Ive got a '94 5.0... 2 days ago, I have a friend that knows his Mustangs show me how to time it to 14* BTDC at idle, so I now know how to read the balancer hashes with the light. On my drive home, it ran great until I noticed the same "crackling" noise, (accompanied with slight hesitation, and gray **NOT blue** smoke exiting tailpipes) from under the hood again at WOT & at higher RPMs (3000+). I thought it could be spark knock, so last night I went and bought/installed new plugs & wires - which seemed to work, though I only test-driving it to the carwash & back (50 minute round-trip), until today (warmer/more humid), when it started acting up again after driving it for a couple hours. I thought I'd retard back to 12* BTDC tonight to see how that affected what I THINK is detonation. So I got out the light, put the front tires on ramps, and started the process. Here is my issue - when I aimed the light at the balancer (yes, with the spout unplugged), my timing was at... I don't even know! But this attached illustration shows how the pointer & balancer hashes were oriented in relation to each other, while holding my distributor as FAR CLOCKWISE as my wires would allow - the pointer is about 2 full inches LEFT of "ATDC 10"! How could this have happened? I KNOW I was at 14* BTDC before I very tightly cranked the distributor bolt down while by buddy held it in place. I know it... but what should I do now? It almost seems like I'm 1 tooth off now, because I'm not even IN the hash spectrum... but am I really? Because I remember physically SEEING those hashes once it was set at 14* BTDC, and because it would start up and run fine until I'd punch it... man, I am very confused right now... I don't know whether I should pull the distributor out and re-set it one tooth over or what!? HELP.