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  #1  
Old March 15th, 2010, 08:21 AM
thecatsmeow
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Michael Morgan
1994 D-90 ST
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Trouble setting timing

I've been having what appears to be a misfire for a few weeks now. After installing a new cat and muffler, and new oxygen sensors, I decided to check the timing. Standard practice...I thought. When the pickup is on the #1 plug wire, there is no no mark to be seen. I remarked the notch with a bright white and tried again. No dice. Out of curiousity, I move the pickup to plug #3 just behind the #1 on the drivers side. Perfect 5 degrees BTDC. What the hell is happening?
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  #2  
Old March 15th, 2010, 08:23 AM
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Bill Adams
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Are you sure you are on the compression stroke?
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  #3  
Old March 15th, 2010, 09:01 AM
thecatsmeow
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Michael Morgan
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I am not sure what you are referring to. The engine is running after loosening the distributor adjust bolt. The distributor rotates and the timing has a full sweep (low to high), but the mark never becomes steady on the #1 wire. Only on the #3 wire.
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  #4  
Old March 15th, 2010, 11:04 AM
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Bill Adams
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>I am not sure what you are referring to.

Take it to a shop if that is the case. You are clearly unclear on the concept.

The engine in your truck is a 4 stroke. This means that it must rotate two times to complete one cycle. You can't arbitrarily align the distributor pointer to the number 1 cylinder until you know at what point in those two rotations the engine is. You must set the timing on the engine when the number 1 is on the compression stroke, otherwise it will be 180 degrees out of sync, causing all kinds of bother. You have to take out the spark plug and feel for air being pushed out.
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  #5  
Old March 15th, 2010, 11:39 AM
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Charles Galpin
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Bill, he's just using a timing light which should fine.

Michael, can you see the whole degree range when looking at the timing marks? I'd be surprised if the truck ran when that far off so it might be that you are just not reading it correctly. Make sure what you think is 0 degrees is really zero degrees.

What Bill is referring to is setting the timing after say changing the timing chain or rebuilding the engine. I guess it's worth trying if you think your timing is grossly off (but I don't think it would run if it was). The basic procedure would be

1. shutoff engine
2. remove spark plug #1
3. put your thumb over the plug hole and turn the engine with a large socket on the flywheel bolt. When the #1 cylinder is on a compression stroke (piston coming up with the valves closed) you will feel the compression building.
4. once you feel it building, stick a wooden dowl into the plug hole and watch it rise as the piston rises. When it stops rising you should be at top dead center (TDC).
5. look at your timing marks on the flywheel
6. report back here and tell either Bill or I (or both of us) to stop drinking prior to noon.
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  #6  
Old March 15th, 2010, 01:20 PM
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Bill Adams
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>Bill, he's just using a timing light which should fine.

Oh yeah. Never use them myself.
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  #7  
Old March 15th, 2010, 02:46 PM
thecatsmeow
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Michael Morgan
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First...I see no reason to stop drinking before noon. Stay the course. I'll work a bit tonight and see what is going on.
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  #8  
Old March 15th, 2010, 05:06 PM
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Hans Haase
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I'd double check a pair of things. First is that I'd make sure you have the firing order correct on the distributor, don't have the book with me here at work so I can't confirm it here.

I'd also make sure that when you're checking the timing that you have the vacuum line on the distributor disconnected.

-Hans
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  #9  
Old March 15th, 2010, 06:15 PM
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Chris Davis
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Looking at your distributor going clckwise, 18436572 You may have a plug out of order
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  #10  
Old March 16th, 2010, 12:54 PM
thecatsmeow
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Michael Morgan
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It seems we have the culprit. For some reason, a white paint mark had been added to the pulley with timing marks. Upon closer inspection, and cleaning all of the surface crap from the pulley, the mark was not correct. I can now see the proper TDC and +/- 12 degree marks with 4 degree increments between. This is but a minor issue, and I will reset th etiming correctly tonight.

I do believe that I have found the cause of the misfire as well. I checked the hose between the vacuum advance and top of engine by pulling a vacuum. No leak. Did the same for the vacuum advance mechanism with the engine off. It held absolutely 0 vacuum, appearing to be open to atmosphere. I assume that this accounts for the bad misfire as the engine approaches 3k rpm. When the timing was retarded on Sunday, the misfire occured at ~2k rpm. The vacuum advance is fouled. Can anyone confirm these observations from the vacuum test?

FYI. Props to Evan Amaya at Reborn Co. in Shelby, NC for the vital assist.
http://www.rebornco.com - My yellow babe is in the foreground.
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