I read somewhere that blocks were aged a couple months to relieve stress after casting. My block has a 10-29-13 cast date with a 429170 serial number. I think I read where it would have went in a car built in Jan 1914. There is a block on sale in the classifieds with a 11-1-13 cast date and a 380034 serial number. A difference of 49,136. That seems like a lot for 3 days difference. Plus mine was cast earlier but a higher s n. Maybe some blocks got put a back corner somewhere? How many cars a day got built in early 1914?
Nov 3rd 1913
2 months between casting and build
Interesting topic. My 1916 engine was cast on June 17, 1916 and that serial number was the first one assembled on June 20, 1916, three days later! The casting barely cooled before being machined, let alone cured.
Disregard my above, senior moment!
Thomas, that's almost my birthday (6-16) except not 1916. I had one cast on my grandpas birthday just the wrong year. I had one grandpa born in 1915 and one in 1919. I thought it would be neat to have a T block born on the same day as my grandpa but then nobody would care but me probably, maybe my mom, and then I'd have to build another car to go with it, which if I had the money would be no problem.
I have heard a theory that the "casting date" is not the actual date it was cast, but the date 30 days after when it is OK to machine.
I have seen blocks with casting date and assembly date 1 day apart, so the theory seems reasonable.
Food for thought. If production of cars was 6000 a day (more/less) and if they let the blocks sit around for 30 days before being processed where do you store 180,000 blocks while you wait for them to mature?? I think the blocks were processed as soon as production allowed.
Things got busy at the Ford factory in 1917. My block, pictured below, was cast on 4-3-17 with an engine number of 1,820,942 corresponding to an assembly date of 4-4-17.
Ford let the blocks "age" until they were cool enough to handle. Typically a block would be out the door as part of a car within a week of the casting date.
My block shows a casting date of 3-30-14 and the serial no. indicates assembly on 9-30-14. Six months to the day! I believe the blocks were stacked between foundry and machine shop and it was first-in-last-out. Mine must have been hiding.
The casting date on my '17 roadster is May 25, 1917 and the serial number corresponds to one day later, May 26, 1917.
I recently picked up a block that has serial number that is only nine numbers less than my roadster and also corresponds to May 26, 1917 but if I recall correctly, the casting date is May 24, 1917, two days earlier. I'll have to look in the garage to make sure.
We really don't know what Ford actually did as far as practice, but most with any sort of background in cast iron know that 'green' cast iron, especially in thin wall sections, tends to spring and warp as the crust is machined off.
Several theories have surfaced over the years and none of them seem to be able to be proven.
Theory #1 - The 'tag' added to the pattern for date was actually a 'use after' date based on some period of air aging built into the system.
Theory #2 - Ford used them 'green' figuring that before they saw a second evidence of any heat, they were bolted up tight and could go no where
Theory #3 - By luck and experiment, Ford found a 'rate' of pour that allowed the casting to come out with a stable skin area especially in the cylinder area with all the pouring stresses locked into the inner core.
Theory #4 - There was a bake oven that allowed the parts to feel heat at about 400 degrees F with a gradual cool down to ambient through a 4 hour or so cycle. The problem with this one is that no drawings or listed assets show any such machinery for an operation such as this.
Theory #5 - One explained and actually shown to me by a true iron-monger on a 'next day' scheduled machining parts for Benz parts . To me, this may be circumstantial but would actually explain a lot of things. A continuous pouring line can take up to 200 ft. of flow through process. The molds start at ambient, and some 200 ft later they wind up discharged under a 'hot hood' (like a kitchen fan hood) at near pouring temperature. The mold is separated and in the conventional way the castings move on for some sort of 'aging'. In this example however...he ANNEALS the parts for Benz without using any capital! The dumped raw castings start on a conveyor return trip BEHIND the pouring line right up close to the pouring line and go from HOT to NEAR AMBIENT on the return journey. They pass through the back side of the hoods, pass along the back side of the pouring heads, and pass along behind the molding lines on their trip to 'in process' use. It apparently works for the Benz parts as this foundry has a 100% guarantee of 'good' usable castings no matter where and when machined...no voids...no checks, no stress cracks...tall order of course, but the point is, they do a 'poor man's' anneal process on the castings, and if they can, Ford 'could' have done the same!
Just points to ponder without ever being able to get closer to the bulls-eye.
There was a booklet produced by Ford which shows the start to finish process for engine blocks which I'm sure someone has. I have seen a copy and it definitely stated that the blocks were sent on to be machined immediately after casting.
Canadian blocks can be found with several months between casting and machining as they were often stored during the winter months when sales declined.
I don't know if they still do this, but Harley-Davidson used to store their new cylinders outside on racks for a considerable amount of time before machining.
Old school places that use cast iron still feel that a 4-season 'age' is the best way to go on Cast Iron. Experience has shown that after a freeze-thaw-sun bake-temper complete cycle (in any order) you have a near '0' chance that any internal stresses remain.
People that use cast iron for steam work are one of the segments that still have piles in yards aging gracefully. Code doesn't require an age...but they have learned the hard way that internal stress eventually does come out and they would rather not have it in there to begin with. Cost a fortune to tie up complete heat melts for a year sitting, but in the world of risk/reward the reward wins in that scenario. The alternative would be a bake oven, but my guess is that costs more than tieing up inventory in an ageing yard.
The practice differed at Ford during the 19 years of production, here's a timed description from the 1926 Ford Industries book:
Mine has casting date 10 2 13 and s/n 374491. This is something like one month between casting and assembling.
Casting date, October 14, 1913. Engine assembly, s/n 378279, November 21, 1913.
Does anyone have a 1914 or other year with a casting date that is a month newer than the serial number?
James, if they do, it is a re-stamped block. Like the Ford literature says, the blocks were typically completed within a day from iron ore to drive away.
The only thing that ever "sat around aging" in a Ford assembly plant was the old man himself. Yet he still managed to nail the poor bugger coming out of the men's room and docked him his fiver for the day.
My 14s casting number is 5-4-14,& the serial number is 501732 made 4-23-14. What's that all about? Tim
My 1916 shows a casting date of 4 11 16 and the car build date was 4 18 16. That block hardly had time to cool off.
Bill, looking at Michigan's average low temp in April, -2 to 4c, the next days machining would be a very cool block. left out for the week, man it might be to brittle from the cold to work with! ha-ha!!
>>>Does anyone have a 1914 or other year with a casting date that is a month newer than the serial number?<<<
Casting date: 8-11-13
Serial # 346779 = 9-25-13