September 2011 Chevy High Performance Q & A

Knowing When To Say When

Kevin McClelland Jul 28, 2011 0 Comment(s)
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If you really want to convert your Chevelle to full ½-inch fuel line, you’ll need to fabricate a pick-up through your sending unit in the tank. You could also add a pick-up to the bottom of the tank, but that’s not very clean for a street-driving car. Great for race cars, but can be problematic on regularly street-driven vehicles.


Q: Can you help me identify my big-block Chevy? The engine code is T05217BJ; the block is 3963512 dated E14-9. I can’t find this in any books. I Googled it and found another guy with a BJ engine code. It’s in my ’67 Camaro RS/SS, but it’s not the original engine for the car. The seller told me it was a 427. The heads on it are 3964291 dated K28-9. Please help.

Garrett Ikeda
Honolulu, HI

A: We can give you some help, but your letter codes don’t make any sense. It was not uncommon for GM to use odd letter designations for crate service engines, however, your ID does look to be a production identification. The engine ID T05217BJ identifies that your engine came from the Tonawanda engine plant, and was built May 21. This is where it gets a little weird. You have an extra number. We tried to find a three-letter code in the 427/454 engine identifications with the final two digits BJ. The only time any big-block used the last two digits BJ was in 1984 on a 454 in a truck. Based on the casting dates of the block and cylinder heads, the engine assembly date must be May 21, 1970. That pretty much knocks out the ’84 model year.

All the information you gave us points to an L-71 425hp 427. The engine block casting number 3963512 was used from 1969 for 427s, and 1970-76 for both production 454s and crate engines. The date code E14-9 represents May 14, 1969. These blocks were produced in either two-or four-bolt mains. The easiest way to identify the block as a four-bolt is to check for the 3/4 pipe threaded ports right above the oil filter pad. These threaded oil galleries were for external oil coolers in racing applications. The cylinder heads are a rectangular-intake-port, closed-chamber 109 cc that was used on 396/402/427 and 454 engines. They were used on crate engines after the ’70 model year. The date code K28-9 represents November 28, 1969. The last 427s were assembled for production use in 1969. The model year change for production falls in September and October.

One final thing, you didn’t mention if next to the engine identification code on the deck of the block there was a partial VIN number. All production engines have the final eight characters of the VIN number from the vehicle the engine was installed in. None of the crate engines have VIN numbers on the deck.

If your engine is an L-71 427 big-block crate replacement it would have 11:1 forged TRW pistons, 7/16-inch rod bolt “Dot” rods, a forged steel crankshaft, a mechanical flat-tappet camshaft, an aluminum high-rise inlet manifold with a Holley square-bore flange. Finally, check out the harmonic damper on the engine; 454 engines have a counterweight cast into the inner ring of the damper. The 427s were neutral balanced, and the 454s had this counterweight on the damper, and also on the flexplate/flywheel. We hope this has gotten you closer to identifying your big-block. Enjoy your SS, and happy cruising. Aloha!

Resto Tech

Q: I would like some info on my resto build. I have a cam and lifter set with 218 degrees at 0.050-inch tappet lift, 0.460-inch max lift, ground on 110 centers. I also have a set of heads with a recent valve job, casting number 462624, and an aluminum Edelbrock intake (PN 2101) for a Q-jet. If I put this on my ’65 Chevy 283 short-block, what kind of power do you think I would get? Can I use my stock rocker arms with this cam? Thanks, I love this magazine.

Bob Holland
Via email


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