How to Identify a 429 Ford Blockby Floyd Drake III
Ford often used identical blocks for engines of different displacement, making it visually difficult to identify them without looking at other engine components. Both the Ford 429- and 460-cubic-inch engines, members of the 385 family, fall into this category. Both came with the same block, so the only methods of positive identification involve locating the ID tag, measuring the stroke or verifying the crankshaft number. You cannot rely on decals or other visual items either, as they may be missing.
Count the number of bolts on the valve cover. According to Fordification, it should have seven bolts. As of 2010, the 429- and 460-cubic-inch-displacement are the only Ford engines with seven valve cover bolts. This characteristic identifies the engine as either a 429 or 460.
Locate the engine ID tag. According to Car Craft Magazine, you should see it attached to the intake manifold or the ignition coil on the front of the engine if it remains present. According to Fordification, you can decipher the tag by locating the displacement in the upper left-hand corner, followed by the plant code and year of production.
Remove either the oil pan or a cylinder head. If the ID tag is missing, you must either access the crankshaft number or measure the stroke, says Car Craft Magazine. Those with a solid mechanical background, may prefer to measure the stroke. The stroke on the 429 measures 3.59 inches at dead bottom. Otherwise, locate the crankshaft casting number by draining the oil and then removing the oil pan. Locate the crankshaft casting number on the crank. Car Craft Magazine designates the prefix for all 429 crankshafts (1968 through 1978) as either 4U or 4UA.
- Special versions of the 429 included the Boss 429, Cobra-Jet and police interceptor models. According to Mustang-Cougar, each has specific features and coding.
A native of New Haven, Conn., Floyd Drake III began writing in 1984. His work has appeared in the "New Haven Register," Medford's "Mail-Tribune" and the "Ashland Daily Tidings." Drake studied journalism at Southern Connecticut State University. After working as a reporter in Oregon, he is now based back home in New Haven.