There are multiple firing orders for some engine configurations, especially in the V8 realm. A Ford smallblock fires 1-5-4-8-6-3-7-2, while the same displacement modern modular Ford V8 fires 1-5-4-8-7-2-6-3.
There's a huge wiki about Firing Order which contains a vast number of workable arrangements, even across the exact same cylinder configuration.
Firing order is constrained by:
piston arrangement (inline, V, VR, flat, etc.)
These two factors will combine to determine when top-dead center (TDC) of each cylinder is achieved with respect to crank angle.
Ideally, the firing order is set up to make the ignition occur as regularly as possible.
Here is an ...
It depends if you are asking from the point of view of an engine designer or someone trying to maintain or troubleshoot an engine.
From the point of view of a mechanic firing order tells you the order in which the cylinders are ready to fire – when each one is on its compression stroke with the valves closed and a charge of fuel. That's important if you're ...
This is not an easy question to answer, but I will give it a shot. First off, a flat plane crankshaft means all journals are on the same plane, so if you looked at it straight on it would have all journals in a line, straight up and down. A cross plane engine, when looking from the end straight on would look more like an X, evenly spaced.
There are many ...
It's because of the design of the crankshaft. If you look at the inline 4-cyl engine, the crankshaft is a flat plane crank, meaning the throws are 180° out. With that, two cylinders are on one side of the crank and two cylinders are on the other side of the crank with five (usually) main bearings holding things in place. The "typical" design of the four ...
But only if the crankshaft is cross-plane as opposed to the traditional flat-plane design which Paulster2 alluded to in his answer.
The diagram above shows a 1-4-2-3 firing order (ignition event denoted by the star next to the TDC of each sinusoidal):
1. Cyl #1 fires at crank angle 0°
2. Cyl #4 fires at 180° (180° after previous cylinder)
This modification is intended for Gen I/II Small-Block Chevy engines only.
What I failed to realize was that while the cylinder numbering convention stays the same across Gen I/II SBC's, the firing order is quite different: 1-8-4-3-6-5-7-2
With this firing order, there is no concern about bank imbalance when performing the 4/7 swap:
1-8-4-3-6-5-7-2 | ...
In reference to your question, no, it won't work either way. In fact, it doesn't work either way. The thing is, the manufacturer has set the firing order for the 2.0L Cavalier 4-cyl engine (assuming that's what you have) as 1-3-4-2. Here is what it should look like under the hood:
( Image from AutoZone.com Repair Guide )
The reason you can't just place ...
If you are trying to change the cylinder firing order, I'd recommend against it, since the firing order helps prevent the engine from vibrating excessively.
Consider the Inline-6, which has primary balance due to the firing sequence (in terms of crankshaft angle when a cylinder fires) matching the movement of the pistons themselves.
Similarly, V6 engines ...
The only thing I can think of is if you skipped cylinders which would "change" the firing order lets say from 12345678 to 10203040 where the 0's were the skipped cylinders. This would be paired with making sure those injectors didn't fire and that the compression stroke would no longer compress anything.
The reason for this order is that a 4 cylinder isn't perfectly balanced, dynamically. Up and down is balanced (primary) but side to side (second order) is not. Balance shafts cancel out these secondary forces. The forces aren't terrible, and engines under 2.0L haven't always used balance shafts. Ford's Voodoo V8 with a flat plane crank doesn't use ...
If the firing order alternates from one bank to the other it could be (and probably is) a flat plane engine. If the firing order has any two cylinders on the same bank fire in succession, it cannot be a flat plane engine.