There are three characteristics of each block which will tell you where it was manufactured:
•If it’s a Tonwanda engine, it will have a “T” stamped on the machined surface on the block just in front of the right cylinder head. The engine ID will be number stamped on the pad, and the chamfer on the cylinders will be quite shallow;
•If it’s a Romulus engine, it will have an “R” stamped on the machined surface on the block. The ID number will be made up of a series of dots, and the cylinders will have a deep chamfer on them.
Some of the blocks are drilled for a knock sensor and some aren’t. It’s almost impossible to know which applications came with and without the sensor hole, so most rebuilders drill and tap every block so the hole is there when it’s needed.
The roller cam motors have used three different lifter retainers. All of the ’87 through ’91 non-balancer blocks and some of the ’92s used a flat retainer (p/n 10046165) with two bolt holes in the middle. As of ’92, all of the balancer motors and some of the non-balancer motors came with the tunnel-shaped retainer (p/n 10105916) with four bolt holes, two on the outer edge on each side.
Starting in ’94, Chevy used two plastic retainers (p/n 12551431) that are bolt-in replacements for the tunnel-shaped version. There are some later intakes that will hit on the reinforcing ribs on the tunnel-shaped retainer, so it’s best to use the plastic retainers in all of the blocks that have the four bolt holes.
There have been three front covers used on the 262. The first one came on the ’85 to ’94 non-balancer engines. It’s the same one that was used on the small block Chevy. The second one was a tall, metal cover with 10 bolt holes that was used from ’92 through the ’95 “first design” balancer motors. See photo.
The latest version is a unitized plastic cover that is held on with only six bolts. It came out mid-year in ’95 and was installed on the “second design” engines that had the wide flange with only six bolt holes drilled in it. The plastic cover fits on the earlier balance shaft blocks, but it shouldn’t be used on them because it leaks around the bolt holes. It comes with or without a large hole drilled in the bottom corner for the crank position sensor that was installed on the engines that came with OBD II.
Chevy has used several different cranks in the 262. They came with one- or two-piece rear seals and in both light and heavy versions that were specific to each engine plant. Here’s an overview:
1985: The 1174N casting came with a two-piece rear seal and a flange in the back. See photo.
1986-’87: The 14088640 and 10105865 Tonawanda castings with a one-piece seal were both used only for heavy applications during these years. See photo.
1988-’98: The Tonawanda cranks were all 10105865 castings that came in both light and heavy versions.
1988-’98: The Romulus cranks were all 10055480 castings that came in light or heavy versions.
All of the engines with the one-piece seal were externally balanced with specific flywheels and dampers, but the cranks were also balanced according to the weight of the pistons and rods that were installed in the engine; it’s important to use the right combination of parts. Unfortunately, there’s no sure way to tell a light crank from a heavy one short of knowing where it came from and marking it at teardown or spinning it on a balancer. There are a couple of clues that can help, though:
•All of the 14088640 castings are heavy cranks that can be used in either the ’87 to ’94 non-balancer engines or in the ’93 to ’95 VIN “Z” balance shaft motors with the heavy pistons.
•If a 10105865 Tonawanda casting came without a hole in the first rod pin, it’s definitely a heavy crank. If there’s a hole in the first rod pin, it’s probably a lightweight crank. However, there were a few early 10109865 cranks that had the hole drilled in the rod pin to correct the production process, so having the hole drilled doesn’t always guarantee a lightweight crank.
•The 10055480 Romulus crank came both ways, too. If it has a hole in the first rod pin, it’s the lightweight version, and if it doesn’t, it’s always a heavy crank.
The heavy cranks were used in all of the engines without a balance shaft and in all the VIN “Z” balance shaft motors with the heavy pistons, including the ’95 “second design” versions. The lightweight cranks were used with the lightweight pistons in the ’92-’98 VIN “W,” the ’95 VIN “Z,” “first design” engines, and in the ’96-’98 VIN “X” engines. Using the right crank in the right engine will help prevent balance problems out in the field.
However, you should also be aware that all of these engines are externally balanced with various combinations of flywheels/flexplates and dampers for balance, and that they are “trimmed” at the factory after the hot-run test by pounding balance weights into the holes that are already drilled in the damper. So, if you build them right and still have a shaker, the customer will have to add or subtract weight from the damper and/or flywheel/flexplate in order to get it right.
There is one other subtle difference in the cranks, too. Any of the engines that were installed in ’96 or later and all of the ’95 “S” and “T” trucks with OBD II, including all of the Olds Bravadas, any Blazer with California emissions, and about 10% of the Blazers with federal emissions, had a reluctor wheel installed in front of the crank gear for a crank position sensor that was a part of OBD II. The raised, machined area on the snout is about .100″ longer on these cranks than it was on the earlier ones so the reluctor wheel has a slight press fit. Be sure to sort out the 10105865 and 10055480 cranks with this longer, machined step and save them for the engines that have the crank position sensor.