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The A stamp on 36hp blocks
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janerick3
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 25, 2017 6:31 am    Post subject: The A stamp on 36hp blocks Reply with quote

I think it's time to bust another myth...

For years, we've been told the A stamp on the 36hp generator stand means that either the engine has been rebuilt or, for early 1954 engines, upgraded with flat-top pistons.

However, I don't believe the "A" has anything to do with the engine having been rebuilt. The size and location of the stamp is too consistent to have been stamped anywhere but at the Wolfsburg engine shops.

Here's what I think: The "A" is found on 36hp engines originally equipped with vacuum advance mechanisms.

Here's the challenge: If you either have a 36hp case with a number starting with "20," or a mid-'56 - mid-'59 Type 2 with the original engine, look for the "A" stamped on the tower. Hopefully you won't find one--if you do, the myth lives on, for now...
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 25, 2017 1:09 pm    Post subject: Re: The A stamp on 36hp blocks Reply with quote

Interesting... I have a few cases that support your theory
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 25, 2017 1:31 pm    Post subject: Re: The A stamp on 36hp blocks Reply with quote

Interesting theory but the German word for Advance is Voraus.
The German word for Vacuum is Vakuum.

Seems like if this were the case then they would have stamped a V rather than and A.

My October '51's 25hp engine has an A stamped on the generator stand so I don't think it stands for a vacuum advance distributor since they wern't available on 25 hp engines.
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 25, 2017 4:51 pm    Post subject: Re: The A stamp on 36hp blocks Reply with quote

The A stamped on blocks stands for austausch which means exchange.
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 25, 2017 7:22 pm    Post subject: Re: The A stamp on 36hp blocks Reply with quote

splits-n-scoots wrote:
The A stamped on blocks stands for austausch which means exchange.


I have to respectfully disagree. Thus the reason for this thread.

There are far too many documented original engines out there with the A stamped on the generator stand. Besides, the exchange engines from this era have a square stamp with the word Aus-tausch on the generator stand, as well as a second set of numbers stamped vertically on the right side of the stand.
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 25, 2017 8:12 pm    Post subject: Re: The A stamp on 36hp blocks Reply with quote

I wonder the same thing.

I have three examples with the A and two digits on the lower left of the generator stand.

The engine from my '51. I don't have a birth cert to I can't say for sure that it is the original engine but it is a '51 engine that was built slightly before the car which is normally the case. Everything on this engine is accurate for a '51 other than the 383 which has a date code of May '53 and a Zwitter intake manifold. The engine appeared to have been rebuilt when I took it apart. The car had been parked in '62 and never driven afterward.
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A '53 case that I bought on EBay 15 years ago.
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A 56' engine that I bought just outside of Atlanta 20 years ago.
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The numbers are obviously not restamped but if they were a factory rebuilt exchange engine I thought they milled the old serial number so the dealer could restamp the original number.

Everett says that the A means it is a Dealer rebuilt engine in another thread. This would make more sense to me as far as serial number being original. The only thing that I question is that the stamping of the A and the two digits seems too consistent if they had been done at the dealer.
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 25, 2017 11:07 pm    Post subject: Re: The A stamp on 36hp blocks Reply with quote

First, I have said the "A" indicated rebuilt as people reported that on the site in the past. I don't know myself for sure.

Logically:
I'm not sure why they would stamp an engine case with an "A" to indicate it had a vacuum-advance distributor. What would be the purpose of that? As far as I know there is nothing different about the long block itself where you would want some sort of marking to make sure it got used with the proper distributor.

Quote:
Besides, the exchange engines from this era have a square stamp with the word Aus-tausch on the generator stand

True, I have seen that.
Quote:
as well as a second set of numbers stamped vertically on the right side of the stand.

I don't think that was always done? I have definitely seen that with a "KD" too but I'm pretty sure I have also seen the original engine # milled off with nothing on the right side. Maybe not in combination with the Austausch though.

Anyway, more info welcome.

To answer your question, I have 2 1955 -20- Bus engine cases and neither have an "A".
One is stamped rebuilt with numbers on the right side of the stand, one is not.
The rebuilt engine has had an oil return on the front repaired so it's possible other numbers/letters were damaged - I could not say for sure.

I also have an unstamped 36hp case that has an A. It is not marked rebuilt and has no numbers on the right side of the stand.
If there is something you want to see on it or want to see pics, let me know.
It's an empty case but I believe it's been used.

Here's a June, 1955 Bus engine I used to own with no "A"
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 26, 2017 8:15 am    Post subject: Re: The A stamp on 36hp blocks Reply with quote

I'd like to see a picture of that unstamped case.
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 26, 2017 8:57 am    Post subject: Re: The A stamp on 36hp blocks Reply with quote

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Date stamp on the left side of the generator stand is:
3 5 16 - May 3rd, 1956, 1st shift
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 26, 2017 11:48 am    Post subject: Re: The A stamp on 36hp blocks Reply with quote

That case appears to have had the seial number boss milled off. Compared to my '56 case your boss is almost nonexistent.
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 26, 2017 4:53 pm    Post subject: Re: The A stamp on 36hp blocks Reply with quote

My '56 case, with an "A". Engine/chassis numbers are a match according to birth certificate, and it was a CKD delivery to Australia. Not sure how/why the engine would have been rebuilt. I know the full history from 1976, and have no reason to believe it was rebuilt prior to that.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 26, 2017 10:25 pm    Post subject: Re: The A stamp on 36hp blocks Reply with quote

splitjunkie wrote:
That case appears to have had the seial number boss milled off. Compared to my '56 case your boss is almost nonexistent.


Thanks, I will take a closer look at that.
I'm not super surprised, I believe that is the case where I bought it totally disassembled many years ago.
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 28, 2017 7:01 am    Post subject: Re: The A stamp on 36hp blocks Reply with quote

Replying to Everett's post on un-numbered Factory cases.

Several years ago I had, and then sold an un numbered engine case. This was NOS and was coated with grease. When I bought it it was in a trashed cardboard box with the correct part number. It was an A series case, probably '55 and later.

I picked it up through a friend of a friend who had worked at a dealership clearing old inventory, along with a matching new crank in the correct box. I'm sure the parts are out there, and that VW had evolving policies and practices on parts and engine marking for re-manufacturing. The case in question had the un-milled blank number pad and did not have a A stamp anywhere on the pedestal. What few photo's I had of it are on paper somewhere. Hard to believe I'm the only one to have seen one.

I have to imagine VW's inventory, manufacturing, and parts management were chaotic at best. Part numbers, and markings, are at some point different than the real world part, or what was bolted on to any vehicle.

Interesting side note. I bought the case/crank for a bunch of $$ in the 90's for a '54 bug. Eventually the bug was sold, and I had leftover parts for the car. I tried to sell the case East Coast VW shows without any serious interest or money. It did sell at the Hershey Porsche swap meet, where the early 356 folks were searching for correct 36HP engines. Some purists will note an A series part isn't correct for an early 356, but the buyer wanted the new case without a serial, more than an old case.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 01, 2017 7:41 pm    Post subject: Re: The A stamp on 36hp blocks Reply with quote

This is supposed to be a numbers matching '51. Has the same serif A stamp as my '51 engine.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 02, 2017 2:21 pm    Post subject: Re: The A stamp on 36hp blocks Reply with quote

I have a W stamp on one of my cases, similar location. Does this add anything to the discussion?

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2018 4:16 pm    Post subject: Re: The A stamp on 36hp blocks Reply with quote

The stamped A stands for that the engine have the bad fiber cam gear.

This fiber cam gear cost vw a lot of money to replace.
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2018 6:52 pm    Post subject: Re: The A stamp on 36hp blocks Reply with quote

sweden wrote:
The stamped A stands for that the engine have the bad fiber cam gear.

This fiber cam gear cost vw a lot of money to replace.


Are you saying that the A means it originally had the fiber cam gear and that they stamped the A when they replaced it?
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2018 8:41 pm    Post subject: Re: The A stamp on 36hp blocks Reply with quote

splitjunkie wrote:
sweden wrote:
The stamped A stands for that the engine have the bad fiber cam gear.

This fiber cam gear cost vw a lot of money to replace.


Are you saying that the A means it originally had the fiber cam gear and that they stamped the A when they replaced it?


If that were true, there would be A's of all different shapes and sizes.

That being said, there shouldn't be any large A's stamped after engine # 1518878, as that is when the fiber gear was done away with for good.
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2018 2:00 am    Post subject: Re: The A stamp on 36hp blocks Reply with quote

splitjunkie wrote:
sweden wrote:
The stamped A stands for that the engine have the bad fiber cam gear.

This fiber cam gear cost vw a lot of money to replace.


Are you saying that the A means it originally had the fiber cam gear and that they stamped the A when they replaced it?


Yes that is what i have been learn.
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2018 2:12 am    Post subject: Re: The A stamp on 36hp blocks Reply with quote

janerick3 wrote:
splitjunkie wrote:
sweden wrote:
The stamped A stands for that the engine have the bad fiber cam gear.

This fiber cam gear cost vw a lot of money to replace.


Are you saying that the A means it originally had the fiber cam gear and that they stamped the A when they replaced it?


If that were true, there would be A's of all different shapes and sizes.

That being said, there shouldn't be any large A's stamped after engine # 1518878, as that is when the fiber gear was done away with for good.


In my notes i have this information on fiber cam gear.
They start to stop with fiber cam gear in november 1955 ch nr 1-1033950
And the last fiber gear was in august 1956 ch nr 1266671

This is from old handwritten notes but this is only for beetle not buses.

I have an march -55 engine that have both an A and Austausch stamp so this must be two different thing.
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