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I am in the process of removing the head from my 83zxt. What I need to know before I remove the head is how are you suppose to set the engine to TCD. Are there marks on the cam gear that have to be aligned? Can I stick a peg through my rotor cap on the #1 cyl contact thingy? ya know?

What I am doing is taking this p90a head and putting it on another turbo block
 

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In theory if it is on TDC on the compression stroke the distributor should be pointing to the ignition lead going to your # 1 cylinder. The way to be positive is to remove the rocker cover. At TDC on the compression stroke the two front lobes on your cam should be pointing up in a "v" fashion when viewed from above. If they are pointing down thaen you have TDC on the exhaust stroke. There are three marks on the cam sprocket. what I usually do is take a scribe and mark the timing chain link next to the # 1 mark on the sprocket. There is a "V" notch on the back of the cam sprocket and it should line up with an elongated mark on the cam retainer plate just behind the sprocket. Be sure to wedge your timing chain before you remove the sprocket or it will fall into the engine and the chain tensioner will pop out.. Also you should loosen the bolt holding the cam sprocket before you position the engine on TDC so that when you try to crack the bolt the engine doesn't turn and lose the timing marks. You should get a manual for referance!
 

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Graham is right on.

Take valve cover off and spark plugs out and find a way to rotate engine: crank bolt, fan belt, rear tire, remote starter button. (Don't use wrench on camshaft cause you can break the cam gear pin.) Rotate engine till #1 valves are close to straight up V. Look for timing mark on crank pulley and align with 0 degree mark. Now look at position of rotor in under distributor cap. It should but may not be pointed at about 7:00 position looking down from drivers side of car. If it ain't make a note of this and write down the spark plug wire positions as they are in your cap. Car will run but you can get in big trouble if you get the wires out of sequence. To correct dizzy rotor position you gotta pull the oil pump and reposition the drive gear.

Also observe timing marks on cam gear like Graham said. Scribe mark is appropriate. OEM chain has two light-colored links for alignment of crank and cam sprockets but this is only useful if you have the engine out and front cover off. These only line up with the gear marks once every umpteen revolutions.

Be careful not to let the chain tensioner pop out by letting slack chain down the shoot. Big bummer!

Good luck!
Al
 
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