Originally Posted by PontiacFighter
So if I put the damper line at the 12 degree line on the timing cover the motor will start?
With the damper line set to 12 degrees BTDC on the cover, if the rotor is aligned to point directly at the #1 terminal of the cap with the engine on compression for #1 cylinder, it will start- providing all else is in order as I already mentioned.
To align the rotor:
• Mark the distributor body to show where #1 terminal is on the cap
• Loosen the distributor clamp
• Turn the distributor until the rotor is pointing at the mark on the distributor body
• Replace the cap and snug the clamp, but not so tight that you can't adjust the distributor
Everyone has their own way of doing things; one way of doing this is once the engine fires, set the timing to give you about 34 degrees BTDC at 2000 rpm. This will be enough timing to let the engine break in w/o overheating from retarded ignition timing. It may still get hot- but it won't be caused by the timing. You can position fans in front of the grill to help cool it. If it starts to overheat, stop the engine and cool it down before doing the rest of the break in.
If you don't have a dial back timing light, MAKE A TIMING TAPE
to see what the total timing is, w/o needing a dial back light. You can also buy a timing tape, get one that matches the diameter of your damper.
The image shows the correct orientation of the timing tape: