Identify a Ford V-8 engine by examining the part casting numbers on the engine's components. The part numbers on the engine block and other components are coded to definitively identify the engine's year of manufacture, intended application and other information. Cross-referencing these numbers with a Ford parts reference can help determine technical features of the engine such as displacement and firing order as well.
Ford part numbers for engine components and other parts follow a codified structure that usually consists of nine letters or digits. The first two digits indicate the year of manufacture, with the first letter indicating decade and the second number indicating year. For example, an engine block code beginning with C5 indicates a product manufactured in the fifth year of the 1960s, or 1965. The third letter is an application code that refers to the intended vehicle family for the component. Application codes vary from time period to time period, though a Z in the third position often indicates a Mustang component.
Once the year and application code for the engine block or other engine parts have been located and decoded, referencing the remainder of the code to a Ford parts reference gives detailed information about that particular engine part. It is a good idea to determine if all parts of the engine have matching manufacture date and application codes when identifying an engine, however. Mismatched codes may indicate that parts of the engine were replaced at one point, often for performance or maintenance reasons.