Standard engine on your Classic Ford in need of timing up? Here’s how setting the ignition timing is done.
You can time your engine two ways: statically or electronically. To check the timing statically, first if using points check that they are in good condition and the gap is correct. Then make sure the crank pulley notch lines up with the appropriate mark on the front cover. This is usually 8 or 10 degress BTDC.
If the timing is correct, the points should be just about to open. If not, slacken off the clamp on the distributor, and turn the housing until they are, noting the direction of the rotor arm rotation (anti-clockwise on a Crossflow, clockwise on a Pinto).
To time an engine electronically, mark the notch on the crank pulley, and the correct timing mark on the front cover (often 8 degrees BTDC but check your manual) with some white paint. If a vacuum advance is fitted this must be disconnected and the carb take-off plugged) then with engine running, point the timing light at the pulley. If the timing’s correct, the strobe effect should line up the notch on the pulley with timing mark.
If not, turn of the engine, slacken off the distributor clamp, restart the engine, then very carefully turn the distributor body until the marks line up.
Thanks to Dave Fisher at D&D Developments
This Classic Ford guide to how to setting ignition timing first appeared in the November 2011 issue
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