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Home » How to Identify a 351 Cleveland Engine: A Comprehensive Guide

How to Identify a 351 Cleveland Engine: A Comprehensive Guide

How to Identify a 351 Cleveland

The 351 cleveland can be identified by its taller deck height and larger intake ports. This engine was produced by ford from 1969 to 1974 and is known for its performance capabilities and durability.

Introduced by ford in 1969, the 351 cleveland is a high-performance engine that was produced until 1974. This engine can be identified by its notable features, such as a taller deck height and larger intake ports. With its reputation for power and reliability, the 351 cleveland has become highly sought after by car enthusiasts.

We will explore the key characteristics of the 351 cleveland and discuss how to identify this engine in order to enhance your car knowledge and ensure accurate identification during restoration or modification projects.

How to Identify a 351 Cleveland Engine: A Comprehensive Guide


Key Specifications Of A 351 Cleveland Engine

The 351 cleveland engine is a popular choice among car enthusiasts for its power and performance. If you’re looking to identify a 351 cleveland engine, there are a few key specifications you need to look out for. In this section, we will explore the differences in block casting, cylinder head identification, crankshaft and connecting rods, and intake manifold differences.

Let’s dive in!

Differences In Block Casting

  • The 351 cleveland engine features a unique block casting design that sets it apart from other engines in the ford lineup.
  • Look for the identification code located on the engine block. The code may vary depending on the year of production, so it’s important to consult a reference guide or expert to decode it correctly.
  • The block casting of a 351 cleveland engine is typically heavier and stronger compared to other engines, making it ideal for high-performance applications.
  • Some blocks may have the letters “c” or “m” cast into the rear of the engine block, indicating whether it was originally manufactured for a cleveland or modified engine.

Cylinder Head Identification

  • 351 cleveland engines are known for their unique cylinder heads, which contribute to their impressive performance capabilities.
  • Look for specific casting numbers on the cylinder heads to determine if they are original cleveland heads.
  • The prominent “quench” combustion chamber design is a distinct feature of 351 cleveland cylinder heads, helping to improve power and fuel efficiency.
  • These cylinder heads also have raised intake ports, providing better airflow and potential for increased horsepower.

Crankshaft And Connecting Rods

  • The crankshaft and connecting rods of a 351 cleveland engine are specifically designed for durability and performance.
  • Unlike other engines, the 351 cleveland features a large journal crankshaft and forged connecting rods, allowing for increased power and reliability.
  • The crankshaft may have a specific casting number that can help identify it as a cleveland engine component.

Intake Manifold Differences

  • The intake manifold of a 351 cleveland engine differs from other engines, contributing to its unique performance characteristics.
  • Look for a specific casting number on the intake manifold to determine if it is original to a 351 cleveland engine.
  • The 351 cleveland intake manifold features larger ports and passages, allowing for improved airflow and increased power output.
  • Some intake manifolds may also have a unique spread-bore design, which helps optimize fuel distribution and overall engine performance.

Now that you have a better understanding of the key specifications of a 351 cleveland engine, you can confidently identify this powerful and sought-after engine. Whether you’re a car enthusiast or working on a restoration project, the 351 cleveland engine brings exceptional performance to the table.

Date Codes And Identification Numbers

Reading Engine Date Codes

Understanding how to read engine date codes is essential when identifying a 351 cleveland. The engine date code provides important information about the production date of the engine block. Here are the key points to consider:

  • Look for a code stamped into the engine block, usually on the passenger side near the front. It can be located on the flat area just below the cylinder head deck surface.
  • The date code typically consists of a letter followed by a series of numbers.
  • The letter represents the month of production, with a being january, b being february, and so on.
  • The first two numbers indicate the day of the month, while the remaining numbers represent the year of production.
  • For example, a code reading c03d would indicate that the engine block was produced in march 1973.

Reading engine date codes can provide valuable insights into the age and authenticity of a 351 cleveland engine.

Decoding Identification Numbers

Deciphering the identification numbers accompanying a 351 cleveland engine is crucial in determining its specific attributes and originality. Here are the key points to remember:

  • The identification numbers are typically located on the face of the engine block, near the oil filter boss.
  • These numbers consist of a combination of letters and numbers that serve as a unique identifier for the engine.
  • The first letter indicates the manufacturing plant where the engine was produced. In the case of a 351 cleveland, the code will likely start with an “m” for the cleveland foundry.
  • The following numbers provide information about the engine’s displacement, such as 351 cubic inches.
  • Additional characters or codes may refer to specific variations or features of the engine, such as the presence of certain emission control systems.

By decoding the identification numbers, enthusiasts can gain valuable knowledge about the originality and specifications of their 351 cleveland engine.

Understanding Engine Stamping

Engine stamping involves specific markings and codes that are crucial for understanding the characteristics of a 351 cleveland engine. Consider the following aspects:

  • Look for a stamped code on the front of the engine block, near the cylinder head mating surface on the passenger side.
  • This stamping typically includes a combination of letters and numbers that denote important details about the engine.
  • The stamped code may indicate the engine assembly date, original car application, or other factors relevant to identification.
  • Pay attention to additional stamps or markings on other engine components, such as the cylinder heads, intake manifold, or distributor.
  • These markings can provide further insights into the engine’s provenance and original configuration.

Understanding engine stamping is essential for accurately identifying and verifying the characteristics of a 351 cleveland engine.

Remember to consult additional resources and expert guidance to ensure accuracy when identifying a 351 cleveland engine, as variations and exceptions may exist. By familiarizing yourself with engine date codes, identification numbers, and engine stamping, you will be well-equipped to unveil the hidden secrets of a 351 cleveland and fully appreciate its unique qualities.

External Features

The 351 cleveland engine is a legendary v8 engine produced by ford during the 1970s. It’s known for its high performance and distinctive features. If you’re trying to identify a 351 cleveland engine, paying attention to the external features is crucial.

In this section, we’ll explore the unique casting and machining marks as well as the visible differences in components that can help you identify this iconic engine.

Unique Casting And Machining Marks

When it comes to identifying a 351 cleveland engine, the casting and machining marks play a vital role. Here are the key points to consider:

  • Look for the casting number: The first step is to locate the casting number, which is usually found on the engine block. The number can be stamped or raised, and it provides valuable information about the engine.
  • Check for the “4m” stamp: The 351 cleveland engines typically feature a “4m” stamp on the engine block. This mark signifies that the engine has a four-bolt main bearing cap, which is one of the distinguishing features of the cleveland engine.
  • Pay attention to the cylinder heads: The cylinder heads of the 351 cleveland also have unique casting marks. Look for the “4v” or “2v” stamp, which indicates whether the heads are intended for a four-barrel or two-barrel carburetor setup, respectively.
  • Look for specific machining marks: The 351 cleveland engine block often has specific machining marks, such as “2j13” or “4m22,” which provide additional clues to its identification. These marks are usually located near the distributor hole or on the side of the block.

Visible Differences In Components

Apart from the casting and machining marks, there are visible differences in components that can help you identify a 351 cleveland engine. Consider the following points:

  • Exhaust manifold design: The 351 cleveland engines have distinct exhaust manifold designs. The passenger side manifold has separate outlets for each cylinder, while the driver side manifold has a single outlet for all cylinders. This configuration sets it apart from other engines.
  • Valve covers: The valve covers of the 351 cleveland are typically different from those of other engines. They often feature a “351” or “351c” logo, indicating the engine’s displacement and specific variant.
  • Intake manifold: The intake manifold of the 351 cleveland engine can also provide valuable clues. It has a unique design that accommodates the airflow requirements of the engine.
  • Spark plug location: Another visible difference is the spark plug location. In the 351 cleveland engines, the spark plugs are positioned more centrally in the cylinder head, compared to other engines where they are located closer to the edge.

Identifying a 351 cleveland engine requires a keen eye for these external features. By examining the unique casting and machining marks, as well as the visible differences in components, you can confidently identify this legendary engine.

Internal Inspection

Disassembling The Engine

When it comes to identifying a 351 cleveland engine, performing an internal inspection is crucial. By disassembling the engine, you can gain a deeper understanding of its internal components and determine its true identity. Here are the key points to consider during the disassembly process:

  • Remove the intake manifold: Start by disconnecting the air cleaner, carburetor, and any other components attached to the intake manifold. Then, carefully unbolt the manifold and lift it off, exposing the engine’s internals.
  • Take note of the cylinder heads: As you inspect the cylinder heads, look for any distinguishing features that can help identify a 351 cleveland. Pay attention to casting numbers and engine codes stamped on the heads, which can provide valuable information about the engine model.
  • Unbolt the valve covers: By removing the valve covers, you can inspect the valvetrain components and further confirm the engine type. Look for any unique characteristics specific to the 351 cleveland, such as stud-mounted rocker arms or large valve sizes.
  • Check the crankshaft and connecting rods: Take a close look at the crankshaft and connecting rods to ensure they are in good condition. The 351 cleveland typically features a forged steel crankshaft and beefy connecting rods, which contribute to its durability and performance.

Identifying Internal Parts And Components

Once you have disassembled the engine, it’s time to identify its internal parts and components. Here are the key points to consider during this stage:

  • Examine the pistons and cylinders: Look for any markings or characteristics on the pistons that indicate they are from a 351 cleveland. Additionally, measure the cylinder bore diameter to confirm it matches the specifications of the engine.
  • Inspect the camshaft: The 351 cleveland often features a high-performance camshaft with aggressive lift and duration. Carefully examine the camshaft for any unique markings or profiles that are indicative of the engine model.
  • Verify the crankshaft main and rod journal sizes: Measure the main and rod journal sizes to ensure they match the specifications of a 351 cleveland. These measurements can provide further confirmation of the engine’s identity.
  • Identify the oil pan design: The 351 cleveland typically has a unique oil pan design with front and rear sumps, providing improved oiling for performance applications. Take note of the oil pan’s shape and capacity to help identify the engine type.

By following these steps and paying attention to the key points discussed, you can successfully identify a 351 cleveland engine through internal inspection. Remember to take note of any distinguishing features, measurements, or markings that confirm its authenticity.

Frequently Asked Questions On How To Identify A 351 Cleveland

What Are The Identifying Features Of A 351 Cleveland Engine?

The 351 cleveland engine can be identified by its large, square-shaped intake ports and eight-bolt crankshaft.

How Can I Differentiate Between A 351 Cleveland And A 351 Windsor?

A quick way to differentiate between the two is by looking at the valve cover bolts. The 351 cleveland has 6 bolts while the windsor has only 4.

What Vehicles Were Equipped With The 351 Cleveland Engine?

The 351 cleveland engine was commonly found in ford vehicles such as the mustang, torino, and the mercury cougar.

Is The 351 Cleveland A High-Performance Engine?

Yes, the 351 cleveland is known for its high-performance capabilities and is popular among car enthusiasts.

Are Parts For The 351 Cleveland Engine Readily Available?

While some specific parts may be harder to find, overall, there is a good availability of aftermarket and original parts for the 351 cleveland engine.


Identifying a 351 cleveland can be a rewarding process for any car enthusiast. By conducting a thorough examination of the engine block casting number, cylinder head design, and other key characteristics, you can confidently determine whether you are dealing with this iconic engine.

Understanding the differences between the various versions of the 351 cleveland, such as the 2v and 4v models, will further enhance your ability to accurately identify this powerhouse. Additionally, familiarizing yourself with the unique valve cover and intake manifold designs will provide further confirmation.

Remember to consult reliable sources and experts in the field to ensure accuracy in your identification process. Whether you’re restoring a classic ford or simply interested in learning more about these engines, being able to identify a 351 cleveland engine will no doubt deepen your appreciation for these legendary powerhouses.

Happy engine hunting!

John Thompson

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