Compiled by and copyright © 1999: Ed Hennessy.
Sources: Hembree Blue Book (1966-1967), Hollander VIN Decoder (1968- ). Thanks to David Wright and Lynn Travers of the Shelby Dodge Auto Club MidWest for 1966 and turbo corrections. Chrysler's TC by Maserati info courtesy George Kulp.
Engine type is coded in Chrysler VINs beginning in 1966. Prior to 1966, the VIN only distinguished a 6 cylinder model from an 8 cylinder model.
Chrysler used two VIN systems. The first, used from 1966-1980, has 13 digits, and the engine code is the 5th digit. The second has 17 digits and the engine code is the 8th digit. As usual, there's an exception. Chrysler's TC by Maserati has the engine VIN digit in the fifth position.
(Jeep used the AMC system until a few years after Chrysler acquired it. Jeep then switched to the Chrysler conventions. See below.)
Knowing the year of the car is often necessary to determine which engine code to use. The year is coded in the 6th (13-digit system) or the 10th digit. (In both cases, the year code is 8 characters from the end of the VIN, or 2 characters before the six-digit sequential build number.) >From 1966 to 1979, the last number of the calendar year was used, and 6 through 9 were repeated (0 *was* used for 1970). Beginning in 1980, the year was coded alphabetically, beginning with 'A' and skipping 'I,' 'O,' and 'Q.' (H=1987, J=1988, N=1992, P=1993, R=1994, etc.)
This list does not include Dodge truck engine codes, which, except for the minivans, are mostly different than those for cars. In fact, the truck VINs use a different system, and may even omit the engine code. (The Jeep list includes all codes from 1981, regardless of usage.)
Engine code in VIN:
Codes from 1981-present: Unless marked as diesel or EFI, all listed engines used 2 barrel carburetors.
Earthroamer XP-JVJeep-based luxury camper, 2007-2011
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