How can you tell if the timing pointer is out of alignment? - Defender Source
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  #1  
Old January 13th, 2011, 02:22 PM
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Question How can you tell if the timing pointer is out of alignment?

I remember reading in a post that Hans made about his timing pointer being off by something like 6 degrees. I'm not sure if those fancy static timing guns can help but how do figure out if your timing pointer is bent and is pointing at the wrong direction? I'm thinking use a chop stick in the plug hole and turn the crank until its at exact TDC and then match up to the line(s) on the dampner? The dampner kinda confuses me too, does anyone know which mark on the damper where it says TDC is true TDC? Any help appreciated, thanks.

Neil
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  #2  
Old January 13th, 2011, 06:12 PM
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The only way to do it properly is to remove the LH head and use a micro dial gauge to find TDC on #1 on the compression stroke. You might be able to do this with the head in place but due to the plug angle, I doubt you'll have any way to get a good accurate reading. Anything else is going to be ballpark.
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  #3  
Old January 13th, 2011, 06:46 PM
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Thanks, I think I'm going to look at my workshop manual to see where exact TDC on the dampner. Thanks though.
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  #4  
Old January 13th, 2011, 06:49 PM
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Neil, basically you hit it on the first try. Use an available method to make sure the #1 cylinder is at TDC, then re-mark the balancer where TDC really is. There are a couple of methods that I've seen, which are a bit fancier than the "chop-stick" method. They make a screw in indicator that goes where the spark plug is. There's also a whistle type thing that you slowly turn the engine by hand until the whistle noise stops..... this one I don't think is the most accurate though.

Another option is to just ignore the balancer markings totally, and set your timing by using a vacuum gauge. I can't remember the procedure off the top of my head, but it should be out there on the net somewhere. IIRC you find the timing that the vacuum is highest, and then pull it back a bit. Just not sure about the details.

The most accurate method though is always going to be using a dial indicator with the head removed, but that's not always practical.

As to which marking on the balancer to use, there should be a longer line on there with a 0 right next to it. Can be hard to spot if the balancer is dirty or the engine is spinning. I like to clean it off and rub some white crayon into the scribings to make it clearer.

-Hans
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  #5  
Old January 14th, 2011, 12:20 AM
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The gauges or stops through the spark plug hole can be effective.
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Old January 14th, 2011, 01:41 AM
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I need to do the same thing. I was thiking about doing a chop stick in there or somehow hollowing out a sparkplug and running a straw through it. I could take off the head but man it would be nice and easy not to.

where can i get one of this screw in indicator?
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Old January 14th, 2011, 09:01 AM
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Found one, but apparently you can't use it if the plugs aren't vertical to the piston.....
damn.

-Hans
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  #8  
Old January 14th, 2011, 10:09 AM
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yeah i looked some up too but most look like they are for inline engines. I could rid something up. maybe get a long adapter to a dial guage or something.
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  #9  
Old January 14th, 2011, 10:42 AM
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In a way, absolute TDC is irelevant if you are just concerned with properly tuning your street engine. With the racing engines it's critical for valve timing and we go to the dial indicator before the heads go on. For a stock street engine what matters for optimum performance is that the spark timing is advanced just below the limit of pre-detonation and where the engine idles and runs smoothly. That setting will vary due to many factors not least of which is the fuel you are using. So the factory timing indicator becomes relative.
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Old January 14th, 2011, 10:49 AM
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I'll look at the package mine came in today. Still works well even taking a reading from the side. The trick is to average like during a camshaft reading. Find a reading before TDC and the equal reading after TDC. Marking the points on the balancer and then finding centerpoint.

TDC is relevant to engine tune. Establishing a baseline prevents uncalled for damage by just winging it.
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Old January 14th, 2011, 04:11 PM
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I hope I didn't imply that "winging it" is good practice, that was not what I was getting at. My point was that for an average gasoline street engine the precise TDC is not worth the trouble to find especially if someone is going to start sticking objects in the spark plug hole. If you really suspect that the factory timing mark is off I would assume that would be because there is a performance issue with the motor. In that case it won't hurt to gradually adjust the timing and see if there is a gain. If, on the other hand, you just want to know that your TDC mark is accurate you could use a dial teat gauge which has a small arm that moves up and down. the important thing is to remember that there is a dwell at TDC. In order to accurately determine that mid point (TDC) requires turning the crank in both directions and marking the start of the dwell point. TDC will be in the middle.
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Old January 14th, 2011, 05:35 PM
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Still going to disagree with you here.

As far as sticking things in the spark plug hole, well the guy doing the work needs to be competent so nothing happens that could cause damage.

You said
"In order to accurately determine that mid point (TDC) requires turning the crank in both directions and marking the start of the dwell point. TDC will be in the middle."

I agree. That is the point I was making when I said " Find a reading before TDC and the equal reading after TDC. Marking the points on the balancer and then finding centerpoint.

When you talk about advancing the timing until the engine does not ping that is winging it. Without a baseline of TDC you may tune the engine with good fuel or other parameters that could change in the future. So later on the parameters change and suddenly the engine is pinging to beat all hell. Even worse someone else is driving the beast and just keeps motoring with the pedal to the metal disregarding the damage being done.

So my opinion is you are wrong. How can you define " In that case it won't hurt to gradually adjust the timing and see if there is a gain. " without a baseline of TDC, because there is an engine performance issue. This is how timing gets grossly adjusted and damage occurs.

I understand you will more then likely make more conservative adjustments yourself. But imagine how misused your advice can be, in a Greg Brady world.
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  #13  
Old January 14th, 2011, 06:01 PM
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Sure, but do you really think it's better to have Greg Brady stick a screwdriver in the spark plug hole and turn over the engine or live with the timing a few degrees off?
That's pretty much what I am getting at.
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Old January 14th, 2011, 06:17 PM
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And I don't think we mean we are rough and just "going to stick a screwdriver in the spark plug hole and turn over the engine." I think I would stick something in there nicely and hand turn the engine and feel it out.
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Old January 14th, 2011, 06:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ini88 View Post
I think I would stick something in there nicely and hand turn the engine and feel it out.
That's exactly what I did. It's easiest if you have all the belts off and all the plugs out, and make sure the battery is disconnected too (Just in case). IIRC I used a soft plastic measuring stick made for other purposes.

The trick is using the right thing stuck in there, so you get the most accurate reading while minimizing the risk of damaging the piston face. The safest one I can think of is one of the whistle things that thread into the spark hole, but they aren't the most accurate.

-Hans
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Old January 14th, 2011, 09:43 PM
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Well see my problem is, I set the new mallory distributor timing exactly how it was before with the original distributor, at the white line made at 6 degree TDC. And it runs fine, but sometimes when I'm going up a big hill, and I'm flooring it, I feel like I'm hearing the faint sound of pinging, I'm pretty sure its pinging, dosen't happen when driving on straight aways, I tried to get it to ping again many times but the sound only came up on this one hill in Glendale thats when I started hearing it. I turned the allen key in adjustment for the vacuum advance all the way down like recommended but mabye if I adjust the vacuum advance a bit higher it'll go away. Hmm, mabye I should get that vacuum adjustment curve tool from mallory. Anyway thats why I wanted to double check the pointer make sure thats correct first before I go on further. Hey just how do you bend those timing pointer things. Or can they be mounted wrong?

------ Follow up post added January 14th, 2011 06:46 PM ------

Oh and in the past, I've used a wooden chopstick to find TDC on my Series 3 motor, its turning real slow so and I'm sure the chopstick wouldn't do much damage even if the chop stick got crushed or something. Chinese food can help you fix your rover.
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  #17  
Old January 14th, 2011, 10:00 PM
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Quote:
In order to accurately determine that mid point (TDC) requires turning the crank in both directions and marking the start of the dwell point.
Aaak! NFW would I ever turn the engine in any way other than it's proper rotation. You're gonna get some backlash by turning it back and forth. If yez miss, yez goes round agin.
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  #18  
Old January 15th, 2011, 08:36 AM
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Then you don't and won't have true TDC. Depending on the stroke and rod length the dwell between ATDC and BTDC can be fairly significant.
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Old January 15th, 2011, 08:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kevkon View Post
Then you don't and won't have true TDC. Depending on the stroke and rod length the dwell between ATDC and BTDC can be fairly significant.
On a Chevy maybe. Fords are good.
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  #20  
Old January 15th, 2011, 08:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by o2batsea View Post
On a Chevy maybe. Fords are good.
Well, we ARE talking about the Rover 3.9, designed by Buick.

-Hans
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