Tech Tips: How To Find Perkins Diesel Engine Serial Numbers

Founded in the early 20th century, Perkins has long produced diesel engines for various industries. They sought to change diesel engines from a slow-moving working engine to a high-speed, high-performance workhorse. They succeeded. At first they produced engines for agricultural applications, but their engines can be found in marine equipment, industrial, construction, and more. 

Perkins Diesel Engine BlockIf you're looking for parts or rebuild kits for your Perkins engine, you'll need to be able to find and identify your engine serial number in order to find the correct parts. This differs between engine manufacturers, and even from model to model from the same company, so learn how to identify the information you need!


We've got the tool you need to help find your Perkins ESN. Download this free quick guide!

Perkins ESN Guide!

Having a problem with your diesel engine? Check out Common Diesel Engine Problems to learn more about what might be affecting your engine!


What Should I Know About My Perkins Engine Serial Number? 

Most Perkins engines fall into two categories, pre-1978 (1966-1978—another numbering method was used prior to that) and post-1978, which includes current engines in production.

In pre-1978 engines, the ESN consisted of a max of 13 digits, beginning with its cubic inch capacity, then its manufacturing country, the OEM, the serial number, followed by letters indicating any special features—D for direct injection, for example. This system of numbering is no longer followed, and the ESN on modern Perkins engines can be a little longer.

The standard format for a post-1978 model begins with two letters indicating the Engine Family / Type Code. This code can give you even more specific information about the features of your engine, including whether it has a turbo, is water or air cooled, etc. If you're interested, there are several easily accessible resources online to help you better understand your engine family.

The next five numbers make up the build number or engine order reference. The letter in the middle indicates the country the engine was manufactured in:


perkins engine country of manufacture chart


The number that comes next is your engine number, and it is unique to your engine. The last letter indicates the year your engine was manufactured:


perkins engine manufacturing year code | Highway & Heavy Parts

With these numbers, it's possible to get a lot of information about the specifics of your information. This can let you shop for parts with confidence and accuracy.


Where Is My Perkins Engine Serial Number Located? 

All that information is great, but it's useless unless you can actually find where the number is located on your engine. The number itself is stamped on a tag located on your engine block. Like many other engine manufacturers, Perkins isn't consistent on where they place the tag between their engine types. On a large number of them, the tag is located on the left side of the engine. This includes engine types 4.108, 4.154/200 Series, 4.165, 4.212, 4.248, 900 Series, 4.236, 6.247, 6.354, 850 Series, 4.318, 4.41, Phaser/1000/1100 (A/B/C) Series, Peregrine/1300 Series, 1206E, 1204E, and 1104D.

If you have engine types 4.203 or Phaser/1000/1100 (A/B/C) Series, the tag might be on the rear of the engine.

Engine types 700/800 Series, 4.236, 3.152, 4.203, Peregrine/1300 series, and Perama/100/400 Series could be on the right side of the engine.

If you have a V8.640, a V8.540, or a 1300 series, the tag might be on the top of the block.

Make sure that you're looking for an actual tag. You might see some numbers cast onto the components themselves. These are not the numbers you want. Instead, look for that tag. This is where the actual ESN is, and that's what you need to properly identify parts for your engine.


Need more help understanding your Perkins ESN and where to find it? Let our ASE certified techs give you a hand!

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Why Is MY Engine Serial Number Important?

We've talked about other diesel engine serial numbers before, but this information is vital to finding the right parts for your engine. Because of the inconsistency from manufacturers, just knowing your engine model isn't enough. It could result in wrong parts because of any special features on your engine. Providing your ESN can help prevent these mistakes.

That's why we ask for your engine serial number when you call us. We want to provide you with the best service possible, and that includes getting you the right parts. Even if you order online, many pages will prompt you to input your ESN so we can double check that the parts will work on your engine.

So have your ESN handy when you're looking for parts. It'll save you time in the long run!


Looking for parts for your Perkins engine? Grab your engine serial number and give a certified tech a call at 844-215-3406, or request a quote online. We'll help you find what you're looking for!

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Originally Posted March 19, 2019; Edited April 2, 2021