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Old 03-05-2005, 07:02 PM
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Unusual SBC timing problem

This is my first post, so bear with me. I've searched here and pretty much everywhere else I can think of with no luck, so I'm hoping someone can help me figure this out. I just installed a 383 stroker built by a very reputable local machine shop that specializes in race motors, so I'm fairly sure it's put together right. I got number 1 to TDC, stuck the distributer, and wired the plugs. Engine fires right up, no problem. So far, so good. Hooked up the timing light, can't locate the timing mark on the scale. Turns out it's on the left side (facing the engine) of the water pump. Rotate the distributor to retard the timing , engine dies. Installed a degreed balancer cover and cut down the tab to just a 0 mark, reshot with timing light, reads between 50 and 55 degrees. Try to retard, dies at about 40 degrees. I've checked for vacuum leaks, but I have yet to find one. I don't figure I should be running any more than 36-38 degrees total timing and I KNOW 50 degrees initial is not good. I have re-stuck the distributer several times, and traced plug wires too many times. The only other thing I noticed is that the mechanial advance does not come in at the 2200 RPM the degree card calls for (it's new).
I'm just about at my whit's end. From my reading around this board for a while now, I'm sure somebody around here must have an idea...
Thanks,
Gary

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Old 03-05-2005, 07:13 PM
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My first guess was that you had a slipped balancer! But, the degreed cover probably would have took care of that. There were a few different timing tabs for small block chevys, though! Do you think that you might have mismatched parts? I would try to find #1 tdc mechanically by pulling the plug. then, I would see how my timing marks line up on the tab and balancer. Then adjust accordingly!!
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Old 03-05-2005, 07:14 PM
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Chevys had different positions for the timing pointers. Your new stroker crank probably has a different one than the old one did.

You should always verify TDC to your pointer before you bolt the heads down. Without knowing your timing for sure you hve no baseline for adjustment. This may be an extreme case of it.
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Old 03-05-2005, 08:27 PM
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Maybe,I have NEVER seen a pointer on the left side of the engine. I have seen the tube type where you have to look thru the water pump and the timing cover. If that is installed correctely,it seems you would have to have a special balancer since they only install one way with the keyway.The crank is not manipulated.I would put a tab on the other side,run the engine WITHOUT changing the timing now since it is running,see where your baseline is and see if that is what happened. Sounds like they put it on the wrong side.
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Old 03-05-2005, 11:28 PM
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tdc

You have to locate true tdc #1. which is easiest with the head off. Then you can use timing tape on the balancer.
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Old 03-06-2005, 05:35 AM
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Take an old spark plug and bust the porcelain out of it.
Drill and tap the plug housing to 3/8 NC

Install you new TDC locating tool into the head.

Bring the motor up to about 10* before TDC, using a long 3/8 bolt or piece of all thread, screw it in until it touches the piston.

Now put a mark on the dampener that corresponds with the timing tab Zero mark.

Rotate the engine the oposite direction until the piston snugs up tight to the bolt in your TDC tool and mark that location on the dampener.

1/2 the distance between the 2 marks is exactly TDC, now time it.

New Distributor???? all in at 2200??? How do they or you know that that is correct for that combo?

How much Initial timing, Vacuum timing, and Mechanical timing does that distributor have in it. Distributors are no different than a Cam that needs to be degreed in, a carb needs to be tuned and your distributor needs to set up, they are NOT ready to run.

Go Here:
http://www.4secondsflat.com/specsheet.html

Copy and paste the information into an email and I'll look it over and give you some ideas on where all the timing events should be for your engine and chassis combination.
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Old 03-06-2005, 09:35 AM
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Just to clarify, the timing tab is a bolt-on, on the right hand side, designed for 8 inch balancer (400 SBC).
I appreciate the suggestions, I'll hopefully get to work on it this week and I'll get some more specifics.

Gary
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Old 03-06-2005, 09:42 AM
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I noticed the first post had the tab on the left side and the last post had it on the right side.
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Old 03-06-2005, 05:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 85406
I noticed the first post had the tab on the left side and the last post had it on the right side.
What I meant in my fist post was that the BALANCER timing mark was on the left side of the water pump with the engine running. The tab is on the right side.

I finally figured out the problem by the process of elimination. Changed out the distributor, and the problem went away. Anyone else ever have a problem with a Summit distributor? Stock distributor stuck at TDC started right up and took 15 degrees initial with no problem. Total about 40 degrees at 3000 rpm.

Now to get another HP distributor. Any suggestions?

Thanks again to all who offered their help, I appreciate it!

Gary
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Old 03-07-2005, 07:35 AM
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Summit Chinese Import Proform distributor, you've got to be kidding???.....of course it didn't work.

We have several real nice re-built and upgraded HEI distributors in stock, if you go to my web site and email me a completed spec sheet I'll see if any of these will work and if not we'll recurve one and have it out to you by tomorrow.

We stock 3 different types so I'll have to see exactly what you've got and choose the correct style for your application.

Sort of like the Road Demon, Speed Demon and Mighty Demon of the distributor world.
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Old 08-05-2010, 11:08 PM
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Sbc timing problems

I have this same problem but my balancer and crank are stock and have worked right before I did a cam swap head swap and went from tbi to carb. I have tried to time it with a Mallory points distributor and also a hei distributor. The timing mark shows up at about ten o clock trying to set initial timing. I can get it to run good but I have to play it by ear. Everything described on the 383 above is exactly what I'm experiancing. I have already tried a different distributor and checked everything I can think of. Any suggestions will be appreciated. By the way this is an 89 roller 305.
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Old 08-06-2010, 01:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nbc
I have this same problem but my balancer and crank are stock and have worked right before I did a cam swap head swap and went from tbi to carb. I have tried to time it with a Mallory points distributor and also a hei distributor. The timing mark shows up at about ten o clock trying to set initial timing. I can get it to run good but I have to play it by ear. Everything described on the 383 above is exactly what I'm experiancing. I have already tried a different distributor and checked everything I can think of. Any suggestions will be appreciated. By the way this is an 89 roller 305.
The first thing I would do is to rerun all the wires. From post #1, CW all the way around the cap:
1-8-4-3-6-5-7-2.

If you still can't time off off #1, change the timing light pickup to cylinder #6 and retry it.

Use these tutorials:

DETERMINE TDC

MAKE A TIMING TAPE

TWIMC- Yes, the original post is 5-plus years old. In that this thread will show up just as easily as another redundant thread, it makes no difference HOW old it is.
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Old 08-06-2010, 05:43 AM
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I have already checked my firing order and rechecked my dist multiple times. But I will try to time it from #6. when I bring it to tdc my timing mark is correct with both valves being closed. Even though my timing light is fairly new I'm going to borrow one just to eliminate that as a problem.
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Old 08-06-2010, 05:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nbc
Even though my timing light is fairly new I'm going to borrow one just to eliminate that as a problem.
Good idea- if it's a dial back light, especially.

Good luck.
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