Tip & How-To about Ford Mustang

How to use a timing light and adjust timing

1. Make sure the engine is off and the key is removed from the ignition.

2. Clamp the red clip to the positive terminal of your car battery.

3. Clamp the black clip to the negative terminal of your car battery.

4. The larger clip with the thickest insulation goes on your #1 spark plug wire by attaching the clip around the wire that leads to your #1 spark plug.

5. Next, you will want to rotate the lower crankshaft pulley so that the timing marks are visible on the crankshaft pulley. Be aware that on some cars the timing marks are located somewhere else and you should consult either your owner's manual or dealership.

6. Your automobile specifications sheet should tell you what your timing degree should be. For example:

1969 Ford 429
6 Degrees BTDC @ 550 rpm in drive gear
Automatic Trans
Firing order: 1-5-4-2-6-3-7-8

This means that you want to line up the pointer on the timing light with the 6° timing mark when the engine is idling in gear at 550 rpm. "BTDC" means Before Top Dead Center and "ATDC" means After Top Dead Center - top dead center is the point where the piston reaches the highest point in the cylinder and that is when the compression is the greatest.

The timing marks will have a line labeled "0" with marks above and below it, and depending on which way the wheel rotates, you will see the lines before the "0" (BTDC), or after the "0" (ATDC).

7. If you want, you can use some chalk to mark the timing marks to make them more visible. If there is a rubber hose on the side of the distributor, disconnect the rubber hose from the vacuum advance and put a plug in the end of the hose to seal it off temporarily.

8. Okay, now start up your engine, letting it warm up.

9. Take your timing light and aim it at the timing marks, pressing the button on the light. Because you have the light hooked up to your spark plug means that it has current passing through it every time your spark plug fires, making the light go on and off, creating a strobe effect. Because of this, the timing marks should appear to be standing still. Now, is the pointer pointing at the correct mark? If yes, you are all set, you do not need to adjust your timing. If it is not, you should adjust your timing.

10. Adjust the Timing by looking below the distributor, at the base of your distributor shaft, for a fastener called the distributor hold-down clamp. We want to loosen this fastener so the distributor can turn on the shaft. Grasp the vacuum advance and move it back and forth.

11. Rotate the distributor slightly, and then aim your timing light back at the timing marks again. How does it look? If it is farther away from the marks, then move the distributor in the opposite direction. Then, check again with your timing light. Continue doing this until the pointer is pointing at the correct degree point as required.

12. Once the timing is good, tighten the fastener for the distributor hold-down clamp, making sure you do not move the distributor. After tightening this fastener, double check your timing to ensure it is still correct.

13. Turn off your engine, remove the key from the ignition, and disconnect the timing light.

Posted by on

Cars & Trucks Logo

Related Topics:

Related Questions:

1 Answer

Trying to charge battery for first time. It says connect two red connectors. Do you charge it first then connect the connector afterwards?


1. I assume this is a car battery so the first thing you do is to disconnect the vehicle cables from the battery terminals. The negative first and then the positive. The positive terminal is marked with a plus sign ...+ ... When refitting the cables to the
battery after it is charged you fit the positive cable to the positive battery terminal(+) first and fit the negative(-) last.

2. Now that the battery is unconnected from the vehicle you can fit the charging cables to the battery terminals. The charger you have should have 2 cables leading from it , a positive with a red plastic insulation on the clip and a negative cable probably with black insulation on the clip.The instructions with the charger will tell you in which order the cables are to be attached to the battery and the order you remove them. Each of the 2 cables has to be clipped onto the correct battery terminal. The positive cable(+) from the charger goes to the positive battery terminal (+)and the negative cable(-) from the charger goes to the negative battery terminal(-).

3. Once the cables from the charger are properly connected to the battery, you can plug in the charger and turn on the power.

4. Batteries generate explosive gasses when being charged and it only takes one small spark to ignite them. Don't reconnect the battery after charging for a half hour or so and make sure the area where you are charging is well ventilated.

Dec 18, 2015 | Cars & Trucks

1 Answer

How do I remove battery?


turn off radio and all accessories and vehicle off no key in ignition-- open hood and battery is mounted passenger side front loosen positive red covered connection closest to radiator first and move aside than remove negative terminal next move aside than with a long socket loosen battery hold down clamp located same side as terminals at bottom of battery remove battery --- install is reverse of instructions

May 21, 2014 | 1998 GMC Sonoma

1 Answer

How to jump start my 2005 Pontiac Montana?


Using jumper cables :
1. Connect one red clamp to the positive terminal (+) of running car's battery and the other end red clamp to the positive terminal (+) of the dead car's battery .
2. Connect one black clamp to the negative terminal (-) of running car's battery and the other end black clamp to the negative terminal (-) of the dead car's battery.
Basically... (+) to (+)...and... (-) to (-)
3. Crank up the car needing the jump.
4. Once car is jumped and running...remove clamps in reverse order.

Using battery pack: Connect in the same fashion as above.

Jul 31, 2011 | 2005 Pontiac Montana

1 Answer

how do you change a battery in a 1999 chevy venture van


Assuming you have a battery charger. Do not plug charger in until after it is connected.
1. Open hood & locate battery.
2. Identify the positive terminal of the battery (usyally has a red cover or red marking.
The battery has side terminals (not posts like nonGM batteries)
4. Connect the + red clamp the the positive terminal wiggle it a little to get good connection.
5. Connect the negative black clamp to the engine block, a handy bracket on engine or the negative terminal on the battery. DO NOT CONNECT TO ALTERNATOR
6. Be sure connections are secure.
7. Plug in charger it should show charging. Leave it over night
8. Before disconnecting charger disconnect power to the charger.

THE FUMES OF A BATTERY ARE EXPLOSIVE DO NOT USE FLAMES NEAR BATTERY
DO NOT ALLOW SPARKS NEAR BATTERY!

Dec 08, 2010 | 1999 Chevrolet Venture

1 Answer

how to remove battery in 1992 Toyota Corona so it can be recharged


(1) Loosen screw on negative ( - ) terminal clamp, lift negative cable off terminal, and put cable end somewhere where it can't touch the battery. This stops the positive terminal from being "live" with respect to the rest of the car.

(2) Lift plastic cover from positive ( + ) terminal. Loosen screw on positive terminal clamp, while making sure your screwdriver is nowhere near the negative terminal at all times. Lift positive cable off terminal, and put cable end somewhere where it can't touch the battery.

(3) Loosen the butterfly nuts over the clamp that holds the battery to the tray. One butterfly nut will have to come off completely, the other can stay on so you don't lose the clamp down the middle of the engine. Swing the clamp off to one side.

(4) Lift the battery out of the tray, keeping it upright at all times.

To reinstall the battery, follow the above steps in reverse order.

Sep 30, 2009 | 1992 Toyota Corolla

Not finding what you are looking for?

3,554 people viewed this tip

Ask a Question

Usually answered in minutes!

Top Ford Experts

yadayada
yadayada

Level 3 Expert

76051 Answers

Colin Stickland
Colin Stickland

Level 3 Expert

22156 Answers

fordexpert

Level 3 Expert

5516 Answers

Are you a Ford Expert? Answer questions, earn points and help others

Answer questions

Loading...