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Ignition timing on TO-30

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Pete P.

04-21-2010 18:07:34

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I"m trying to finish a refurbish on a TO-30; ran fine when sent to sandblast & paint. Now put back together, no evidence of anything being changed on engine and the ignition timing is badly off. Not sure how timing moved, but there it is.

I consulted the I&T manual -- it says to allign the 32 deg. mark on flywheel with the pointer at the flywheel inspection port. Problem -- No 32 deg. mark (marks exist from DC to 30, nothing more) and no pointer!!!

Any ideas? Am I missing something obvious? this is my first attempt at timing a TO-30 so I"m not familiar with where the pointer should be or what a stock flywheel looks like for these Z-129s.

Thanks in advance,

Pete P.
Harborcreek, Penna.

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04-22-2010 19:53:53

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 Re: Ignition timing on TO-30 in reply to Pete P., 04-21-2010 18:07:34  
That timing method in the I&T manual is to set the fully advanced or running timing of the distributor which on the TO-30 varies between 30-34 degrees BTC. They give the full procedure on how to do this by turning the distributor cam to the fully advanced position and then rotating the distributor body until the points just open. They also say to then check with a timing light at 400 rpm and it should be at 7 plus or minus 2 if the advance mechanism is working properly. The TO-20 has slightly different numbers. I am glad that you brought this up as I found the advance mechanism frozen on one of my distributors. I am going to check mine out as I think that the total running advance is important.

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Pete P.

04-22-2010 05:43:26

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 Re: Ignition timing on TO-30 in reply to Pete P., 04-21-2010 18:07:34  
Thanks guys. Yea, so much for I&T.

One question remains, though -- What do I index the 6 deg. BTDC line to? Is the inspection port that big half-moon access panel behind the oil pan?


Pete P. Harborcreek, Penna.

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04-22-2010 07:51:10

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 Re: Ignition timing on TO-30 in reply to Pete P., 04-22-2010 05:43:26  
No. There is a circular opening beneath the starter with a notch in it. Originally, there was a rubber plug in it. The notch is the reference

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04-21-2010 18:46:09

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 Re: Ignition timing on TO-30 in reply to Pete P., 04-21-2010 18:07:34  
SO much for the IT Manual! Get yourself a Ferguson Shop Manual. They are available as CD"s and also as hardcopies. I would also recommend a Parts Manual and the Owners Manual. the timing should be set at 6 oBTDC.
You"ll need to crank the engine over til #1 cylinder is on the compression stroke (Remove the spark plugs and hold your finger over the spark plug hole. When you feel pressure, you are on the compression stroke.). The look in the "window" under the starter and crank the engine by hand or bump the starter til you see the 6 oBTDC mark on the flywheel. Your distributor rotor should now be pointing at the #1 spark plug terminal in the cap. Loosed the distributor, put the distibutor back together and place a paper clip or a bent piece of wire in the #1 spark plug boot and hold it near a good ground. Turn on the key and rotate the distributor back and forth til you the spark snap. ou may have to do this a few time to get it right and when you feel you do, tighten down the distributor. An start up the machine. You are statcally tiimed. Adjust the ile sped to 400 rpm and check the timing and the advance with a timing light and that"s it.

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Richard L

04-21-2010 18:27:21

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 Re: Ignition timing on TO-30 in reply to Pete P., 04-21-2010 18:07:34  
The timing should be at 6 degrees BTDC, the plugs gapped at .025 and points at .022. You don't have resistor plugs in do you? Many are using Autolite 3116 plugs. I wish you had purchased a Ferguson reprint manual rather than the I & T . It sounds as the best thing you can do is start at step one and retime the engine. If you need more help post again. Richard

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