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'39 Engine Numbers


myfirstbuick
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Hi All,

I bought myself another '39 engine because I wanted to have the extra parts in case I needed them. When I went to pick the engine up, it looked a little different than mine (it had a Stromberg carburetor for one thing). I looked at the engine number and it's 1311572. The number on the engine I just put in my car and the engine I had that was cracked was 1303969. What does 1311572 indicate?

Also, I am attaching a photo of the fuel pump on the "new" engine - how is this different than the ones I have on my current engine?

Many thanks in advance for your help!

post-36869-143137920365_thumb.jpg

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The fuel pump is a double acting one. It is used to boost the vacuum wipers so that they don't slow down when you are accelerating hard up a hill.

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Dear First Buick:

The numbers you give appear to be casting numbers, probably for the block. Stamped on a small ledge on the right side is a number that starts with a 4, 6, 8, 0r 9. For it to be a 1939 engine, the rest of the number will be between 3,601,918 and 3,786,214.

Regards, Dave Corbin

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Thanks for the replies.

I don't think I asked my question correctly. What I'm hoping to find out is what kind of '39 Buick did my new engine come from? The gentleman I bought it from had a 2 door coupe special series 40 but this engine is different than my other 2 which were from series 40s also. I went and pulled the number off the small ledge and it's 440IbI74. Since the second digit is not a "3", am I to assume that this is not a '39 engine? What does the "IbI" indicate? Is there any place I can go to get a breakdown of the engine #? <img src="http://forums.aaca.org/images/graemlins/confused.gif" alt="" /> <img src="http://forums.aaca.org/images/graemlins/confused.gif" alt="" /> <img src="http://forums.aaca.org/images/graemlins/confused.gif" alt="" />

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Dave is correct. Based on the number you give from the stamping pad, your engine is from a Special (series 40, hence the first digit 4). The rest of the numbers should fall within the range Dave provided to be a '39.

The "IbI" is actually 161, though the stamping tools they use make it tough to see them as numbers. I initially thought my Century's engine number started with "b" and believed it to be a replacement block. I now know it is a 6 and the correct engine for my car. Interestingly, that first 6 is almost entirely below the rest of the numbers, as if the striking tool that stamps the numbers slipped or was out of alignment.

Engine numbers back then were not like today's VINs that give details about the car. There was the first number indicating the series, then the rest were just sequential numbers. The Special built after your engine probably had engine number 44016175. Since it is outside of Dave's range of numbers, perhaps it is from a later car and the fuel pump is correct for a '40 Buick Special. Also, it isn't uncommon for them to fail and be replaced, especially on a 65+ year old car. The fuel pumps from later cars were easily retrofitted to earlier cars, and this may be the case with yours. I wouldn't worry, however. The 248 engines were almost completely identical from '37 to whenever they switched to the 263, which was just a bored-out 248, and parts from this engine will work on your '39.

Hope this helps!

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Dear Neal:

The number of 4016174 is a 1940 engine, built most probably around the first or second week of May 1940. Since the very first digit is a 4 (followed by 4016174), the engine is a 248 engine from a Special. The 1939's are notorious overheaters because of poor air flow thru those beautiful (but too low) grilles. This has affected their survival rate (it's about 1/3 of the survival rate of 1938's and 1940's) and led to the issuance of additional shrouding and ducting as a field fix. (see the 1940 BPS bulletin book, page 56.) It is unusual for a 1939 to have its original engine, so that explains the minor detail differences on the exterior of the block. Also, the survival rate of 1939's isn't helped by the odd single lever/side cable arrangement on the transmission, which can be a bit of a bear to adjust right and is just a litte delicate, not given to speed-shifting.

I hope this adds to your store of information.

Regards, Dave Corbin

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