Re: serial number

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Posted by Tim Daley(MI) on January 19, 2019 at 09:04:21 [URL] [DELETE] :

In Reply to: serial number posted by Jim on January 18, 2019 at 18:19:48:

The '8N-B' is the block casting change code made around 1950. A tag attached on the starter pocket 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. I mention this because of the on-going discussion about Ford not using the letter I in numbering. The discussion centers on if and when "I" was used and if and when it was discontinued. Ford did use the letter “I” in date casting codes. It is likely they discontinued it in later years. 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. In 1950 Ford revised the block and date code stamps and had the marking 8N-B.

Now, with all this being clarified, in my opinion, unless you are doing an all correct complete restoration, the serial number and casting code mean little. Engines got swapped out when one got blown and another used one was retrofitted. It's not unusual to find an 8N engine in a 9N or 2N tractor and vice versa. There are other parts with date codes -axle trumpets, hydraulic pump base, and more to further ID it. The important factors to know about your tractor are: Front Mount or Angle Mount Distributor; 3 speed or 4 speed transmission; POSITION Control -8N Models and up only; if an 8N, early or late steering box; PROOFMETER -added after s/n 8N263843 and at same s/n, side mount dist added and generator changed as well, plus, though all FORD N tractors were 6V/POS GRN electrical systems, a lot have been switched out to 12 Volt systems so that is important to know as well.





Tim Daley(MI)

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