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With Fords there is no way to tell what year the motor is. You cannot go by casting numbers regardless of what people say!
The same casting numbers were used for years and on some engine types the same castings were used on several different displacements.
Same numbers were also used across several vehicle lines also.
Four digits, take for example the heads on my 460cid. "D0VE". The first letter, "D" stands for the decade it was designed in. C= 1960's, D= 1770's, E= 1980's, and so on. The second digit is a number. This designates the year within the decade it was designed for use, in this case, 0 (zero)= 1970. The third digit, stands for the type of vehicle the part was designed for, in this case "V" stands for Lincoln. And the forth letter stands for where the part goes on the vehicle, as in "E" for "Engine" so my heads were originally designed for use in a 1970 lincoln engine. Now thats not to say thats the only place they were used though. Like Mike oOoOoOoOoOoOoOoOoOoOoO said, once the parts were designed and available to be used, they ened up everywhere, and the only time the casting #s were changed was when a redesign or revision was made, and most of the time when a part was revised it received only a suffix added to the end after a dash. Alot of these parts had the exact same casting #'s for years on end.
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