My timing is retarded (sorry)

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Apr 18, 2005
New York, NY
I've read every post, manual, and even scoured TMZ to figure out my timing marks and what I'm reading still doesn't jive with what I'm feeling and smelling.

Keep in mind that I've only been messing with timing for a month or so... My book learning is that when shooting through the window the line is TDC and the bearing is 7 past. With the bearing on the line I have horrible top end and I put my kids to sleep with the carbon monoxide (OK, maybe that's a benefit).

I've been running between (what I understood to be) 7 to 10 degrees (bearing+3 or 4 degrees to the right of the bearing) trying to find something that worked.

Last night I had the idea of backing up past the bearing (left) and creeping toward the line. I was trying to get the engine to ping under load but it never did. I did driving tests every two degrees and by the time I got to the line the stench was gone and I could actually accelerate easily past 2500 rpms in fourth gear (stock tranny) for the first time in 5 years. I almost cried, literally.

Some questions then:

1. Was my original understanding of timing just backwards?

2. Was my original understanding correct and I'm going to detonate something soon?

3. Was my origninal understanding correct but my distributor is a couple teeth off?

My temp and oil pressure are all good and again, there is no knocking, but I can't help but think I'm going to blow something up.

Many use 'seat of the pants' instead of a light to adjust timing. If it's running well, you're probably fine.

The bb is 7 deg advance. By adjusting back to the line you are taking advance out of your timing. Are you measuring your timing with the vacuum advance disabled?

Yeah just like the manual says. I've got a digital rpm light too so I know I can't be that far off in terms of my measurements.

I bought the thing from a junk yard in 2005 and immediately desmogged it and built it up so I had nothing to go off of in terms of what my power and stink was supposed to be. They're both so much better as of last night that something just isn't adding up.
Havn't timed a landcruiser but when I did it on my mopar slant six it was no where close to what the book said it "should" be. I'm talking like 20 degrees so in my opinion I would go by what the engine is telling you not the book. If its running well than things should be lined up correctly internally. If they weren't it wouldn't be running well or at all.
are your vacuum lines connected properly and does your HAC (high altitude compensation) work correctly? If not you may be applying too much or not enough advance when you are driving. If you have the emissions manual go through the test for the spark advance and HAC systems. If you don't have the manual, you can download a copy here: - View Single Post - Rough Idle / Dies at Stops / Carb Issues
it's all about how it runs. just time it to where it's running at its best.
Thanks for the advice, I guess above all else I'm looking for two clues:

1. What are the signs of too much retarding?

2. What are the signs of too much advancing?
Too little spark advance will cause low power, bad gas mileage, backfiring, and poor performance. Too much advance will cause hard starting and pre-ignition.

stolen from here: ECONOMECHANIX
Running retarded will also make your exhaust very hot.

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