View Full Version : Timing Marks
07-24-2014, 01:19 PM
On my 62, the manual shows the timing mark as a "O" that is supposed to line up with the 0,3,6,10 on the harmonic balancer. I do not see or have the "0" marking but have 2 "X"s instead. Which "X" would I use to line up to 8 degrees BTDC? :confused:
07-24-2014, 01:54 PM
You should have a raised dimple on the balancer that you can feel. That is your timing mark. The 0,3,6,10 pointer should be on the timing cover. Ford changed the timing setup quite a few times over the years. I'm assuming your motor is the original. Earlier FE models had the timing degrees on the balancer and just a pointer on the timing cover. Without seeing a picture I can't tell what setup you have. That being said I've never seen X's used as timing marks.
07-24-2014, 02:54 PM
I will post some pictures. I have the pointer with the timing marks on the timing cover. The pointer at 8 is pointing at one of the Xs on the balancer. It seems to be running smooth there. I did see the raised dimple after all but it is far from the Xs(about 1/4 turn . With the car running and timing light pointing at the balancer if I rotate the distrib so the raised dimple is heading towards the numbers on the pointer, the engine bogs down and wants to stall. So I put it back towards the two Xs and plugged the vacuum line back into the distributor.
07-24-2014, 03:03 PM
Sometimes the balancer will spin and that's why the timing marks are off. There are a number of ways to find out where TDC is. You can also set the timing using a vacuum gauge. Retard the timing until the vacuum goes down. Then advance it until you get the highest vacuum then retard it slightly. If it pings when you drive it then retard it a little more.
07-24-2014, 03:24 PM
Here are the pictures. First time ever doing this and I do not own a vacuum gauges or compression gauges. They will be my next investments. You can see the first 0 on the pointer pointing at the second X on the balancer. The raised dot is about 7 inches around the circumference of the balancer. I tried to get a picture of it but it did not turn out. When I tried to bring that raised dot towards the pointer the engine tried to stall so I figured that wasnt the raised dot I was looking for. I will try again later. Must drive my sons to soccer practice.
07-24-2014, 04:05 PM
I was thinking what you said. If the dot spins is that called centrifugal advance and servicing the balancer is required. I thought I saw that raised dot bouncing back and forth when I was focusing the timing light on the Xs. Sorry I new to this and am just guessing. I will do some research when I get home.
07-24-2014, 04:15 PM
Centrifugal advance is something different. When the TDC timing mark moves it indicates that the rubber balancer has slipped. It's not uncommon. Other than replacing the balancer the only other thing you can do is find out exactly where TDC is and remark it on the balancer. Of course that doesn't mean it won't slip again.
07-24-2014, 06:14 PM
Thanks, I will have to look into this more.
07-26-2014, 11:28 PM
I had some time this evening and played around with the timing again. I started by slightly loosening the distributor bolt, and warming up the engine. I then checked the timing and found that the raised dot had reappeared but was a little ways off to the left of where it had been yesterday, and the two "X"s had disappeared. I pulled and plugged the vacuum from the distributor and with the timing light started to turn to the distributor clockwise until the raised dot on the balancer was around 8 BTDC. The engine sounds perfect. I took it for a drive and it never sounded better. At 70MPH it drove smooth and the roughness I noticed since I bought the car last year was gone. That was odd. Its like the rubber balancer slipped back into position bringing the raised dot back to it's proper position. I performed the same sequence today as I did yesterday.
I am going to purchase a vacuum gauge and do the testing you mentioned to ensure the engine is perfectly tuned now? I have the Pertronix 2 and flamethrower coil installed and want to be sure everything is running as best as I can make it. The possible slipping of the balancer has me questioning my recent success in getting the timing close. I will try to find now the vacuum numbers I will be looking for as I try to tweak the timing.
07-26-2014, 11:55 PM
That is strange. I've seen them slip but not go back where they were. However since it's running so well I can only assume that it's in the right position and your timing is correct. I would check it from time to time to see if it moves. A slipping balancer can cause other problems like a vibration at high speeds. When you originally timed it what was your idle speed. If your idle speed was too high there would be enough centrifugal advance to make it seem like the timing mark was off.
07-27-2014, 01:26 AM
Its funny you say vibration because that is the first thing I noticed at high speed that was gone. Before I would not take her faster than 60mph for too long. Something did not feel right. It was not a large vibration but almost like a noise vibration.
During the timing, I have no measurable reference but the engine, both times was certainly warm and the choke fully opened. The engine RPM at idle once warm was considerably slower. I guess she felt sorry for me with all the many hours I have put into her lately and decided to turn on her "self time mode" -----Shades of CHRISTINE:confused::)
07-27-2014, 05:34 AM
Everything John said, I agree with. I only had one car that the urethane went bad on and it was a Tempo (four banger). This balancer rang like a loud bell being repeatedly whacked, at every light. At running speeds it was quiet. Turned out that the failed Tempo balancer was so popular that Murray's (now O'Reilly's) carried them in stock. The box had 'Ford' written all over it so their distributor must have bought hundreds.
I noticed that on all engines, the timing marks are stamped into the ring with urethane. The belt portion is always solid to the crank nose. So, whenever I find true TDC, I always mark the belt sheave by 'notching' it with a file, then I paint the notch yellow or white. The notch is unmistakable and it does not affect the belt.
The real solution is, you need to find true TDC. You can do this by removing one spark plug and replacing it with a 'piston stop', then carefully rotating the crank by hand until it stops, scribe the damper, rotate in the opposite direction until it stops, then scribe the damper and remove the tool. True TDC will be exactly between your scribe marks.
You can buy the tool but I make my own by gutting an old spark plug then weld a 1/2" X 2" piece of round stock (like from a kid's wagon axle) to the hex part. It doesn't need to look fancy but it must not move. That's why I weld it together. The cost is under a buck and it lasts forever. - Dave
07-27-2014, 01:07 PM
Thank you for the info. If you have time could you post a picture of the modified plug you made. I am having trouble picturing your MOD. Does it matter what piston I use to determine where top dead centre is? Sorry for the junior questions. I have lots of reading and learning to do.
07-27-2014, 04:53 PM
Right now it's raining and the garage is locked up. Tomorrow, I'll take a picture and post it.
The tool is easy. Simply knock all the porcelain out of a spark plug, then slide a 1/2" piece of round stock in, about two inches long, and weld it in place. Then screw the tool into #1 or #6 spark plug hole. (#1 and #6 go up and down together.)
07-31-2015, 06:51 PM
Ok, so I too am trying to find TDC on #1. I too see the XX's on the wheel, but I have not yet found a raised bump/notch. With the motor in the engine compartment, how do I turn the harmonic balancer? I see some bolts there, but I am not sure to what I should put a wrench on to spin it?
Can someone post a picture or describe to me how that it done?
07-31-2015, 08:00 PM
There's a large bolt right in the center of the balancer. You will need a large socket (I believe it's 15/16") and a breaker bar to turn it. Turn it clockwise if you are standing in front of the car.
07-31-2015, 11:29 PM
should I disengage the belts for the fan and generator as well? i would think so, but I thought I would check....
08-01-2015, 11:06 AM
You don't have to. You should be able to turn it with the belts on. Disconnect the battery cable though just to be safe.
08-10-2015, 11:52 AM
Done. Used a Q-Tip to apply a white "dot" at TDC, using 0 degree tooth on the indicator. With Vacuum line disconnected and taped over, we got it to align perfectly.
I added a Pertronix Ignitor Electronic Ignition module, and a complimentary Flamethrower coil.
To turn the balancer, I raised the front end and used a 15/16" socket on a 17" breaker bar. Even though I removed the fan blade protector, the fan was still in the way. Tried removing the fan blade, but then realized the whole pulley had to come off of the water pump. I didn't want to mess with the belts so I just raised the front end to do it from the bottom.
08-10-2015, 02:11 PM
What did you set your timing to. The factory setting is 6 degrees BTDC. Most have found an improvement in performance setting it to around 10 degrees BTDC.
08-10-2015, 07:30 PM
Thanks for asking. Right now it is set to 0 degrees because I believe the shop manual specified 0 for the distributor 275.
To set to 6 or 10 degrees, do I simply set my timing light dial to 6 degrees and re-align the dot to the 0 indicator?
08-10-2015, 07:57 PM
Centrifugal advance is different from ignition timing. I believe those settings are if you have the distributor off the car on a test stand. Above that chart it specifies the ignition timing as 6 degrees. I'm not familiar with the newer style timing light that you have. I just have the old style. I believe you are correct though. Just set the light for the advance degrees that you want and turn the distributor clockwise to advance it.
08-12-2015, 08:11 PM
Yes, there is supposed to be a raised bump, but I also do not have one. I spun the balancer and ran my finger along the entire circumference. There are hash marks and an "XX", but nothing that really lined up with TDC. So I made my own mark using a Q-Tip and some white paint.
This weekend's small job is to set 6-10 degree BTDC, per Joe's recommendation. That should be as efficient as I can get before I start this winter's project: REBUILD! LOL! I figure once El Nino hits So Cal, I'll have lots of rainy days to work on her!
08-12-2015, 09:16 PM
Did you see any numbers on the balancer. It's possible someone replaced it with a balancer from a later model 390 that has the numbers on the balancer instead of the pointer.
08-13-2015, 11:53 AM
Yes, there are a few #'s on the wheel, plus a series of "|" marks, in addition to the "XX" marks. I intuitively would think the "XX" were the mark to align, but there's just no clear indication in any documentation anywhere. So, I figure the paint dot I applied at TDC is as good as I am going to get. It trues up the max push by the cylinder to the "0" indicator.
Is this correct in your point of view?
08-13-2015, 12:56 PM
If you have numbers on the balancer then they are your timing numbers. If you also have numbers on your timing pointer than the balancer was replaced at some point. You can certainly do as you did and find true TDC rather than rely on the balancer. I'm not sure how you found true TDC but the way I do it is to turn the crank until the rotor points at the #1 spark plug terminal on the distributor cap. Then I remove the driver side valve cover and make sure the #6 valves are perfectly even with each other.
08-13-2015, 01:48 PM
Your method is new to me, and very interesting, and more fun! I had planned on taking off the valve covers and cleaning up the rocker arms (per Dave's earlier notes on changing oil pan gasket). So I can really learn how that all works too.
08-13-2015, 01:53 PM
Ok, reading the rest of your note....I found TDC by turning the crank until #1 Cylinder was fully extended (max compression) and marked the harmonic balancer in line with 0 degrees on indicator. I used both the internet, and a reference, indicating that is how to find the right timing.
Now, you bring up a good point to me, and that is that the distributor rotor aligns to the #1 plug wire while at top dead center. If that does not happen, then I would suspect I need to re-align my distributor?
08-14-2015, 05:09 AM
The standard method of finding TDC is by using a spark plug hole stop (piston stop). Speed shops sell them.
You wrap white tape around the damper then send #1 piston down. Screw in the piston stop and keep cranking by hand until the piston comes up and stops. Make a fine line mark on the white tape at the pointer.
Now turn the crank in the opposite direction until the piston comes up and stops. Make another fine line mark at the pointer on the tape.
Remove the piston stop and replace the spark plug.
True TDC is exactly between your fine lines on the tape.
Since your engine is a 4-stroke, TDC comes up twice for every distributor (rotor) turn. John's method is right, when #6 valves are exactly between the exhaust valve coming up and the intake valve going down, your damper pointer should be at TDC and the rotor should point to #1 spark plug tower.
This proves the cam is in time with the crank AND the spark timing is correct.
If you ever do a timing chain change and those valves are not dead level with the crank TDC, your chain is off a tooth.
Some of the old 'brass cars' had no timing marks. They came with a rod you stick down one of the cylinders. Turn the crank until the marks line up with the spark plug hole, then you turn on the radio (any radio) and put it between stations to hear 'white noise'. As you turn the distributor, when the points open, it creates an audible 'TICK'. That's it. Tighten 'er down, your engine is in time. - Dave
12-20-2015, 08:37 PM
according to shop manual the XX on the damper is where you put it when removing and installing non-adjustable rocker arm shaft. I suppose this location has the least amount of lift anywhere on the cam.
12-21-2015, 01:22 AM
I don't pay attention to the damper when doing rocker arm stands. I usually turn the bolts in steps, so the whole shaft comes at one time, either in our out. - Dave
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