Perkins Diesel Engine Identification

by Tim McQuade
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Founded in 1932, Perkins has become one of the preeminent manufacturers of diesel engines. Since 1974, the company has used a detailed identification system for every engine produced. This system provides information as to the year, place, type and serial number of the engine manufactured. Perkins' identification system uses the following character and numeral format: AA 12345 B 123456M.

Code Location

Perkins placed the majority of the engine identification codes on the left side of the engine. These engine types include 4.108, 4.154/200 Series, 4.165, 4.212/4.248/900 Series, 1106D, 6.354, Prima/500 Series, 6.247, 4.41, Peregrine/1300 Series and the 1104D. The right-side view of the engine includes engine type codes, 3.152, 4.203, Perama/100/400 Series, 4.236 and the 700/800 Series. The top view includes the V8.640 and the V8540 engines. Perkins did locate some of the 4.203 engine codes on the rear side.

Engine Family Code

The first two letters in the engine identification sequence define the family and type of the engine. The first letter identifies the engine family. For instance, the first A in AA engine would be the Phaser 1004 Family Series, while the second A would refer to the 1004-4 engine type. AB, on the other hand, signifies the 1004-4T engine, with the T denoting turbocharged. Dozens of engine family codes exist; consult the Perkins Website or customer service for identification of your Perkins' engine family code.

Parts List Number

After the first two letters is a five-numeral code. This code refers to the parts list number or SOS order reference number. The parts list number and SOS order reference number denotes the build number of the engine in question. This number provides information about when, during the production process, the engine was assembled and manufactured.

Country of Manufacture

The next letter series refers to the country where Perkins manufactured the engine. For instance, the letter U means Perkins produced the engine in the United Kingdom, while the letter N denotes that Perkins manufactured the engine in the United States. Over the years, Perkins has produced engines in over 20 different countries.

Engine Serial Number and Year

The final sequence is a six-numeral code. This numeral code is the serial number, which identifies the exact engine in question. When consulting Perkins mechanics or customer service, the engine serial number may be needed. Following this numeral code (without a space) will be a single letter that defines when the engine was produced. This letter code started as A in 1974 and increased in order (B equals 1975, C equals 1976...) ever since.

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