The Ford 4.6 V8 was the first installment in Ford’s Modular engine series which debuted in 1990. The Modular engine series replaced the long-running small-block Ford Windsor V8 engine series that ran from 1961 to 2002. As the first engine in the series, the 4.6 V8 was an important engine for Ford. It is a very versatile engine and was used in everything from the Lincoln Town Car to the Ford F-150.
There are many facets to the proper operation of any internal combustion engine. Like all other engines, the Ford 4.6 V8 has a firing order that dictates the sequence of ignition in the cylinders. This is important for a few reasons. An engine’s firing order has an effect on vibrations, smoothness, and the sound of an engine. If an engine’s firing order isn’t optimized, it can cause damage to the crankshaft, excessive engine vibration, and a host of other significant problems.
Knowing your Ford 4.6 V8’s firing order is especially important if you are doing any ignition-related repairs or modifications to your engine. It is vital that the firing order of your Ford 4.6 stays consistent, as any changes caused by broken or worn ignition system components can cause misfires or prevent the engine from starting.
Ford 4.6 Firing Order
Ford 4.6 V8 Firing Order: 1-3-7-2-6-5-4-8
The firing order of the Ford 4.6 V8 is 1-2-7-2-6-5-4-8. This is consistent with all of the other engines in the Ford Modular engine family, except one. The 2011+ 5.0L Ford Coyote V8 is the only Modular engine that has a different firing order of 1-5-4-8-6-3-7-2. The 4.6L V8’s 1-3-7-2-6-5-4-8 firing order is also the same as the older Ford 5.0 L HO and 351 CID.
It is important to understand how the 4.6 V8’s cylinders are numbered to understand the engine’s firing order. The cylinder bank on the passenger’s side is numbered 1 through 4, with cylinder number 1 being closest to the front of the vehicle. The cylinder bank on the driver’s side is numbered 5 through 8, with cylinder number 5 being the closest to the front of the vehicle. We’ll include a diagram below for visual learners.
Ford 4.6 Firing Order Vehicle Applications
The following 4.6 Ford V8-powered vehicles all share the same 1-3-7-2-6-5-4-8 firing order. That includes all variants of the 4.6 including 2-valve, 3-valve, and 4-valve V8s.
2-Valve Ford 4.6L V8 Applications
- 1991–2011 Lincoln Town Car
- 1992-2012 Ford Crown Victoria/Mercury Grand Marquis
- 1994-1997 Ford Thunderbird/ Mercury Cougar
- 1997-2010 Ford F-Series
- 1997-2014 Ford E-Series
- 2002-2004 Ford Explorer/Mercury Mountaineer
- 1997-2004 Ford Expedition
- 1996-2004 Ford Mustang GT
3-Valve Ford 4.6L V8 Applications
- 2005-2010 Ford Mustang GT
- 2006-2010 Ford Explorer/Mercury Mountaineer
- 2009-2010 Ford F-Series
4-Valve Ford 4.6L V8 Applications
- 1993-1998 Lincoln VIII
- 1996-1997 Ford Thunderbird
- 1995-2002 Lincoln Continental
- 2003-2005 Lincoln Aviator
- 2003-2004 Mercury Marauder
- 1996-2004 Ford Mustang SVT Cobra
- 2003-2004 Ford Mustang Mach 1
Ford 4.6 V8 Ignition System Details
The Ford 4.6 V8 is equipped with coil-on-plug style ignition, meaning that the PCM controls spark plug ignition. That negates some of the need for knowing the engine’s firing order. With older engines that had distributors with spark plug wires, it was essential to ensure that the wires were plugged onto the correct cylinder. If you didn’t plug the correct wire to the right plug, it could cause misfires or non-starts.
With the 4.6 V8, the spark plug ignition sequence is electronically controlled. The Ford 4.6’s PCM takes readings from the crankshaft position sensor to optimally ignite each spark plug individually. This is more efficient from both an emissions and performance standpoint. It also means that the engine’s firing order is more consistent and regulated.
While the Ford 4.6 V8 might not have spark plug wires like older engines, it does have eight electrical plugs responsible for providing power to the spark plugs. These plugs correspond with each of the eight cylinders. While it is harder to mess up the alignment of these plugs, it is still important that they go to the right place.
4.6 Modular V8 Engine Specs
|Engine Name||Ford 4.6 V8|
|Engine Family||Ford Modular|
|Displacement||4.6 L (280.8 cid)|
|Compression Ratio||9.0:1 – 10.1:1|
|Bore and Stroke||3.55in × 3.54in (90.2mm × 90.0mm)|
|Valve Train||SOHC & DOHC (2-4 v/cy, 16-32v)|
|Fuel System||Electronic Fuel Injection|
|Block Material||Cast Iron/Aluminum|
|Horsepower Output||190-390 horsepower|
|Torque Output||260-390 lb-ft|