Ford 351 Windsor and 302 Firing Order [351C, 351W, 351M]

The 351 was the first modern small block V8, an upgrade to the 289/302 engines. The 351 was introduced to accommodate the new weight and size of intermediate cars such as the Torino, Comet and Fairland.

The 351 was a great success for Ford and was used in several of its cars. The 351 was carburetted with a four-barrel carburettor until 1988.

In 1988 the 351 was fuel injected, and the firing order remained the same. The 351 firing order was the most unique of its time because it took care of that weird noise that came from the usual firing order of Ford’s V8 engines.

Let’s dive deep into the 351 and its firing order to see how the engine is unique and why the 351 firing order makes it so unique.

Ford 351 Windsor V8 Engine Summary and Firing Order

351 windsor firing order

The ford 351, as the name implies, is 351 cubic inches or 5.8L or 5800cc. It was the biggest small block V8 made by Ford. It had a 3.5-inch stroke and a 4-inch bore.

It was cast out of iron which gave it great strength and rigidity. It had a 90-degree v-twin and valve train with an overhead configuration. It had a taller block than the 302, and the 351 was the most common engine from Ford.

The 351 has the highest production number, which means it was used across various cars and has the largest aftermarket support even as of today. It is also the most common engine to be found in junkyard scavenging.

The 351 was produced and used by Ford between 1969-1996. It was taken over by the Ford Modular engines, which used the overhead camshaft configuration instead of the overhead valve train.

The 351 was initially produced in the Windsor Factory in Ontario. The Windsor factory produced around 8.6 million units. The engines built in the Windsor factory were called 351W.

There was another place that produced the 351. The 351 was also made in the Cleveland factory. The engines built in the Cleveland factory were called the 351C.

The 351C firing order was the same as the 351W. The modifications to the 351 were usually made to the 351C because the 351C was closer to the headquarters and easier to get their hands on.

The officially modified version of 351 was the 351M made in the Michigan factory and was the choice of engine for Ford sports cars.

ford 351 windsor firing order

The 351 was iron cast using a sand model and pneumatic or vacuum pressure. There were some problems with mould core shifting, so some adjustments and improvements were made to the casting using better mouldings.

The 351 was cast iron, but after 1971 it had more steel composition making it heavier.

The 351 was initially designed to accommodate the increased size and weight of the pony cars in the Ford lineup.

It was a small block engine, which meant it could be placed in small engine bays, but since it had a tall block, it had to be placed a little lower.

The 351 had higher flow numbers than the 302 and the 400. Due to its simple design, bigger carburettors, bigger valves and cams, and more power were very easy to make with just a few modifications.

It could be made into a two-barrel carburettor, and the compression ratio was easily changed from 11:1 to 8.8:1 when the emissions standard were made strict.

It was the choice for modifications due to its simplicity. With just a few changes, the engine could easily produce twice the amount of stock horsepower.

It had sturdy valve springs, a crankshaft and a high-flow intake manifold making it easier to modify without making any changes to the block and head.

What Makes The 351 So Special?

The 351 had a cast iron block and head. It had dedicated water jacket ports which made it thermally reliable. It had bigger oil and water pumps and a steel crankshaft.

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The 351 had bigger intake and exhaust ports with larger valves due to the higher deck. The carburettor has 2 options, a 2-barrel and a 4-barrel.

firing order for 351 windsor

But when it comes to fueling, the 351 can be fuel injected. The 351 has a fuel-injected version from 1988 onwards, but the carburettor version can also be fuel injected.

 

The carburettor version is the easiest to modify to make power due to its simplicity. The fuel flow rate can be increased easily to make more power.

The valve springs and the valves are all made of steel. The crankshaft and the connecting rods are forged aluminium, providing better heat dissipation and strength to the piston itself.

With all these features, the engine can be pushed to make 500-600 horsepower without changing any internals.

The engine was so versatile and practical that it was even used in several marine applications. It was put in speedboats and even yachts.

Even though the stock version made between 250-300 horsepower, it was to comply with the emission standards.

Aftermarket Support Of 351

The aftermarket support of 351 is what makes it such a huge attraction for everyone. Even though some parts can be expensive, they are easier to find.

In the case of an engine rebuild, you can easily find the complete head, valves, camshaft, and a complete block. You can even find complete engines! It has the same cylinder head as the 302 and has several interchangeable parts from the 400 and the 335.

This versatility ensures the availability of parts throughout continents. So many cars had the 351 that it could be easily swapped in or out of any vehicle.

It was the engine which was used in almost every pony car and muscle car and brought the muscle cars the fame and nostalgia they have today.

Ford 351 Windsor Firing Order

351 windsor firing order

Firing order is the order in which each piston undergoes the combustion stroke. The firing order is determined by the plane of the crankshaft and the timing of the cam lobes or the push rods.

The firing order of the 351 was very unique and the most different compared to other small block V8s from Ford.

The Ford 351 Windsor firing order was: 1-3-7-2-6-5-4-8. Ford numbers its engines starting from the first left. The left half has pistons from 1 through 4, front to back. The right half has pistons from 5 to 8, from the front to the back.

What Was So Unique About It?

The standard firing order of Ford V8s was usually 1-5-4-2-6-3-7-8. The standard order created a very strong noise which was a lot to deal with for the owners. It also puts an excess load on the main bearing from the consecutive pistons firing.

The unique firing order of the 351 eased the load on the main bearing and moved the load to the rear, which was the more rigid part of the engine.

The firing order was carried out using a special counter-clockwise spinning distributor. The distributor was made special to accommodate the larger oil pump and oil pump shaft.

Standard Firing Order of Ford V8s (352, 360, 390, 406, 427, 428)

Standard Firing Order of Ford V8s (352, 360, 390, 406, 427, 428)

Ford 351 Windsor V8 Engine Vs Its Competitors: Ford 302 And Chevy 350

The 351 has several competitors. There are some competitors in the same family and others in other companies, most notably Chevrolet.

The 351 has competitors due to its size and versatility. The 351 was used in so many pony cars made by ford, which means pony cars and muscle cars of its competitor companies were always a competition to the 351.

Ford 302 H.O V8 Engine Summary and Firing Order

351 VS 302

The 302 and 351 have been competing against each other since ford started making the 351. The 302 and 351 have similarities, such as the engine materials and the stroke, which is 4.0 inches.

The similarities end there. The power figures are different, the displacement is different, even the torque figures.

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The 302 was used in the Ford’s Shelby GTs as the 5.0. Ford enthusiasts have always debated between a Shelby and a Mustang, and the engine has been a really big aspect of the debate.

Here are some side-by-side comparisons between the two engines and the specifications.

Specifications 302 351
Bore 4.0 Inches 4.0 Inches
Stroke 3.0 Inches 3.5 Inches
2-Barrel Version Output 210 Horsepower 250 Horsepower
4-Barrel Version Output 235 Horsepower 290 Horsepower
High-Performance Version Output 235 Horsepower 300 Horsepower
RPM 4800 5400
Torque 377 352
Deck Height 8.201 – 8.210 Inches 9.480 – 9.503 Inches

Both engines have interchangeable parts, such as  

  • Front covers
  • Timing chains
  • Motor mounts
  • Exhaust manifolds
  • Valve train parts and the cylinder heads (except for the pushrods)

Even the camshaft is interchangeable but you had to adjust the cam timing for the 351s firing order. In terms of fuel economy, they are also very similar.

Another major difference between both engines is that the 302 has better parts availability because the Shelby lineup was one of the most sold cars by Ford and continued unchanged for a very long time. Even the Mustang had a 302 at some time. The Shelby outsold every other pony car except for the Mustang, so the 302 has better parts availability.

The better availability of parts also means that parts of 302 are cheaper than those of 351.

The 351 has a higher horsepower rating. The highest production horsepower number of 302 is 235hp with 377 lb-ft of torque at 4800 RPM, and the 351 made 300hp with 352 lb-ft of torque at 5400 RPM.

The 351 also got a fueling system upgrade with fuel injection, whereas the 302 remained carburetted.

There are other competitors to 351, such as the 352, but it wasn’t in production as long as the 351.

Ford 5.0L 302 H.O Firing Order

Other Companies

The chevy 350 was a direct competitor of the Ford 351. They both have similar displacement numbers and are very similar to each other in many ways.

The chevy 350 was released in the same year as the ford 351. The chevy 350 was used in the corvette, impala, Camaro, and Chevelle, direct competitors of the Mustang, Torino and the GT350.

firing order for a 351 windsor

Here is the comparison of the highest stock power version of the Ford 351 and Chevy 350.

(Stock’s highest power production means mass-produced engines with the highest power output.)

  Chevy 350 Ford 351
Displacement 350 ci 351 ci
Rated output, horsepower 370 hp at 6,000 300 hp at 5,400
Rated output, torque 380 lb-ft at 4,000 380 lb-ft at 3,400
Bore/stroke 4.0/3.48 4.0/3.50
Compression 11.0:1 11.0:1
2/4 bolt block 4 4
Crank (cast or forged) Forged Cast
Rod length 5.70 5.778
Forged rod Forged Forged
Rod ratio 1.637:1 1.651:1
Head casting No. 492/414 D0AE-(G-R)
Chamber volume 61 to 64 cc 61 to 64 cc
Valve sizes 2.02/1.60 2.19/1.71
Peak flow rates (intake/exhaust) 210/146 274/176
Screw-in studs Yes No
Guideplates Yes No
Cam hydraulic/solid Solid Hydraulic
Cam lift 0.459/0.485 0.481/0.489
Cam duration (0.050) 242/254 207/221
Cam lobe separation 116 115
Intake manifold Dual-plane Dual-plane
Aluminium/iron Aluminium Iron
Carb Holley 3310 4V Autolite 4300
Carb rating 780 cfm 600 CFM
Tested output, horsepower 353 hp at 5,600 365 hp at 5,800
Tested output, torque 392 lb-ft at 4,100 379 lb-ft at 3,800

Different Variants Of Ford 351 Windsor V8 Engine and Firing Order

The 351 was made with 3 different specs. There was the 351W which came from Windsor. There was the 351C which came from Cleveland. And there was the 351M which is referred to as modified or Michigan.

These engines were similar in terms of parts, but each had some unique tweaking to better fit its application.

Ford 351C Cleveland Engine Summary and Firing Order

351w ford 351 windsor firing order

The 351C was made in the Cleveland plant and was in production from 1969-1971.

The 351C was the first engine in the 351 series. It had larger ports and canted valves. The valves were tilted 9 degrees towards the intake manifold and 4 degrees to the side.

The cant and larger ports allowed it to run at higher RPMs and produce more horsepower. The 351C came with a 2-barrel carburettor and a 4-barrel carburettor.

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351C made between 177hp-330hp depending on the year and carburettor configuration.

According to spritmonitor.de the 351C cosnumed 18.74L/100km of fuel.

Ford 351C Firing Order

Ford 351W Ford 351 Windsor Engine Summary and Firing Order

351 ford windsor firing order

As the name implies, the 351W was produced in the Windsor, Ontario plant in Canada and was in production from 1971-1990. The 351W replaced the 351C to meet the strict emissions standard.

As a result, the 351W was only made between 180-220hp, even though it could make 350-400hp with just a new set of cams and headers.

The best way to distinguish the 351W and 351C is that the in the 351C, the water pump housing has been cast into the block, whereas the 351W is flat in the front.

The 351W was used in all the pony cars, muscle cars, trucks with the 351C and many more from the Ford main lineup.

According to spritmonitor the 351W got 17.69L/100km of fuel consumption.

Ford 351W Firing Order

Ford 351M (Modified or Michigan) Engine Summary and Firing Order

351M - Modified or Michigan

Even though Ford never specified the true meaning of the “M” in the engine name, it was thought to be Modified or Michigan.

It was considered Modified because the 351M was a modified version of the 351C with parts shared with the 400. Some people thought the “M” to be Michigan because it was made in the Michigan factory.

Ford took the 400s tall deck block and installed the 351 crankshafts. The crankshaft was adjusted because the 351C didn’t have the same crankshaft as the 400. So the crankshaft was modified to accommodate the larger main bearing.

Taller compression height pistons were used to compensate for the shorter stroke pistons in the 351C.

Besides the crankshaft and the pistons, the 351C and 351M share the same components.

The 351 Boss and the 351 Cobra Jet were just derivations of the 351M with few adjustments depending on the car it was gonna be put in. The 351M was made of around 330hp.

Ford 351M Firing Order

Conclusion

The 351 was a very successful engine made by ford. It was considered over its competitors due to easily interchangeable parts, excellent aftermarket support and easy modifications that bump the power to two times more than the stock power figures.

The 351 was so successful, versatile and easy to maintain that it was even used in marine applications. It was used in boats. That meant that there were tons of 351s lying around in junkyards everywhere.

The 351 lasted till 1990 in production, but it is still sought after today by enthusiasts for restoration and built projects. The 351 shared several parts with the 302 and the 400, which meant parts were easier to come by.

Even if you blew a block or even the head, you could go out and buy new ones. It was an excellent competitor to the chevy 350 and other small-block V8s made by Ford.

It was a saviour for Ford in the fuel crisis and could be modified to make more power for people who didn’t care about fuel economy.

The firing order of the 351 gave it a unique sound and feel and brought balance to the engine, which several Ford small block V8s didn’t have.

DrillandDriver

I’m Brian, a car fanatic, and the founder of DrillandDriver.com, I’ve been into cars my whole life. Actually, not just into them but obsessed with them. I have been working as a mechanic for over 15 years and have been deeper into the motor and electric vehicles for some years.

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