Ford 302 & 302 HO Engine Firing Order

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Ford produces some of the most reputable engines in the automotive industry. We will discuss the firing order of Ford’s most popular and classic 8-cylinder engines- the Ford 302 and the 302 HO.

The firing order of these machines ensures stability, even power transmission, and ride smoothness. It ensures uniform transmission of weight to an automobile’s crankshaft.

Ford engine designers aim to provide maximum comfort for drivers and their passengers. The right firing order reduces any form of vibration or internal oscillation to the minimum level.

What Is The Ford Engine Firing Order?

On rear-wheel-drive Ford vehicles, the firing order starts with the cylinder on the front passenger side of the engine. It moves in a closed path through the vehicle’s rear to the driver’s side piston.

For front-wheel-drive cars, the first cylinder in the ignition sequence is located in the right position on the engine’s rear. Let us try to understand a more concrete concept of an engine’s firing order.

It is the pattern in which the spark plugs ignite the cylinders in parallel operation with the distributor. For Ford’s diesel trucks, it is the sequence in which fuel injection takes place within the combustion system. Every mechanic knows the importance of maintaining the proper firing order while repairing Ford engines.

This simple setup provides the power to drive the crankshaft when the cylinders undergo intake, compression, combustion, and exhaust strokes. A mistake in aligning the spark plugs can make the engine stall, refuse to start, or produce poor performance.

The Ford 302 Vs. 302 HO: The Differences

The Ford 302 and 302 HO have a similar engine block, connecting rod, and crankshaft system. However, some significant variations exist between them. The 302 HO is a step above the 302.

The Ford 302 has mechanical rockers. On the other hand, the 302 HO’s engine has rocker rollers. Rocker rollers are better than mechanical rockers. The bearing at the bottom of rocker rollers gives them more degree of freedom.

The regular 302 engine supplies 160-190hp, while the 302 HO has a rating of 215-225hp. They also have different injectors, headers, pistons, cam base sizes, and firing orders.

Ford 302 Firing Order

The firing order for a Ford 302 engine is 1-5-4-2-6-3-7-8. If you examine this engine, cylinders 1, 2, 3, and 4 are on the front passenger side. Cylinders 5, 6, 7, and 8 are near the firewall on the driver’s side. The distributor rotation is in the anticlockwise direction.

If you want to check your 302 engine’s ignition order, follow the steps below: 

  • Remove the valve cover gasket. 
  • Rotate the engine over by hand. Start by placing a big socket on the anterior crankshaft bolt.
  • Fix a long ratchet wrench to the socket and turn the crank. 
  • Position cylinder 1 at the Top Dead Centre (TDC). The Top Dead Center is the point on the piston that is farthest from the crankshaft.
  • Place your finger on the cavity of spark plug number one. Use a flashlight while doing this and get someone to assist you. 
  • Make use of the timing marks on the pulley to locate the Top Dead Centre.
  • Turn the engine over by hand again. This time, it will be a bit harder because you are moving against the machine and its accessories. 
  • Keep track of the spark plugs’ firing order and verify that it is correct.

Ford 302 HO Firing Order

The newer model, Ford 302 HO, has an ignition sequence of 1-3-7-2-6-5-4-8, the same as that of the 351W engine. This engine’s distributor rotates in a counter-clockwise direction, similar to the Ford 302. 

The distributor is a component that receives electric current from the ignition coil. Then, it supplies a voltage pulse to the cylinders’ spark plugs in the correct order.

The Mustang lineup of vehicles used the 302 HO engine from 1987 to 1995. It also appeared in other vehicles like the Cougar and some Lincoln models. This eight-cylinder engine has 9.0-1 compression, large throttle bodies, and forged pistons. The way to check the 302 HO’s firing order is the same as that of the Ford 302.

Both the Ford HO 302 and 351W share the same firing order that is 1-3-7-2-6-5-4-8Credit:


Ford Engine designers set up the ignition system to achieve power stability and improve your driving experience. If you are a car enthusiast, you must know your 302 or 302 HO engine’s firing order. In most cases, your auto engine will not run if the firing order is wrong or delayed.

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