"D" marking on engine block - Alfa Romeo Bulletin Board & Forums
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-20-2014, 05:07 PM Thread Starter
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"D" marking on engine block

This is the block from my 1955 Sprint. It is not original to the car - the original would have had the steel support plates connecting to the clutch housing and it would have been numbered 1315 003xx. This block has been numbered as 1315 01227, so it is at least pretending to be a 1955 Sprint block. This block is early enough that it has the bridge between cylinders 2 and 3. The numbers are not factory, but they are carefully done, and it doesn't look like someone was trying to hide a stolen motor. My question is, what does the "D" on the front of the block (where it would be hidden by the front cover, when assembled) mean? Given the block number, I doubt that the "D" means Spider. Could the D stand for something Italian having to do with a replacement block?

Another clue is that the front cover is number stamped to match up with a block. However, this block does not have any number stamping to match, or any number stamping that would match up with another front cover.
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-20-2014, 06:56 PM
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Tom,

I owned two blocks without any serial numbers; one was a new 101 SS/SZ block and the other was a 105 1600. I have owned many 750 and 101 engines and all of them had the same block number and front cover number because the timing gear would work properly. You could change front covers, but you might have to replace the timing gear bushing. I have never seem a "D" written on any block.

The earliest Alfa Giulietta I personally saw was a 1956 Spider chassis number 1495.00026. I once owned a 1957 Spider. I have never seen a 1955 Sprint with a column shifter.
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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-21-2014, 07:30 AM
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Tom, is that what the factory stamping looked like normally at the time? It's not like the standard character typeface you normally see. I've never seen the D either, maybe some mechanic's mark for an unknown reason? Destro for some reason? If Greig sees this he'll chime in.

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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-21-2014, 10:20 AM
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Chiming in here...........the engine stamps are not original as per the Factory, it could well be the replicating an original engine number, but stamped on a replacement (un-numbered) block by a previous owner, or his mechanic - then later it ended up with 00356

I've never seen the D before, that's a new one to me - not on any of my blocks

Kuni - Sprints ran the column shift from the start the floor shift on the tunnel case only arrived in March '56 with the Lightweight Veloce's and it became standard fitment on the export cars, but cars for the local (Italian & French) Markets quite often retained the column shift which continued to be a fitment right up to Sprint Chassis 07300 according to the Parts Catalogue, although the latest column shift chassis number that I'm aware of is 05639, "Giulie" bought new in France by the late Michael Payne, I have 05262 also a column shift car.

The LHD Berlina's and the Ti's continued to have the column shift fitted, albeit with a different linkage bracket to suit the split case gearbox right up to '61.

Ever wondered what that circular vertical casting is on the LHS of the bell-housing in later 101 and early 105 cars, well it's for the gear shift selector on the column shift as the split case actuation happened through the bell housing acting on the selector rods protruding through the front of the gearbox casing.

Aye
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-21-2014, 10:53 AM
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And Tom, there look like a ton of little center punch divots under the 0. can you tell what the story is there?
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-21-2014, 01:48 PM
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Here's the engine number on #541 (car #555). Obviously the block shouldn't be painted...



And here is one of the factory photos of a prototype / early production engine (if you enlarge it, the engine number is nearly visible). No steel reinforcing plates on this one, presumably before problems with rigidity / vibration were fully identified by the lucky early customers!


Looking at this photo, it's clear that my dipstick is bent.
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-21-2014, 01:49 PM
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Conrad S has a low-number Spider at his shop now for work. I'll peek and see what engine it has, whether it's original to the car.
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-21-2014, 02:28 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you for the photo, William. I suspect that they left off the steel plates for a "beauty shot." I suspect that my engine was replaced early on because the car had a vibration problem. Who knows, maybe even mechanical failures of the castings as a result of inadequate support.

I will get the number off my front cover tonight and post it, in case anyone knows how to relate that number to the production number of the engine from which it originally came.

A Solex PAIA carburetor, much like the one in the photo, recently came on eBay, but it did not appear to have the correct fuel connections and it was a German Solex, not Italian. The differences can be very slight, but they are there, in what I have observed. (Many Mercedes used a Solex APAI, but with detail differences from the Itailan made ones that we see on the Alfas.) Any one know whether the PAIA, as shown in the factory photo above and used on the first few hundred cars (including, I suspect, the 1955 Mille Miglia entrants), was German made?

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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-21-2014, 02:43 PM
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I owned a 1957 Spider, and the engine did not have steel plates bolted to the block. I drove the car for seventeen years without any vibration problems, but the car was a Normal. I wonder what year the motors were sold with plates. I also owned two 750 Spider engines one 1958 and the other 1959 and neither had plates.
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-21-2014, 03:12 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kuni123456 View Post
I owned a 1957 Spider, and the engine did not have steel plates bolted to the block. I drove the car for seventeen years without any vibration problems, but the car was a Normal. I wonder what year the motors were sold with plates. I also owned two 750 Spider engines one 1958 and the other 1959 and neither had plates.
Plates were just on the first 793 engines, according to the parts book. So, it was Sprints only, and early ones at that.

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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-21-2014, 03:26 PM Thread Starter
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Here is the "matching up" number on my front cover - 3555. There should be a matching number on the block, to show that the front cover and the block go together. But, I don't see any matching number on my block. Would the number '3555' bear any relationship to the serial number of the original engine, for example, 1315 03555? Just guessing. My car would have had an original engine number of 1315 003xx, according to Centro Storico. Would that translate, somehow, to the 03555 on the front cover? I am grasping at straws, but itching with curiosity to know.
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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-21-2014, 04:51 PM
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I have a 750 block with a 'B' in about the same spot as the 'D'. It is also black and of a similar script. Sometime back I was in touch with 'Vern in Oregon' (750Sprint on the ABB). He explained what these letters denoted but I've not retained that info except to the extent that it may have something to do with where they were cast. Vern is an active member so he may see this soon and enlighten us all.
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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-21-2014, 07:10 PM
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Tom and All,
I don't know with certainty what the painted letters on the front of the blocks represent. I have seen "B", "C", and "D" on various blocks. I think it has something to do with the machining tolerances for the fitment of the front cover to correctly align and support the intermediate idler sprocket for the camshaft drive. This critical figment is why the front covers are numbered to match a particular block. I believe it was Guidos method for sorting block dimensions. The front covers on my engines have stamped numbers as in your photos above that match a casting number on the starter side of the block adjacent to #3 cylinder.
Again, this is just my own opinion.

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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-21-2014, 08:21 PM
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The 750 engines I once owned had main caps and front covers with the same numbers. I remember only four numbers were stamped into each main cap and front cover. I never saw any letter painted on any 750 block, but I have only seen less than ten motors. I know that if you tried to use different front covers the intermediate idler sprocket might not work. I am going to look at my 101 1960 engine and see if it is marked the same. I will take photos of the block, main caps and front cover. The engine was removed from a Sprint more than forty years ago, and I used the cylinder head for my 101 Sprint Veloce.
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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 05-25-2014, 07:21 AM Thread Starter
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I spoke today with Claus M., who may be the most knowledgable person regarding 1955 Giuliettas, about the numbers on my engine. Claus tells me that the number on the front cover (see above, it's 3555) would ordinarily have three digits, and that he has not seen one like mine, with four digits. Also, the numbers cast into the cylinder head and the block suggest that this motor, though not original to my 1955 Sprint, is a 1955 vintage motor. Has anyone seen enough of these that they can tell the manufacture dates from these numbers? The number cast in the block, 24324, is also hand stamped on each of the main bearing caps. The bearing caps are sand cast, not die cast as in later engines.
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Last edited by Tom F2; 05-25-2014 at 07:25 AM.
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