how do i know if my distributor is 1 tooth off

Discussion in '1994 - 1995 Specific Tech' started by calitower, Jan 5, 2004.

  1. my car runs choppie from idle on up to 4k (can't tell over the rumble), has trouble maintaining cruising at any speeds without some surging. How can I tell if my distributor is one tooth off?
  2. There is no such thing as "one tooth off", that's fiction. If you are concerned about your timing, then pull the spout connector & check it with a timing light. Should be 10-14* or so (stock is 10).

  3. well a couple of days ago a spent 2 days at battle with my distributor :bang: ....basically your best bet is to slap a timing light on there.... get under the car and find the timing marks on the harmonic balancer(same place as the crank pulley)....mark 10* with white wanna get the car up to operating temp...shut it off....pull the spout connector (small grey plug down by your air filter on the inside of the fender).........hook up the timing light to the plug wire for cyinder #1 and start the car....start it back up....the light will flash everytime cylinder 1 fires....shine the light down to the timing pointer...look between the alternator and the upper radiator hose for a small silver bracket that says "TIME" on it....what you want to see is that white line on the 10* mark lined up with the top of the pointer...if you dont...turn the dizzy until it is....tighten everything back down....turn off the car...plug the spout back in...start the car...plug the spout connector back in and start it again....hit it with a light just to make sure its still kosher....and check idle speed....take her for a a good check for pinging(few good acceleration runs) maybe the 5th gear test (low speed, 5th gear and floor it)....if everything sounds ok your good to go....

    .....i was confusing myself with the timing light for some reason(cuz im dumb) and Andy(RIO 5.0) helped me with a easy way to get everything all squared away for a fresh start at doing the timing....pull the Spout connector(small grey plug down by your air filter on the inside of the fender).....remove the #1 spark plug and shine a flashlight down into the hole, also keep a finger near the hole....and have a buddy turn the motor over by as the piston gets closer and closer....and then when you feel air "piss" out of the spark plug hole look down at the timing pointer(do you know where this is) and it SHOULD be pointing dead at the 10* mark.....if it isnt....pull the cap off...turn the motor over by hand and get it right on the 10* mark on the harmonic balancer....pull out the with the rotor a little bit trying to grab the next tooth in the cam gear....slid it in.....your trying to get the rotor to line up PERFECTLY with the spark plug #1 on the cap....if you get this all lined up....shoot a timing light on it again....should be dead on 10*....if not....just give the dizzy a little turn until it is.....shut down the car...


    That all being said....i bet all you need is a tuneup....plugs, wires, cap, rotor, air and fuel filter, and pcv valve....
  4. as was already said, if you can get 10* with the timing light you are fine. the only thing being 1 tooth off will do is pull your plug wires tighter. ;)
  5. it seems to me that when my buddy did the distributor drop in after cam/heads swap he may have waited until both valves were closed (back yard method, maybe?) and then dropped it in...this might have made it off?? I dunno. Also, he may have used the front right cylinder which would be #5 not #1..that would be a chevy's #1.

    So it is possible to drive with the distributor being off yet being able to set it to 10* with a timing light???and the car runs not totally smooth through the rpm range. Compression looks good from 145-151 on the 8 cylinders.

    Thanks for the advice on how to see if i got things all lined up. I'll make sure to do it when my buddy isn't around..wouldn't want to question his mechanical ability.
  6. when you remove the distributor, it does not have to be at top dead center. any time i remove mine, i just mark where the rotor was before i remove it. when it comes time to put it back in, as long as the rotor lines up in the same place as when it was removed, it is fine. as i said before, 10* timing is 10* timing. the distributor being off a tooth will cause no problems if he got 10* with a timing light. as stupid as it sounds, go over the plug wires and make sure they are connected in the right order. if that is correct, i would begin the process of elimination with a tune up (plugs, wires, cap, rotor, fuel filter, etc.) also, you are going to want to check for any vacuum leaks. doing those things should solve your problem.