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Thread: Excelsior Engine Dating

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2013

    Default Excelsior Engine Dating

    Can anyone help explain to me how to date an excelsior engine by VIN ??? I am looking for a Series 18 and 20 engine if anyone has one to sell.

  2. #2


    The usual source for serial numbers for Excelsiors are the lists that the Ballak dealership compiled. You can find these at The lists were complied after Excelsior had ceased production and there are issues with them.

    Bob Turek
    # 769

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Melbourne, Australia


    There are numerous features that distinguish the different models of engines (from 1915-1924 is the time period I will concentrate on), most are subtle and hard to pic unless you've seen every type. To list them now I would need a few days but email with pictures when you find an engine and I will help you out. Cylinders, timing cover and the length of the inner primary mounting points on the cases are the best way to determine the model when combined with a serial number.

    Below is a timeline of Excelsior front cylinders from left to Right: 1924, 1923, Series 19/20, Series 18, Series 17, Series 16, 1915. It is possible that the Series 18 cylinder carried over on early Series 19. The 1923 cylinder does not have the drilling for the oil pipe, and the 1924 cylinder has additional cutouts in the base flange. Series 16 and 1915 cylinders are very similar, Series 16 has a hole added in the intake track for a priming line. Some later Series 16 cylinders don't have the boss for the priming cock (separate to the priming line) drilled. Series 17 cylinders are unique to that model. Series 18/19/20 are all very similar in the casting, but the boss around the oil feed line changes through the years, other changes are minor.

    Series 18 onward cylinder are prone to cracking between the exhaust valve seat and bore. This generally occurs when there is a considerable amount of valve seat recession. Series 17 cylinders I have seen crack around the area that the intake valve pocket sits into. The Series16 and 1915 cylinders have smaller a exh valve and dont seem to suffer the same cracks. Intake is also smaller on these models as is the intake track in the cylinder (ID)

    Excelsior Cylinder Timeline 1924-1915 Side.jpgExcelsior cylinder timeline 1924-1915 Top.jpg

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