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Looking at a B202 engine from a seller some distance away from me, and trying to identify the year and if it’s a turbo model or not.... It’s not currently in the car and the owner inherited it when he bought a used 900. He’s looking to pass it on now, but doesn’t know the year or if it’s turbo or n/a.

the serial number looks like 752170... definitely a B202.... any other way to identify it?
279353

279354

279355

279356
 

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To me, grey block = 1985. Definitely a turbo since the oil drain port is open. Get a picture of the head without the valve cover.
 

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Ok, I asked for a picture with the cover off. Why would you say Grey block is an ‘85? Did that not continue into the later years?
 

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Grey 16v blocks were only for a couple years, then they went red. A part number from the cams will help zero in, but obviously nothing says 30 years later parts haven't been swapped around.
 

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Can the serial number stamped into the block be used to identify the year?
I would also say 85 based on grey block , in which case it would have external oilers for the valve gear ( A picture with the valve cover off would confirm which is why Jvan has suggested ).
If by Serial number , you mean the actual engine number , then yes , that would help confirm. The serial number in your picture above is in the head casting , it is not the engine number . I cannot determine the year of the head based on a serial number off that casting , Someone with a car with an 85 head may be able to tell you if it matched.
If you can get the actual engine number , we would be able to tell more .
And agreed with JVan Return oil line port with an o ring ( as opposed a Welsh plug) suggests it was from a turbo .
 

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FWIW, I wouldn't get too hung up on the year unless you are planning some crazy build. If you just want a 160hp motor they are all very capable of that. The only thing of consequence in my mind is whether it has external or internal cam oilers. Personally, I would avoid the early external setup if possible. But, if that's all that's available I certainly wouldn't lose any sleep over it. Just be sure to fully inspect them before putting them into service.
 

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FWIW, I wouldn't get too hung up on the year unless you are planning some crazy build. If you just want a 160hp motor they are all very capable of that. The only thing of consequence in my mind is whether it has external or internal cam oilers. Personally, I would avoid the early external setup if possible. But, if that's all that's available I certainly wouldn't lose any sleep over it. Just be sure to fully inspect them before putting them into service.
Agree totally dont get too hung up on the year , BUT if it does have external oilers ( and that will be obvious with valve cover off , parrallel plastic tubes, make sure its all in good nick , the 90 degree bends are inclined to crack etc.
There was something about the cams ( exhaust I think) that made the 85 desirable .
The last 85 16v engine that I refreshed for a freind , I swapped in an 88 head but retained his 85 cams , that is I lost the external oiling .
 

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IIRC the '85 had has symmetric inlet ports, and relied on staggered lobe lift to create swirl in the cylinder. The '86+ used asymmetric inlet ports and symmetric cam lobes, relying in the ports to create that swirl without impacting valve lift. The exhaust cam is valuable, and if you keep the cams paired you net reduced overlap which is good in a turbo motor. Putting an '85 inlet cam in an '86 head probably isn't great (DOUBLE SWIRL!), but without the matching inlet cam the exhaust cam isn't so useful... so IDK. For a while, there was some Frankensteining going on, with people using 9000T inlet cams and '85 exhaust cams on '85 heads for MAX FLOW. But I think that combo is also effective on '86+ heads.

Not to go too far off road, but it's important to remember '85 engines are different in other ways too - the '85 16v used '84 pistons, which means a smaller head displacement. Putting a later head on an '85 motor will drop compression; putting an '85 head on a later motor will raise compression. '85 = 42cc, '86+ = 46cc.
 

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In case anyone cares...

Code:
Motor & year      Inlet lift, opens, closes   exhaust lift, open,  close
                       (mm)    (BTDC) (ATDC)       (mm)     (BBDC) (ATDC)

B202t  -1985      8.65/6.65**   16     56          8.65      56     10
B202t cat -86     8.65/6.65**   16     56          8.65      56     10

B202t  1986-          8.65      16     56          8,65      61     13
B202t cat 87-         8.65      16     56          8,65      61     13

B202i  1986-          8.65      16     44          8,65      61     13
B212i  1991-          8.65      16     44          8,65      61     13

B234i  90-93          8.65      13     53          8.65      50     16
B234t  91-93          8.65      13     53          8.65      50     16

B204all 94-           8.65      14     46          8.65      44     16
B234t   94-           8.65      14     46          8.65      44     16

B234i   94-           8.65      13     53          8.65      48     18

** - the difference in the height of the two lobes is for swirl in
the combustion chamber
 

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Discussion Starter #11
In case anyone cares...

Code:
Motor & year      Inlet lift, opens, closes   exhaust lift, open,  close
                       (mm)    (BTDC) (ATDC)       (mm)     (BBDC) (ATDC)

B202t  -1985      8.65/6.65**   16     56          8.65      56     10
B202t cat -86     8.65/6.65**   16     56          8.65      56     10

B202t  1986-          8.65      16     56          8,65      61     13
B202t cat 87-         8.65      16     56          8,65      61     13

B202i  1986-          8.65      16     44          8,65      61     13
B212i  1991-          8.65      16     44          8,65      61     13

B234i  90-93          8.65      13     53          8.65      50     16
B234t  91-93          8.65      13     53          8.65      50     16

B204all 94-           8.65      14     46          8.65      44     16
B234t   94-           8.65      14     46          8.65      44     16

B234i   94-           8.65      13     53          8.65      48     18

** - the difference in the height of the two lobes is for swirl in
the combustion chamber
Wow! Thanks for all that info, lots of good background there! I actually used to own a ‘85 Turbo... was already very rusty when I bought it.... after 5 years it was dangerous to drive! I ended up using the transmission to fix a ‘91 n/a with a bad synchro and used a bunch of other parts as well. However I had read about the different camshafts on this engine, so pulled and saved them at the time. I still have them packed away too... Hoping they come in handy for this next Saab project!
I should have a picture of this engine with the valve cover off today... should solve the year mystery :)
 

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The tubes on the followers are the external oilers, so it's '85-mid '88 at the newest. The inlet cam looks like it has symmetrical lobes, so guessing it's not an '85. The valve cover doesn't have the metal bridges for the spark plug cover, which suggests it's an '88 but it's not a slam dunk ID. But, really, if it's not an '85 and it's not a late '88 with the internal oilers, it doesn't matter, it's all the same engine.
 
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