Engine & Exhaust / Tech / Tech Articles

Cheat Sheet: Quick Guide to Engine Firing Orders

Do small, simple projects become extremely large and a little out of your league when it comes to your ride?

Has a simple distributor cap and rotor change quickly turned ugly? Has your once well-mannered carburetor suddenly become a smoke-puffing, gas spitting-monster?

Sometimes it’s helpful to have a cheat sheet in hand to help you navigate projects–big or small. For example, let’s say you’ve just installed a new cap and rotor kit on your carbureted V8, changed the spark plugs, and are ready to install a set of new wires.

But which wire goes where?

We’ve put together this V8 engine firing order and rotation (where applicable) cheat sheet for just such an occasion:

  • AMC (most V8 engines): Clockwise 1-8-4-3-6-5-7-2
  • Buick (most V8 except HEI): Clockwise 1-8-4-3-6-5-7-2
  • Chevrolet: Clockwise 1-8-4-3-6-5-7-2
  • GM LS: 1-8-7-2-6-5-4-3
  • Small Chrysler: Clockwise 1-8-4-3-6-5-7-2
  • Big Chrysler and Hemi: Counter-clockwise 1-8-4-3-6-5-7-2
  • Most Ford V8: Counter-clockwise 1-5-4-2-6-3-7-8
  • Ford (5.0L HO, 351W, 351M, 351C, 400): Counter-clockwise 1-3-7-2-6-5-4-8
  • Most Ford modular (4.6/5.4L): 1-3-7-2-6-5-4-8
  • Ford 5.0L Coyote: 1-5-4-8-6-3-7-2
  • Oldsmobile (1967 and up): Counter-clockwise 1-8-4-3-6-5-7-2
  • Pontiac (most 1955-81 V8 engines): Counter-clockwise 1-8-4-3-6-5-7-2 (Note: 307 Pontiac V8 engine rotates clockwise)

It’s important to remember that the numbering conventions for  engine cylinders differs by manufacturer. Use this interactive tool to determine your engine cylinder numbering.

Happy wrenching!

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16 Comments

  1. Pingback: What's the story on firing pattern on v8 engines? - Page 3 - Dodge Challenger Forum: Challenger & SRT8 Forums

  2. Pingback: How to Install a Distributor and Set Initial Timing

  3. Also be helpfully to have a pic of which cylinder is which

  4. William Pearson, Sr says:

    I have a huge problem! At a friend’s paint shop, some ESSO BEE switched motors in my 51 pickup. i had rebuilt a 351 windsor and it was built for speed and endurance. The paint shop had no cameras. I notified the police but even with the cast number photographed they said it was a slim chance of locating my street rod engine. They set the worn out junk yard engine in my truck with nothing connected up. I had to tow it home. i got the junk engine running and it smoked the neighborhood up with blue smoke. I tried every firing order that I can find listed on engines. The engines runs using FO of 16528347 but what is it? I really need a 460 ford pre 1971 to replace my 351. I’m retired. The 460 has 335hp and is OK.

  5. Christopher Jean says:

    A friend just bought a 1970 Skipjack Open boat with a 350 Chevy marine engine. The engine is not in running order and we’re trying to figure out whether it is a forward or reverse rotating engine. So far, the sources I’ve found give the usual forward rotation firing order of 1-8-4-3-6-5-7-2 and a reverse rotation order of 1-2-7-5-6-3-4-8. The existing engine has a “crab” style distributor cap with the cylinder numbers cast into the top of the cap. According to the numbers on the existing cap, a clockwise distributor rotation would produce a firing order of 1-2-7-3-6-8-4-5. Is this a legitimate firing order for any SBC marine engine?

  6. Anthony (AKA) Budden says:

    Have a dodge 1979 mini wini motor home fires clockwise 18436572 what size engine is it and is it amc dodge or chevy

  7. Pingback: Dodge 3.6L Firing Order Explained (With Example) – VehicleChef

  8. Clockwise or counterclockwise, should always be followed by viewed fron which direction… flywheel, or harmonic balancer/crankshaft pulley?
    Also how are the cylinders numbered? For instance Generic Motors tends to leap from left to right, starting with the forward most piston, while Ford counts forward most piston as #1 as before, then runs down that head to #4, before crossing over to the backset heads row of pistons. And Dodge tends to also leap from one head over to the other like GM, except its in reverse of Generic Motors, since their forward most piston is on the opposite side. I always saw Ford as ideal… since flat head Ford V8 started it all, and Generic Motors as a big gov. monopoly busting subsidized entity, so they naturally did the polar opposite of Henry Fords setup. Then Chrystler went somewhere in between. LOL… but thats just me so don’t get all butthurt.

    All this is cast onto the block anyway.

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