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Timing with a stroboscopic timing light must be done with the engine warm. If your timing is so out of whack that the engine will not start, the SVDA and 009 distributors can be timed statically to get you in the ballpark. See the Static timing procedure.[/mark]
The strobe light emits a very bright light which is flashed from a pistol-like instrument when the #1 spark plug fires. Be sure to read the instructions that come with the strobe light.

Setting the 009 Centrifugal Advance, Single-Vacuum Dual Advance (SVDA) and Vacuum-Only Distributors with a Strobe

[mark]The approximate idle timing setting for the centrifugal advance distributor (009), the single-vacuum distributor, and the vacuum-advance only distributor, is 7.5o Before top Dead Center (BTDC). This means that as you view the 7.5o mark at the crankcase split (with the strobe), the TDC mark on the pulley will be about 11.5mm to the LEFT of the crankcase split when the distributor is properly timed. Again, this is the APPROXIMATE timing setting at idle.[/mark]
Important Note regarding vacuum lines:When timing the vacuum-only distributor, the vacuum line(s) must be attached. The vacuum line on the single-vacuum dual advance (SVDA) distributors must be removed from the vacuum canister on the distributor and plugged to prevent air from being sucked into the carburetor during timing. For BOTH the centrifugal-advance (009) and SVDA distributors -- if there is a vacuum hose running from a port in the intake manifold under the carburetor up to the air cleaner, this hose must be removed and plugged as well, for the same reason. Be sure to plug it such that air will not be sucked into the intake manifold.

Summary regarding vacuum hoses during timing: Just make sure the vacuum ports on both the carburetor and the intake manifold are plugged so air won't be sucked in during timing.

For these distributors, the advance timing is more important than the idle timing. Ideally it should be 28-30o advanced at 3500 rpm, then should return to something close to 7.5o BTDC at idle (900 rpm). The centrifugal-advance portions of these distributors vary -- if the maximum advance is set to the correct 28-30o BTDC at 3500 rpm, an idle timing in the range of 5-8o BTDC should result.

  • Set the parking brake firmly and block the wheels. Put the transmission in neutral.

  • Make sure that the maximum advance timing mark is clearly visible on the crankshaft pulley (i.e., marked with white paint).

  • Attach the inductive pick-up clip on the timing light around the #1 spark plug wire, close to the spark plug and away from the other spark plug wires to avoid interference. Observe the arrow on the clip pointing to the spark plug (if there is such an arrow).

  • Power to the strobe light is provided through the red clip. Attach it to a convenient power source. We use the terminal on the right side of the coil (the one with the wires to the automatic choke, backup lights and idle solenoid -- terminal #15). Alternately (and perhaps more conveniently), you can use the positive terminal on the alternator.

    [mark]If your car is equipped with a Capacitive Discharge Ignition system, power to the coil is provided indirectly through the CDI unit. In this case, just attach the red clip on the strobe light to any convenient 12-volt power source. As indicated above, we use the wire to the automatic choke, only because it's convenient.[/mark]
    Warning! If you do attach your timing light to the automatic choke connection, be VERY CAREFUL that the black wire from the ignition switch (terminal #15 on the coil) does not accidentally come disconnected from the choke connection and drop to touch the alternator body when the ignition is on. If this happens, you will get a shower of sparks, and worse -- you will burn out your ignition switch! (Voice of Experience -- this has happened to me TWICE! You'd think I would learn... I'm getting good at replacing ignition switches!)

  • Attach the black clip to ground (the bolt on the fuel pump and the rear carburetor nut are convenient places, but make sure the wire doesn't become tangled with the fan belt!).

    [mark]It's a good idea to secure the timing light up and away from the fan belt after hooking it up and while starting the car, to keep the wires from getting tangled up in the fan belt. Tucking it in front of (front is front, remember) the stock air cleaner, or anywhere else in the engine compartment where it is up and away from the fan belt, is a good idea.

  • Attach the dwell-tachometer in accordance with the idle procedure.

  • Start the engine. Adjust the idle to 900 rpm using the idle procedure.

  • Turn off the engine and loosen the distributor clamp bolt (10mm) enough so the distributor requires a strong twist to be moved but will stay where it is moved to.

    Rob & Dave


    ignition, distributor, timing