How to Identify a Chevy 400 Small Block

by Floyd Drake III

The 1970s were a tough decade for performance engines, with rising fuel prices and emissions regulations. It seemed that the muscle-car era was over. In 1970, Chevrolet introduced the 400-cubic-inch small-block engine into this environment, offering it for truck and large passenger car use. Although there were no high-performance editions of the 400, it is currently popular to rebuild and customize the 400 for high-performance applications, partially due to its availability and price. The Chevrolet 400 was produced from 1970 to 1980, and identifying it is a matter of locating and referencing the engine code suffix.

Step 1

Open the hood and view the engine from the front on the passenger side.

Step 2

Look for the engine code. According to the Chevy-Camaro website, the code is located on a machined pad directly forward of the passenger-side cylinder head, on the front of the engine block. A sample code reads "F0114CSB," with the first position designating the assembly plant, the second indicating the month, and the third marking the day of the month. The following letters -- CSB -- are the suffix that will identify the engine when referenced to a Chevrolet suffix listing.

Step 3

Reference the engine code to a Chevrolet listing, similar to the one found on the website. When matched to this listing, the suffix code "CSB" is identified as a 1973 400-cubic-inch engine with 175 horsepower, originally installed in a Chevy Caprice.

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