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  #1  
Old 09-30-2017, 10:27 PM
Tbird1044 Tbird1044 is offline
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Default FE engine timing?

I took the front part of my engine apart today, to check things like the harmonic balancer and water pump. Like most Fords, I was running hot when it idled
. Got the water pump off and pulled the back cover to check the condition of the impeller, and it looked great. No problem. Then I removed the harmonic balancer, and aligned it with the new one, and the timing marks were right on. The only thing I did find, was the timing indicator, that is spot welded, to the timing chain cover, is only spot welded on the top side of the indicator. Since it is an "L" shaped bracketed indicator, it is very easy to bend or move the indicator which can greatly affect your timing. Since I read a lot of posts indicating that you can retard or advance you timing a couple of degrees, this seems to be a place to really consider. I was advancing my timing significantly, from factory specs, and wondered what was going on. Now, I think, that it was the timing indicator being bent showing timing much later than it actually is. Just wondering if anyone else has come across this?

When I go back together, I will make sure the timing indicator is securely fastened to the timing cover, so it can't be bent or misaligned, so I can get an accurate timing of the engine.

These are things I didn't look at 20 years ago when I rebuilt the engine.
P.S. The rebuild now has 156 miles on it. ;-)
Nyles
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  #2  
Old 09-30-2017, 11:38 PM
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a thought might be to determine where your true TDC is and then establish a mark accordingly.

This is sometimes done by drilling out a sparkplug and putting a rod down to contact #1 piston, and then slowly rotating the motor by hand.

Once that is established, then you can decide if you want to set your timing at idle, or at full advance.

john
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  #3  
Old 10-01-2017, 12:21 AM
Tbird1044 Tbird1044 is offline
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Been there, done that. Since the engine is freshly rebuilt, it is really tight and hard to turn over. Now that I have the front end apart, I might make a second attempt to verify TDC.
Nyles
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Old 10-01-2017, 04:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tbird1044 View Post
...Since the engine is freshly rebuilt, it is really tight and hard to turn over...
A freshly rebuilt engine should have no problem turning by hand with a socket and long handle (breaker bar).

What did you set your bearing and ring clearances to? - Dave
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  #5  
Old 10-07-2017, 05:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by simplyconnected View Post
A freshly rebuilt engine should have no problem turning by hand with a socket and long handle (breaker bar).

What did you set your bearing and ring clearances to? - Dave
Take out all the spark plugs and then you donít have to fight the compression.
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  #6  
Old 10-07-2017, 09:53 PM
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Default Just A Thought On Eng Timing

SETTING TIMING WITHOUT A TIMING LIGHT...i assume you have checked TDC #1 cyl ..THIS HAS ALWAYS WORKED FOR ME..make sure no vac leaks around carb ..Hook your VAC ADVANCE to MANIFOLD VAC..{THIS IS THE ONLY WAY TO MAKE THESE ENGINES PERFORM}.not to ported carb hookup....install vac guage and adv timing til guage gives highest reading at idle... and then retard just enough to see needle move back....re-set idle and carbs jets... recheck timing by moving distr,,double check idle and jets...reset as required...road test for pinging and retard if pinging . maybe a little more advance...double check hot start... retard abit if required....This way eliminates the age old TIMING POINTER bent or missing etc...It also sets the timing to where the engine wants it..taking into consideration eng wear etc....Once you do it you will throw away your timing light....Hope this is some help CHEERS TERRY
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Old 10-08-2017, 12:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BEVS BIRD View Post
SETTING TIMING WITHOUT A TIMING LIGHT...i assume you have checked TDC #1 cyl ..THIS HAS ALWAYS WORKED FOR ME..make sure no vac leaks around carb ..Hook your VAC ADVANCE to MANIFOLD VAC..{THIS IS THE ONLY WAY TO MAKE THESE ENGINES PERFORM}.not to ported carb hookup....install vac guage and adv timing til guage gives highest reading at idle... and then retard just enough to see needle move back....re-set idle and carbs jets... recheck timing by moving distr,,double check idle and jets...reset as required...road test for pinging and retard if pinging . maybe a little more advance...double check hot start... retard abit if required....This way eliminates the age old TIMING POINTER bent or missing etc...It also sets the timing to where the engine wants it..taking into consideration eng wear etc....Once you do it you will throw away your timing light....Hope this is some help CHEERS TERRY
Good post, it sums up my experience with timing!
And my opinion re manifold vacuum.

IMHO: I believe if the motor just pings a little under heavy load you're pretty much on the button with your timing.
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Old 10-08-2017, 12:52 AM
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I made a piston stop tool and verified TDC using that. I put a new harmonic balancer on the car and everything was right on. BTW, I compared the old balancer to the new one, and the timing marks lined up, so the outer ring of the old balancer had not moved.
I then pulled a valve cover to check valve timing and again the valve overlap was right on using TDC mark.
I also tightened the timing pointer so it doesn't bend away from the timing cover and should be more accurate.
Prior to the latest teardown, I think I was running about 10-12 degrees advanced, so when I get her started up, I'm going to see where the timing is now. Never moved the distributor, so it should repeat, except for fixing the timing marker.
The old Autolite 4100 does not have a ported vacuum port, so you have to use manifold vacuum.
The car was running pretty good, prior to this last teardown, but I was having temperature problems when the car idled. I also changed the water pump and am putting a 6 bladed fan on. I had previously replaced the thermostat and installed a fan shroud. I took the backing plate off of the old water pump and everything looked fine. No visible erosion or wear on the impeller.
We'll see how she acts when I finish getting it together.
Nyles
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  #9  
Old 10-08-2017, 04:44 AM
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I want to shed a few 'truths' on this subject.
Pick an engine... Let's say it's a 390 just for example. Ford put the 390 in heavy cars, trucks, marine, construction equipment, industrial generators, etc. My point here is, although the engine is the same, the service is quite different and so are the corresponding torque curves.

A heavy vehicle w/390 designed to haul trailers and equipment (like a tow truck) will have a different torque curve and a different cam than a Mustang w/390. Next, there are altitude and climate variations where one 390 needs more jetting and the other needs less. Along with air/fuel variations, weight and the whole torque curve band needs to match the type of service this engine is designed for.

Distributor (ignition) timing can ONLY be accomplished while the engine is under a load. Those SUN distributor machines cannot simulate a load, like the vehicle climbing a mountain.

On a lighter car built for speed, I advance ignition timing much sooner than the same engine in an F-150 truck for example. In a hauling situation, engine RPMs climb much slower. So at any given speed, the engine will spend more time at that advance setting to deliver more precise torque peak than a race engine that spends most of its life in the upper rpm band.

Knock and ping are bad at any speed. If you are getting this at all, back off on your ignition timing and consider using more octane in your fuel to slow the burn.

The timing numbers on your engine are simply a general place to start. Ford has no idea where their engines will live, the climate, altitude and service the vehicle will be used for. Tuning is up to you.

I use the 'piston stop' to verify my cam settings as well as finding TDC. I do the hand rotation, find TDC, then I put the straight-edge across #6 rocker arms when they are dead even (during scavenging, between exh closing and int opening). Why? Consider this:
  • The crankshaft keyway may be off,
  • the crankshaft sprocket keyway may be off,
  • the camshaft sprocket keyway or dowel pin may be off,
  • the camshaft keyway or dowel pin may be off,
  • new camshafts may include some advance/retard ground into them from the factory.

These variations can stack up in OEM and aftermarket parts. I want to see the true cam position on my degree wheel and verify exactly where the cam is before replacing the timing cover. Checking takes no more money but a little more time.

I tune my street engines to deliver more torque at low-to-mid rpm range, and race engines to deliver the goods at mid-to-top rpms.

Ignition timing has little to do with cam timing. Even though the cam drives the distributor, 'spark' is referencing the crankshaft position, not valve timing. So, it's possible for the cam to be one tooth off but ignition timing 'right on'. In that scenario, this engine will never run right.

The same holds true if the distributor gear is off a tooth. Simply moving the spark plug wires ahead or behind will NOT fix the problem because the rotor will not be directly in front of the correct distributor cap tower when the points open. The rotor will be between towers at that time which will direct spark to either of two spark plugs. This is evidenced by looking at the inside of a distributor cap. A white residue will show on one side of the electrode and on one side of the rotor tip.

Over many decades, I've seen engines that 'never ran right' according to their owners. Many of them were simply timed incorrectly either at the cam, distributor or both. We have the tools to verify and correct everything before or during final assembly but it simply never happened. - Dave
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  #10  
Old 10-08-2017, 10:17 AM
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"On a lighter car built for speed, I advance ignition timing much sooner than the same engine in an F-150 truck for example."

Dave, how are you accomplishing this? Advancing the at-idle timing, or the full advance timing? are you using lighter advance springs in the distributor to get to full advance quicker?
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