Ford Engine Firing Order [302, 5.4, 4.6 390, 5.0, 351]

Every mechanic knows just how important it is to know the correct firing order of a car or truck engine. Knowing the right sequence will help reduce and even stop engine vibrations.

The Ford engine is one of the most used engines in the market, so we’ll focus on the Ford Engine Firing Order in this article. So, what is the firing order of Ford engines?

The firing order for the most common Ford engines, is as follows:

  1. HO Ford 302 engine: 1-3-7-2-6-5-4-8
  2. Non-HO Ford 302 engine: 1-5-4-2-6-3-7-8
  3. Ford 5.4 engine: 1-3-7-2-6-5-4-8
  4. Ford 5.0 liter V8 VIN “N” engine: 1-5-4-2-6-3-7-8
  5. Ford 5.0 liter V8 VIN “P” engine: 1-3-7-2-6-5-4-8
  6. Ford 4.6 V8 engine: 1-3-7-2-6-5-4-8
  7. Ford 390 engine: 1-5-4-2-6-3-7-8
  8. Ford 351 engine: 1-3-7-2-6-5-4-8
  9. Ford 351W engine: 1-3-5-7-2-6-5-4-8

When the sequence of the firing of spark plugs or injection of fuel is correct, it will result in a smooth ride for the passengers. Why? There will be a minimum of vibrations inside the engine and the whole system. That’s how critical it is to get the engine firing in the right sequence. 

Read on to learn more about Ford truck engines’ firing orders and the specs for each Ford engine.

Ford Engine Firing Order

There are two types of engines – gasoline and diesel. Gasoline engines use spark plugs to fire the fuel. When the air is compressed into a boiling state in diesel engines, the fuel is injected, and burning occurs.

Moreover, the sequence by which the spark plugs fire (in gasoline engines) and fuel is injected (in diesel engines) is the engine’s firing order.

Ford Motor Co. has built different kinds of truck engines with differing sizes, capacities, and power capabilities. In fact, there are seven of these truck engines used as the motive power for different Ford Truck models through the years.

The rest of this article will discuss the firing orders of these nine different Ford truck engines.

Ford Engine Name:Firing Order:
HO 3021-3-7-2-6-5-4-8
Non-HO 3021-5-4-2-6-3-7-8
5.41-3-7-2-6-5-4-8
5.0 V8 VIN “N”1-5-4-2-6-3-7-8
5.0 V8 VIN “P”1-3-7-2-6-5-4-8
4.6 V81-3-7-2-6-5-4-8
3901-5-4-2-6-3-7-8
3511-3-7-2-6-5-4-8
351W1-3-5-7-2-6-5-4-8

Ford 302 Firing Order

The firing order of a Ford 302 engine depends on its model year. Newer HO engines have a 1-3-7-2-6-5-4-8 firing order. Older models have a 1-5-4-2-6-3-7-8 firing order.

Early 302 engines have the same firing orders as the 260 and the 289 engines, where LH = 1-5-4-2-6-3-7-8 and RH = 1-8-7-3-6-2-4-5.

The later 302 engines (marine) used the firing order of 351 W engines, where LH = 1-3-7-2-6-5-4-8 and RH = 1-8-4-5-6-2-7-3. It was from 1972 to 1974 when they made the switch.

Moreover, the non-HO Ford 302 engine firing order is 1-5-4-2-6-3-7-8. If you look at the engine’s front, on the passenger side are cylinders 1, 2, 3, and 4, which are the ones close to the firewall.

On the driver side are cylinders 5, 6, 7, and 8, with 8 being near the firewall. The same setup is also true with HO 302 engines.

Furthermore, to check if the engine has the standard non-HO firing order, pull the valve cover and put cylinder no. 1 at the top dead center (TDC). You can do this by manually turning the engine over.

When you feel air coming out of the hole of spark plug no. 1 with your finger, then it is close to that position.

At that point, use the timing marks on the damper to get to TDC. Then turn the engine again manually, this time clockwise. Take note of the order the intake valves are opening to check the firing order as given above. If it verifies the sequence, then you are sure.

If the sequence is different, it really does not matter. But write down the order that the intake valves are opening up for every cylinder. By doing this, you will know the 302 Ford engine firing order.

Ford 5.4 Firing Order

Next, let’s look at the Ford 5.4 Triton firing order. It is important to determine which cylinder top or bank is the primary one to figure out a starting point. This is also important when you need to change the right element like the ignition coil, gasoline injector, or oxygen sensor.

Ford engine firing order

Before anything else, you need to check which cylinder head is number 1. This is the cylinder brain that is placed the most forward or the top. The cylinder nearest to the top of the engine is cylinder number one.

The firing order of all Ford 5.4 engines is 1-3-7-2-6-5-4-8. On the passenger side are cylinders 1, 2, 3, and 4, while on the driver’s side are cylinders 5, 6, 7, and 8.

Ford 5.0 Firing Order 

This is a 5-liter engine. Ford has two variations of this engine: the Ford 5.0 liter V-8 VIN “N” engine and the Ford 5.0 liter V-8 VIN “P” engine. So, these two engines have their own firing orders.

On the passenger side are cylinders 1, 2, 3, and 4, while on the driver’s side are cylinders 5, 6, 7, and 8. The distributor rotation is clockwise.

The firing order of the Ford 5.0 liter V-8 VIN “N” engine is 1-5-4-2-6-3-7-8, while the Ford 5.0 liter V-8 VIN “P” engine is 1-3-7-2-6-5-4-8. It does not matter what the positions of the spark plug wires are. So long as this firing order is maintained, there will be no problem.

Thus, if there is a need to rotate the spark plug cap for whatever reason, you need not worry about pulling the wires and rotating them.

Ford 4.6 Firing Order

The firing order for Ford 4.6 V8 engines is 1-3-7-2-6-5-4-8. With these engines, cylinder number 1 is at the engine’s front and on the driver’s side. Ford Motor Co. designates the cylinder numbers in sequential order starting from the front and the back of the engine.

Cylinders 1 to 4 are on the driver’s side, and cylinders 5 to 8 are on the passenger side.

This engine belongs to the modular engine series of Ford Motor Co. It has a smaller displacement compared to the Ford Windsor engines, but it offers more power. Moreover, with greater power in a smaller engine, the modular series brought to an end Ford’s Windsor engines.

Ford Motor Co. used the 4.6 engine in various vans, cars, and trucks. The carmaker named this modular engine the Triton. Moreover, Ford markets a DOHC version of this modular engine and uses it in its Lincoln models. This engine is no longer in production.

This may be due to the major issues with this modular engine. One of the issues is related to the use of Dupont nylon intake manifolds. They are prone to cracking, and thus, the leaking of coolant.

A second issue involves the difficulty in removing the spark plugs and missing threads on the spark plugs.

Ford 390 Firing Order

Ford Motor Co. has made 9 modifications for its 390 V8 engine since its launch in 1961. In all these 9 variations, Ford retained the engine’s firing order, which is 1-5-4-2-6-3-7-8. Ford launched this engine in answer to the Chevrolet 409 of General Motors.

Ford firing order

390 Engine

The 390 of Ford generated more horsepower than the 409 of GM. Its maximum engine performance produced 401 hp. The first year it went into production. That was more than 41 hp. of the 360 hp. of Chevy 409.

Ford used the 390 engine in building Mercury and Ford production cars, including several trucks. But because of the bigger size of the GM car, car buyers were more excited with the Chevy 409.

In fact, Chevy Impalas with 409 engines sell from two to three times more than a Ford Galaxie powered by a 390 engine.  

However, Ford 390s are still very popular today because of the easy availability of its parts. Some car enthusiasts can push its power in the 500+ range, especially if the engine is designed for racing.

Ford Car Year Models Sharing the Firing Order (1-5-4-2-6-3-7-8)

Here are the Ford car year models that share the same firing order of 1-5-4-2-6-3-7-8, starting from the first model in 1961:

  • 1961 to 1965 – engine with 4 barrel carb (lower horsepower model) generating 300 hp. with 427 lb.-ft. of torque.
  • 1961, 1963, and 1965 – with 4 barrel carb (higher hp. model) producing 330 hp. with 427 lb.-ft. of torque.
  • 1961 to 1962 – with 4 barrel carb, generating 375 hp. with 427 lb.-ft. of torque.
  • 1961 to 1962 – with 3 x 2 barrel carbs producing 401 hp. with 430 lb.-ft. of torque.
  • 1966 to 1969 – with 2 barrel carbs producing 265 hp. (standard transmission), 275 hp. (automatic transmission) generating 401 lb.-ft. of torque.
  • 1966 to 1968 with 4 barrel carb producing 315 hp. with 427 lb.-ft. of torque.
  • 1967 to 1968 – with 4 barrel carb generating 320 hp. with 427 lb.-ft. of torque.
  • 1966 to 1968 – with 4 barrel carb “GT Model” producing 335 hp. with 427 lb.-ft. of torque.
  • 1969 – with 4 barrel carb generating 320 hp. with 427 lb.-ft. of torque.

Ford 351 Firing Order

Ford 351 engine can either be a 351 (C), a 351 (M), or a 400 M engine. C stands for Cleveland, and M stands for Michigan. The firing orders of these engines are the same. It is 1-3-7-2-6-5-4-8. They are different from the standard 289, 302, and 351W SBF (Small Block Ford) engines.

These engines have cylinder heads with canted valves, just like the Big Block Chevy engines. Again, the spark plug wires’ position does not matter so long as the firing order is maintained.

Should there be a need to rotate the cap, you can pull the wires and rotate them around. Whatever you do, you need to maintain the firing order of the engine.

Firing Order of Ford 351W Engines

The firing order of Ford 351W engines is 1-3-5-7-2-6-5-4-8.  This is different from the majority of V-8 engines that Ford Motor Co. makes. The carmaker numbers the engine cylinders starting at the front left of the engine.

Cylinders 1 through 4 are on the left or passenger side, and cylinders 5 through 8 are on the right or driver’s side. The distributor rotation is counterclockwise.

Importance of Correct Firing Order

If the correct firing order on the Ford 351W is ensured, the right spark plugs will fire for the engine to run smoothly. You will know if the engine is running with the correct firing order if it is running smoothly and the plug wires are removed, as what you will do if you replace spark plugs.

To ensure that they remain in the correct firing order, label the wires before removing them from the spark plugs. If you happen to rearrange them the wrong way, you will know how to correct the arrangement using the wires’ labels.

351 Cubic Inch Windsor Engine

Ford Motor Co. launched the 351 cubic inch Windsor engine in 1969 because of the public demand for greater power on stock engines. At that time, the cost per gallon of gasoline was cheap. The engines at that time produce more than 300 horsepower.

Ford used the 351 Windsor as the stock engine for a variety of vehicles for several years. However, the carmaker reduced its engines’ power when emission standards were introduced, causing even the powerful Mustang to be limited to 169 hp.

With public demand for better fuel efficiency and economy, Ford stopped using this engine starting in 2014. But the 351 W is still available as a crate engine made available by the motorsports division of Ford Motor Co.

Meaning of Engine Firing Order

The sequence in which the spark plugs fire is the firing order of a gasoline engine. On diesel engines, it is the order of the injection of the fuel in each cylinder. There is a corresponding firing order for every engine built by Ford Motor Co.

Conclusion: Ford Engine Firing Order

Ford engines have the following firing orders:

  1. The firing order for non-ho Ford 302 engines is 1-5-4-2-6-3-7-8.
  2. The firing order of all Ford 5.4 engines is 1-3-7-2-6-5-4-8.
  3. The firing order of the Ford 5.0 liter V-8 VIN “N” engine is 1-5-4-2-6-3-7-8, while the Ford 5.0 liter V-8 VIN “P” engine is 1-3-7-2-6-5-4-8.
  4. The firing order for Ford 4.6 V8 engines is 1-3-7-2-6-5-4-8. 
  5. The firing order for Ford 390 is 1-5-4-2-6-3-7-8.
  6. The firing order for Ford 351 engines is 1-3-7-2-6-5-4-8.
  7. The firing order for all Ford 351W engines is 1-3-5-7-2-6-5-4-8.