How to Adjust a Vehicle's Ignition Timing How to Adjust a Vehicle's Ignition Timing

What You'll Need
Timing light

Bad ignition timing can cause your car to backfire. Here are some steps you can use to get your ignition running properly.

Step 1 - Pulley

There should be a timing mark on the pulley. To make it easier to see when you work, mark it in chalk. Find the bolt at the base of the distributor and loosen it enough to move the distributor. Turn on the car and let it warm up.

Step 2 - Timing Light

Your timing light will have 3 leads. Connect the black one to the negative terminal of the battery, the red one to the positive terminal, and the final load goes to the #1 spark plug wire.

Step 3 - Setting the Timing

Have the car in neutral with the parking brake set. With the engine running, press the trigger on the timing light and aim it toward the front pulley. A light will appear every time the #1 spark plug ignites.

You now need to move the distributor to align the mark on the pulley with the timing index mark. Turn the engine off and tighten then nut at the bottom of the distributor, keeping the distributor on the mark. To check that everything has worked well, turn the engine on again and test drive the vehicle.

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