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How to Identify a Ford Motor

Updated February 21, 2017

Identifying an engine can come in handy. For one, if it's at a junkyard and you're looking at it for a future project, knowing what you've got is helpful. For two, it helps find parts for your engine. But how to ID a Ford motor takes a little bit of research and know-how, so here are some tips.

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  1. Locate the casting numbers on the block. This can be either behind the distributor on the engine, or near the starter. If you have to, use the wire brush and degreaser to clean the engine and see the number easier.

  2. Note the first letter in the casting number. It's a letter to designate the year of manufacture of the part.

  3. B - 1950s C - 1960s D - 1970s E - 1980s

  4. Note the second number in the casting number. This is for the last digit in the year. For example, a casting number starting with B8 was manufactured in 1958.

  5. Note the third letter in the casting number. This is the model design of the vehicle.

  6. A - Generic full-size ford C - 1966 to 1975 Remanufactured part D - Ford Falcon E - Ford truck F - Foreign market or Trans Am racing engine G - '61 to '67 Comet or '68 to '76 Montego H - '66 to '82 heavy truck or Holman Moody high performance parts J - Industrial Ford model L - Lincoln M - Mercury O - '67 to '76 Ford Torino and all Ford Fairlane S - Ford Thunderbird T - Truck U - Econoline van V - Lincoln W - Mercury Cougar Y - '62 to '72 Meteor (Canada model) and '75 to '81 Bobcat Z - Mustang 6 - Pantera

  7. Note the fourth letter in the casting number. If you're looking at a complete engine, it should be an "E."

  8. Note the next four digits in the casting number, generally after a hyphen or space. This is the generic part number for the engine. This number should be between 6000 and 6898 for an engine base assembly.

  9. Note the last letter in the number. This is the engineering version of the part, or the design change.

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Things You'll Need

  • Wire brush
  • Degreaser

About the Author

Russell Wood

Russell Wood is a writer and photographer who attended Arizona State University. He has been building custom cars and trucks since 1994, including several cover vehicles. In 2000 Wood started a career as a writer, and since then he has dedicated his business to writing and photographing cars and trucks, as well as helping people learn more about how vehicles work.

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