"Ignition Timing Marks for the Tiger"

An Article by Larry Paulick
June, 2003

Preface: Larry Paulick details the importance and installation of a timing tape for Tigers.

Page 1

What's The Problem?

Your car came with timing marks, and some way to look at timing the car. Are they accurate? Probably not, as the car magazines have indicated that the stock engine timing from the factory, per the readings on the timing mark, may be off by up to 4 degrees. That's a lot.

If you want to set your timing, which includes mechanical, vacuum, and initial, you need an accurate timing mark on your crank damper that lets you read to 40 degrees or more.


Getting accurate timing for Your car, as opposed to factory timing can be done inexpensively, and accurately.

You will need:

    a. A way to measure top dead center of the piston, in this case a Piston Stop, and
    b. A Timing Tape for your crank damper.

The Piston Stop can be made from an old spark plug, and a bolt that is welded together. This device is made by gutting an old spark plug, leaving the threaded portion of the spark plug, inserting a bolt, whose head has been rounded off to prevent sharp edges, and welding the two together. Simple.

Timing Tape on Dampener

The Timing Tape is available from hot rod sources, such as Summit, Jeggs, etc. They are cheap and accurate. You need to measure the diameter of your crank damper, clean the damper, and then apply the tape, which has pressure sensitive adhesive, aligning the Zero mark with the tape. This tape, made for the 260-289 Ford V-8 dampener, is available from "Mr. Gasket Timing Tape for Ford 6-3/8" Dia. Small Block #1594", 8700 Brookpark Rd., Cleveland, OH 44129 Click "Mr. Gasket Catalog", then "ENGINE COMPONENTS" for tape, pulleys, etc.

How To Find Top Dead Center

You know approximately where the top dead center (TDC) of the engine is by the current mark. To find he Accurate Top Dead Center, do the following:

    a. Remove all spark plugs. (It's easier to turn the engine over with out the compression when the plugs are installed.)

    b. Install the Piston Stop in #1 piston.

    c. Using a breaker bar, or ratchet wrench, turn the engine over till you feel the piston stop against the, what else, the Piston. Mark the spot carefully on the crank damper.

    Note:Do not use the starter motor to turn the engine over, unless you want to install new pistons. Also gingerly turn the crank till the piston stop is met, so that you do not do damage to the piston.

    d. Now turn rotate the engine in the opposite direction, until the Piston Stop hits the Piston. Again carefully mark the position on the crank damper.

    e. You now need to split the difference, between the two marks, as this will be the true top dead center.

    f. Repeat this procedure, to ensure that the marks are accurate and the same as your first try, as this is how to accurately set the top dead center, and sloppiness will yield an inaccurate TDC.

    g. Once you are confident with your marks, apply the timing tape and to the center of the two marks.

    Congratulations, You now have an accurate timing mark for you Tiger. This will provide an accurate benchmark to set, or modify the initial, mechanical or vacuum timing of your Tiger or Alpine.


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