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Old 08-12-2013, 08:10 PM   #1
ModelARay
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Default how do I date this flathead ford

how do i date this ford flathead , the only numbers I saw stamped on the motor is on the heads and those are 18 6049 rh and 18 6050 lh , there is a tag riveted to the left rear of the block but somebody painted over it with a brush , dont want to scrape any numbers off by removing paint
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Old 08-12-2013, 08:18 PM   #2
Lawson Cox
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Default Re: how do I date this flathead ford

How do you date the flathead?? Ask her if she wants to go for a drive."

Are you talking about just an engine? Are the water pumps in the head or on the block? How many head studs does it have.? The numbers on the head are only part numbers. 18 indicates 32 as the date they were first used, but fit many engines. A picture would help as well.
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Old 08-12-2013, 08:22 PM   #3
Charlie Stephens
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Default Re: how do I date this flathead ford

This is probably more than you wanted to know. As Lawson says the heads are '32 and they will only fit through 1938.


Identification of the early flatheads is best approached in terms of the block. There is an unbelievable amount of interchangeability for the accessories over the years. Count the number of head studs.
1) If there are 17 studs it is a V8 60 used in vehicles between 1937 and 1940. This engine was also used in the French built Simca in the sixties but I don’t know what occurred between these two periods. Look for casting numbers and stamped steel water jackets in the side of the block. Post what you find and someone can probably further identify the engine.
2) If there are 21 studs the block was built 1932 to 1938. The transition to 24 studs was late in 1938. Check the water petcocks on the front of the block next to where the lower hose from the radiator enters either an inlet fitting (1936 and earlier) or the water pump (1937 and later). It the petcocks point straight down it is a 1932 block. If the block is not a 1932 next look for a vent from the crankcase area out through the front corner of the oil pan. If there is no vent the block is 1933-34. If there is a vent it is 1935 or later. As a matter of interest, the 1936 engines were the first to use insert bearings. Both insert and babbitt bearings were used throughout 1936. The insert bearing engines can be identified by LB cast at the top of the left front face of the block or by the letters LB stamped into the surface where the intake manifold attaches. Some engines were not stamped and in other cases people tried to inflate the price of their blocks by stamping LB into them when they were sold. Be careful. Now check for the location of the water pumps. If the water pumps mount on the block the engine is 1937 or later. All engines beginning in 1937 were inserts. Frequently you will encounter a 1937 block with factory block off plates held on by two bolts over the water pump passage at the front of the block as it was common for Ford dealers to install this engine as a replacement in the earlier cars. Of course there will be slight transition periods at model change over with the older blocks usually going into the commercial vehicles. There may be subtle differences between the 1933-34 and the 1935-36 engines but I am knowledgeable enough about these years to know what they are. The casting numbers on the flywheel housing will also help identify the exact year of the engine. Post what you find and someone can probably further identify the engine.
3) If there are 24 studs the engine was produced between late 1938 and 1953 (1954 in Canada). If the distributor is mounted on the front of the block the engine is late 1938 through 1948 (1947 for trucks). If the distributor comes up at an angle and appears more like a modern distributor it is a 1949 (1948 for truck) through 1953 (1954 in Canada). The casting numbers on the flywheel housing will further identify the exact year of the engine. Post what you find and someone can probably further identify the engine.
4) There are a lot of additional foreign and industrial applications of these engines but the preceding covers the domestic US automobile production.


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Old 08-12-2013, 09:11 PM   #4
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Default Re: how do I date this flathead ford

Good post Charlie.
Would you like to mention the numbers on the block above the water pump, and the freeze plug holes in the sump line. Then you'll have most of it covered.
Thanks again.
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Old 08-12-2013, 09:21 PM   #5
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After reading that i feel like an expert , thanks guys , Ray
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Old 08-12-2013, 10:26 PM   #6
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Default Re: how do I date this flathead ford

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When Charley mentions the flywheel housing I am assuming he is refering to the top of the transmission bell where the VIN number is stamped (if the transmission is original to the engine or vehicle). The only casting numbers that have much meaning are the "59" casing numbers on the back bell of the block on the 45 through 48 models and possibly some 59 type replacement engines made for a while after the 1949 models were introduced. Some of the 39 & 40 95 HP 239 blocks have a 99 stamped on the intake deck or a cast "99" on the block just in front of the right cylinder head deck in the Canadian manufactured 239 engines. Some engines have a date code stamped in the right rear of the intake deck but not all. Many v8 blocks can only be placed to the approximate year of manufacture. The actual month of the year can only be found on those with a date code stamped on as mentioned.
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Old 08-13-2013, 01:55 AM   #7
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Default Re: how do I date this flathead ford

Here are the casting numbers courtesy of Vanpelts wonderful website;

1932 = 18
1933 = 40
1934 = 40
1935 = 48
1936 = 68
1937 = 78
1938 = 81A
1939 = Ford, 91A. Merc, 99A
1940 = Ford, 01A. Merc, 09A.
1941 = Ford, 1GA. Merc, 19A.
1942 = Ford, 2GA. Merc, 29A.
1946 = Ford, 6GA. Merc, 69M.
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Old 08-14-2013, 09:14 PM   #8
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Default Re: how do I date this flathead ford

Identifying an engine from the parts bolted onto the block can be misleading. Over the years many engine were assembled with whatever parts were on hand that would work. I'd start by identifying the block. This thread has more flathead identity information than any other source I am aware of: http://www.fordbarn.com/forum/showth...5301&showall=1
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Old 08-19-2013, 12:31 PM   #9
Bruce Lancaster
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The riveted tag is almost certainly a rebuilder's tag. If from a Ford authorized rebuilder, it may have a substantial amount of info including block type and over/under sizes of machined parts. Others may have only a number allowing the rebuilder to identify and date his rebuilds in case of angry customer.
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Old 08-19-2013, 12:40 PM   #10
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Default Re: how do I date this flathead ford

Hello Everyone, Here's the rebuilder's tag on our 21 stud engine. Does it mean anything that I'd be curious about?

-VT/JeffH
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Old 08-19-2013, 12:59 PM   #11
Bruce Lancaster
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Default Re: how do I date this flathead ford

That one contains only the information that the rebuilding plant needed to identify its own work. I have seen some that contained block ID (like 78, 99, etc.) and sizes for bore, rods, and mains. I would guess on yours that the 15 identifies which Ford rebuilder did the job and the other number is a serial number meaningful only to the rebuilder.
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Old 08-19-2013, 01:05 PM   #12
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Default Re: how do I date this flathead ford

Thanks Bruce, your info is helpful, and quick!

-VT/JeffH
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