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Timing your engine

Discussion in 'Chevy Trucks' started by 79Chevy, Aug 14, 2003.

  1. 79Chevy

    79Chevy Junior Member
    Messages: 29

    Hey all, yes its me again with another question.....

    I am just curious to see if anyone has any backyard garage ideas on how to time and engine with no number tab on the timing cover...

    In case you dont know I have a 1979 chevy longbed with a 350 in it....

    Any suggestion will help....

    Thanks in advance
  2. wyldman

    wyldman Member
    Messages: 3,265

    Simple,you have two ways to do it

    1 - Set it by ear.Just keep slowly advancing the timing until it starts to detonate (ping) on accel,and then back it off a hair.A small ping every once and a while is OK as long as it's not severe.You will make you best power and mileage with as much advance as possible.

    2 - Find true TDC and make your own marks.You'll need an old spark plug that fits your engine.Break the insulator out of it,and the ground electrode,then drill and tap it for a long 3/8" bolt.Take the end of the 3/8" bolt and grind it round on the end.Remove the #1 (driver side front) spark plug,and turn the engine over until you see the piston come up,but not all the way to the top.Screw the plug into the engine and snug it up.Thread a 3/8" nut on your bolt,and then thread the bolt into the plug until it bottoms out on the piston.Tighten the 3/8" nut to lock the bolt in place.

    Get a cheap bolt on timing pointer (available at most engine or speed shops,get a graduated one if you don't have an advance timing light)or make your own from some stiff wire,and bolt it on to the timing cover bolts.Now turn the engine slowly backwards until it hits the bolt again.It will take almost one full turn.Go slow so you don't damage anything.When it stops,make a mark on the balancer that line up with your timing pointer.Now turn the engine forward (or opposite the way you just turned it) almost one full turn until it stops again.Make another mark.

    Now divide the marks in two,and find the center between them.This is true TDC.Use a scribe or a hacksaw blade to permanently mark the balancer.You can use some white touch up paint in the groove to make it visible.

    If you have an advance timing light,you only need TDC marked,and then you just dial in the timing spec,and line up the marks.If you only have a regular timing light,you will need a graduated timing pointer,or timing tape to set it.
  3. wyldman

    wyldman Member
    Messages: 3,265

    Forgot to add,in case you don't know.To advance the timing,turn the distributor in the direction the vacuum advance points,or counter-clockwise.****** is clockwise.

    If I ever get a new digital camera,i'll post a pic of my TDC stop (modified spark plug). :D
  4. 79Chevy

    79Chevy Junior Member
    Messages: 29

    Hey Wyldman

    I know that you are no where close to me (Location: Brampton,Ontario,Canada), but if you ever consider coming down to houston, tx... let me know I am sure I would have a billion things that I would like to drill your brain on.... And I would love to see your work in action....

    I read what you posted.... sure wish you had a digital camara.... I understood most of what you said, but I'm not sure I could tackle a job like that.... how long do you think it would take? and about how many people?

    I really appreciate the help that you and this site always gives me... I think that I will go outside a take a few pictures of my truck so that you can get a fill for how much yall have helped me...
    Do you guys have a place for a pic gallery in this site?? If not you should... that would be pretty cool!!!

  5. wyldman

    wyldman Member
    Messages: 3,265

    It's not a hard job at all,usually take 10-15 mins.If you've never done it,then it may take a bit to figure it out,but it should be doable in a few hrs.

    I'll try to scoop a camera to take a pic of my TDC stop.

    You can post pics in the pictures forum.