riveted to the front accessory drive cover on the drivers side of the engine. This is also where the critical parts list number or CPL will be found. If this is missing, on the large bore engines, Cummins stamps the engine S/N on the right side of the block near the oil cooler. Now the bad news, the small bore engines – 3.9, 5.9, 8.3 litre engines, do not have this stamping. What I do in my situation is to take all part numbers visible on the engine and insert them into your web cumpas program. A little hint, Cummins wraps injection lines on the mechanical engines with metal tabs that have part numbers on them. I know this is a crap shoot, but it is a place to begin. Good luck
Detroit – Like Caterpillar, the valve cover is the best place to find the engine S/N. I have been out of the Detroit scene for a while now, but I believe that they also stamp the number on the block. Series 50 and mainly series 60 engines are the main streem for this type of powerplant. Although there are still a slew of the old 8V-72’s out there in busses. Also the fuel pincher 8.2 litre is still out there as well.
Navistar – The good ol’ 466 and 530 models. Once again, the engine data tag on the valve cover is the best place to start. On the drivers side engine block, there is a block casting number that will give you a good start, too. If the engine is the original engine in the truck, line set tickets will tell the S/N. If performing an in-frame overhaul, especially on a older truck, do yourself a favor and double check the actual engine number against the line set.
This goes for all the engines listed above. The truck V.I.N. is possibly the best place to start to getting the information required to get the correct parts the first time. Freightliner, Kenworth, and Volvo use the last 6 digits of the V.I.N. International, Sterling, and Ford use the last 8 digits. Mack is a little different. They like the last 6 digits of the V.I.N. and the model type of the truck.
I hope this helps someone along the way. Most people will know this information, but someone hopefully will benefit from this. Be accurate in your search, and let’s keep the wheels of America Rolling!!
Thanks for reading.