How to Identify a Big Block Ford

by Christopher Ficco
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Used in sedans, trucks, race cars, police cruisers, generators and boats, the Ford big block motor is a mainstay in U.S. automotive engineering. Generally, Ford big block motors include the following displacements in cubic inches: 332, 352, 360, 361, 390, 406, 410, 427, 428, 429 and 460. If you're buying a classic car, rebuilding a vehicle from the ground up, or dealing with a heavily modified engine, knowing what you have is vital for establishing price and performing maintenance.

Step 1

Locate the engine identification tag on the block. It is usually located on the passenger side of the block near the second cylinder from the front. There are variances to its location, especially in earlier models. You may need to search to find it.

Step 2

Clean the tag with a degreaser and rag so you can clearly identify each character.

Step 3

Log the entire code. Character location on the tag is vital, so copy precisely the position of each character in relation to others.

Step 4

Find the appropriate engine identification tag reference on the Internet or in a manual based on the character layout and approximate year of the motor.

Step 5

Look up the cubic-inch displacement and compare it to the list of known Ford big block motors.

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