Distributor / Timing Help


IHC in the early to mid-fifties.

Rusty Driver
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Post Sat May 08, 2021 12:34 pm

Distributor / Timing Help

With no luck finding that special looking bolt/spring setup to hold the Distributor down on my SD220 I put my own concoction together. 1/4" bolt, 3/8" steel spacer, spring, cup washers, regular washer. So it looks like I have it set up right where the bolt it cranked down tight with the 3/8" spacer going the whole way from the bolt head through all the washers so it should be holding everything down. While at the same time the spring and cup washers aren't fully compressed. This is all allowing me to turn the distributor by hand, again while the bolt is cranked down tight.

So assuming I have this set up correctly, how do I know if it's working correctly? Should I physically see the distributor turn when I give it throttle? And I am assuming when I give it throttle the timing needs to increase as well? Can my spring setup have too much pressure not allowing the distributor to turn and then I need to cut it down more? Is there anything that will tell me if I have this not set up correctly to avoid engine damage?

This is the only thing holding me back from driving this truck now. Last year I was unknowingly driving it around with the timing locked.
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Golden Jubilee
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Post Sat May 08, 2021 1:51 pm

Re: Distributor / Timing Help

make sure your vacuum advance diaphragm is not split, yes, if you rev truck while looking distributor should rotate a bit back and forth with revs.,

when you time truck you disconnect and plug vacuum line, make sure idle isn't too high causing centrifugal advance inside distributor,

once timing is right, distributor will advance as needed for smooth acceleration.
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Golden Jubilee
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Post Sat May 08, 2021 1:53 pm

Re: Distributor / Timing Help

I think you have this situation figured out. Watch for the distributor to move when you activate the throttle. The OEM spring is only there to hold the distributor to the block. The spring is not there for resistance to movement.
I do not think you have to worry about engine damage in the short time and under light loading. You will know when you have "it" right, the engine will sound happy.
Last edited by nikkinutshop on Mon May 10, 2021 6:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Golden Jubilee
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Post Sat May 08, 2021 3:29 pm

Re: Distributor / Timing Help

If you have a Mitey-vac or something like it, apply vacuum to the advance and see if it moves. If it moves but won't hold the vacuum, then the diaphram in the advance is probably leaking. Otherwise, you should be good to go.

Golden Jubilee
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Post Sat May 08, 2021 3:51 pm

Re: Distributor / Timing Help

cool your back, hope she works.
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timing 240.jpg

Rusty Driver
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Post Sat May 08, 2021 6:22 pm

Re: Distributor / Timing Help

Thanks for the tips.

Kevin - I'm a CPA and do tax preparation so I pretty much completely go off the radar the first 4 months of the year.

Ok so I have a win here. Truck fired right up. Idles nice. When I rev it up the distributor moves and settles back when off the throttle!!!

So here's the issue I'm having that I also had last year and is why I set the timing based off sound (I know not a good idea). I am using a 12v battery. The problem is the timing light is picking up spark from other wires in addition to the #1. Is there something I can wrap around the wires that will block the spark so I'm only catching #1? Probably a dumb question but I'm not sure how to set my timing with the light with it acting this way. I might be back to setting it by sound.
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Golden Jubilee
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Post Sat May 08, 2021 7:31 pm

Re: Distributor / Timing Help

nrowles wrote:Thanks for the tips.

Kevin - I'm a CPA and do tax preparation so I pretty much completely go off the radar the first 4 months of the year.

Ok so I have a win here. Truck fired right up. Idles nice. When I rev it up the distributor moves and settles back when off the throttle!!!

So here's the issue I'm having that I also had last year and is why I set the timing based off sound (I know not a good idea). I am using a 12v battery. The problem is the timing light is picking up spark from other wires in addition to the #1. Is there something I can wrap around the wires that will block the spark so I'm only catching #1? Probably a dumb question but I'm not sure how to set my timing with the light with it acting this way. I might be back to setting it by sound.


Using a 12volt battery ?
For the timing gun ? or the truck is 12volt..
There is a special simple hookup if your using a 12volt gun on a 6 volt system , reason for my my question..

Golden Jubilee
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Post Sat May 08, 2021 7:54 pm

Re: Distributor / Timing Help

You do not have to connect your inductive pick-up at the distributor. Your inductive pick-up can be connected at or near the sparkplug. The wire from the coil to the distributor is never a good connecting point. The timing will not change, measurably, because the electric impulse travels through the wire at 186,000 miles per second.
While getting it perfect is always best, these Old IHC engines are not all that fussy. You may be the first owner to want to get this setting correct. When the engine is timed correctly it sounds happy at idle and under load. You have enough information here to make this work.
Using a 12 volt separate battery for the 12 volt timing light is a common thing.
Last edited by nikkinutshop on Mon May 10, 2021 6:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
I would rather have tools I do not need than to need tools I do not have
Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.
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Golden Jubilee
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Post Sat May 08, 2021 9:41 pm

Re: Distributor / Timing Help

Back to my question - 12volt system or timing light ?

12volt timing gun , the 12volt battery should
also have the positive terminal connected to the truck frame or block
Myself I have a brass stud on my front fender with good frame connection just for this.
The connection will eliminate interferences mainly caused by gun movement around the
engine spark wiring ,,
I suppose its not critical unless you notice any interference
than again it may not be noticeable. Therefore making time setting
less than reliable.
Some don't bother with this connection but I would beg to differ..

Rusty Driver
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Post Sun May 09, 2021 6:07 am

Re: Distributor / Timing Help

6v system. 12v gun. I was connecting both leads of the gun directly to the 12v battery terminals. I will try grounding to the truck frame. If that doesn't work I'll go off sound again.
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