Ford V8 Engine Identification

by Floyd Drake III
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Ford's V8 engines are each part of a family, including: the Y-block, the 90-degree and the 335 series. Spotting a Ford eight-cylinder is easy, but each family has its own identification methods and using a variety of techniques is often necessary.

General Identification

Ford's trademark engine color is "Ford blue." All of Ford's eight-cylinders were originally this color, but may be hard to see after years of use. Ford also placed stickers identifying the engine on either the air cleaner or the valve cover. These may also be absent, as parts get changed and stickers wear out. The main issue when identifying Ford engines comes from part changes, wear and modifications, making a serial number search combined with other identification techniques necessary.

Bolt Counting

Count number of bolts on the valve covers. Five bolts indicate an FE family engine; six bolts belong to the 90-degree family; seven indicate either a 429 or a 460, and eight bolts means it is either a 351 Cleveland, 351M or a 400.

Casting Clues

Various casting numbers or codes further identify a Ford eight cylinder. On cylinder heads, the 351 for example, the engine displacement is stamped in the valley and is visible when the valve cover is removed. Engine block casting numbers are normally located on the passenger's side, halfway down. These codes will give the date and year of manufacture, but not the engine displacement. Using deduction from the methods mentioned will give a good idea of the engine size. If not, the crankshaft casting number will be needed.

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