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confused about setting timing

514 Views 4 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  steves280
Okay, so I've replaced my distributor cap, rotor, and points, and now I'd like to check the timing, but I'm not sure where it should be at. In the past I've set it to 10 degrees at idle with the vacuum line disconnected, but now I'm not sure this is right. The thing is, the Haynes manual has lots of different numbers for idle timing depending on the model and year. My car is a 73, but it has an L28 and an E88. It still has what seems to be the original points distributor though. What does the idle timing depend on? I would guess it depends on the model of distributor, but does the block/head setup matter at all? The Haynes manual says something like 17 degrees for the carb'd L24 w/o emission control. I think that matches my distributor, but not my engine.

In this case, I think my best bet would be to forget about the idle timing and just do the timing at 3000? So if I'm doing that, i should still do it with the vacuum line disconnected right?
My plan is as follows:
- measure circumfrence of crank pulley w/ a string
- mark off 1/12 of it (30 degrees) and then mark this 30 degrees advanced on the crank pulley
- then shoot timing at 3000 and get my new mark to read 4 degrees on the little measuring teeth on the block. That should give me a total of 34 degrees advance right?

Is this what I should be doing? Thanks.
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The timing will depend more on the cam, I have in the past used a light and a vaccum guage. Hook up the gauge and get vaccum as high as you can by turning the distributer. You can run the timing higher than what the manual says but if you hear valve clatter when under a load back it down a bit until it stops.
34 is off the board (IMO) If you don't have turbo try starting with 8-9 bdc and work from there to find your optimal performance for your particular engine (Hope this helps)
Haha, well of course 34 is off the board at idle! =) I meant at 3000 RPM.

but well I've done it now. I got it around 34ish at 3000 and when it comes back down its somwhere between 10 and 15. I can't say exactly because my car has trouble idling at the normal 700... so i've got it up around 1200.

Oh yeah, how can I know if my condenser is bad or going bad? The Haynes manual says that if the condenser has failed than the ignition won't work at all, but it also says a failing condenser can cause pitting in the points and hard starting and things. It says you can check by turning the ignition on and then separating the points by hand and see if there's a blue flash. Well when I do that there is a little spark... I'm not sure if it's blue, or if that matters. I tried changing the condenser for a new one, but I'm not sure if the new one i got is the correct one... it's like 50% longer. Anyhow, it still sparks when I separate the points... so I just assumed that it's normal and put the old condenser back...
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Set it at 34-38 degrees (play around in that range) at 3000 and it will run great.
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