North American Turbocoupe Organization

ignition timing off after timing belt changed
Tedybear315 Offline
Junior Member
Hello all!

Forgive me if this is buried in the forums.  We finally got the 1988 Turbo Coupe to fire up!.

Valve timing seems to be 100% spot on.  We rotated the engine about a dozen times to ensure the camshaft and crankshaft marks where 100%.

In regards to the aux pulley for the oil pump and the distributor.  Could not see ANY visible marks for alignment purposes.  Zip, Zero, Nadda thing.  Researched everything from stars, blocks, lines, moons, clovers, anything else in the lucky charm variety we could think of.  Nothing at all on the pulley or the timing cover rear to indicate where it belongs.

So we checked the donor block where we removed the head.  I removed it leaving it 100% alignment in place.  That 1987 engine?  Also NO marks or anything on the pulley/cover showing it's timing position!  After consulting with Rod Sterling from the twilight zone...  We aligned the 1988 in our Thunderbird the same way as the 87'.  Both cars did run.  (Okay, like crap...and the 1988 we're going to put back on the road was blowing enough white smoke to kill every 'skeeter for a 5 mile radius.)

So given that the valve timing is 100%.  Anyone see problems if we just pull the distributor and manually 'clock' it back where it belongs?  Please let me explain that one....

I moved the disty a bit and it finally started up,  rough.. but it's a start!.   I pulled the SPOUT and checked base timing.  WOW!  Off by a country mile!  It was so far past TDC it was amazing!.  I rotated the disty counter clockwise until it was at 10' BTDC.  It ran smooth-  However the TFI module plug wiring was cranked into the lower intake where the coolant line runs.  Can't leave it there-  Ran great!  But the TFI can't stay there...

My gut feeling is that the aux pulley is off by at least 3 teeth-  (Judging by the amount of turn I had to rotate the disty to get the timing set.)

So question-  I can set the TDC on #1 easy.  Valve timing is 100%, so hows this sound?

Bumping it over until I feel air coming out #1

Verify #1 is at TDC both at crank pulley mark for TDC and the good ol' screwdriver test.  (watch the screwdriver go 'up' via the plug hole...Carefully of course.)

Pull Disturber out.

Rotate the shaft until the rotor is pointing at #1-right DEAD CENTER where it will align spot on with the cap tower.  (Taking into account the shaft will rotate when re-inserted into the engine.)  (And yeah, this is how we configured things at the start of this wing-ding...sense we have NO marks on that &%*#Y^ pulley or cover!)

Leave the retaining bolt slightly snug so the disty can be rotated with little effort.

Restart engine and set base timing after reinstalling the bits we had to remove.

And hopefully we get the 10' BTDC base timing set finally!!!!!

Or are we going to wind up chasing down phantom timing marks on that pulley that do not exist?  The car uses normal TFI ignition.  So there's no camshaft position sensor in use.  In theory we should be able to reclock the disty where it belongs and have it work for base timing.

Thoughts, ideas?  Anything is welcome.  And we've got time!  The car still needs brakes  (it currently has none) Exhaust...(sounded great once I got 10' BTDC...even with the disty cranked into the intake manifold... LOL)  And tires....   It's not going on the road until middle of spring...


Jeff K Offline
There are no alignment marks on the aux shaft gear, as its position doesnt matter. All that matters is the dist position.
Jeff Korn

88 Turbo Coupe: Intake and exhaust mods, T3 turbo at 24 psi, forced air IC, water injection, BPV, Ranger cam, subframes, etc., etc.
86 Tbird 5.0 (original owner): intake, exhaust, valvetrain mods, 100 HP N2O, ignition, gears, suspension, etc., etc.
05 Taurus SEL Duratec daily driver
04 Taurus Duratec (wifes car)
02 Pontiac Grand Prix GT
95 Taurus GL Vulcan winter beater
67 Honda 450 Super Sport - completely customized

Tedybear315 Offline
Junior Member

Thought I was losing my eye sight. Most reference websites show a 'mark', which I presume would be for newer models that use different sensor options.

I'll spend some time on it tomorrow and carefully pull the disty and realign it so it's got 'wiggle room'. Even when we first got the car, I noted the TFI plug was just about wedged into the intake coolant port. At least this time I can 'bump' it bit to make it more adjustable.

Thanks!! She did run pretty good! (just didn't want that wiring to rub through...)


Pete D Offline
Pete Dunham


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