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Discussion Starter #21
I pulled vacuum on the FP regulator and it held like it is supposed to. I'm going to figure out what's going on with the timing marks even though 10 years ago it ran as is. I may swap in the 2 or 3 computers I have lying around. I may also take it for a ride and see whether it clears up after an hr of driving. I may need to take a set of plugs in case these get carboned up and leave me stranded. For sure something isn't right.
 

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Discussion Starter #22
I've been working intermittently but am now confused. Keep in mind that this engine has been sitting inside for 10 years. It ran OK but I checked mileage and was only getting about 15 mpg back then so it wasn't running really well.

I thought I'd go to basics. Set cylinder 1 to TDC by inserting a ratchet extension into the spark plug hole when the timing marks were close and both cam lobes up like all of the pics and FSM say. The timing marks on the balancer lined up close so I don't think the harmonic balancer is coming apart. The distributor spindle was lined up at approximately 1:00 instead of 10:30 or 11:00 and the plug wires were shifted.

The timing chain is showing stretch also per the FSM but the gold link in the timing chain is at 5:00 instead of 1:00 where it's supposed to be. All of the diagrams show the relevant timing marks on the cam gear at 12:00. Mine has mark #1 at 2:00 and mark #2 at 10:00. In my rambling around, I dropped the oil pump and moved the distributor spindle and have made a mess by not documenting the original position.

How far in do I need to go to make sure this is set up right? The crank should be at actual TDC with the cam and distributor in the correct relative positions. Does the front cover really have to come off or what?
 

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Let's just throw this out there; maybe it fits your situation. The location of the chain based on your marks was off by 1/3 rotation, the distributor off by about 1/6 rotation. Given the crank will turn twice while the distributor turns once, and that the plug wires were changed, are we sure the balancer has not shifted and someone had to move plug wires to get the firing order back in approximate "correct" relation? The diff of 0:30 (10:30 or 11:00) on the spindle location seems to translate into possible 1/12 of distributor full firing cycle rotation or the timing being off somewhere within a 30 degree range at its original location before you relocated the spindle, which may support that the balancer has slipped. ..... Possible, my .02c.
 

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Discussion Starter #24
We don't know whether the balancer has slipped. We do know that my moving the distributor probably has it wrong.

What's the best way to find TDC on the crank ignoring the balancer marks?

Where should marks 1, 2, &3 on the cam be considering the gear may have been adjusted for chain stretch?

If I get those right, I'll drop the oil pump and move the distributor. I want go to known setting and not get further off trying random stuff.

Finding TDC by sticking something into plug #1 isn't perfectly accurate because there are a few degrees where the crank rotates and I can't feel the piston moving. Should one of the cam marks be at 12:00?
 

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Discussion Starter #25
I had a little extra time so I pulled the valve cover and rotated the engine by hand multiple times to see how things line up. The silver links were never at 1 or even 2:00 and lined up with one of the cam timing marks when the rabbit ears were up. The timing marks on the harmonic balancer weren't consistent either.

I pulled the distributor and the spindle position varied from what looks correct to rotated clockwise past correct.

Do I need to just suck it up and pull the cover off the front and start over?
 
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