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Subject: Serial Numbers and Model Years

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Greg Goddard    Posted 03-08-2020 at 15:37:47 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [Email]  
  • Serial Numbers and Model Years
  • I have an 8N Serial #15643. It is listed as a '47, but I was led to believe the model year is 1948. My dad bought it new in October 1947. Any guidance as to whether from a model year perspective (i.e. parts ordering), should I be considering it a '47 or '48?

    Tim Daley(MI)    Posted 03-10-2020 at 07:16:31 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [No Email]  
  • Re: Serial Numbers and Model Years
  • The best investment you can make is to get copies of all the Essential Manuals and read religiously. You can get repop parts and manuals at Dennis Carpenter and JUST8Ns. Avoid buying any new ones until it is determined the old cannot be rebuilt first. Most major components were designed to be rebuilt over and over and is always a first choice rather than buying a new aftermarket Cheena made part. If you need help, a few members here can help. I have carbs and distributors on my shelf. As stated below, model year unimportant, but what are important is to know if you have a front mount or side mount distributor, a 3-sdp or 4-spd trans, early or late steering box, and POSITION control -the defining 8N parts. You will also want to identify if your electrical system is still the OEM 6V/POS GRN setup or if a 12V job has been done. Either way it is imperative that the wiring is all correct. Don't assume just because you have a 6V battery or a 12V battery it's wired correctly for that system. Our HOW-TO's forum has a ton of information and DIY projects. Under 'Electrical' is one required document, "WIRING PICTOGRAMS by JMOR" -see LINK to correctly identify each setup. Also, search for a download of “75 Tips for N-Owners” by Bruce(VA) -start with these.


    Tim Daley(MI)


    Greg Goddard    Posted 03-09-2020 at 09:30:22 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [Email]  
  • Re: Serial Numbers and Model Years
  • Well, I guess that is the long and short of it! Thank you for the quick replies gentlemen...my restoration starts next week, I'll keep you posted.

    Tim Daley(MI)    Posted 03-08-2020 at 18:07:34 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [No Email]  
  • Re: Serial Numbers and Model Years
  • Wow! My s/n is *8N-I55I3* so we are within hours of having our blocks passing QC Inspection. NOTE: This does not mean the tractors were made on the same day. Engines were serialized, tractors weren’t. You probably already know this but for those who don’t, here goes. Models were issued and designated for the model year first used in. The 9N was first used in 1939 thus ‘9’ was designated. In late 1942 the 2N was released and models then became the ‘2N’. In July, 1947, the 8N was released and the new models were defined as the ‘8N’ model. The Ford 9N, 2N, and early 8N (til April, 1950) used steel sleeves and serial numbers were marked with a STAR prefix and SUFFIX. All 9N and 2N’s used the ‘9N’ prefix as well. All 8N’s used the ‘8N’ prefix. You should also have a tag attached on the starter pocket –all part of the block. It is the casting date code ID tag –the day the block was cast, nothing more than that. The engine serial number is located on the top LH block just under the head on a flat cast boss. Serial numbers were hand-stamped by a human, casting codes were tags attached to the sand molds when they cast them at the Rouge foundry; they are two different animals. The method of identifying engine block serial numbers by Ford was done by a human worker after the block passed QC inspection using hand stamps (see picture) and therefore some numbers and characters didn't always get equal clarity. Many of us will remember the end of the old TV shows "Dragnet" and later, "Adam 12" which showed a medieval-type strong arm with a hand stamp that slammed a steel hammer down that read "Mark VII Limited". This is the same principle that was used for all FORD vehicles –cars, trucks, and tractors as engine blocks were identified/serialized in this manner and which also doubled as the vehicle serial number. The Engine Block Serial Numbering System ad –see picture - says it is a Service Bulletin from 1931. The numerals 1; 6; and 9 were changed to letters I for numeral 1; lower case b for numeral 6; and an inverted lower case b for numeral 9 in the effort to help prevent falsifying a serial number. However, in the case of casting code date tag bosses used to identify casting part numbers; date of pouring; and/or foundry trademarks, the numerals used are a different character font from the serial number hand stamps. They should be because the method used on casting date code tag bosses is different than the hand stamp method. The characters and numerals are raised on a bar/band prepared prior to casting and inserted in the sand mold prior to pouring. My early s/n 1948 8N shows engine casting code as “I167”. We know 8N production began in July, 1947, so a September 16, 1947 casting code would coincide. Bear in mind that cast iron requires about a thirty day "curing" period, sort of like "seasoning" wood, before it can be machined otherwise it is too brittle and can create problems with machinery such as broken tooling as well as scrap castings. That being said, don't assume because your engine casting code date boss shows September 16, 1947 your tractor was built on that date, it wasn't. Only the engine block was cast on that date. After cast iron parts were ‘seasoned’ for at least 30 days –an inherent property of cast iron is it is brittle and requires 30 days curing before it can be machined – then the part, engine block in this case, was machined, cleaned, assembled, then tested in the QC department, and if it passed testing, would now and only now get a serial number hand stamp, not before, not after. Good engines were sent to a hold area where they would be pulled at random and moved to the assembly line to be installed in the tractor. Engines that failed the testing were sent to another hold area to be further scrutinized as to why they failed and fixed if possible then back through the test procedure again. If unrepairable, they were scrapped out. Long post but best explains it all.




    Tim Daley(MI)

    John in Mich    Posted 03-08-2020 at 16:55:07 [URL] [DELETE]        [Reply] [No Email]  
  • Re: Serial Numbers and Model Years
  • Your tractor is a 1948 8N built in 1947.

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