I own a 1976 Ford F with a 390 motor. Can anyone tell me what is the best setting to adjust my timing too. The stickers that my manual suggest I follow no longer are on the valve cover. Right now I have it running about 12 Degress BTDC. Dose that sound about right? Thanx
That sounds about like what most of us run. Stock settings were somewhere between 6 and 10 degrees BTDC. Some people have gotten away with more, you'll have to experiment and see what your motor likes. My general way to set timing is to advance it a couple degrees at a time, drive it for a week or so, until you notice it pinging. When it pings back it off 4 degrees and leave it there.
FE's generally like lots of timing, but depends on the build
The basics are that you want to run as much initial timing as you can without pinging, that still lets your starter turn it over, and you usually need something in the range of 37-39 degrees total timing (initial plus centrifugal), in addition to vacuum advance to the extent that you don't get pinging. My 410 build allows me to go 24 degrees initial plus 14 degrees centrifugal (no misprint there), but I also have an MSD adjustable timing module so I can back it off from the cab if/when I need to, I'm at 9.0:1 CR, and I'm also running a PMGR starter. Fellow by the name of Faron who contributes to the FordFE.com set up my advance curve and has gotten lots of praise from numerous other FE guys on that forum. You can either spend lots of time trying to dial it in by road testing, or get someone like Faron with lots of experience to set it up for you. You absolutely cannot use a re-built dizzie or the like and expect it to be correct out of the box, it's guaranteed to have a screwed-up centrifugal advance curve.