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Ok, i finally got the 56 road-ready, but i need to set the timing. My father wants to "just get it close, and take it to a mechanic since we have to get it inspected anyway" but i want to do it myself!:) Anyway, iv been reading the different methods and they are all so different that im probebly going to do it wrong. They mention blocking off the vacuum advance, but which end? and the degrees of timing vary between each persons method.Can someone give me a step by step/dummy-proof/simple-stupid guide to setting initial/total timing for my sbc(307 w/HEI)?

-james
 
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Great post James and Welcome. Also would love to see a 101 on this subject. Maybe call it basic timing for Dummies. Too many times, those that do know assume others know also. Lloyd
 

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I really can't think of but one method, although, there are probably many ways of saying the same thing, If you are talking about final timing.

How you go about determining where the plug wires go, on the cap, it is a another issue but boils down to having the rotor point to the #1 wire when #1 piston is on TDC on COMPRESSION.
You already have it close, as its got to be running to set the final timing
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Have the distributor loose enough that you can move it with your hand but tight enough that it stays there.

Yes, you block off the vacuum advance. I usually just place a piece of paper over the vacuum hose from the engine to the distributor. The suction will hold it in place. If you don' thave suction, you are on the wrong end. Attach the timing light to #1 wire. On a chevy its the front drivers side plug.

Clean off the harmonic balancer so you can see the marks. Let the engine idle and move the distributor till the flash shows where you want the timing set. 4 degrees BTC or whatever, etc. and snug it down. thats it.

Part of the confustion for a beginner is guys talking about different tyes of timing. Initial, Mechanical (centrifical), and total. The distributor has a set of spinning weights that move out on springs that advance the timing (centrifical) The rate this happens depends on the tension of the springs in the mechanical advance. To that you add the vacuum advance that helps the engine pull under load. plus the initial advance that you set with the light. The three combined are the total advance, which is often around 36 degrees total, but varies with application.
Good luck with your timing you can do it.
Gary
 
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