How would you do it?

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redbird1
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How would you do it?

Post by redbird1 »

I have been timing ford engines over the years without using a timing light , and havn't missed yet.
My question is, how would you time an engine without a timing light?
I may even get an education here.
In response too an inquiry on another tbird site, I answered the request by explaining how to time without a timing light, so without going over to that site for the answer, how would you do it?
Bob.

KKC
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Post by KKC »

A common way of timing any engine is by using a engine service vacuum gauge hooked up to a port on the carb or intake manifold.

Turn the distributor until the highest vacuum reading is obtained, then back off about 1" on the gauge. Its that simple.

Most late model computer controled vehicles use engine vacuum to tell the ECU what timing is required at any RPM, and then then the ECU adjusts it accordingly.
Kenny

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redbird1
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Post by redbird1 »

KKC wrote:A common way of timing any engine is by using a engine service vacuum gauge hooked up to a port on the carb or intake manifold.

Turn the distributor until the highest vacuum reading is obtained, then back off about 1" on the gauge. Its that simple.

Most late model computer controled vehicles use engine vacuum to tell the ECU what timing is required at any RPM, and then then the ECU adjusts it accordingly.
I don't exactly get this vacume thing.
Wouldn't vacume increase with acceleration?
You stated back off the gauge "about" 1 inch.
How is that an accurate way to time an older ford engine?
I have heard others talk about using a vacume gauge to time the engine, but I just can't reconcile unsteady vacume as a tool to acurately set the timing.
What kind of rpm would be necessary to obtain the "highest" vacume reading on the gauge?
Bob.

josh
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Post by josh »

Pretty sure he meant one degree. What I usually do is advance until it stumbles, then back it off 3-4 degrees. Go for a test drive where, make sure the engine gets under good load (up a hill or something), and if it pings, back off another degree...repeat until no ping. Done.

redbird1
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Post by redbird1 »

Thanks for your replies.
I still like my system a whole lot better, and it is done right the first tiime.
No driving uphill to see if I did it right.
No resetting the distributor.
One time and that's it.
Ok, this is how I have done it .
It is a bit involved, but has been right on the mark without failure.
No guessing, no adjusting idle, no vacume gauge, just the vehicles own electrical supply.
You might want to try this to time the engine.
You can do this without a timing light.
First, remove the number one spark plug from the engine.
Put the cable back on it once removed.
Next, disconnect the coill cable at the distributor.
Hook up a remote starter switch per the mfg instructions.(usually one clip on the starter, and the other to ground.
If you don't have one, pick one up at any parts store.
ther are not expensive.
While cranking the engine, put your thumb over the hole where you took the spark plug out.
When the number #1 piston is at the top of it's stroke, you will feel the air pressure on your thumb.
At this point, stop cranking.
If by chance you cranked beyond the compression stroke, repeat with just clicking the remote starter switch one at a time until you feel the piston is at the top of it's stroke.
Once you have determined that the piston is at the top of it's compression stroke, go turn on the key.
Don't crank with the key, just turn it on.
Now, with the key in the ignition, and turned on, loosen the distributor a little, so that it can be turned.
Now, take that removed spark plug ,cable attached, and ground the tip of it on something metal on the engine.
While holding it against it's grounding point, slowly advance the distributor by turning it clockwise.
As soon as you see a spark, or hear a click at the point where the spark plug is grounded, the engine will be perfectly timed.
Tighten the distributor.
Turn off the ignition key and install the spark plug, annd the coil wire you removed
Remove the remote starter switch and you will be good to go.
Bob.

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redstangbob
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Post by redstangbob »

KKC meant 1 inch, vacuum is measured in inches (google manometer) increasing the timing without opening the throttle blade will show an increase in vacuum to a certain point. The factory setting will not be optimal with todays fuel, remember what premium gas used to look and smell like :razz: Pony Carb's method is as good as any for setting timing, these dampers were known for slipping which makes the timing marks useless. JMO Bob C
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vacreeper
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Post by vacreeper »

On the whole your system will certainly work and would be safe for the engine. That said, Ford engines were designed to have the spark ignite the charge before the piston gets to the top of the stroke. Ford manuals usually call for a static setting of the distributor of 10-12 degrees in advance. The in advance part refers to the position of the piston prior to it getting to the top of the stroke.

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T-Bird-Art
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Post by T-Bird-Art »

Can't rely on factory timing specs set for new engines when we're running 80K miles on up.

I use a meter showing RPM's. I tweak distributor to get max RPM's. Then Back off idle screw 1/2 turn. Again tweak distributor for maximum RPM's

Back off idle screw 1/4 turn. Tweak distributor again for max RPM's.

Again back off idle screw 1/4 turn and tweak distributor.

When I get engine to idle at 200 RPM I know everything is right.

Then screw idle back up to 600 RPM for non-A/C and 700 RPM with A/C

Rt.146
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Re: How would you do it?

Post by Rt.146 »

I like the idea of using a vacuum gauge not owning a dwell meter or timing light. I'm working now on getting the timing set. At this point with all new ignition components, the carb. a Holley was serviced, still the 390 is running rough when it runs.

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sseebart
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Re: How would you do it?

Post by sseebart »

Rt.146 wrote:
Sat Feb 08, 2020 8:51 pm
I like the idea of using a vacuum gauge not owning a dwell meter or timing light. I'm working now on getting the timing set. At this point with all new ignition components, the carb. a Holley was serviced, still the 390 is running rough when it runs.
The vacuum method described here works well enough. If the carb is adjusted properly and the timing is close, yet the engine still runs poorly, it's probably time for a compression test to gauge how well the internals are working.

~Steve

64ZCODE
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Re: How would you do it?

Post by 64ZCODE »

Guys, I'm mystified. Why not just use a timing light?
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jtschug
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Re: How would you do it?

Post by jtschug »

Sometimes, especially when the engine is worn, you can achieve a better tune a little off from the timing specs

RAVEN
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Re: How would you do it?

Post by RAVEN »

Also note that the balancer pulley with the timing marks SHIFTS and an accurate degree point will not exist. It will be off by possibly 5-10*
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