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Technical Timing light trick???

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Dan, Mar 15, 2019.

  1. Dan
    Joined: Mar 13, 2001
    Posts: 2,355


    Years ago we were assembling an engine (forget what its was but 99% sure it was a 350 or 351). When we dropped the dist. in the guy I was working with grabbed the timing light (all wiring was hooked, and powered up, engine not running). He hooked up the light and turned the dist. until the light flashed and then snugged up the dist. When it came time to start the engine this saved having to turn the dist back and forth to get it to fire.
    I thought about this the other day when we were assembling a 350. I tried it and couldn't get the light to flash. Could it be the timing light (it is a modern Innova digital light or the fact that it's using a HEI ignition (I would think the reluctor wheel would signal the "points opening" the same way old fashioned points would?? Maybe I need to use an old tech timing light?
    Any thoughts? Thanks-
  2. That would work with points. In fact, if you have an old Triumph motorcycle from the early mid 60's, the manual tells you to use a small light while rotating the point plate to set the timing. That's how it was for my old TR 250.
    triumph 1, clem, oldsjoe and 3 others like this.
  3. Chavezk21
    Joined: Jan 3, 2013
    Posts: 563


    We used to static time by unhooking the number one wire and putting a plug in it. If engine at TDC we would turn key on and turn distributor til spark jumped across plug.
    Pist-n-Broke, oldsjoe and alanp561 like this.
  4. Used to do the same,12v bulb on vw's in the '60s.
    oldsjoe, lothiandon1940 and alanp561 like this.
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  5. Yep, I used a test light on VW's.
  6. '51 Norm
    Joined: Dec 6, 2010
    Posts: 655

    '51 Norm
    from colorado

    If you are going to do this with a HEI type ignition you have to move the distributer rather quickly in order for the electronics to detect the change as the reluctor wheel passes the pick up. The result is that the timing is only approximate but usually good enough to get the engine to fire.
    I haven't tried it with other types of electronic ignition.
  7. Dan
    Joined: Mar 13, 2001
    Posts: 2,355


    That worked great! Eliminate the need for the timing light - thanks for the info!!
    clem, Chavezk21 and oldsjoe like this.
  8. Truckdoctor Andy
    Joined: Jan 13, 2017
    Posts: 814

    Truckdoctor Andy

    Why not line up the timing marks on the balancer with #1 at TDC, then rotate the distributor (HEI) until the points on the pole piece align, tighten distributor up and start engine.

    Sent from my iPhone using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
    Rich S., Rich B. and Mr48chev like this.
  9. Mike VV
    Joined: Sep 28, 2010
    Posts: 1,560

    Mike VV
    from SoCal the world of early drag racing...a little black box...called the "buzz box" .
    Rather than a light that may be difficult to see in the bright light of outside daytime, a harsh "buzzing" sound that was emitted was pretty easy to hear. Anyone with a magneto had one. I still have mine from years ago racing my Anglia.

    pnevells likes this.
  10. deathrowdave
    Joined: May 27, 2014
    Posts: 1,725

    from NKy

    With points I use an OHM meter . When the points open , reading changes and lock it down . Done this many times on auto engines . It doesn’t work so well with a Harley with aftermarket cam . Seems to fine until you , jump on the go pedal , and it gives you the reminder of your life it is way to far advanced . Still hobbling around from that move .
  11. 54vicky
    Joined: Dec 13, 2011
    Posts: 1,072


    I use it to find a miss easy to check for spark at each plug saves time.

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