How to Tell What Model Engine Is in My Truck?

by Sandra Parker
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Determining what engine is contained in a particular truck may seem like a difficult task; however, it is relatively easy if you know where to look. There are several places you can look to determine what engine is under the hood of your truck.

How to Tell What Model Engine Is in My Truck?

Step 1

Look at the vehicle identification number (VIN). The VIN was introduced in the 1950s as a way to identify where a truck was manufactured and what equipment was included. Each number in the digit series has a meaning. The VIN can be located in the driver-side windshield or doorjamb.

Step 2

Write down the vehicle identification number carefully and vertically. It is important that you do not transpose any numbers or confuse them in any manner, as this will throw off your research. The reason you will want to write the numbers vertically down the page is that you will need to write down each bit of decoded information next to the VIN digit.

Step 3

Begin to decode the vehicle identification number. The first character indicates the country in which the vehicle was manufactured. For example, a truck made in the United States will have a VIN that starts with 1 or 4. A VIN that starts with a 2 was made in Canada. 3 indicates Mexico. The second digit identifies the manufacturer. For example: 1=Chevrolet, C=Chrysler, B=Dodge, F=Ford, 7=GM Canada, and G=GM. The third digit indicates vehicle type. The 4th through 8th characters indicate specific information about the vehicle, such as body style, engine size, and so on. These are the characters you are most interested in. Their meaning varies by manufacturer.

Step 4

Locate the manufacturer decoder website. There are many websites dedicated to decoding this series of numbers to help you to determine the engine in your truck. A simple way is to type in the truck's make (manufacturer) and "VIN decoder" as your search terms. You should be able to find sites dedicated to virtually all manufacturers.

Step 5

Determine the engine type. Using the VIN decoder, determine which number or letter of the VIN indicates the engine type. Locate that number or letter on your VIN. Then use the decoder to determine what engine your truck has.

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