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Engine Timing
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2016/3/13 15:24
From Coalmont, B.C., Canada
Posts: 881
Quote:
Chris, using a timing light to get you set to the original timing spec is fine, but there are reasons that that may no longer be the optimal timing for your engine. For one thing the fuel is entirely different, much higher octane being just one difference. And two, if an engine rebuild involved resurfacing the cylinder head, your compression ratio is now higher. So the question becomes, why not alter your timing to take advantage of those changes and get the additional power they will allow?

I've always thought the best way to get optimal ignition timing is the "by ear" method which will compensate for any such changes. What you want is the earliest possible timing consistent with just the faintest hint of spark ping or preignition on a hard pull in high gear at modest speed. In practice, get a passenger or roll down the passenger front window. Proceed in high gear up a modest grade at 30-40 mph and give the car full throttle. Keep advancing the timing until you can just faintly hear a hint of ping. Be sure to use the grade of gasoline you expect to normally use. And be sure the distributor vacuum advance unit is functional.

If you are so inclined, after you've established this new optimal timing, put your light back on and establish a reference of the new timing.

That is excellent advice Dave and I'll try and do it. Question: If the engine 'fights' the starter on fire up (especially warm) and then once the engine turns, it runs instantly, would that be a sign of too far advanced or too far retarded? Chris.

Posted on: 3/25 22:36:40
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'If you think you can, or you think you can't, you're right!' Henry Ford

1939 Six, Model 1700

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Re: Engine Timing
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Usually if the engine is kicking back on the starter it is to far advanced.
We usually set the timing so you have a slight "ping" on an uphill grade.

Posted on: 3/26 5:39:42
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Re: Engine Timing
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So John, to get to the pinging stage would I retard it from there?? As it is now, it starts good cold (doesn't 'fight'the starter) and has excellent power and only once when I was going up a pretty steep hill, laying on it in 3rd gear, did I hear the hint of a ping. Then when it is warm and I go to start it, there is that slow turn and it's like it just has to get one turn in and it's running. FWIW, I have the timing set at about 7-8 degrees as far as what it shows on the flywheel.... Chris.

Posted on: 3/26 14:04:46
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'If you think you can, or you think you can't, you're right!' Henry Ford

1939 Six, Model 1700

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Re: Engine Timing
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2007/3/14 16:01
From New Jersey
Posts: 16020
Apologies for jumping in. From your description it sounds like you should retard your timing 1-2 degrees and reevaluate your hot start situation. You are probably already at the pinging stage and just haven't been in the situation where you observed it.

Posted on: 3/26 14:20:02
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Re: Engine Timing
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Posts: 881
No, thanks for jumping in Dave, that's why I moved this to a stand-alone post so I wasn't hijacking Packwagon's thread. If what you are saying is correct, then I would be at 6-7 degrees on the light and that is awful close to spec timing!!, right??
My carb was leaking, which it did when I bought it right out of the box, so I gave it to a carb specialist up here and he has rebuilt it for me. I pick it up tomorrow, I will then reassemble everything and recheck the timing and post my findings. As one would expect, the rebuild guy had all kinds of negatives to report on how the carb was 'supposedly' rebuilt by the last guys, blah, blah, blah... and all I really care about is the damn thing works and doesn't leak gas all over the place- we'll see>?!?!? I initially replaced the carb that was on the car when I bought it with a rebuild and with all the trouble I was having getting the car to run properly, bought a second rebuild (thinking maybe the first one was bad) and now have had THAT one rebuilt, so now well over a thousand dollars in carbs, maybe, just maybe, this one will work!!! Chris

Posted on: 3/26 18:43:25
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'If you think you can, or you think you can't, you're right!' Henry Ford

1939 Six, Model 1700

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Re: Engine Timing
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I find this excerpt from the Packard manual amusing:

"It has been found in the past where servicemen have resented the idea of diagnosis, believing their guessing was accurate enough. As a result, they were determined not to use instruments, or to belittle the idea of instruments being needed when they believed they knew from experience what service they could sell when the car drove in the service department."

Posted on: 3/26 20:25:55
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Re: Engine Timing
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2017/10/1 5:28
From Salt Lake City, Utah
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Hey Chris great read......as far as other engines go i have always set it to the hard start when hot and then retard a bit and check the total timing this is important, but one thing im not reading here is a mention of total timing, what are you getting for total timing and when it is "all in" should also play....to much and you can hurt the motor. Maybe it doesn't matter on these motors?????

Posted on: 3/27 5:11:12
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Re: Engine Timing
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2015/1/16 9:43
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Things like detonation can hurt any motor or the engine running hot because of mis-timing.

Posted on: 3/27 5:44:38
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Re: Engine Timing
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2016/3/13 15:24
From Coalmont, B.C., Canada
Posts: 881
Hey Guys,

Thanks for the replies, always appreciate all of Packard Info community's input and advice.
I picked up the carb today on my way to the coast. The carb guy had a little plastic vial with a significant amount of what looked like metal filings that he had extracted from the unit. He also had several pictures on his phone of the internals of of the WA-1 and there were 2 or 3 of different parts of the carb that looked pretty crusty. He said they were never even taken out of the carb when it was supposedly rebuilt and his 'after' pictures showed everything all cleaned up and shiny. I am not a mechanic OR a carb guy, so I have limited knowledge on what all he was showing me and do not have the pics to post here, but it SOUNDS like I received a very shoddy rebuild from 'those guys' in El Monte, CA. (for $350 a pop)

Pat re your comments, I have to admit, I have no idea what 'total timing' is, nor do I know what 'all in' is, at least not in reference to engine timing. Sorry. When I time an engine, I simply make sure the idle is to spec, disconnect AND PLUG the vacuum line and put the timing light on it and adjust the distributor to spec timing and figure I'm done!??!!? What do I know??? Obviously, not much!!! LOL Chris

Posted on: 3/27 18:41:14
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'If you think you can, or you think you can't, you're right!' Henry Ford

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Re: Engine Timing
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Total timing usually refers to the number of degrees the distributor advances the timing with the initial setting plus what the vacuum and mechanical advances provide.

Keep in mind that the distributors with a vacuum "advance" chamber are merely moderating the the timing by advancing or retarding based on the amount of vacuum.

Some FoMoCo distributors only had a vacuum chamber and no mechanical advance (e.g., early Y Block V-8s); and some distributors only had a mechanical advance and no vacuum chamber (some pre-war Cadillac V-8s and junior S-8 Packards). It seems the convention was have distributors with both for best all around performance.

Posted on: 3/28 10:05:07
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