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Old 07-01-2007, 09:45 PM
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What to set timing at? SBC 305 / CS274

HI!
I am helping my 14 year old on his first rebuild. I need to know the initial timing to set his engine at before we start it up the first time.

It's a 305 with a Performer intake and hydraulic lifters with a Sealed Power (Federal Mogul) CS-274 cam. I don't have the cam specs card for the cam, but I have read that it is: Duration at .050'', 194 Int., 203 Exh.; Lobe Separation 112 Degrees. I don't know if that is right, as Fed-Mog's website is pitiful.

But I don't know if I should set this up for 0 degrees, or what?

It's going in an 86 El Camino with a stock Quadrajet carb and TH200 transmission. The block is a '77 marine 305 block and crank. Right now the only thing we have changed (other than simply rebuilding) is the intake and cam.

Any recommendations? Any help with setting the timing? Thanks!
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Old 07-01-2007, 09:55 PM
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Welcome to the HR forums! And good for you in helping your son too!! Need more fathers like that!

For a basically stock engine, you can start with 6-10 degrees initial.

Mark
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Old 07-02-2007, 12:18 AM
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Advance?

Thanks, Mark! It's been a while: nearly twenty years since I rebuilt the engine in my '56, and that was a straight six 235! These V-8 things, wow!...

Uhhh.... that's 6 to 10 degrees ADVANCED, right? Thanks!

Last edited by hon_jr; 07-02-2007 at 12:28 AM.
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Old 07-02-2007, 01:58 AM
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Doc here,

Mine likes 8....

At 6 it gets lazy..

At 10 it pings..

It's really tight..But that is with California Emissions also..


Doc
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Old 07-02-2007, 08:33 AM
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I think he might be asking about the cam timing. set it at 0
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Old 07-02-2007, 04:38 PM
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timing

Please set your timing chain at [ 0 ] dot to dot assembel the engine when you get it to run you set your timing acording to how it will run the best. some cams might be a little more than others if you did not degree the cam yo might get a little variation in timing. You will not get a good timing until it runs ang get your valves ajusted properly . good luck Fathers are for ever I have a 13 yr old that helps me all the time rebuilding engines I think he can do it by himself now. Thanks Dad
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Old 07-02-2007, 05:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hon_jr
Thanks, Mark! It's been a while: nearly twenty years since I rebuilt the engine in my '56, and that was a straight six 235! These V-8 things, wow!...

Uhhh.... that's 6 to 10 degrees ADVANCED, right? Thanks!

Doc Here,

Are you asking CAM timing or SPARK timing??

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Old 07-02-2007, 06:00 PM
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Clarification

Actually, I'm talking about the spark timing. I don't have a cam card, so I was asking about setting up the initial spark timing primarily (before starting the engine for the first time): when I should set the distributor in aimed at #1, relative to the line on the balancer / timing marks.

Funny story about the cam timing: for some fool reason, this setup has to be set up with the timing dots "straight up" like a Pontiac: when I try to set it up like a normal Chevy, dot to dot, it is 180 degrees out! TDC on cylinder one ends up between the exhaust and intake strokes, instead of coming up on the power stroke...

A pro builder told me he had an engine that ended up that way. Couldn't figure it out, either, so he just set it up 180 degrees from normal, and it was fine! Weird..

Anyway, since I don't have a cam card, there was no sense in degreeing the cam: degreeing has to be compared to the lobe center to figure out the degrees of advancement, so I'm just having to wing it. I just need to know where to set it up in order to safely and quickly start the fool thing for the first time.

So, am I correct in assuming that you all mean setting it up 6 to 10 degrees ADVANCED at the timing mark, when I drop the distributor in?

NEXT question, then:
Which way is advanced, on a small block Chevy? Clockwise, or ccw, looking at the balancer from the front? Boy, the straight sixes are sure simpler to set up...
:-)
Thanks, all!
-Joel
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Old 07-02-2007, 06:31 PM
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Why my son is rebuilding

I thought I'd add a note as to why my son is having to rebuild his engine:
My first car was a '56 Chevy "210" 4-dr. I still have it.

I learned that if you invest your time, money and blood into rebuilding a car, you don't drive as stupid as your friends, who just had a car handed to them. Or even if they bought it themselves, you take better care of something you have built.

I taught my sister how to work on her '55, changing a tire, diagnosing a vapor locked carb, etc... Later, she went on a date with a guy that was really handsy and aggressive, and he tried to say his car wouldn't start. She was able to point out to him exactly why it WOULD start, and probably avoided a really bad incident that night!

That's why both of my sons AND my daughter will have to rebuild a car before they are allowed to drive! "If you can't fix it, you can't drive!"

:-)

In addition, it sure is nice to have a father-son project to conduct together. We've both had a blast, even with all the problems along the way!

-Joel
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Old 07-02-2007, 08:58 PM
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This is a little tutorial on distributor installation, mostly for newbies, but some of you experienced guys may find some useful info here too. Put the distributor cap on the distributor. Make a mark on the housing that lines up with #1, (Scratch mark or Sharpie, on a regular HEI, it will be the 2nd sparkplug wire terminal clockwise from the square part that sticks out)), pull the cap back off, line up the rotor with the new mark on your housing. Now look at the other end of the distributor, pick a groove between two teeth, and mark the housing there. Now, rotate the shaft counterclockwise (from the top) till the bottom of that groove is lined up with your mark on the bottom of the housing. You could make secondary mark on the distributor at the top again in case it gets disturbed in the process of dropping it in. Make sure your motor is not only on TDC, but put the timing mark on whatever you want your initial timing to be, let's say 12 for instance. So, now the motor is sitting with the timing mark at 12 BTDC, and your distributor shaft is about a 1/16th of a turn before that, so it will rotate into position as it drops down and engages with the cam. Once it goes down till it's sitting on top of the oil pump shaft, there will be about a 3/8" gap between the mounting flange and the intake surface. If all your marks are pretty close to lined up, push down slightly on the distributor, (not hard, don't force it), and have somebody bump the key till it drops all the way. If you want to check yourself, or make sure it will fire the first time, bump the balancer on back around to 12 BTDC on #1 again and make sure your rotor still lines up with your #1 cylinder mark. If it doesn't pull it out and repeat. When your marks line up like they should, go ahead and turn the distributor housing to line up your #1 mark with the rotor, install the distributor clamp and snug it down, put the cap on and connect the wires, because it WILL fire the first time, and be within 2 or 3 of your target initial timing.



from v8s10.org
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Old 07-02-2007, 11:23 PM
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Which way is advanced?

Thanks va4cqd! I've put in distributors before, but always using the hit-or-miss method. ("Hmmm, how far should I back it up before I drop it in THIS time?").

This should make things a lot easier!

Still wondering the middle two questions, though:
"So, am I correct in assuming that you all mean setting it up 6 to 10 degrees ADVANCED (not retarded) at the timing mark, when I drop the distributor in?"
...and...
"Which way is advanced, on a small block Chevy? Clockwise, or ccw, looking at the balancer from the front?"

The marks on my timing tab are listed 12 8 4 0 4 8 12, from L to R as you look at the front of the engine. So, do I set it 8 degrees advanced by setting the mark on the first 8 from the left (passenger) side? Or the other one?

Thanks, Mark, Doc, va4, everyone!
-Joel
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Old 07-03-2007, 12:12 AM
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Doc here,

Here is a procedure I have used for a gazillion Years..that has always served me well for first starts..

Usually a well Primed Engine will fire on the second crank , so you can static time it.

NEW DISTRIBUTER INSTALL:

ENGINE: Number 1 cylinder TDC compression, Timing marks aligned, Both intake & Exhaust valves closed , no pressure on the lifters (not too much slack either..) If you can't co~ordinate these, you have timing chain/gear issues..Check further.

Drop the distributer in, and watching the rotor, It will advance clockwise a bit, this is because the gear teeth are diagonal cut, It will go about a tower in a half in some cases..Note the amount of change, and then withdraw the distributer.

Line the oil pump shaft up to that location with a large screw driver, and reset the distributer, for The number one plug tower, allowing for advancing of the rotor as the gears seat..

The easy way to do this is make magic marker lines on the base of the distributer, for exact dead center #1 plug tower, and the difference of rotor movement as it seats..due to the cut of the gears..(I.E...#1 and the amount of distance of SETBACK required to make it sit on #1 plug tower when bottomed out..)

DISTRIBUTER: #1 plug tower in the stock location Traditionally for SBC's is 5 to 7 O'clock, (depends on year, and obstructions) 7 O'Clock is usually good.

Direction of rotation is clockwise.

The F.O. is 1 8 4 3 6 5 7 2..

Put on your hold down just tight enough to hold it, but enough to forcibly move it by hand, and start it up..set your static and total timing..

Static, 10 to 12 is a good starting point With the advance defeated and vacuum line plugged.

Total, around 34 to 36 is usual on a stocker with advance hooked back up..

Tighten down the hold down, set your idle for 650 Manual trans, 950 Automatic, and drive it .. hammer it on the freeway, If it pings or runs hotter than usual, retard it a few degrees..If it dogs, advance it..Try also lugging it up a steep hill highest gear as slow as it will pull, If it pings check the timing again.

That's it.

Doc
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Old 07-03-2007, 08:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hon_jr
Thanks va4cqd! I've put in distributors before, but always using the hit-or-miss method. ("Hmmm, how far should I back it up before I drop it in THIS time?").

This should make things a lot easier!

Still wondering the middle two questions, though:
"So, am I correct in assuming that you all mean setting it up 6 to 10 degrees ADVANCED (not retarded) at the timing mark, when I drop the distributor in?"
...and...
"Which way is advanced, on a small block Chevy? Clockwise, or ccw, looking at the balancer from the front?"

The marks on my timing tab are listed 12 8 4 0 4 8 12, from L to R as you look at the front of the engine. So, do I set it 8 degrees advanced by setting the mark on the first 8 from the left (passenger) side? Or the other one?

Thanks, Mark, Doc, va4, everyone!
-Joel
Turn the distributor counterclockwise to advance the timing. Set the timing at 8-10 BTDC which will be the left side of the scale(facing the engine)
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Old 07-03-2007, 12:11 PM
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Before you start this car first let me ask is the computer still active? if not are you still using the factory carb and distributor? These are very important for us to know before you start it, otherwise your heading for disaster as both run off the computers instruction, if the computer is not active then it will have no spark advance other than what you set the initial base timing at, and the carb will not richen on acceleration, resulting in a lean back fire, over heating from lack of spark timing. If the computer isn`t active then these pieces must be changed over to a older non computer controlled Q-jet and a older HEI that has mechanical and vacuum advance.
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Old 07-03-2007, 04:01 PM
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Computer??

Doc and GMCBoogie:
Thanks! Both those posts help a bunch.

Doublevision:
I have no idea if the computer is working or not. The engine was froze up (previous owner overheated it) when we bought the car, so we have no idea on the 'puter. Any way to test it, other than to try and start the car?? :-(

I figured we would find out pretty quickly if the computer was working or not, when we tried to fire it up...

If it isn't working, is there some way to disable it, and run the engine without the computer? (Kansas isn't a strict no-alterations state like California is). Or do I just have to swap out the computer if it is DOA?

Thanks!
-Joel R.
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