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1957 ignition timing marks missing

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Anonymous Poster

Jul 12, 2007, 5:13 PM

Post #1 of 3 (1944 views)
1957 ignition timing marks missing Sign In

I have a 1957 ford f-100 pickup which i am fixing up. however when i went to redo the ignition timing, i cannot find the timing marks on the crankshaft dampener where the are supposed to be. i have tried brushing it with a wire brush and wiping it with a damo cloth but cannot find the marks anywhere. they have simply worn themselves off. Is there any way i can still do the ignition timing without these marks??

Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Tom Greenleaf profile image

Jul 13, 2007, 3:58 AM

Post #2 of 3 (1939 views)
Re: 1957 ignition timing marks missing Sign In

Yes! Get the engine on TDC by watching dist rotor and sensing #1 piston at the top as close as you can guess with a probe thru spark plug hole.

You can mark with a crayon type tire marker about where that is at the damper/harmonic balancer. It's not perfect but real close but engine should run. With a vacuum gauge get the timing adjusted to read about 18Hg at idle. Leave it there snug but still able to move it and drive the vehicle. Give it full load accelleration and advance timing to just where it will start to knock and back just till where it doesn't and that should be real close to maximum performance for the engine and fuel grade used. Folks did that all the time to get a couple extra HP back when or backed it off to use cheaper fuel. High compression from carbon build up will throw off the exact knock point of the engine so it should be cleaned if that is suspected. That was a problem when lead was used in fuel but can still happen with unleaded.

Hope that helps-- Let the good times roll!


New User

Jul 22, 2007, 11:39 PM

Post #3 of 3 (1922 views)
Re: 1957 ignition timing marks missing Sign In

I had a simular problem. What i did was take out all the plugs, find an old one smash out the porcaline to make a piston stop. A 1/4 in bolt about 2 1/2 to 3 inches long will slide right in the plug where the porcalin went. Then u can srew in the spark plug ( and wont have to worry about messin up the threds sliding somthing in and out) in the number 1 cyl rotate engine by hand till u just start to feel the air blastin out the plug whole. Inser the bolt it should go in all the way if not its ether to long or u need to rotate engine back a bit. Then slowly rotate the engine by hand till u feel it stop or u feel restence ( then stop do not force) Look for your timing tab if there is a 0 make a mark on the damper with those white out pens or somthing bright and clean. Its usally right near the water pump or off to the side. if need be Put masking tape on the damper and use a sharpe if need be. Then slow rotate back wards and eventaly u will hit the other side of the stroke. Stop when u feel restence dont force but make sure ure there. Make ure second mark. Now look at both marks u made and make another line exactly in the middle of both. U can measure it with a ruler or anything and go exactly half way or devide it by to. This should give u pretty close to true tdc. As long as the damper is good and the rubber isnt shot, you should be good to set ure timing cofidently. But if the it is bad it will allow the outer ring to spin when engine is jazzed makin any marks just fly around and not stay put. I usally make marks right where they both meet to make sure its not moving just in case. Its probly better it doeasnt have a mark. alot of damper are off a couple degres, or the keyways were grounf off on the crank or the damper. At least this way u know what ure dealing with and not relying on some who may of just haphazardly done it years ago and said it was close enough.
Its even worse today with aftermaret parts. i have had new dampers off timing tabs way off and cranks grounf all sorts of degrees off. That will drive u nuts. Just in case u dont have a timing tab, or yours is hding under the water pump leaving u hanging over spinng blades of terror, u can get an after market that bolts to the timing cover cheap and it only take a couple minutes to install. The side one are much safer, you wont have to worry about shredding the timing light wires or worse ureself. Once it is in just make ure marks on the damper right where the notch for zero is on the new tab, on the forward stroke at compression and the back stroke when u rotate it comple in reverse till it hits again, and make ure mark at zero. The devide it in half between the marks pay close attention to get it as close as posable. Once u make ure center mark if u move it to zere on the timing tab/marker it should be true tdc. The u can set ure timing and know its better then ( close enough ) My set up ended up being allmost 4 degress off!!! thats quite a bit.
Hope this helps

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