Ford 6 Cylinder Engine Identification: A Guideline To Decode

The Ford 6 cylinder engine identification is determined by a string of numbers, providing all necessary information about your vehicle’s engine, such as the model year, month and year of manufacturer, the change level number, engine type and the Cubic Inch Displacement (CID).

Mastering how to identify a Ford engine helps you a lot, especially when you want to change the motor or check if your aftermarket engine matches the original one.

Let’s dig into the details of how to find the Ford engine serial number location and decode the string!

How To Find The Ford Engine Block Codes Serial Numbers Specifications?

ford 6 cylinder engine identification

In order to find the Ford engine number identification, you need to prepare the following tools:

  • A wrench
  • A floor jack
  • 2 jack stands
  • Engine degreaser
  • A garden hose

Below is the step on how you can find Ford v8 engine identification:

Remove The Negative Battery Cable Under The Hood

Open the hood of the car and use the wrench to take out the negative battery cable from the battery. You should do this step of disconnecting the battery to avoid electric shock.

If you find out there’s rusty around the battery place; you should clean the corroded battery cables to extend the battery’s life.

It’s even better to do it before the corrosion appears since it is always better to prevent than cure.

Otherwise, you will see troubles with your electrical components or engine stalls soon.

Lift The Front Part Of The Vehicle

Use the floor jack to lift the front of the car and 2 safety stands to support the car’s weight. The space should be wide enough to access the starter motor and the code string.

Disconnect The Battery Cable 

You will need to take a wrench again and unplug the battery cable from the starter motor. Look at the table’s tip; you’ll see a nut keeping a circular metal fitting sliding over the threaded rod.

Take the wrench to remove that nut and pull the cable out of the starter.

Take Out The Starter Motor

The starter motor is molded in place with 2 bolts: one on top and one at the bottom of the starter.

In this step, you need to use the wrench to untwist the bolts, then remove the starter motor from underneath the car.

Clean The Dirt To See The Number

Take the engine degreaser and clean the engine’s passenger side. You will likely be able to see the 351 Windsor identification numbers behind the grime and dirt.

You should use the degreaser available in the aerosol can and spray it on the engine’s side. Wait one to two minutes, and turn on the garden hose to push the grime away from the engine.

The engine identification number Ford should appear above the place where the starter motor was.

Ford 6 Cylinder Engine Identification

engine identification number ford

The Ford 302 and 429 engine identification can be determined by the identification tag.

The Ford engine ID tag decoder will provide the information on the block type, year, month and location where the block was built.

You also can look for the 9-digit casting tag to check the same date as the engine.

Method 1: Use The Identification Tag

Narrow Down The Type Of Engine

You can narrow down the type of your engine based on decoding the number of valve cover bolts.

Look on top of the motor; you’ll find the big bolt keeping the Ford plate on top of the valve. The bolt’s number indicates the type of your block. For example:

  • 2 bolts mean block type: 312, 292, 272, 256, 239
  • 5 bolts mean block type: 428, 427,410, 406, 391, 390, 361, 360, 353, 332
  • 6 bolts mean block type: 351W, 302, 289, 260, 221
  • 7 bolts mean block type: 460, 429
  • 8 bolts mean block type: 400, 351M, 351C

Locate The ID Tag

Now, if you want to know the engine’s year, make, and model, look for the ID tag under the coil attaching bolts.

It’s usually available in all Ford 6-cylinders manufactured after 1964 and some eight-cylinder engine cars. The tag is made of aluminum, and its size is around 3 inches long and 0.5 inches wide.

The location of the tag is slightly different based on the engine model identified in Step 1.

For example, if you have the 352 engine mode, you should look for it under the dipstick (i.e., under the small and plastic-handled piece you use to check the oil level).

If you still can not find the tag, I suggest you check under the ignition coil bolt, carburettor attaching stud, and the heat indicator bulb.

If you have investigated all these locations but have no result, the tag might be lost or removed or only be seen when you remove the engine.

According to my research, the common places of the tag can identify the engine types. For example:

  • Dipstick: 352 engines.
  • Carburetor Stud: 401, 477 534 engines
  • Indicator Bulb: 360, 330, 391 engines

Read The Tag

Here is how you decipher the Ford engine code after locating the tag. You should read it from left to right:

  • CID (Cubic Inch Displacement): the first three numbers are the size of your block.
  • Manufacturing Plant: Next to the CID to the right is the letter indicating the location of engine manufacturing. For example:
    • Letter W means the engine was built in Windsor, Canada.
    • Letter E means Ensite, Canada.
    • Letter C is Cleveland
  • Year: The year of car production is indicated by the following 2 digits. For example, 80 means the engine was made in 1980.
  • Month: The month of manufacture is presented by a letter. The order of the months corresponds to the alphabet order from A to M (except letter I, in order not to make people confused with the number 1)
  • For example, assuming we are checking the 70’s models:
    • 1-A means January 1971
    • 3-C means March 1973
    • 6-M means December 1976

Method 2: Decoding Casting Tags

Looks For The Nine-Digit Casting Tags

The Ford engine casting numbers are attached to the motor from the factory to tell you information helpful for engine check and replacement.

Use a rag or some degreaser to clean the block, see the letters and perform Ford engine serial number lookup.

Usually, you can see the code on one side. With older models, you may need light for better vision.

The general format of Ford’s part number convention usually includes:

  • 4 digit casting code.
  • A digit basic part number.
  • 4 digit basic part number.
  • The revised version of the engine.

Among these code elements, the first four and the last one digits are the most important. Sometimes, in some cases, the last two and three digits also play a crucial role.

The string of numbers is located in different locations depending on what family your block belongs to.

However, it should be quite easy to recognize, and car owners can read it without too much struggle.

Here is a list of common engine block families:

  • Big-Block Ford
  • Boss 302 Cleveland/Windsor small-block hybrid
  • Cleveland small-block
  • FE medium block
  • M-E-L big-block
  • Super Duty big-block
  • Windsor small-block
  • Y-Block small-block

Decode The First Two Digits

The first two digits of the Ford engine identification number present the year of manufacture, consisting of a letter and a number.

For example, the letter B indicates the 1950s. When combined with numbers, for instance, number 5, the B5 code means the engine was built in 1955.

Similarly, C6 means 1966; E3 means 1983, etc.

Read The Third Digit

The third digit is a letter, determining the engine design. Here is the letter explanation:

  • A: Full-size, generic engine
  • E: Truck
  • D: Falcon
  • F: Foreign Transmission – Am racing
  • G: 1968 – 1976 Montenegro or 1961 – 1967 Comet 
  • H: Heavy Truck (1966 – 1982)
  • L: Lincoln
  • J: Industrial Ford
  • M: Mercury
  • O: All Ford Fairlane and Ford Torino (1967 – 1976) 
  • T: Truck
  • S: Thunderbird
  • Y: Meteor
  • W: Cougar
  • Z: Mustang

In some rare cases, this position can be a number. For example, number 6 is for Pantera.

Read The Fourth Digit

There can be a few exceptions, but mostly with Ford models, this position is always the letter E, meaning Engine.

Decode The Next Four Numbers

These 4 numbers are always from 6000 to 6898. It’s how the parts of the generic engine assembly are numbered. Different parts will be addressed with different four-digit numbers.

Check The Last Digit

The last digit indicates the manufactured version of the engine. For example:

  • A is the original design
  • D is the fourth version

The Bottom Lines

how to identify a ford engine

Ford 6 cylinder engine identification provides information about the motor block, such as month, year, place of manufacturer, etc.

Above is the detailed guideline on how you can locate and decode the string of numbers and letters. It will assist you with a budget build or a correct restoration.

I hope my article will be useful when you need an instruction for Ford engine block number lookup.

Leave a Comment