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Old 11-22-2002, 10:53 AM
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Cool Finding top dead center no. 1 cylinder

I just put in a replacement distibutor for a ford F-250 1977 with a 400. How do i find top dead center for the no. 1 cylinder <img src="graemlins/crash.gif" border="0" alt="[crash]" />

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Old 11-22-2002, 11:04 AM
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try pulling the number 1 plug out. now turn your engine until the 0 on your balancer is on the 0 on your timing tab try that.thats what i did with my sbc not sure about a ford engine
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Old 11-22-2002, 12:14 PM
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Remember that that the cam and distributor turn at one half crank speed. Therefore you will have to make sure that the #1 piston is coming up on the compression stroke and not the exhaust stroke. The way to do this is to remove #1 spark plug and turn the engine until you feel pressure in the cylinder. At this point the timing mark on the damper should be coming up to 0 on the timing tab.
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Old 11-22-2002, 01:48 PM
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I wad up a piece of paper, large enough to cover #1 spark plug hole. Then I "bump" the starter until the wad pops out. That's TDC. Good luck.
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Old 11-22-2002, 04:22 PM
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The piece of paper is a nice trick. I always just stick my finger in the hole and bump her over till my finger pops out and then bring the timing mark to '0'.
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Old 11-22-2002, 04:25 PM
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Just a word of advise, it's usually easier to bring your engine to TDC on #1 before you remove the old distributor cause you can use the rotor to make sure your not 180* out.
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Old 11-24-2002, 01:39 PM
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I really do appreciate all the addvice on the ford 400 im gonna go to work on it right now thanks again......
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Old 11-24-2002, 03:24 PM
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One more question the white mark at the place you time it at, is 0 right?
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Old 11-24-2002, 04:05 PM
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You can also take the valve cover off. And when the vavle opens at the right time. But it may be more of a pain for you. Cause it takes me less then 15 seconds to take the valve cover off.
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Old 11-24-2002, 04:48 PM
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ok the paper pops out but the white mark doesnt line up with the guage what am i doing wrong??????
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Old 11-24-2002, 04:51 PM
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I got the paper to pop out but how do i get the timing right if it wont start..
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Old 11-24-2002, 06:59 PM
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[quote]ok the paper pops out but the white mark doesnt line up with the guage what am i doing wrong?????? <hr></blockquote>
It's called a compression stroke for a reason. As soon as the piston starts moving up the cylinder it is going to blow pressure out of the spark plug hole, usually a bit before TDC. Then you turn until the marks line up and that's TDC. I find it unusual that you're changing a distributor without even basic combustion engine principles and don't have anyone else there helping you out. If you actually find TDC on your timing marks you should be able to find 10BTDC timing mark. Set your mark to 10BTDC and make sure the rotor is directly under the number 1 plug wire terminal and that should be pretty close until you get her running and can use a light.
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Old 11-30-2002, 10:47 AM
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Well I have nobody to help me but Im getting it done. Just one more question how do I know if its 180 degrees out of wack I took the old distributore out before I knew about the tdc thing.
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Old 12-01-2002, 01:16 PM
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Once the paper pops out, try sticking a pencil in the spark plug hole and "feel" for the top of the piston. You should be able to feel it and that should be TDC. I can't answer your question why your marks aren't lining up? BTW it's admirable that you're doing this yourself. That's why forums like this exists, to help guys like you. Good luck.
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Old 12-01-2002, 06:34 PM
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To answer your question that Seon couldn't, the piston reaches TDC twice. Once during compression stroke and once during exhaust stroke. That is why you stick something in the spark plug hole to make sure it's the compression stroke. During the exaust stroke the exhaust valve is open so there's no compression to blow anything out of the spark plug hole. This all goes back to engineguys first reply and the reason we've been giving you examples of ways to find TDC compression stroke. If you stuck the distributor in on the exhaust stroke TDC with the rotor facing #1 spark plug you would be 180* out of sinc, hence the spark plug would be timed to fire on the exhaust stroke instead of the compression stroke.
[quote]BTW it's admirable that you're doing this yourself. That's why forums like this exists, to help guys like you. <hr></blockquote>
Yes Seon you may consider it admirable, I call it foolish. I fix cars regularly that were 'started' by admirable guys that ended up spending twice as much as they needed to. I think it's great to learn about cars, obviously since I'm a professional mechanic and got my start as a curious kid in high school. The only difference is I almost always had help whether it was other friends or even just pestering the mechanics at gas station/service garages I worked at so I didn't have to go blindly into situations. I rarely ever had to do a job twice. Yes sometimes we don't have a choice, you breakdown and you do what you can, there is a difference. It's what I feel seperates the professionals like myself from the wreckless hacks at your local K-Mart Auto Center. Levi I think it's great that you're into cars, I just think getting a little hands on help goes a long way. I remember working at gas stations in high school and spending every spare minute hanging with the mechanics in the garages trying to learn everything I could. Maybe next time I would suggest posting something like 'I'm going to change the distributor in my '77 F250, are their any suggestions before I do it'. This way we have the oportunity to get you out of a jam before you get there.
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