How to identify your Ford engine?

In this blog, we will answer the question “ how to identify your Ford engine” and provide the necessary steps to be followed for identifying your engine. Further, we will also provide the steps to decipher the vehicle identification number to determine the type of vehicle and engine.

How to identify your Ford engine?

You can identify your ford engine based on the number tags Ford Motor Company has placed on all its engines and motors. These tags provide you with the following information about the engine:

  • Engine Month and Year of Production
  • Engine Model 
  • Engine size (Cubic Inch Displacement)

Methods to identify your Ford engine

Given below are the different methods to identify Ford car engine:

  1. Find the number of valve cover bolts in the engine block to narrow down the type of engine. Valve cover bolts are typically present on the top of your engine block. Ford engines identified with their respective valve cover bolts, helps you locate another useful ID tag from which you can decode your year, make and model of your engine.

Each engine is classified based on the number of bolts holding the valve cover, which can help you to determine the type of your Ford engine.

Engines with 2 valve cover bolts

  • 239 cubic inch displacement(CID) – 3.9L Y-Block v8 engine ( Cylinder block type and configuration
  • 256 cubic inches – 4.2L  Y-Block v8 engine
  • 272 cubic inches – 4.5 L Y-Block v8 engine
  • 292 cubic inches – 4.8 L Y-Block v8 engine 
  • 312 cubic inches – 5.1L Y-Block v8 engine

Engines with 5 valve cover bolts

  • 332 – 5.4L v8 Ford Edsel engine with 2 barrel and 4 barrel carburettor
  • 352 – 5.8L v8 engine with 2 barrel or 4 barrel carburettor 
  • 360/361 – 5.9L v8 engines of Ford F series trucks and pickups
  • 390 – 6.4L v8 engines (used in cars like Ford Mustang, Ford Fairlane, Ford Mercury, Ford Police Interceptor)
  • 406 – 6.6L v8 engine
  • 410 – 6.7L v8 engine (particularly designed for Ford Mercury)

Engines with 6 valve cover bolts

  • 221 – 3.6L small block V8 engine 
  • 260 – 4.3L v8 engine
  • 289 – 4.7 L v8 engine (different codes like K-code is mentioned after the VIN for distinguishing high-performance engines of this range)
  • 302 – 5.0 L v8 engine
  • 351W – 5.8 L v8 engine (used in many cars like Mustang, Ford F-SERIES, Mercury and Fairlane)

Similarly, ford engines manufactured with 7 and 8 valve cover bolts represent engines like 351C and 351M. 

2. Then, find the engine ID tag under the ignition coil attaching bolts for 6 cylinder and V8 engines.   

3. If not found near the ignition coil. Then, locate the engine identification tag in any of the below mentioned places.

  • Under the Carburettor Stud 
  • Under the Heat indicator lamp 
  • Under the Dipstick tube 

4. If engine ID tags can’t be located, find the vehicle identification number(VIN) ID tag below the base of the windshield in the driver’s side or near the driver’s side door to obtain all information regarding the vehicle and engine model, year of manufacture, manufacturer and other vital information.

5. Once you’ve located the Id tag, follow the sample code and instructions mentioned below to decipher your ID tag.

 A 17 digit VIN code of a Ford vehicle – 1 F M Z U 7 3 E 0 A U A 6 9 1 0 1

  • The first 3 digits (1,2,3) represent the world manufacturer identifier, where the second and third digits can help you identify the type of vehicle ( in the sample code mentioned above – FM translates to ford multi-purpose vehicles)
  • The 4th digit represents the restraint/safety system type for passenger cars, trucks and buses. However, the trucks and buses are further classified based on the type of braking system and GVWR ( gross vehicle weight rating).
  • The next 3 digits (5,6,7) represent the vehicle line, series and body type
  • The 8th digit represents the engine type displacement, fuel type, manufacturer and horsepower ratings of a vehicle In the sample VIN, E corresponds to a 6.7L Inline 6 cylinder diesel engine producing 283 horsepower and 620 lb-ft of torque manufactured by Cummins Ltd.
  • The 9th digit has a value from either 0 to 9 or X. In the above sample vehicle code – the value is 0.
  • The 10th digit corresponds to the model year. In the above sample vehicle – code A represents a vehicle manufactured in the year 2010.
  • The next 6 digits represent a unique sequence number specifically assigned to every passenger car or heavy duty vehicle as per the vehicle assembly plant. You can use the below classification to determine if the your vehicle is under Ford or Lincoln division
  • 103001 to 599999 – Ford division Vehicles
  • 600001 to 999999 – Lincoln Division Vehicles

The heavy duty vehicles such as trucks, multi-purpose vehicles, buses and incomplete vehicles have an alphanumeric sequence code as mentioned in the sample VIN of a ford vehicle. You can use the below classification to determine if your vehicle is under Ford’s or Lincoln’s division.  

  • A00001 TO H99999 – Ford Division Vehicles
  • J03001 to L99999 – Lincoln Division Vehicles
  • 000001 to 999999 – Ford Transit Connect & Ecosport.

The last 6 digits in the sample VIN code above represents a Ford division vehicle. 

From the VIN code the engine model and type can be interpreted and the user can find all related details for VIN number every year in the Ford VIN guide available in Ford fleet websites

Other articles about Ford you may be interested in

Ford Ecosport Suspension Issues Explained

Ford Ranger Front Suspension Issues Explained

Ford Territory Suspension Issues Explained


In this blog, we have answered the question “ How can I identify my ford car engine” and provided the necessary steps to locate vehicle ID tags and other important locations to find your engine model and type. Find the number of valve cover bolts in your engine, then find the VIN ID tag and decipher the engine model, year, type and manufacturer. 


  1. “Fleet Ford VIN Guide.” n.d. Ford Fleet. Accessed January 3, 2022.
  2. “Vehicle Identification Numbers (VIN codes)/Ford/VIN Codes.” n.d. Wikibooks. Accessed January 3, 2022.
  3. “Where to find your Ford VIN.” 2016. Sherwood Ford.
  4. Zurschmeide, Jeff. 2017. “Historic Engines: Ford Y-Block V8.” EngineLabs.