Before you order parts it's a good idea to know what year and horsepower
your engine is. There are "superficial" clues and then there are "positive"
ones. It is possible to be 95% certain what engine you have without tearing
it completely down - but you still won't be 100% sure. Some mechanical parts
that you order will have no bearing on year or horsepower, as all engines
may use the same parts. For a really detailed description of these engines
order our book "The Corvair Junkyard primer" PN -U-4727
THE BASICS - In terms of cubic inches there are 3 Corvair motors. All 1960's are 140 cubic inches. All 1961-63 are 145 cubic inches. All 1964-69 are 164 cubic inches. The difference in cubic inches is a combination of bore size and crank stroke. 1960-63 engines use essentially the same crankshaft, marked 5607 but the bore size on 1960 is 3.375 while on 61-63 it's 3.435, hence the difference in cubic inches from 140 to 145 respectively.
1964-69 engines use the same crankshaft, marked 8409 and have the same bore as 61-63, 3.435. BUT the 1964's are unique in 2 ways. First the blocks use the same id numbers (see below) as the 1960-63 motors, and the cylinder barbells are smaller in outside diameter where they go into the heads. This block number problem has been a constant headache from the beginning - 1960-63 or 1964??
HORSEPOWER? - The final advertised horsepower rating is a function of cubic inches, cam profile, head chamber design, compression ratio and other minor factors such as carb jetting and distributor settings. As a general rule, if you have identified the year of the motor (using the Basics above) then horsepower is not an important factor for internal engine parts - EXCEPT the camshaft. But, if you are replacing the camshaft then the engine will be totally apart and easily identified anyway. Further, camshafts can always be changed to achieve certain desired results.
In 1960 you could get 80hp, 84hp (automatic trans) and 95hp engines. In
1961 it was 80hp, 84hp and 98hp. In 1962-63, 80hp, 84hp 102hp and 150hp (turbocharged).
In 1964 it was 95hp, 110hp and 150hp. In 1965-66 it was 95hp, 110hp, 140hp
(4 carbs) and 180hp (turbo). The lineup remained the same from 1967-69 except
that the 180 turbo was no longer available.
"SUPERFICIAL" IDENTIFICATIONS - The very first things to look at are - block numbers (see Figure B below for location) See pages B-3 and B-4 for a chart of codes.. Cylinder head numbers (see figure C). These two numbers alone will pinpoint the year and horsepower by about 95%. We have not listed these numbers because there are so many of them including new ones that seem to pop up. If you call us with the numbers we can identify them or use the chart in The Corvair Junkyard Primer Pn U-4727.
Other features are even more superficial, such as air cleaner style, engine crank pulleys, carburetors, distributors turbocharger numbers and others. We won't discuss these here because these are things that are easily and frequently altered. To learn differences in these items refer to the corresponding sections in this catalog.
One key superficial identification needs mentioning. If the engine has 4 carburetors it's a 65-69 140hp engine - no questions asked.......or is it? Over the years "add-on" carb kits have been offered from different sources. Although they are not common you don't want to pay for a "140" hp engine only to find out later that it's bogus. A quick way to tell is that stock 140hp engines ALWAYS have the carb pad configuration shown in figure D below. Figure E shows a "bogus" 140hp carb configuration - in this case the extra pads were added to a 1962 84hp engine! (Not a good combination)
You may need to clean grease/grime off of any location to look for a number - On the cylinder heads the number will be visible from the rear of the car on the right hand head and from the front of the car on the left hand head. It's a 7 digit number cast into the head.
On the block the number is stamped and can be found between the sheet metal blower cover and the alternator/generator adapter casting.
Still confused? You can always give us a call.