Explore this Article Using the Identification Tag. Decoding Casting Tags. Tips and Warnings. Things You'll Need. Related Articles. Article Summary. Method 1 of Use the number of valve cover bolts to narrow down the type of engine you have in front of you. Valve cover bolts are the big bolts on the top of the engine, holding down the plate usually marked "Ford" on top of the valves. The number of bolts corresponds to your engine type, which will help you locate the more useful ID tag. Locate the ID tag under coil attaching bolts for six-cylinder and some eight-cylinder engines.
The tag is a series of numbers and letters etched in and used to decipher the year, make, and model of you engine. It is found underneath the bolts on the left or right side of the engine, near the front of the car. You can find the tag here on all six-cylinder engines made after , and on some V8 engines. If you are unsure what kind of engine you have, think back to the valve cover bolts as you work through the following steps.
This will help you narrow down your options. Check under the dipstick attaching bolts on eight-cylinder, Model engine. Check under the dipstick, which is the small, plastic-handled piece that lets you check your oil. Look under the heat indicator bulb, carburetor attaching stud, and ignition coil bolt if you still can't find the tag. These are the last few places the tag might be.
If it is not there, it may have been removed, fallen off, or only be visible when the engine is not in the car. Depending on where you find the tag, you can learn something about the engine:  Indicator Bulb: , , engines. Dipstick Tube: engines.
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Carburetor Stud: , engines. Learn to read the ID tag appropriately. Once you've found the identification tag, you need to know how to read it to get the right information. Luckily, the tags are simple to breakdown.
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From upper left to bottom right:  Cubic Inch Displacement CID : The first three numbers, found in the upper left corner, tell you the size of the engine. Year: The next two numbers are for the year the engine was built. Month Built: This hyphenated number and letter correspond to the month. There is no "i" so people don't confuse it the number 1.
You can look up this code online to see the specs of your current engine.
Method 2 of Looks for nine-digit casting tags to learn more about your engine's make and model. The casting tag is etched into your motor when it is created, and is used to help find the right parts if you need a replacement.
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This code also packs a large amount of information in it that will help you get to know your engine better. You may need to clean the engine with a rag and some degreaser if it is too dirty to see the letters. This code is usually on the side of the engine, but you might not be able to see it when the engine is in a car with older models. Use a light to scan both sides of the engine to find it. C5AEB .
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Read the first two digits in the identification tag to find the year the engine was made. This will be a letter.
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If the letter is a "B," it means that the engine was built in the s. Each decade after that has its own succeeding letter; "C" designates the s, "D" designates the s, and so on. The digit after the letter is the actual year. So C9 would be , E4 would be , etc. Read the third digit in the casting number to determine the engine design. This will be a letter, and it signifies the basic design of the vehicle as shown below.
Of course, this code should match up with the car that it is in i. Make sure that the fourth digit is always an "E. E stands for "Engine," so this should always be the fourth digit you see when identifying Ford motors. Read the next 4 digits, which are the last digits in the motor number. These four numbers will always be between and , which describes the part numbering of the generic engine assembly. Different parts of the motor will correspond to different four-digit numbers. Check the last digit, usually a letter, to determine the version of your part.
If your engine is modeled after the original design, this letter will be A. If it is the third manufactured version of the engine, it will be a C, and so on. This digit can be up to three digits long.
That is a part number, not the motor number which is stamped on the block. Thankfully, that difficulty was realized and Federal law began requiring the stamping of VIN numbers on engines and transmissions beginning in And since the VIN includes the engine code, a quick check for a matching numbers engine can be simple. For example, a Mustang with a later cid Windsor V-8 engine would not be a matching numbers vehicle. Complicating things further, door tags are often removed or painted over during restoration. If you want to dig deeper into the matching-numbers realm, casting or engineering numbers are another way of identifying factory parts, and nearly every component, even a headlight housing, can be equipped with a tag or stamped number.