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Old 01-02-2010, 10:29 PM   #1 (permalink)
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53 block

I have a question on the dreaded "53 Block"
I recently purchased my Dodge truck a few months ago and I read a thread about the 53 block on this Forum. There was a link to a great site about how to identify and fix this block if it cracks. The article said that the 53 block has a marking, the number “53” located on the bottom of the left side of the block. I checked and my block has no numbers there. What was unclear from the article was if this was the only place it would exist. Also the article seemed to imply if there wasn’t a “53” number there would be some other series of numbers. Does anyone know anything more about the identification of these blocks?
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Old 01-03-2010, 12:24 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AC1 View Post
I have a question on the dreaded "53 Block"
I recently purchased my Dodge truck a few months ago and I read a thread about the 53 block on this Forum. There was a link to a great site about how to identify and fix this block if it cracks. The article said that the 53 block has a marking, the number “53” located on the bottom of the left side of the block. I checked and my block has no numbers there. What was unclear from the article was if this was the only place it would exist. Also the article seemed to imply if there wasn’t a “53” number there would be some other series of numbers. Does anyone know anything more about the identification of these blocks?
Article said the 53 would be either beneath the PS pump along the bottom of the block above where the oil pan bolts toward the front OR on the passenger side somewhere. If you don't see a 53 then it doesn't matter what casting number you have. It might have a bunch of little numbers, it might have nothing, doesn't really matter. 97.5 to 2002's have the STORM block, all the same design just the ones with 53's SUPPOSEDLY had problems, I have never seen it personally and I practically spend all my free time at my friends machine shop, tons of 5.9s come in there for work. Just general info, the blocks before 97.5 were a different style, same style block from 89 to 97.5

Last edited by black01cumminstruck; 01-03-2010 at 12:30 AM.
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Old 01-03-2010, 11:33 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by black01cumminstruck View Post
Article said the 53 would be either beneath the PS pump along the bottom of the block above where the oil pan bolts toward the front OR on the passenger side somewhere. If you don't see a 53 then it doesn't matter what casting number you have. It might have a bunch of little numbers, it might have nothing, doesn't really matter. 97.5 to 2002's have the STORM block, all the same design just the ones with 53's SUPPOSEDLY had problems, I have never seen it personally and I practically spend all my free time at my friends machine shop, tons of 5.9s come in there for work. Just general info, the blocks before 97.5 were a different style, same style block from 89 to 97.5
does your friends machine shop get alot of cracked 53's?

i know there was a good and a bad 53 casting. but i still don't know which i have.
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Old 02-03-2011, 05:29 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Ok, been reading alot about the "53" after I just bought my truck. Checked it out and the only number I could find was a big "6" were the wiring harness attaches to the block and under the power steering pump. Hope someone can give me some info. on this. Hoping for a Storm but am usually not that lucky. Thanks.
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Old 02-03-2011, 10:01 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Ok, been reading alot about the "53" after I just bought my truck. Checked it out and the only number I could find was a big "6" were the wiring harness attaches to the block and under the power steering pump. Hope someone can give me some info. on this. Hoping for a Storm but am usually not that lucky. Thanks.
about 1 in 8 Cummins blocks were the mexican blocks, and they7 usually have small letters or numbers somewhere, but yea if you can't fijnd a big ole 53 stamped down by the oil pan area (bottom of the block) then your have a mexican block.
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Old 02-03-2011, 07:35 PM   #6 (permalink)
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my truck was made in mexico and it s 02 with a 55 block
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Old 02-03-2011, 09:18 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Like was stated earlier, if you have a bunch of small letters, and not a 53,54,55, you have a Mexican block. My 01 has the Mex block... They are actually the strongest blocks made thus far. The Mexico plant used about 1/3 MORE iron in casting than even the 55 block because of a shortage of the cheap metals used in the other blocks. They're bulletproof. Even if you have a 53 don't worry. Only 1% of them actually crack. My buddies puller has a 53 and it's got 850hp, hasn't cracked yet even after 7 seasons of pulling and 350,000 on the odometer. Usually if it passes 150,000 miles without cracking, it's not going to crack.
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Old 02-04-2011, 01:26 PM   #8 (permalink)
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It seems it's all about proper heat cycles. Take care of a 53 and let 'er heat up before driving and you'll reduce the possibility of it cracking.

here is the article: 53 Block FAQ and Information
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Old 02-09-2011, 04:02 PM   #9 (permalink)
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A buddy of mine just bought a 99 Cummins and when I found out, I told him about the 53 block issues(I welded 3 unsuccessfully in 2001, Cummins replaced the blocks). I looked at it and found no cracks but did find the 53 on it. He didn't seem happy that he bought a possible money pit so he took it to the local Cummins shop I recommended to him. They checked it all out and said it was in superb condition. He asked them about the 53 block and Cummins told him they never heard of the cracking issue. Kinda funny eh.
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Old 05-25-2011, 08:52 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I bought my 99 three months ago and then found out about the 53 block. Sure enough theres a big 53 on the drivers side of the block. I called cummins here in idaho and they said they had never heard of it as well. I called all the dodge dealerships and of the three there in town one mechanic said hes seen one in 15 years that was cracked. My pickup has 240 k miles and has no sign of cracking. Let her warm up and shes a lot less likely to crack.
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Old 05-26-2011, 03:14 PM   #11 (permalink)
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53 blocks

Last year I talked to Nate at Cummins customer service and he said about 1% of the 53s cracked. But you must keep in mind that Cummins only heard about the reported cracked 53s, read that ''reported'' as a warranty claim, so those out of warranty wouldn't be known to Cummins. It is my opinion, not supported by any factual evidence, that probably more like 5% cracked is closer to the truth. From what Nate told me there were two foundries in Brazil that cast 53 blocks but one was heavier or thicker and thus had no problems and of the other that did many turned out not to crack for whatever reasons. The reported difference is the thickness of the water jacket on the passenger side with the needed thickness about 11mm and the cracked ones having about 5-6mm. I have seen reports on the two Dodge forums I read that some owners of 53s got into the 200k milage range before theirs cracked but most seem to have cracked before 100k making them warrantee claims. I have a 53 that has 103k with no signs of cracking but last year I found a bare Mexican block with 24k miles in nice shape for $300. At this point if mine cracks I will either switch the internals of the old with the Mexican block or spring for a $4700 crate motor. What I have been trying without success to find out is how much labor, either in hours or dollars, that would be needed to switch the internals and how much labor/money would be needed to R and R just the long blocks.
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Old 05-27-2011, 01:57 PM   #12 (permalink)
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I've seen one 53 block in person,crack in it sure as can be.

Then there's the non 53 block that came in my 01',it cracked as well,but it was a crack across the main bearing journal web down below the turbo return line,went through a oil passage....
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