In Reply to: Engine Block Serial Numbers vs. Casting Date Codes posted by Tim Daley(MI) on May 28, 2009 at 11:56:37:
The hand stamped tractor serial numbers were often weakly stamped -picture the guy that had to stamp numbers 8-10 hours a day - and some times numerals got difficult to read especially over the years where paint, grit, grime, and rust took over the area. My early 8N serial number was hard to read and after a few attempts with the usual methods, I opted for a procedure that is used to detect cracks in cast iron parts. I used Magna-Flux to finally show what I had. It is a two-stage system where you apply a purple liquid film over the area then quickly apply a film of white developer and it enhances any crack that might be present in the casting. You use a black light to view the area to show the cracks. Magan-Flux kits can be picked at auto-supply stores or industrial supply houses. You can get a cheap black light 60W incandescent bulb at any major place that stocks light bulbs. You first should clean the area of all dirt using mineral spirits or brake cleaner and then remove the paint by using a paint remover or Naval Jelly type substance. Avoid using anything that will remove metal such as a file, sandpaper, wire wheel, etc. The edges of what remains of the letters and numerals need to be kept sharp. Sometimes simply by removing all the dirt and paint and with a good light on the area you will be able to read the serial number clearly.