Ford 302 Cylinder Head Identification

by Floyd Drake III
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Identifying Ford 302 cylinder heads is a matter of locating and decoding the casting number stamped directly on the head. The 302 heads are routinely switched with those of other Ford engines, making identification necessary in certain situations. There are different number and letter combinations that designate manufacture dates and other details.

Number Location

The casting number is located under the valve cover, in the middle of the cylinder head. It is a combination of a number and four letters; C6ZZ-A, for example. According to ClassicMustang, casting numbers may change from year to year and are usually the same or nearly the same as the cylinder head part number.

Number Decoding

The number within the code identifies the year of manufacture; a head with code C8ZZ-A would have been manufactured in 1968, and so forth. The letters within the code represent valve specifics, and manufacture variations. According to ClassicMustang, the codes may not follow definite patterns, as leftover cylinder heads from 1968 may have been used on 1969 models with different configurations. Ford maintains a standardized coding system, but it is not without irregularities. Both FordCobraEngine and KellyHotrod have detailed charts matching codes to engine model and year of manufacture.

Other Considerations

Ford manufactured the 302 c.i.d. engine from 1968 to 1995. Since the 302 is very similar to the Ford 289, there are identification issues and in many cases, the parts are interchangeable. The 289 codes are similar to 302 codes, however, 289 cylinder heads are stamped "289" in the vicinity of the casting number. The 302 cylinders are not stamped "302," thus differentiating them from 289 c.i.d. heads.

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