Identifying Distributors on Ford 351 Engines - Engine Builder Magazine

Identifying Distributors on Ford 351 Engines

Engine Differences:

most obvious external difference is the engine valve covers. The 351W
(Windsor) valve covers are attached with 6 bolts, straight front to
rear, and narrow in width (similar to the 302 c.i. engine.)*

The 351C (Cleveland) valve covers are attached with 8 bolts, flat

with 2 different planes, and wider in width.

The 351W engine has a radiator hose that attaches to the intake
manifold, while the 351C attaches to the engine block. (See Graphic 1).
The 351W takes a 5/8” thread spark plug and the 351C takes a 14mm
thread plug. (See Graphic 2).

Distributor differences:

The 351W has a smaller 1.245” diameter distributor gear, and the 351C has a larger 1.418” diameter distributor gear.

Each engine has a 5/16” oil drive at the bottom of the shaft and a
1.557” diameter housing, measuring directly above or below the O-ring

Note: * The Ford 302 c.i.
engine has a 1/4” oil drive on the shaft, a small 1.245” diameter gear,
and a smaller 1.550” diameter housing.

Windsor 351 V8 Engine:

  1. Valve cover is held in place by 6 bolts.
  2. Radiator hose connects to water neck on the front of the intake manifold.

The 351 Cleveland’s radiator hose attaches to the radiator and
connects directly into the front of the engine block. It makes a 90°
bend from the radiator to the engine block.

Cleveland 351 V8 Engine:

  1. Valve cover is held in place by 8 bolts.
  2. Radiator hose is a 90° hose that connects directly to the top front of the engine block.

Tech Tip courtesy of CARDONE.

For additional information on products offered by CARDONE, visit


Additional Tech Tips>>

You May Also Like

Factors of Crankshaft Selection

From the high-performance powerplants propelling Top Fuel dragsters to the subdued engines found in family sedans and grocery getters, each crank must be tailored to, and appropriate for, its specific application.

We know a crankshaft plays a critical role in an engine’s performance, converting reciprocating motion into rotary motion while serving as the backbone of the entire system. It must be strong enough to withstand the continuous pounding of rods and pistons, yet possess enough elasticity to absorb vibrations and flex, albeit slightly, when needed.

Shop Solutions March 2024

I always keep a pair of needle nose pliers and a small, straight screwdriver in my blast cabinet to hold small parts when blasting.

Degreeing the Camshaft and Checking Valve-to-Piston Clearance

Jeff McCord of LinCo Diesel Performance walks you through degreeing a camshaft and checking valve-to-piston clearance.

Designing a Better LS Engine

After a customer wanted a Steve Morris Engines’ SMX in an LS version, Steve saw the upside and potential in the market, and a challenge to build a better LS.

Other Posts

The Importance of a Good Valve Job

The valve job ensures the mating surfaces of the valves and the seats properly control the air/fuel mixture.

Getting Better Cylinder Head Airflow

When it comes to improving horsepower and rpm, airflow has a lot to do with it, and it seems the job is one that’s never finished.

Horsepower and Head Gasket Technology

Head gaskets have one of the toughest job in an engine, and now we’re pushing them harder than ever, making it easier to expose the slightest weakness.

Inside the Development of Frankenstein’s F-Series LS Cylinder Heads

Right away, engine builders knew it was special.