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Author Topic: EFI Distributor Installation and Initial Spark Calibration  (Read 191694 times)
Joel5.0
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« on: June 24, 2007, 04:07:36 pm »

EFI Initial Ignition Timing Calibration and Distributor Installation

This is a question that usually comes up once in awhile, and for the new Ford enthusiast the following procedure will help bumping up that timing and make sure the distributor is installed correctly.

If you have removed the distributor for any type of work, you have to make sure it is installed correctly with #1 cylinder at compression TDC. The following will help you make sure it is installed right.

Tools:

  • ½" Combination wrench or the "L" shaped ½" timing wrench
  • White Out or liquid paper
  • Carburetor cleaner
  • Clean rag and/or napkins
  • Timing Light

Installing Distributor at #1 Compression:

This is the procedure I always use to make sure #1 cylinder is at compression TDC and not the exhaust cycle or 180° off.

  • Remove #1 spark plug.
  • Plug the spark plug hole with a piece of rag or a napkin.
  • Either have an assistant short click the starter, or use a remote starter switch (a long screwdriver will also work By The Way) to short click the starter solenoid.
  • As soon as the napkin/rag is expelled from the cylinder (sign of compression stroke), rotate the engine by hand using a 15/16" socket and handle for the crankshaft bolt, until the TDC mark is aligned with the timing marker. Even though the 10° BTDC mark shows on the pic, you should use the TDC or 0° mark.
  • Now it will be a good time to clean the timing scale on the balancer with some carburetor cleaner and a rag, you should also make the necessary marks with white out or liquid paper, it will make it easier to read when you're setting the initial timing later on.


  • Install/Stab distributor noting the orientation of the TFI module connector (if it applies) and the direction of the rotor. You could also use the PIP sensor magnet as a guide, as shown in the 1-tooth-off retarded example below. To correct the condition illustrated by the red line, the distributor would have to be re-indexed using the green line as the reference position point.




  • The following pics show how a correctly installed distributor looks like. Notice the position to the LH side of the stator magnet (white dot) of the vanes rotor.







  • The spark plug cables should be arranged in the order shown below for a 5.0L HO or 351W, if a regular 302w is the one been worked, simply use the 1-5-4-2-6-3-7-8 firing order instead.


Initial Timing Calibration:

Now you're ready to start the engine and set initial timing.

  • Locate the SPOUT connector, '86-93 Mustangs have it in the TFI module harness near the connector, and '94-'95 Mustangs have it near the MAF, at the RH fenderwell as shown below.

'86 - '93 Mustangs
 

'94-'95 Mustangs

  • Remove the SPOUT connector jumper plug and secure it.
  • Start the engine and bring it to operating temperature.
  • Using the timing light, set initial to the setting you would like to test, rotating the distributor CW will advance timing, and CCW will retard timing. 10° BTDC is the stock setting, but you may want to check if 12° BTDC or 14° BTDC will work for more power.  Naughty
  • Tighten distributor base bolt and confirm setting did not change.
  • Reconnect the SPOUT jumper plug into the connector.
  • Check timing change with the timing light, the reading should be between 20° - 24° BTDC = sign the computer is controlling spark advance.
  • You're done....

NOTE:
In the event you misplace or loose the SPOUT connector plug, a simple jumper wire or clip will work fine. The SPOUT plug is simply a jumper used to allow the ECM to control spark advance, or disconnect the ECM from controlling spark advance; and be able to set initial spark.

Testing for Engine Ping

You may want to verify the new initial setting (if you advanced it to a higher setting) does not cause engine ping. To do so, suggest the following procedure.

  • Make sure engine is at operating temperature.
  • Find a long straightway for the test.
  • Increase speed to 25-35 MPH and shift into 4th gear.
  • Increase engine load by pressing accelerator pedal ? down at first, and at WOT making sure you DON'T downshift from 4th. gear.
  • Notice if engine ping is heard from the engine, if it is, repeat the Initial Timing Calibration, and retard advance 2° from the current setting.
  • Repeat this procedure until engine pinging condition is not noticed.

NOW you're done....Phew
« Last Edit: March 03, 2009, 12:58:23 pm by Joel5.0 » Logged

ACRONYMS:
LUK  LMK  JIC  BTSTDTRT  YCYDYP  NFI-YTM  SPOBI, and the classic... DILLIGAS

'86 Mustang GT, X-303 cam, Holley DP 700, RG Tran., 289 Heads   Ford Smilie 2


Quote from: Joel5.0
The right to be stupid is inalienable for sure however, there is no such thing as a right to impose stupidity onto others
Great Thoughts will Overwhelm a Feeble Mind
There is never money to do it right, but there's always money to do it over.
Knowledge based on external evidence is unreliable.
He, who doesn't ask, does not deserve an answer.
A mind is like a parachute it only works when it is open.  (oldmanjoe)
If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough. (Albert Einstein)
Tuning on a Dyno for the track, is like swim practice in a bathtub.
I can explain it for you, but I can't understand it for you. (90lxcoupe)
The proof of understanding is the ability to explain it. (H. Torruella)
Ignorance is bliss, but stupidity is orgasmic.
Fraud and falsehood only dread examination. Truth invites it. (Samuel Johnson)
The chaotic resistance of the opponents leads to the conclusion that they are not prepared to meet the challenge. The problem is already much more psychological then technological. [Bojidar Djordjev]
Individuals are rational and humane... Crowds are reactionary and barbaric. (Jason)
The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it. –Chinese Proverb
Nothing sways the stupid more than arguments they can't understand - Cardinal de Retz
JTB321
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« Reply #1 on: March 17, 2011, 11:12:53 pm »

Joel, I'm having timing issues like a number of similar posts.
First, excuse me for 'borrowing' your photograph but it seems the best way to illustrate my issue.
If I install my distributor as shown above (in the original post) with the rotor arm aligned with the green line then the number 1 plug wire contact in the distributor cap has already been passed. The white marks indicate the position of the plug wire contacts in the cap.



This seems like why I have to have a lot of BTDC timing to get the motor to run. Setting it anywhere near -10 BTDC causes the motor to stall or run very rough. When it does run it is still rough and seems to be extremely rich....

One point of note, my original distributor (which I no longer have) looked like this -



and the new one looks like this -



Do I have the right distributor? The engine came out of a 1990 GT and I bought the new distributor on eBay as an 'upgrade'.

any help would be welcome.

Regards, John
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Joel5.0
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« Reply #2 on: March 25, 2011, 02:08:28 pm »

Yup.... the #1 position would be "behind" the rotor..... which is the sign of the advance added (10-12-14-15°) .... rotate housing CCW, and you will align to the TDC position. Ensure installation is as shown below (#1 small vane past the PIP sensor window)... and you have it in an advance position.


The distributor in the pic you posted would have the #1 plug position 1-2 positions away from the one marked with #1. You may want to check the video clip and additional pictures at http://sbftech.com/index.php/topic,28934.0.html .... LUK
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ACRONYMS:
LUK  LMK  JIC  BTSTDTRT  YCYDYP  NFI-YTM  SPOBI, and the classic... DILLIGAS

'86 Mustang GT, X-303 cam, Holley DP 700, RG Tran., 289 Heads   Ford Smilie 2


Quote from: Joel5.0
The right to be stupid is inalienable for sure however, there is no such thing as a right to impose stupidity onto others
Great Thoughts will Overwhelm a Feeble Mind
There is never money to do it right, but there's always money to do it over.
Knowledge based on external evidence is unreliable.
He, who doesn't ask, does not deserve an answer.
A mind is like a parachute it only works when it is open.  (oldmanjoe)
If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough. (Albert Einstein)
Tuning on a Dyno for the track, is like swim practice in a bathtub.
I can explain it for you, but I can't understand it for you. (90lxcoupe)
The proof of understanding is the ability to explain it. (H. Torruella)
Ignorance is bliss, but stupidity is orgasmic.
Fraud and falsehood only dread examination. Truth invites it. (Samuel Johnson)
The chaotic resistance of the opponents leads to the conclusion that they are not prepared to meet the challenge. The problem is already much more psychological then technological. [Bojidar Djordjev]
Individuals are rational and humane... Crowds are reactionary and barbaric. (Jason)
The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it. –Chinese Proverb
Nothing sways the stupid more than arguments they can't understand - Cardinal de Retz
roh92cp
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« Reply #3 on: May 01, 2011, 06:53:23 am »

Yup.... the #1 position would be "behind" the rotor..... which is the sign of the advance added (10-12-14-15°) .... rotate housing CCW, and you will align to the TDC position. Ensure installation is as shown below (#1 small vane past the PIP sensor window)... and you have it in an advance position.


The distributor in the pic you posted would have the #1 plug position 1-2 positions away from the one marked with #1. You may want to check the video clip and additional pictures at http://sbftech.com/index.php/topic,28934.0.html .... LUK

Joel5.0 Is this picture of the rotor position and red arrow pointing between the 2 lower manifold studs  the correct orientation #1 at TDC and dist fulley seated. I looked at the link to the video and the pictures provided in that link do not have the same rotor orientation. Can you just post a pic of the one that is correct.
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Joel5.0
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« Reply #4 on: May 01, 2011, 08:01:29 am »

The one shown above is the correct one fully seated.
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ACRONYMS:
LUK  LMK  JIC  BTSTDTRT  YCYDYP  NFI-YTM  SPOBI, and the classic... DILLIGAS

'86 Mustang GT, X-303 cam, Holley DP 700, RG Tran., 289 Heads   Ford Smilie 2


Quote from: Joel5.0
The right to be stupid is inalienable for sure however, there is no such thing as a right to impose stupidity onto others
Great Thoughts will Overwhelm a Feeble Mind
There is never money to do it right, but there's always money to do it over.
Knowledge based on external evidence is unreliable.
He, who doesn't ask, does not deserve an answer.
A mind is like a parachute it only works when it is open.  (oldmanjoe)
If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough. (Albert Einstein)
Tuning on a Dyno for the track, is like swim practice in a bathtub.
I can explain it for you, but I can't understand it for you. (90lxcoupe)
The proof of understanding is the ability to explain it. (H. Torruella)
Ignorance is bliss, but stupidity is orgasmic.
Fraud and falsehood only dread examination. Truth invites it. (Samuel Johnson)
The chaotic resistance of the opponents leads to the conclusion that they are not prepared to meet the challenge. The problem is already much more psychological then technological. [Bojidar Djordjev]
Individuals are rational and humane... Crowds are reactionary and barbaric. (Jason)
The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it. –Chinese Proverb
Nothing sways the stupid more than arguments they can't understand - Cardinal de Retz
roh92cp
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« Reply #5 on: May 01, 2011, 09:40:21 am »

Yessss. thanks so much for the clarification
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roh92cp
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« Reply #6 on: May 12, 2011, 07:28:26 pm »

So much for it being cleared up for me. I can't seem to get the dist stabbed in the orientation you have in the picture above, yours points to slightly pass side between the 2 lower intake bolts.

Here is are some pics and there is no in between these 2 setting. I've tried many times and these are the only 2 position I can get. The Balancer is set 0 TDC and the dist housing turned so the rotor points at the black sharpie mark that represents the #1 plug on dist cap.

These 3 pics are the position I think is right, but the rotor does point slightly to the drivers side.  





These pics are of the position I think is wrong, as it seems the rotor points to far to the pass side. Look at the TFI it's way out of wack.




It just seems I can't get the position of your last picture posted above here Joel5.0, how important is this or am I close enough in either of these position to time it with a light.
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Joel5.0
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« Reply #7 on: May 12, 2011, 07:43:41 pm »

Use the one shown below.....



After you install everything back, start engine, set initial with timing light and check housing orientation. LUK
Logged

ACRONYMS:
LUK  LMK  JIC  BTSTDTRT  YCYDYP  NFI-YTM  SPOBI, and the classic... DILLIGAS

'86 Mustang GT, X-303 cam, Holley DP 700, RG Tran., 289 Heads   Ford Smilie 2


Quote from: Joel5.0
The right to be stupid is inalienable for sure however, there is no such thing as a right to impose stupidity onto others
Great Thoughts will Overwhelm a Feeble Mind
There is never money to do it right, but there's always money to do it over.
Knowledge based on external evidence is unreliable.
He, who doesn't ask, does not deserve an answer.
A mind is like a parachute it only works when it is open.  (oldmanjoe)
If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough. (Albert Einstein)
Tuning on a Dyno for the track, is like swim practice in a bathtub.
I can explain it for you, but I can't understand it for you. (90lxcoupe)
The proof of understanding is the ability to explain it. (H. Torruella)
Ignorance is bliss, but stupidity is orgasmic.
Fraud and falsehood only dread examination. Truth invites it. (Samuel Johnson)
The chaotic resistance of the opponents leads to the conclusion that they are not prepared to meet the challenge. The problem is already much more psychological then technological. [Bojidar Djordjev]
Individuals are rational and humane... Crowds are reactionary and barbaric. (Jason)
The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it. –Chinese Proverb
Nothing sways the stupid more than arguments they can't understand - Cardinal de Retz
thunderjet302
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Location: Chicago, IL

« Reply #8 on: April 30, 2014, 10:58:44 am »

I've had my distributor set like this since the engine was put together. Engine at TDC with the timing set at 16* BTDC. This is how my distributor is aligned. I think this is correct but I'm just making sure. I circled the #1 on the inside of the cap adaptor in red. 


* DSCN3508.JPG (78.1 KB, 800x600 - viewed 1416 times.)

* DSCN3511.JPG (99.43 KB, 800x600 - viewed 870 times.)

* DSCN3509.JPG (118.66 KB, 800x600 - viewed 969 times.)

* DSCN3510.JPG (119.92 KB, 800x600 - viewed 19471 times.)
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1988 Thunderbird LX: 306, Edelbrock Performer heads, Comp Magnum 266HR cam, Edelbrock Performer RPM intake, Edelbrock 70mm TB, 80mm PMAS slot MAF, 30lb injectors, FMS stainless shorties, 2.5" exhaust, AOD with 2800 PI converter, 8.8 with 3.73 gears, 31 spline Traction-Lok, 31 spline Moser axles, subframes.
2011 Focus SE, 2012 Mustang 3.7, 2017 Honda Accord EX-L V6
Joel5.0
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« Reply #9 on: April 30, 2014, 12:26:48 pm »

Compare them and see they are identical.



Logged

ACRONYMS:
LUK  LMK  JIC  BTSTDTRT  YCYDYP  NFI-YTM  SPOBI, and the classic... DILLIGAS

'86 Mustang GT, X-303 cam, Holley DP 700, RG Tran., 289 Heads   Ford Smilie 2


Quote from: Joel5.0
The right to be stupid is inalienable for sure however, there is no such thing as a right to impose stupidity onto others
Great Thoughts will Overwhelm a Feeble Mind
There is never money to do it right, but there's always money to do it over.
Knowledge based on external evidence is unreliable.
He, who doesn't ask, does not deserve an answer.
A mind is like a parachute it only works when it is open.  (oldmanjoe)
If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough. (Albert Einstein)
Tuning on a Dyno for the track, is like swim practice in a bathtub.
I can explain it for you, but I can't understand it for you. (90lxcoupe)
The proof of understanding is the ability to explain it. (H. Torruella)
Ignorance is bliss, but stupidity is orgasmic.
Fraud and falsehood only dread examination. Truth invites it. (Samuel Johnson)
The chaotic resistance of the opponents leads to the conclusion that they are not prepared to meet the challenge. The problem is already much more psychological then technological. [Bojidar Djordjev]
Individuals are rational and humane... Crowds are reactionary and barbaric. (Jason)
The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it. –Chinese Proverb
Nothing sways the stupid more than arguments they can't understand - Cardinal de Retz
thunderjet302
Big Block
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Posts: 578


Location: Chicago, IL

« Reply #10 on: April 30, 2014, 01:57:34 pm »

Cool. I followed this article when I dropped the distributor in. I guess I was smart enough to do it correctly  Smiley.
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1988 Thunderbird LX: 306, Edelbrock Performer heads, Comp Magnum 266HR cam, Edelbrock Performer RPM intake, Edelbrock 70mm TB, 80mm PMAS slot MAF, 30lb injectors, FMS stainless shorties, 2.5" exhaust, AOD with 2800 PI converter, 8.8 with 3.73 gears, 31 spline Traction-Lok, 31 spline Moser axles, subframes.
2011 Focus SE, 2012 Mustang 3.7, 2017 Honda Accord EX-L V6
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