How to Tell the Year of an Old Ford Tractor

Written by joanne cichetti
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How to Tell the Year of an Old Ford Tractor
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Henry Ford grew up on a farm and built his first experimental tractor in 1907. Since then, hundreds of tractor models have been manufactured by Ford Motor Company. Every tractor has a model number, production code and a tractor serial number. These numbers provide information about the tractor’s model, its purpose, fuel type, transmission, manufacturing country, year, month and day of manufacturing. In short, it pretty much tells you all about the tractor. Because you only need to know about the tractor’s manufacturing year, we will focus on the production code only.

Skill level:

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  1. 1

    Find the tractor’s codes. The three types of codes are usually found stamped together. According to, the numbers can be located on the right side, toward the back or just behind the starter. They can also be located on top of a lug on the flywheel housing.

  2. 2

    Identify the production code from the three codes. It should look something like 2J29B. The model number and serial number are usually a digit longer than the production code, so there shouldn’t be a problem identifying this number.

  3. 3

    Decode the first character of the code. For instance “2” (to the leftmost) in the example code “2J29B” refers to the manufacturing year, which is 1972. According to, the code for 1965 tractors is “5,” 1966 is “6,” 1967 is “7,” and this pattern continues until "4" for 1974. Thereafter, letters were used to indicate the years.

Tips and warnings

  • You can also tell the manufacturing month and date of the tractor by decoding the entire production code. For instance, after the first character, the second character indicates the month, which can be January: A, February: B, March: C, April: D and so on until December: M. The third and fourth digits tell the date, for instance, “29” would mean: 29th day of the month.

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