400 Engine Block Numbers - Pontiac GTO Forum
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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-29-2013, 07:31 PM Thread Starter
 
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400 Engine Block Numbers

Here's one for you gurus. Some time ago (about 1996) I purchased a '67 GTO project car and have had it tucked away until recently. While the body is out for blasting, I'm going thru the rest and have come up with mixed info from local sources regarding the engine. Obviously it is not original. It is a WS code block with a casting date code of H269. The heads are #12 with a casting date code of H079. Seems reasonable so far. Now the unusual stuff. The casting number of the block is 9799915. The numbers lists I have found on the web and in my books tell me it could be a RA III or in some cases a RA IV. However, the last digit of the casting number (5) is a stamp and not a part of the mold. It almost looks like it may have been ground down before it was stamped. I have yet to pull the pan to check to see if it has 4 bolt mains or not, but that will be soon. I'd be interested to hear any comments you might have on any aspect of the subject. Thanks for your time.
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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-30-2013, 03:33 PM
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The heads and block are 1970 Ram Air III pieces, at least. I have a set of #12 heads dated the same as yours that I got from the original owner of a 1970 Ram Air III Firebird. The #12 heads were used on all the ram air III cars, including Judges. Not a RAIV expert, but if it were a IV, you'd have different heads, round ports. What you have is an excellent block and heads to build into a stout combination, providing you used dished pistons so you can operate on pump gas. #12 heads are about the best stock D-port head there is. Good luck with your project.
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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 12-02-2013, 12:07 PM Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for the reply. I will be pulling the pan today or tomorrow. I'm still a little curious about the last number being stamped. I am expecting to find 4 bolt mains..................
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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 12-02-2013, 01:31 PM
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Originally Posted by chemnick View Post
Thank you for the reply. I will be pulling the pan today or tomorrow. I'm still a little curious about the last number being stamped. I am expecting to find 4 bolt mains..................
I don't remember if the reason for grinding off the 4 and stamping with a 5 was for early production Ram Air IV engines or if they ran out of Ram Air IV blocks (979991) and modified the III blocks until they cast new blocks. But I have years ago ran across information pertaining to this topic. That block is very rare and a couple of things to look for if you take the engine apart would be 1.65 rockers and the Ram Air IV Cam (9794041).

Welcome to the forum and if you get a chance post a few pictures if your 67.

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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 12-08-2013, 09:37 AM Thread Starter
 
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Been busy on the project. I will check rockers and cam, hope I can find GM numbers on the cam from the front when I replace the timing chain/gears (there is a little more slack in the chain than I like, and it's not a double roller, but it does have all steel gears. I also have no idea exactly how to identify 1.65 rockers, but I'll look. Form the sounds I'm beginning to wonder how an engine like this ended up tucked away in a barn in a '67 post coupe up in Maine but it's OK with me. Kinda sorry I let it sit for 15+ years before I got to it. Anyway, I've never attached pics, but even though my '67 is down to bear steel right now, I'll try it. I'll also try to get some clear pics of the engine, numbers, etc. Thanks again for the info and interest. HOLD THE PHONE ON THAT...............I can't get the "insert image" icon to work (almost lost all this text and I type slower than death).
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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-01-2014, 02:53 PM Thread Starter
 
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I think I've got it figured out. I'll try to post a pic of the block casting numbers. Also, from this and also another 400 I have kicking around I ended up with two 8-hole water pumps which have very different impellers. The one with the short and straighter impellers was in the engine I have been writing about. It will be on the right and had one diverter plate behind it. The one on the left is from a different engine. That one was found to have two diverter plates (as expected).
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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-02-2014, 12:59 PM
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What is the 2-character stamp on the passenger side front of the block, just below the cylinder head? Also, what is the block date code? (4-characters on top rear, near the distributor hole. One alpha followed by three (3) numerics.)

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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-02-2014, 04:53 PM Thread Starter
 
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Block code is WS. Date is H269. Today I confirmed it has a 9795480 (nodular) crank.
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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-02-2014, 04:54 PM Thread Starter
 
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Heads are #12, date is H079 (on both).
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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-02-2014, 05:28 PM
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Strange.... WS along with the date code (August 26, 1969) and the heads (#12, August 7, 1969) all match up for RA III. However, The ground and re-stamped last digit on the block casting number is consistent for how some RA IV's were built. Now I'm really curious to find out which cam you've got. Right now, I'm leaning towards the following explanation:
We already know that RA III and RA IV blocks were identical except for the numbers, and "running short of" RA IV blocks is the explanation commonly given for the re-stampings. However, keep in mind that the factory cared about getting the cars built and not interrupting "the line". They didn't care so much about making everything match perfectly, numbers wise. It's plausible that on this particular engine, the car was supposed to get a RA III but somewhere in the process someone happened to pull the "wrong" block (one that had been re-stamped for a RA IV car) but by the time the error was discovered (if it ever WAS discovered) it was too late in the build process to go back and change it. Or maybe, on that particular day in that particular plant on that particular build sequence, the plant "ran out" of RA III blocks and someone, knowing they were the same, pulled this one instead. I don't know that you'd ever be able to find out for sure.

When you do get around to finding the stamp on the camshaft (assuming it's still the original cam) then I'd expect to find an "H" stamp for a RA III cam. "WS" along with the date code according to some sources say that engine originally came out of a 1970 Firebird, 4-speed, and in some circles was referred to as a "California Ram Air III". Still other sources say it was in an A-body (LeMans, GTO) manual transmission. (Always check multiple sources, there are mistakes out there.) It'd sure be interesting to try reverse lookups on the possible VIN numbers to get more information.

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