Engines: Engine Rebuilding: Engine start-up
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Topic IntroductionHelp

Engine timing adjustment

Summary
The objective of this procedure is to show you how to adjust the engine timing. Find the timing recommendation for your engine in the Repair Manual. The Repair Manual should also give you details on what type of timing marks you have on your engine.

Part 1. Preparation and safety

Objective

Adjust the engine timing

Personal safety

Whenever you perform a task in the workshop you must use personal protective clothing and equipment that is appropriate for the task and which conforms to your local safety regulations and policies. Among other items, this may include:

If you are not certain what is appropriate or required, ask your supervisor.

Safety check

Points to note


Part 2: Step-by-step instruction

  1. Connect timing gun
    Find the timing recommendation for your engine in the Repair Manual.
    Hook up a timing gun and connect the ignition lead to the number one spark plug wire. If you have a vacuum advance distributor, also plug the suction side of the vacuum line where it goes into the carburetor or the intake manifold. Point the light at the timing indicator on the harmonic balancer and it will tell you what the initial timing is set to.
  2. Adjust timing settings
    The Repair Manual should also give you details on what type of timing marks you have on your engine. If the timing is a few degrees off, change the setting by loosening the clamp and physically rotating the distributor as the engine is running. The goal is to get the engine to idle smoothly at the lowest rpm possible while the timing is set to the recommended setting.
    When you tighten the distributor re-check the timing setting. Sometimes the setting will change when you tighten the hold down clamp.
  3. Test drive vehicle
    When the engine is idling smoothly and you've checked to make sure that the fluids are all topped off and nothing is leaking, take the vehicle for a test drive.
    Remember to replace the plain water in the cooling system with the recommended type of coolant.
  4. Change oil and filter
    After the first 500 miles, or 800 kilometers, change the engine oil and filter. When you do that, check the repair manual to see if the head bolts or any other fasteners should be re-torqued at the same time.