View single post by Esprit2
 Posted: 01-21-2015 06:19 pm
PM Quote Reply Full Topic


Joined: 05-01-2005
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota USA
Posts: 338
Does the distributor still have the original breaker points, or has an electronic ignition system (like Pertronix) been installed? Just considering other things that might prevent the engine from starting.

Do the plugs at least spark? There's no point pursuing correct timing if there's no spark. Remove a plug from the engine, replace it's plug wire, and hold the metal body against the engine, or similar good ground. Have a helper crank the engine over while you observe the gap. Does a spark jump? If no, you have more work to do before timing the ignition. If yes, good, let's move on.
mcguan.2 wrote:
(Snip)... I checked the static timing today and it's at about 29 degrees BTDC! I've been reading here that a 2.0l with Dellortos should be more like 12 degrees. So I'm now wondering two things.You report checking the static timing here, yet below you ask how to set the timing. So, how much do you know how to do? If you don't know how to set the timing, should we trust your measurement of the static timing?

29 BTDC is way advanced. Shoot for 12-14 BTDC, which means you need to retard the timing from where it is.

The distributor slips into the back side of the oil pump housing. Inside the housing is a spring that is there to bias the oil pump impeller forward. The side effect is that it's also pushing on the distributor, and will push it out of the housing if the clamp is loosened. Any time you loosen the clamp, first apply inward pressure with one hand while you loosen the clamp with the other hand. Maintain full-time inward pressure until the clamp is firmly tightened again.

If the distributor partially pops out, it can disengage from the drive, and the rotor will not turn with the engine. In that case, the engine will not start.

Remove the distributor cap, grasp the rotor, and try to rotate it. If it's solid and doesn't rotate, then the drive is still engaged. That's good. If the rotor/ shaft does rotate, then the drive has disengaged, and the first task is to properly re-install the distributor. Raise your hand if we need to go there.
mcguan.2 wrote:1. I'm pretty sure the PO rotated the distributor to switch from Strombergs to Dellortos. What way should the distributor (or more importantly the knurled nut) be facing? My knurled nut faces almost straight down towards the ground.Ignore the knurled nut and which way it's facing. The distributor clamp must be loosened, and the entire body rotated to get the timing right.

As you look at the top end of the distributor (where the plug wires attach), retard is Counter-Clockwise (CCW), and advance is Clockwise (CW).
mcguan.2 wrote:2. If I have to make a large degree change in the static timing, like it would appear is the case here, is rotating the knurled nut enough? Or do I need to rotate the whole distributor cap? And is that how this distributor works? It would appear not, since it has the clips on the side. That said, what's my best option for getting from 29 degrees to 12? And any pointers for reaching and turning the knurled nut? It's tight quarters down there and hot, to boot.Forget the knurled knob, for now it doesn't exist.

The entire distributor body must be rotated, and the cap will go along with it. It's impossible to rotate just the cap. There's a tab inside it's rim that fits into a notch in the distributor body. The cap only fits one way, locks into place, and is held on by the spring clips.

Looking at the top of the distributor cap, 29 BTDC means it is now rotated too far clockwise. It must be rotated about 18 degrees counter-clockwise (18 is an arbitrary 'even' number for easy math... stay with me).

All timing events are measured in crankshaft degrees. The distributor rotates at half engine speed, so retarding the timing 18 degrees means rotating the distributor body half that, or 9 degrees counter-clockwise (CCW).

"IF" you have absolute confidence in the 29 BTDC timing you mentioned earlier, you could just rotate the distributor body 9 degrees CCW and be close. My confidence in that is a little shakey.

If you can't eyeball 9 degrees, then look at the auxiliary timing belt pulley (the one that drives the oil pump and distributor). The teeth are 9 degrees apart, which equates to 18 crankshaft degrees.

Eyeball-align some feature on the distributor body with a pulley tooth (or use a ruler/ straight edge), then loosen and rotate the distributor until that feature aligns the same way with the next tooth counter-clockwise. Tighten the distributor clamp.

Re-check the static timing, and it should now be about 11 BTDC (29 - 18 = 11).

A better way would be to follow Mr. Rosenbaum's advice (when you have some time, read all his old posts). This message is getting a little long, so I'll get into that on the next page.

Tim Engel

Last edited on 01-26-2015 04:30 am by Esprit2