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Discussion Forum

3 good tune-up tips for beginners, back to back (#1)

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05-31-1999 05:13:09

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1) - TURNING THE DISTRIBUTOR CAM LOBE TO THE PROPER POSITION: OK, so you've changed the plugs and checked your wiring and got the distributor cap off. Now, how do you get the distributor cam turned so than any one of the lobes has turned to the point that the breaker points are at their widest open position? The obvious thing to do is hit the starter and watch, right? Unfortunately, you're about to start a dance with the starter and the engine's compression that might make you wonder if there isn't an easier way. You'll keep bumping the starter and the cam lobe just won't stop at the right position, except by pure accident since the compression of the cylinders causes it to not tend to stop near the top of the compression stroke. So, after about 3 or 4 or many more starter cycles, it stops where you think it is "close enough" for the points to be installed. If you give in to the urge to get finished, you'll be incorrectly setting the "dwell angle" of the points and will also have very little hope of having the spark timing occur at the recommended point in the compression stroke. Most people don't use timing lights after installing points, so if you're lucky and it runs, then your worst error is sealed and the best engine performance is lost to you. - - Back up a step and keep the new plugs out until you locate the top of the cam lobe. With the switch off, and the plugs removed, and the tractor in high gear, slowly and gently rock the tractor forward by hand. You will see the engine turn slowly and you will be able to stop the cam lobe at an infinite number of positions, quickly and easily. It's a cinch then to get to the "absolute peak" of the cam lobe. That's where the points should be installed, and that's where if you do it right, you'll be closest to proper timing if you don't subsequently use a timing light. Too, you won't have a battery that's deader that it was when you started, and you'll be less apt to be totally lost with an engine that won't crank. RKS

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