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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys I’m helping my buddy with his 68 Mustang that he recently bought. It has a 351W and a 4 speed auto. The problem we are having is there are no timing marks anywhere to be found on this motor. We can’t find the casting numbers anywhere either. The harmonic balancer has one tick mark so I’m guessing this motor is missing the timing marks. We tried using the finger in cylinder #1 for tdc but could never get the engine to fire. We checked the distributor and the rotor was pointing at the #1 plug. We are planning on getting a tdc indicator and pulling the valve cover off so we can watch the rocker arms. And ideas on what to do for the timing marks? Any help is appreciated. Thanks
 

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Welcome, there are a few posts in here about the various pointers for SBF and the years they fit. If you have a least a tick mark on the HB, things are not all bad. Old school here but you can crank it by hand until you feel the compression coming up in number 1 (which you already did). From there, a wooden dowel in the spark plug hole and continue to turn by hand until you have TDC on #1. mark some chalk on the timing cover or whatever and then set the distributor. Should be good enough to get running but you will need the correct pointer to time it correctly obviously.

When you say you never got the engine to fire, do you mean it never put out any spark, or it never ran, or it never popped? Just making sure you actually saw a good blue spark and you are fairly confident it is just a timing issue from here.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
So what we were doing was putting in an MSD pro billet distributor. It was running fine when we pulled the old distributor. With the new distributor we can get it to want to start but then start getting blowout through the carb. I will have to try using the wooden dowel and marking it. Thanks for you help and I will look at the previous post with same issues.
 

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First question, 3 or 4 bolt damper pulley? Timing cover pointer pass or driver side? Tells us the year more or less.
Next put the pass side valve cover. Rotate by hand the engine until the intake opens and closes. Then stop. That is #1 going to fire. Turn it back just until the valve starts to open again.
Now get you a piston stop and screw it in to the #1 spark plug hole. Then very slowly rotate it again to close the valve, until the rotation isn't possible to do anymore and where ever your timing cover pointer points to, mark it on the damper. Now slowly rotate back the other way until it stops. Mark the damper again at the pointer point. Half way between is #1 TDC to fire.
Do not use the starter when you have a piston stop in there or it will damage the piston. Only do it by hand and don't force it. Pulling all the plugs makes it easier also.
 

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What side does the water pump get it's supply from driver or pass? Just feel inside the crank pulley for the bolts. What ever side the water pump inlet is on, the timing cover pointer is normally on the other side. But with swaps, anything is possible. I have a 66 Stang that has been converted over.
I can't really tell, from the picture, but it looks like you don't have the 2 bolt corners on the intake. That would be a later 351W. Pre 77 had 2 bolts per corner.
 

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bring cylinder 1 up on compression stroke get a sprk plug piston stop, rotate the engine in normal direction till piston hits the stop mark the ballancer anywhere it is accessable or where you will be able to install a pointer , then rotate it back the other way til hits the stop mark the ballancer, divide the two marks that point is true tdc or 0 degrees engrave that mark, measure the diameter of the ballancer order the msd timing tape kit, select the correct length tape for that diameter, clean it very well apply the tape and start engraving the timing marks, now you need to know the dizzy timing curve if you are going to use the msd in my case i am set up at the most initial and less advance example i have springs and bushing for 20 initial and the lightest springs toget the other 16 degrees as soon as posible in the rpm range, set the dizzy in try to set it with rotor pointing at 1 put the cap on wire it advance it clockwise about 3/4 of inch should fire right up, with the pointer you installed hit it with a non dial back timing light adjust you dizzy to the base cure timing my case 20 increase engine rpm up to 3k you should see 36 and you now can adjust timing as needed this is explained very well at bad ass cars Ignition & Timing (badasscars.com)
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
The water pump gets the supply from the passenger side. I’m wondering if PO put in the wrong radiator. Both top and bottom hoses are on the passenger side. We tried rotating 180 degrees and that didn’t seem to be the issue either. I have bought the above mentioned tools/tape/pointer. When we try again this weekend I will give a status on if we got it timed or not. I really appreciate all of the help from you guys. It’s givin me hope for this engine hahaha.
 

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If you use a piston stop as I stated in posting #4, it won't matter if you even have the dist in. It will get you the TDC timing mark you're looking for. TDC hits twice on every cyl. You could do it on #6 and get the same results. That's why when you build and engine and check the cam timing, you also do the damper to make sure it's right also.
Pump inlet on pass side is early 351W, 3 bolt damper. But that's not to say it hasn't been changed and they used a standard 68 radiator for a SBF.
Did this engine run when it brought it home? Are you sure it's a 351W? Easy to tell someone it is that does know the difference. I can see a few things that say it is, but that's easy enough to do. Then you have what cam is in it? They used 2 different firing order setups. You may have the 302 firing order cam and trying to wire it to early 351W firing order.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I found out the damper is a 3 bolt but still cannot locate any pointer. So we got everything we needed. We turned the motor until intake valve opened and closed. Marked damper. Turned the motor back the other way and marked the damper. Dropped the distributor so the rotor is facing #1 wire. Tried starting and still would not run. Does the msd blaster coil need to have exactly 12v? When I check voltage it’s only reading at 9v.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
UPDATE!!!! So we pulled the MSD distributor and dropped in the old distributor. We did everything from start again with the old distributor and what do you know the engine started and sounded perfect. So obviously we have some voltage issues with the MSD Blaster coil. Where is a good 12v source we can connect the coil to? The hot wire connecting the HEI distributor was only pushing 9v.
 

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UPDATE!!!! So we pulled the MSD distributor and dropped in the old distributor. We did everything from start again with the old distributor and what do you know the engine started and sounded perfect. So obviously we have some voltage issues with the MSD Blaster coil. Where is a good 12v source we can connect the coil to? The hot wire connecting the HEI distributor was only pushing 9v.
Glad you got it.
Could be the cap, rotor somewhere else in the dist itself. I now have a point dists for 429/460s, 351W and 289/302s that I use for first start ups. Easier to time using the dist and a plug to get spark. Just run a jumper wire to the coil from the battery, so if there's a problem, pull the wire and it dies now.
 
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