Select Year...
  1. Select Year...
  2. 2016
  3. 2015
  4. 2014
  5. 2013
  6. 2012
  7. 2011
  8. 2010
  9. 2009
  10. 2008
  11. 2007
  12. 2006
  13. 2005
  14. 2004
  15. 2003
  16. 2002
  17. 2001
  18. 2000
  19. 1999
  20. 1998
  21. 1997
  22. 1996
  23. 1995
  24. 1994
  25. 1993
  26. 1992
  27. 1991
  28. 1990
  29. 1989
  30. 1988
  31. 1987
  32. 1986
  33. 1985
  34. 1984
  35. 1983
  36. 1982
  37. 1981
  38. 1980
  39. 1979
  40. 1978
  41. 1977
  42. 1976
  43. 1975
  44. 1974
  45. 1973
  46. 1972
  47. 1971
  48. 1970
  49. 1969
  50. 1968
  51. 1967
  52. 1966
  53. 1965
  54. 1964
  55. 1963
  56. 1962
  57. 1961
  58. 1960
  59. 1959
  60. 1958
  61. 1957
  62. 1956
  63. 1955
  64. 1954
  65. 1953
  66. 1952
  67. 1951
  68. 1950
Select Make...
  1. Select Make...
Select Model...
  1. Select Model...

Just as construction of a building begins with a foundation, assembly of an engine starts with the block. Major components like the crankshaft, pistons and cylinder head(s) are installed on the block, and the block is usually where the motor mounts are installed that attach the block to the vehicle chassis. Engine blocks used to be predominately made of cast iron, but today most vehicles have aluminum blocks with cast iron cylinder liners.

Featured Products

Featured Brands

Engine blocks are most commonly identified by their cylinder configuration. In-line engines have the cylinders next to one another in a row. 3, 4, 5, and 6-cylinder in-line engines are common, but years ago many vehicles came with “straight 8s”. V-type engines allow multiple cylinders to be assembled in a much more compact package, with an equal number of cylinders in each bank. The angle of the V is usually (but not always) 90-degrees and there can be anywhere from 6 to 12 cylinders in a modern V-type engine. In the past some Ford and Lancia vehicles were equipped with V4 engines, and in the 1930s luxury vehicles like Cadillac and Marmon came with massive V16 engines. Less common are horizontally opposed “flat” engines, where 2 or 3 cylinders are arranged on either side of the crankshaft. This configuration was famously used in the Volkswagen Beetle but has also been used extensively by Porsche and Subaru.

After an engine block is cast it undergoes extensive machining so other components can be properly installed. The oil pan rails, block deck and other surfaces are machined smooth for proper gasket sealing. The bores for the crankshaft (and camshaft on overhead valve engines) are machined to allow the installation of plain bearings. All the required attachment holes are drilled/tapped to accept fasteners. The block is bored 90 degrees to the crankshaft centerline and honed to the finish required for optimal piston ring seating. When an engine is remanufactured it is common to bore/hone the cylinders, resurface the block deck, and align hone the main bearing saddles.

Engine blocks also include an extensive network of coolant and oil passages. The oil pump usually bolts to the block and passages are necessary to carry oil under pressure to the crankshaft and camshaft bearings and to the cylinder head so the valvetrain can be lubricated. There are also paths for the oil to drain back to the oil pan. The collection of passages cast into the block for coolant flow is known as the “water jacket”. Coolant is drawn from the radiator by the water pump and circulated through the block and heads, absorbing heat from the cylinders and combustion chambers. It then flows out through the top radiator hose back to the radiator where it is cooled. Holes made in the block to facilitate the casting process are sealed by core plugs.

Related Categories

Guides & Articles

  • Auto Repair Parts
    This article will guide you through a generic tune up on most any car or light duty gasoline-powered vehicle built within the last 20 years or so. We will presume that you are tuning up your engine because it has reached the mileage or time point to do so, and that you are NOT performing a tune up to cure an engine performance defect. We make this distinction because not all running/performance issues will be solved via a simple tune up.
  • Auto Repair Parts
    Internal combustion engines are extremely complex and feature a wide array of components that rotate, move up and down, pump, seal, or remain stationary. When repairing or rebuilding your engine, you will come across many different terms when referencing repair manuals and ordering parts. We know it can be confusing, especially when the repair is complex. Even if you are paying a professional to do the work, it’s good to be conversant with the topic. In order to help you understand the terminology of engine components, we’ve created the following glossary, listed in alphabetical order.