How to set distributor timing


raymondvillain

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All the instructions I have available say to "disconnect the vacuum" at the distributor. Well, my truck does not have a vacuum advance on the distributor.

If I shine the timing light on the crankshaft pulley while the engine is at idle, with everything connected and the engine warm, it looks like the notch on the pulley is lined up at 20 degrees BTDC.

When I give it gas, the timing mark dances up to about 30 degrees BTDC.

How do real mechanics adjust the timing on this engine?
 


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BRUTUS_T_HOG

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there is a 2 wire connector with a "dummy" plug in it.. its a shorting bar. this is the SPOUT connector, you adjust timing to 10 degrees BTDC while this is unplugged. you should be able to find the SPOUT next to the distributor
 

raymondvillain

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SPOUT stands for?

Thanks, BRUTUS_T_HOG. i will try that ASAP.

But what does SPOUT stand for?

Are these kinds of distributors known to need frequent repair or replacement? Is this a DURA-spark ignition system?

I am totally ignorant of all this, thanks for your help.
 

kimcrwbr1

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It is a TFI ignition if you look in the tech library it will explain how to troublshoot the ignition under TFI diagnostics in the computer section.
 

raymondvillain

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shorting bar for ignition timing

This distributor has 3 wires going into it. They have a connector that connects to the wiring harness about 6 inches (wire length) from the distributor.

Is this where the "dummy" plug is to be found?
 

raymondvillain

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engine timing distributor vacuum advance

I was wrong. This distributor does indeed have a vacuum advance. I just had not seen it. It is pointing towards the rear of the vehicle. I burned my hand on the oil filter plugging it and un-plugging it.

It has 3 wires that connect to the wiring harness and the vacuum advance. I could not get the connector loose to see if there was a "dummy" plug to removed.

But I did plug and unplug the vacuum advance.

The vacuum advance is working, or trying to work. With the engine running, I can connect some tubing to the vacuum advance and suck on it and watch the timing mark move (advance), and then drop back when I release the vacuum.

I tried setting it to 6 degrees BTDC with the vacuum advance plugged. This is what the sticker on the frame says to do. But then when I hook everything back up and go for a drive, the engine does not put out enough power to go 65 mph.

The only distributor setting that seems to work is to set the timing to 20 degrees BTDC with the vacuum lines all in place.

So I'm wondering if all this means the distributor needs to be replaced.

What is a pass/fail test for the distributor?

Four hours later, all my problems went away. Wish I knew why. It may have had something to do with the newly rebuilt carburetor. The gasket is still "shrinking", or compressing, so the carburetor becomes loose on the manifold. When this happens a very loud whistling noise comes from under the hood, so I stopped and tightened the hold down nuts. Drove home and installed a new fan clutch, and tried one more time to use the "official" distributor timing of 6 degrees BTDC. So disconnect the vacuum line to the distributor vacuum advance, adjust the distributor, reconnect hose, etc. and go for a test drive. Like magic, everything was fine. Lots of power. No knocking. No backfiring. Smooth steady idle.

If the problems return I'm going to thoroughly investigate the distributor. Any suggestions?
 
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kimcrwbr1

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You need to unplug the vacuum from the dizzy and plug the end of the hose, then adjust the timing to 6 degrees btdc then tighten the dizzy and check it. then plug the vacuum line back in you should be good there. make sure all the vacuum lines are good and where they should be then use a vacuum guage to adjust the carb if you can get one.
 

kimcrwbr1

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For the carb make sure the bolts are tite then turn the idle adjust needles out 1 1/2 turns from the lightly seated position get the engine warm and turn them out to get the highest vacuum reading then check to see they are within 1/2 turn by turning them in then back out counting the turns. It shoud be between 17 and 21 hg in vacuum.
 

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Thanks, BRUTUS_T_HOG. i will try that ASAP.

But what does SPOUT stand for?

Are these kinds of distributors known to need frequent repair or replacement? Is this a DURA-spark ignition system?

I am totally ignorant of all this, thanks for your help.
not that it applies anymore, SPOUT means Spark-Output. on a chevy it would be called EST.. meaning Electronic Spark Timing
 

kimcrwbr1

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He has the duraspark ignition with a vacum/mechanical advance
 

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The correct way to set the timing you have done. The base timing is 6 deg. The vacuum should advance the timing about 15 deg. The mechanical should advance the timing about 18 deg at 2500 rpm. That would give a total of approx 38 deg total advance.
To get the best performance. With the engine at normal operating temp. Advance the timing until you get spark knock/ping under heavy load then back the timing back a couple of degrees.
 
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raymondvillain

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correct ignition timing

Thanks so much for all the help, folks.

I hooked up a vacuum gauge (put a tee into one of the lines) and drove around to check things. At idle, with my foot off the throttle, it indicates 16 inches of mercury. When holding steady at 35 mph in 4th gear its about 20 inches of mercury. The engine sounds good and the needle on the vacuum gauge does more or less what I expected. That is, when the accelerator pedal is depressed, the gauge drops to zero. When you take your foot off the pedal, the needle shoots up to 25 inches, and so forth.

It is not a professional gauge, I bought it on ebay some time ago, but I feel confident that there aren't any vacuum leaks and that the engine performance is acceptable, so I'm going to call it quits for now.

Time to start tearing apart the front end and replacing ball joints, I beam bushings, and lots of other fun stuff.

Thanks again for all the help.
 

kimcrwbr1

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Did you use the vacuum guage to adjust the idle air turn them out then back in until the vacuum starts to drop once you get the leanest mixture for the correct rpm then turn the engine off and check that the idle screws are close to the same number of turns out within 1/2 a turn. Have fun with the front end just remember if you don`t bleed your not doing it right.
 

kimcrwbr1

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Oh yea I back my idle air out about 1/4 turn rich to account for barometric pressure a tad rich never hurts performance.
 


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