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Brian Morency 03-31-2012 10:05 PM

top dead center tool?
I was wondering if the top dead center tool could be used to help me mark my harmonic balancer so I can get a timing light on it. Or if there's an easy way to find a way to mark the balancer so I can set the timing. Its not off by much but I'd like it to be set right.

eloc431962 04-01-2012 08:28 AM

What tool are you trying to use ?


Brian Morency 04-01-2012 01:23 PM
Kind of like this. There's a few different styles.

poncho62 04-01-2012 02:21 PM

That is basically a piston stop, although that slides to determine TDC......A simple one can be made with an old spark plug with a bolt welded or threaded into it. The bolt goes down into the cylinder and stops the piston from coming all the way to the top......When this happens, mark the damper. Then, turn the engine back the other way until it hits the stop again. Mark the damper......Half way between these 2 marks is your true TDC

DoubleVision 04-01-2012 03:40 PM

Why not just buy a bolt on Proform harmonic balancer cover? It bolts on and matches to the keyway so the timing pointer is dead on. Plus it gives timing readings all the way up to 60 degrees.

Brian Morency 04-02-2012 02:09 AM

Like this? That would make more sense

75gmck25 04-02-2012 04:27 AM

Many folks use a timing cover that may not match the engine its bolted to, or they use a bolt-on timing tab and want to ensure its in the right place. Even if you buy a balancer cover, you still need a piston stop to verify TDC for your engine and match it with your timing pointer position. However, the balancer cover is a good replacement for a timing tape.

A TDC tool is fairly easy to use and there are several short articles out there on how to use them. Its much easier if you remove all the spark plugs when you use the tool, but I've also done it with only the #1 removed. The problem I have on my engine is that there isn't much clearance to get to the crank bolt, so I used a strap wrench around the outer crankshaft pulley groove (its where my A/C belt would go).

I think my TDC tool cost about $8-10 from Summit.


Florence95 04-02-2012 07:59 AM

Or if there's an easy way to find a way to mark the balancer so I can set the timing. Its not off by much but I'd like it to be set right.

Brian Morency 04-02-2012 08:45 AM

Just tried autozone & advanced. Neither sold tool. Waiting at sears now to open.

Brian Morency 04-02-2012 10:37 AM

Sears doesn't sell it either. Had to go to winners circle. Was $9.99, sears could order one but it was $34.99. Auto zone website says they have them for $19.99 but don't carry it.

Brian Morency 04-02-2012 11:43 AM

bentwings 04-02-2012 07:54 PM

That's the tool.

I use a proform cover but I remounted the stock pointer so it indicates true TDC......using the tool shown.

Don't forget that when you remover the damper cover it may change the "real" tdc so you need to recheck it.

Old Fool 04-09-2012 03:36 PM

why pay for an old spark plug and a bolt?

poncho62 04-09-2012 03:39 PM


Originally Posted by Old Fool
why pay for an old spark plug and a bolt?

Agreed...... :thumbup: :thumbup:

75gmck25 06-16-2012 07:07 AM

I've seen several posts over the years that suggested making a piston stop from a spark plug and bolt, so I tried it one time. I finally gave up after realizing it was much more of a PIA to make the tool than it was to add it to my next Summit order and just buy it.

The piston stops cost $8-12 from Summit. If I made it myself I was going to spend at least an hour drilling and tapping the hole and I did not have a drill press or the tap and die set to do the job. I finally decided that for a savings of only $8 my time could be used better on other project work. YMMV


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