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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 03-03-13, 11:35 AM Thread Starter
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roll 1978 302 timing questions

Hello everyone.

I have a 1966 mustang that I'am restoring with a 1978 302 engine. I have had it running in the past, but now it will not keep running. I would like to tune it but I do not have any markings on the pulley or a pointer off the block. I have older plugs in it which I will replace and new wires, I also have new points. I believe that the distributor is not in correct position (it has been turned to far) my fault. the carburator has just been rebuilt and has been set to factory settings (holley 2bb) I checked the compression when it was running and that good on all 8 cylinders. Any advice would be great, I guess a starting point is needed.


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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 03-03-13, 12:20 PM
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Re: 1978 302 timing questions

Welcome to the forums . Cant help you with that car , but sure someone will be along who can shortly . You could loosen distributor and turn it either way till it runs better and gives you a rough setting if it is that far out .Either that or you will have to set it up from scratch , getting valves on the rock and firing on one etc .Remember and also change the dist . condenser at same time as points .Might be a good idea to replace plugs and wires first as plugs could be wet .

P.s I have moved your post to the Mustang section where you will get more response .
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 03-03-13, 06:48 PM Thread Starter
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Re: 1978 302 timing questions

Thanks for moving me !!!!
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 03-04-13, 07:24 AM
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Re: 1978 302 timing questions

Hello Mike:

Start with basics.

Set the engine at TDC (top dead center) on the compression stroke. You find TDC by setting the #1 cylinder on the compression stroke (both valves closed) at it's highest point in it's stroke. You will probably have to "rock" the crankshaft back-and-forth to find TDC.

You can fabricate a crude indicator with a coat hanger and place it in the spark plug hole to find the piston's highest stroke. When you have established TDC, mark the dampener. You might be surprised to find a groove or degree marks already there. If you do, fill it in with white paint.

Now install the distributor with the rotor pointing close to the #1 wire terminal on the distributor cap (mark the distributor body with a felt tip pen to make this task easier), but keep the distributor clamp bolt just snug, not tight, so you can rotate the distributor by hand.

Connect all wires and connect your timing light to the #1 cylinder. Turn the ignition on, but DO NOT TRY TO START THE ENGINE. With the ignition on, rotate the distributor counter-clockwise until you get a spark, indicted by a blip, on your timing light. Hold the distributor and tighten the hold down bolt just enough to hold the distributor in that position. Mark the distributor so you can find that position again.

This method is not ideal, but most engines run with the distributor advanced. You will develop a "feel" for how far to advance an engine, but start by turning the distributor just a few degrees counter clockwise, tighten the distributor bolt enough to hold the distributor in place with the engine running, but loose enough so that you can still turn the distributor by hand. You should be able to start the engine with the distributor in this position. Have someone help by starting the car while you rotate the distributor SLIGHTLY.

Once the engine fires, SLOWLY rotate the distributor until the engine idles smoothly. Mark that location on the distributor body and adjust from there by trial and error.

The best method is just to find the correct timing marker parts and install them. Then set the timing per factory specs, around 6-8 degrees as I recall, but CHECK for your particular engine.
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 03-04-13, 09:12 AM
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Re: 1978 302 timing questions

I'm a little confused, 1978 shouldn't have points. Is this being set up with and older ignition system? Was the dist. removed? or just loosened and moved? Are you getting spark now?
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