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How To Set Ignition Timing

author By Anna Finger
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Setting Ignition Timing

Setting your ignition timing is very easy. First you must locate the timing scale; this is located beside the crankshaft pulley. The "T" or the "0" represents Top Dead Center (TDC). This place is scaled in 1 or 2 degree increments, and you should have the correct timing marked for your vehicle. If not, you will have to count to the right degrees. You can find that on a label printed somewhere on the vehicle under the hood.

It is always helpful to have a pen and pad ready to write these down before hand so you do not have to keep going back and forth. You must then locate the notch on the balancer or the crankshaft pulley and mark it with something that will be visible under the timing light. You then need to start your engine and let it warm up to the normal operating temperature. Once it has warmed up, you must shut your vehicle down by turning off all the lights and any other electrical loads.

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While your engine is now at rest, connect the pick up lead to the number one spark plug wire. You must then connect the timing light power leads according to the vehicles manufacturer's instructions. Find in the booklet that comes along with your car. You must then start your engine and point the timing light at the timing mark by the crankshaft pulley; this is the mark you made yourself. This is where your pen and paper comes handy. Take notes on where the timing notch is lining up with the timing scale.

If in some cases, your notch is not lining up, you have to loosen the hold down bolt and turn the distributor until the notch lines up with the timing scale. Tighten the bolt and check the timing. Make sure nothing has shifted while you were retightening everything. You can now turn off your car and disconnect the timing light.