How to decode a Ford part number may be easy or complicated, depending on the knowledge of the person doing it. Knowing how to read a Ford part number will help you determine which part is best to use for your Ford vehicle. A Ford part number usually consists of alphanumeric characters, which are used as a reference code. It is divided into three parts: prefix, basic part number and suffix. A prefix is usually made of four digits. A basic part number usually has four or five digits, but it may consist of more than five digits if the part is for the body of a car. A suffix is usually made up of one letter, unless it indicates colour.
Look at the first two digits of the Ford part number. The letter refers to the decade of manufacture. The letter "A" stands for 1940s, "B" for 1950s, "C" for 1960s, "D" for 1970s, "E" for 1980s, "F" for 1990s and "G" for 2000s. The second digit indicates the year within the decade, for instance, "A3" means 1943, "C8" is 1968 and "F5" is 1995.
Decode the third digit as the product line. If it is letter "A," the part is originally designed for a 1958 to later year Ford (generic) or Galaxie vehicle. If it is letter "B," it is for a 1970 to 1973 Bronco, 1975 to 1977 Maverick or a 1978 to 1983 Fairmont. The letter "C" indicates 1966 to 1975 remanufactured parts. The letter "D" is for a 1960 to 1969 Falcon, 1970 to 1974 Maverick, 1975 to 1982 Granada or a 1983 to later year LTD. (See References 2 and 3)
Use the fourth digit as the source code. For example, the letter "A" stands for Light Truck Engineering, "B" for Body and Electrical Product Engineering, "C" for Chassis Engineering or Powertrain and Chassis Product Engineering, "D" for Overseas Product Engineering, "E" for Engine Engineering or Powertrain and Chassis Product Engineering, and "F" for Electrical and Electronics Division or Product Engineering office. (See References 1 and 2)
Read the group of numbers as the basic part number, which is between the first four digits and the suffix. It identifies what type of Ford part it is. There are different groupings of part types used by Ford, such as "1000" for wheels, "2000" for brakes, "3000" for suspension and steering, "4000" for axle and driveshaft, "5200" for exhaust, "5300" to "5400" for front springs and stabiliser, "5500" to "5900" for rear springs, "6000" for engine and "7000" for transmission. If the part has to do with the body of a car, the basic part number may start with the body code, such as "65" for hardtop, "25" for luggage rack or "76" for convertible, just to mention a few. (See References 3)
Know that the suffix letter is used for compatibility purposes. The first time the part was manufactured, "A" was assigned as the suffix. For the first revision, "B" was used as the suffix, then "C" for second revision and so on. It continues through the alphabet as the design changes. Use a Ford part with the same or later suffix as a replacement or substitution. A suffix with a three-letter code usually represents colour.