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1987 - 1996 F150 & Larger F-Series Trucks 1987 - 1996 Ford F-150, F-250, F-350 and larger pickups - including the 1997 heavy-duty F250/F350+ trucks

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Old 08-09-2011, 03:09 PM
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Timing without a light

Real nite mare, just installed my third distributor in as many days, all Cardone re manufactures .

First one: engine ran great, but would die in the heat of the day -code 14, would restart after a brief cool down, but ran poorly, was fine again in the cool morning, ran strong

second one: failed to even start the engine, Where's their quality control

third one: engine starts, runs medichor, but timing is certainly off a bit, no pinging, runs better at 45 mph than out of the whole.

Question is, can I fine time her without a light...mine has water damage, not sure that I need/want to buy another one at $80.- plus for a decent light. ...if this is really a stupid question that does not deserve an answer, I will understand thank's for your thoughts
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Old 08-09-2011, 03:42 PM
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You can set the timing with a vacuum gauge, which is quite a bit cheaper then a timing light.

I was forced to do it on mine due to the harmonic balancer has slipped. It seems to run pretty good even though, and will suffice until I can get a balancer on there. There's a link to the procedure and other info on the web.

But basically connect the gauge to a good vacuum source adjust the dizzy to max vacuum then back off a couple inches.

Vacuum Engine Timing | MILEPOSTS Garage (Tech Tips)
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Old 08-09-2011, 04:19 PM
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You really need a light to get it right,, Maybe you could rent one????
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Old 08-09-2011, 05:13 PM
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i never use a light for mine. trial and error. #1 at TDC (comp stroke), rotor pointing to #1, advance a lil, drive, advance a lil, drive, once it starts pingin i back it off ever-so-slightly. all motors are different, especially when youre talkin SD EFI. . .each one will tolerate a different amount of timing. since its not my daily, ive always set it to run on 89 or 93, which tolerates a lil more timing for a lil more power. with all that bein said, i dont care what degree it is, i just care where it is in relation to pingin.
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Old 08-09-2011, 05:35 PM
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Just get a timing light , this guessing stuff just isn't worth it , you really need to know where the timing is.....Lew
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Old 08-09-2011, 07:27 PM
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I say get a loner or buy a 20 buck cheapo... No need for a 80 buck light to time these old dogs.
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Old 08-09-2011, 07:55 PM
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Originally Posted by lew52 View Post
Just get a timing light , this guessing stuff just isn't worth it , you really need to know where the timing is.....Lew
why? i have a timing light, but dont need to bust it out everytime i set timing. its common practice not to use one. . . . .i can understand not feeling comfortable without one, or not feeling comfortable giving the advise not to use one, but one is not necessary. even when i use one, i go through the same process pushin it to the limit anyway then backin it off a hair.
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-'02 dodge 2500 6 spd cummins, 300k miles: 545/1100 rwhp/tq-DD/tow rig
-'00 SS camaro 6 spd, NA & stock cube: 440/425 rwhp/tq-for rippin
-'84 FJ60 LC - 4bt/nv5600
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Old 08-09-2011, 08:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by '89F2urd View Post
why? i have a timing light, but dont need to bust it out everytime i set timing. its common practice not to use one. . . . .i can understand not feeling comfortable without one, or not feeling comfortable giving the advise not to use one, but one is not necessary. even when i use one, i go through the same process pushing it to the limit anyway then backin it off a hair.
Ever seen a piston skirt shatter doing what your referring to ? I mean if your drive with the wrench ready to go, ehhh, ok... your still not doing your motor a favor letting it ping in the first place. I have lost a Chubby 350 to detonation. What your saying works, yes. But its really hack to do and Id never recommend it to anyone nor do it to my own motor. No need to push timing to the limit for the small gain you get out of it.

This read's real negative, but its not my demeanor. Not trying to flame you. Just against this practice and for a reason.
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Old 08-09-2011, 09:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lew52 View Post
Just get a timing light , this guessing stuff just isn't worth it , you really need to know where the timing is.....Lew

X2 I'm with Lew on this one. I use a timing light. Granted I purchased it 20+ years ago from Sears, but it suits the purpose for what it was designed for.
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Old 08-09-2011, 10:03 PM
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Ever seen a piston skirt shatter doing what your referring to ? I mean if your drive with the wrench ready to go, ehhh, ok... your still not doing your motor a favor letting it ping in the first place. I have lost a Chubby 350 to detonation. What your saying works, yes. But its really hack to do and Id never recommend it to anyone nor do it to my own motor. No need to push timing to the limit for the small gain you get out of it.

This read's real negative, but its not my demeanor. Not trying to flame you. Just against this practice and for a reason.
i was never patronizin anyone for usin a light either. . .but there is hardly any risk of flakin your motor apart by some light low rpm ping in these motors. ive seen all sorts of engine carnage, but its never been from the likes of detonation from careful timing adjustments, and it wasnt any motor of mine (i always practice the incremental timing bumps when i have to reset it). IMO the added power is worth it, considering how tired these are in stock trim. we arent talkin a high compression monster or a forced induction app, where detonation is much more violent, and failure is much more likely.
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-'00 SS camaro 6 spd, NA & stock cube: 440/425 rwhp/tq-for rippin
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Old 08-09-2011, 11:02 PM
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we arent talkin a high compression monster or a forced induction app, where detonation is much more violent, and failure is much more likely.
Agreed.....

I have only had it happen and seen it happen one time.Then never let a motor ping again. As I said, chubby... it was a 87 3/4 ton carb/goodwrench 350 POS. It was pinging for some time however. Not a 10 min ordeal as timing was being set.
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Old 08-10-2011, 05:26 AM
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I look for the spark trace on the rotor. Move the point of fire accordingly to the center of rotor. Mine has the balancer twisted about 100 degrees, so timing is not an option.
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Old 08-10-2011, 05:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by '89F2urd View Post
why? i have a timing light, but dont need to bust it out everytime i set timing. its common practice not to use one. . . . .i can understand not feeling comfortable without one, or not feeling comfortable giving the advise not to use one, but one is not necessary. even when i use one, i go through the same process pushin it to the limit anyway then backin it off a hair.
....Thats fine if it works for you , but on a high performance motor a few degees of timing makes a difference , so to me the minute it takes to grab the light and look is worth it to me ....
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Old 08-10-2011, 05:43 AM
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I look for the spark trace on the rotor. Move the point of fire accordingly to the center of rotor. Mine has the balancer twisted about 100 degrees, so timing is not an option.
....Why don't you just replace the balancer ??
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Old 08-10-2011, 09:12 AM
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To me timing without a light is like checking the tires without a gauge.


"Hey, they're round, Let's go!!!"
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Old 08-10-2011, 09:12 AM
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