In this issue, we'll look at our disassembled Save the Fish 'Cuda parts and note date-codes as well as part and casting numbers. Roger Gibson Restorations, Year One, and Mr. Norm's Sport Club have teamed up to provide this series of articles on a complete, nut-and-bolt, state-of-the-art Mopar restoration.
These codes will help our restoration in a couple of ways. First, we want to make sure we have the proper components as they relate to the buildsheet and factory specifications. Second, we want to make sure the date-coded components have proper dates that fall within the scheduled production date of the vehicle. The date-coding of parts was and still is the vendors' method of tracking when each part was assembled. This was mandatory for warranty purposes in case of parts failures.
Date-coding has probably become the most difficult task to handle when restoring a Chrysler-manufactured car. Locating a correct part-numbered part is difficult enough, but when the part must be correctly date-coded, this makes the task impossible at times. The proper date-code on a part also commands a higher price. Practically every part on the car has a date-code, whether it's cast, stamped, etched, or inked on.
We all know that a cylinder block is date-coded, but did you know that a starter relay is date-coded, as well as the diodes in your alternator? How about the accelerator cable, brake hoses, oil pressure and water temperature sending units, or the thermostat housing? How about the motor mounts, driveshafts, U-joint straps, hood latches, windshields, voltage regulators, coils, carburetors, and so on? Using our '70 'Cuda, we'll attempt to explain the various types of date-coding used throughout Mopar.
Several different types of date-coding were used during the musclecar era. Some are easy to spot and detect in an easy-to-decipher manner, while others require Month/Day/Year: This close examination and thought to find and recognize them as a date-code. I'll begin with the most conventional date-code method:
Month/Day/Year: This method is used on most cast-iron parts, such as cylinder blocks, cylinder heads, and intake and exhaust manifolds. Example: 8 19 69 = August 19, 1969.
The Month numerals are self-evident as follows: 1 = Jan., 2 = Feb., 3 = March, and so on. The day, on the other hand, isn't used often in the numeral-type date-codes. For instance, windshields and other glass in the car are coded with the Month/Year. Example: 26 = February 1966. The glass code is incorporated into the manufacturers' screen that's etched into each glass. On windshields and rear glasses, this is typically located at the lower middle of the glass. The date-code is typically the lower right-hand set of numbers. On side glasses, it's located in the lower corner of each glass.
Some types of Month/Day/Year date-codes substitute the month numeral with a letter. On many of these types of date-coding, the Day numerals are deleted, leaving only the Month/Year. Typically, A is January, B is February, and so on with the exception of the letter "I," which was deleted most of the time because it could be mistaken for the number "1." Therefore, month alpha codes are as follows:
|A = Jan. ||E = May ||J = Sept. |
|B = Feb. ||F = June ||K = Oct. |
|C = March ||G = July ||L = Nov. |
|D = April ||H = Aug. ||M = Dec. |
Other Types Of Date-Coding Used:
*Year/Month Dot Type: Motor Mount Insulator. A year and a series of dots may appear on the rubber. For example, "69...." = fourth month of 1969
Julian: Day Of/Year (1-365...
Julian: Day Of/Year
(1-365 plus last digit of year)The Day Of/Year method of date-coding is typically used in the following applications:
Carter - on tag
Holley - on air horn
The wiper motor photo shows the part number, 3431077; the vendor code, 73691; and the date-code, 2869, the 286th day of 1969. This just precedes the build date of this car.
Week Of/Year (Week 01-52...
(Week 01-52 plus last digit of year)The Week Of/Year method of coding is usually found on the following components:
The horn photo shows the date-code 39 9, the 39th week of 1969. The other horn (not shown) from this car is coded 40 9, the 40th week of 1969.
Month Of/Year (Month 1-12...
(Month 1-12 plus last digit of yearThe Month Of/Year coding is found on the following components:
**Wheel (not all)
*The rear-side glass photo shows 69, the sixth month (June) of 1969. Glass dates can differ greatly on a car-sometimes many months from one piece to the next.
Month Of Alpha/Year (Months...
Month Of Alpha/Year
(Months A-M [no I] plus last digit of year)
The Month Of Alpha/Year coding is found on the following components:
*Carter carburetor base
*Carter fuel pump
*Temperature sending unit
The oil-sending unit shown is dated K 9. The K is for the 10th month (October) and the 9 is for 1969. A = January, B = February, and so on. The letter "I" is skipped to avoid confusion with the number "1." This is close to the build date of the fish (Scheduled Production Date of October 12, 1969) but possible. The driveshaft shown is PN 2863656. The last two digits (56) correspond with the two-digit number on the buildsheet. Also visible to the right of the part number is the date-code H 9. The H is for the eighth month (August) and the 9 is for 1969. This isn't our 'Cuda's driveshaft, which was too rusty for our photos to clearly show the part number and date-codes. We were able to find the 2883775 part number that corresponds with the buildsheet and a date-code of G 9 on it, which translates to the seventh month (July) of 1969. This is three months before our Scheduled Production Date, which is also possible.
Month/Day/Yearmonth 1-12 plus day 1-31 plus last two digits of year
The Month/Day/Year coding is found on the following components:
*Exhaust manifolds (some)
*Intake manifolds (some)
The exhaust manifold is dated 8.19.69, which is August 19, 1969. This translates into being cast about seven weeks before the vehicle's Scheduled Production Date. The casting number is 2951865, which is the correct part for this application.
The cast-iron Six Pack manifold...
The cast-iron Six Pack manifold is dated 7 16 69, which is July 16, 1969. This is almost three months before the scheduled date of the car. This is one of the earliest casting dates we've found on the cast-iron 440-6 intake.