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Old 02-12-2024, 12:43 AM
Rachelsdad Rachelsdad is offline
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Question Any thoughts on what block this might be?

This is the block currently in my '56 Safari. The engine is missing heads and intake. I haven't yet identified the transmission in the car. I have a set of heads and an intake, but I'm not sure of the numbers on those yet (they're in the back of my other '56 Safari, and I'm a little close to my fence to open the tailgate comfortably - LOL).

Anyway, this looks like it might be a 523283, which is almost a '57, unless that next to last digit really is a "9" - I cleaned the side of the block as best I could with a wire brush and some brake cleaner before I snapped the pic, but maybe I need to scrub a bit more.

TIA
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Old 02-12-2024, 02:06 AM
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According to Pete McCarthy's book a casting number starting with 523 should be from 1957, but he doesn't have specific block casting numbers from that year.

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Old 02-12-2024, 02:28 AM
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Thanks, Stuart. That's a big help. I want the right engine for the car, and this rather confirms my suspicions that this isn't correct (I haven't searched for a VIN on it, figuring that this was an easier first step).

Does that book go into transmission identification? I don't think this is a '56 trans based on what the seller conveyed to me. I probably need to get a better shot of the pan shape and number of bolts around it, unless there is a casting number on it somewhere.

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Old 02-12-2024, 09:21 AM
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What are the codes on the front of the block?
Engine code and unit number?
Also Date code?



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Old 02-12-2024, 08:40 PM
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To identify the block see https://www.pontiacsafari.com/L1Gara...kCastingNumber

Scroll down from there to identify heads and manifolds.

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Old 02-12-2024, 10:07 PM
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Larry, his pic shows 523283 not 523293?
The 8 doesn't seem to be an 9 but could possibly be if closer pic or white rubbed on.



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  #7  
Old 02-13-2024, 08:35 AM
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I saw that difference, the 8 vs 9 and makes me wonder. But it is certainly a 57 block.

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Old 02-13-2024, 08:35 PM
Rachelsdad Rachelsdad is offline
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Yeah, that 8 is a real zinger.

I'll get myself under the hood (and under the car) again at the end of the week, when I'm back up in New York (out of town for a couple more days). I'll look for the serial number on the front of the block and see if the rear under the distributor is visible. I may have to pull the distributor (which I think is in place...checking some other pics I have from under the hood...yes, it is in there). I'll see what I can find.

Tips for identifying the transmission beyond the pan shape and number of bolts around it?

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Old 02-13-2024, 09:45 PM
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It is unlikely that the transmission is the 56 dual-range (slant pan), they were installed in 56 Chieftains only. If it does have the 56 dual-range, it will not have a P (Park) position on the selector.

The new-for-56 Strato-Flight was installed on all 56 Safaris & Star Chiefs, and all 57 Pontiacs. The transmission will have a serial number plate on it that will tell the year. Serial number will begin with P-56 for 56 or p-57 for 57. You can find location of the serial number plate in the transmission manuals Section 1. Both 56 (dual-range and Strato Flight) and 57 manuals are available on www.pontiacsafari.com. On that site, select "Pontiac Garage" and scroll down to "Pontiac Documents". You'll find the transmission manuals there. Open Section 1 to see the location of the serial number.

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Old 02-13-2024, 11:43 PM
Rachelsdad Rachelsdad is offline
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Thanks, Larry. The selector's Park position seems to work. That is to say, when we rolled her off the truck and up the driveway, I needed to pull her out of park to roll, and then back in park when we got up the driveway (and she seemed to hold in place - no brakes, and hand brake does not want to stay in position, so the only thing keeping the car from moving now seems to be the parking pawl.

I'll get under there with a light, some more brake cleaner, a parts brush, and a camera (all I need is another couple of arms - LOL).

Much appreciated.

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Old 02-20-2024, 02:36 PM
Rachelsdad Rachelsdad is offline
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No news on the trans as yet, but I have made some progress:

Both exhaust manifolds are '57's based on the casting numbers.

The intake manifold is likewise '57.

I have no serial number visible on the front of the block (with the timing cover still in place).

As for the date code, the area around the distributor will need some elbow grease to clean up to the point of being able to read anything, and 35-degree (Fahrenheit, for anyone reading this outside the US) weather is not conducive to spending a great deal of time climbing into an engine bay and scrubbing anything. LOL So, that little excursion will have to wait until closer the end of the week, when we are to have a warming trend in these parts.

Now, I can't swear that the manifolds are definitive insofar as the block is concerned, but it's surely looking like '57 is the vintage for all of this. We'll see what the trans looks like when I get under there.

Thanks again for the keen insight, guys.

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Old 02-20-2024, 03:33 PM
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The serial number on the block will be just below the head mounting surface on the passenger's side, it will not be hidden by the timing cover. If you can clean off that area, you can probably find it. It may be difficult to read with the engine installed, if so see if you can take a photo of it. Sounds like it is very likely that you have a 57 engine. The date code around the distributor may be quite difficult to read.

My 56 Safari had a 57 engine in it and I didn't know until I removed it to rebuild, then discovered it had a cracked block. It has the 56 transmission.

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Old 02-20-2024, 03:50 PM
Rachelsdad Rachelsdad is offline
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Thanks, Larry. Have a look at the two pics attached. I cannot see anything there which might be a number.
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Old 02-20-2024, 04:10 PM
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You need to do a little more scraping near the lower edge of the head surface area. It's in the area where the Stamped Code is in attached.
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Old 02-20-2024, 04:19 PM
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Here's photo of Serial Number on a 56 block.
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  #16  
Old 02-20-2024, 04:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Safari Larry View Post
Here's photo of Serial Number on a 56 block.
... or if you don't find the serial number there, maybe it is a GMC truck block. Check here.
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Old 02-20-2024, 05:22 PM
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Bill, is there another number in your pic aside from the exhaust manifold casting number? Both of mine show '57 numbers.

Larry, thanks for the better close-up of the stamped area. (I saw the '56 pic on your website.) I'll use an inspection sticker razor instead of steel wool and see if I can clean that area closer to the head a bit better.

IAC, I think we'll all agree that whatever it is, it isn't a '56, so now I'm back to seeking a rebuildable (or rebuilt) '56 longblock.

Are there differences between '56 and '57 generators and power steering pumps? I was going to have these rebuilt. I have no idea whether they are from the original engine or may have already been replaced or whether they came with the engine that's in the car, now.

Sorry this thread is wandering so far OT. Perhaps I should have used a title like, "what's this under the hood?" :-D

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Old 02-20-2024, 06:40 PM
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Bill was trying to show you the area pointed out by the red arrow, just below the exhaust manifold.

It appears the number was stamped just above the oil pan rail on the side of the block casting.

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Old 02-20-2024, 07:01 PM
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b-man is correct. In Bill's photo, the red arrow on the lower center of block is where the GMC serial number would be -- if it happens to be a GMC block. It would be a ground off area in the casting with a serial number stamped in. If you don't find the Pontiac serial number on the front of block, you might look to see if there is a GMC number there.

56/57 generators interchange. Not sure about the power steering pump but it would be unlikely that a 57 pump was installed. Most likely all the accessories were removed from the 56 engine, the engine removed and replaced with a 57 engine and all 56 accessories were reattached. Most likely the 56 transmission was left in.

If the block is 57 and useable, use it -- unless you want to restore to original. You'll get a bit more power out of the 57 block.

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  #20  
Old 02-20-2024, 07:29 PM
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I don't know how I missed that little red arrow in Bill's pic, but I did. Sorry about that, Bill, and thanks for "pointing" out where I might find that number. Added to tomorrow's list.

Larry, I'd really rather have the correct engine for the car vs the '57, despite the power differential. That said, I probably shouldn't be all that picky.

Thanks for the info on the generator. I've been eyeing a rebuilt unit on eBay vs having this one rebuilt. I'll see which way I go.

This transmission has two cooler lines running forward, which went to an aux cooler, zip-tied to the radiator supports in front of the radiator. The lines are dry, as was the cooler when I removed it. Obviously, none of that was as delivered with the car when new. Again, I'll know more about the transmission toward the end of the week.

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