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Ever heard of this?

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  • Ignition: Ever heard of this?

    64 GT Hawk (K7)
    1970 Avanti (R3)

  • #2
    Some engines have a timing mark on the flywheel, but I have never heard of Studebakers being done this way. I would have to have more info to understand exactly what he is doing.
    "In the heart of Arkansas."
    Searcy, Arkansas
    1952 Commander 2 door. Really fine 259.
    1952 2R pickup


    • #3
      It doesn't make sense to me. The spark travels through the coil wire 8 times for every 2 crankshaft revolutions, instead of one time for number one, but the light being flashed onto the timing mark should occur at the same time.

      As you say, the bulb will last 1/8 the time due to the high flash count.


      • #4
        Time the engine according to the recommendations in the shop manuals and you can't go wrong. Using timing techniques other than what is recommended, twisting the distributor without using a light or using a vacuum gauge to set the timing and hoping for the best is in my opinion asking for trouble. That is why timing lights were invented and the engineers at Studebaker recommended using them to adjust the ignition timing. Bud


        • #5
          The word "Flywheel" has a "(?)" around it. So, we can't assume that the actual meaning is flywheel. It still might be timed on the balancer/pulley and the original author is just not able to properly identify that part. It may also be that the timing light signal wire was shorting out on the block/head/exhaust manifold etc. (older lights often have exposed, wound wire, metal connectors). By placing the wire on the distributor it is far less likely to short out.

          Also, this statement, "He told me, that this way of adjusting timing is quite usual, as long as you remember that you didn't use the first cylinder." is a little perplexing. The underlined latter half of that statement leaves me to wonder what he was referencing for a timing mark??? It does seem, logical that additional (but not all) cylinders will also fire on that timing mark (off the coil wire) during the two revolutions of the 4 stroke process. So, maybe the fact that in relation to that timing mark area it is flashing numerous times instead of once it is easier to see???

          Regardless the method is not going to get the car running better as long as it sets to the correct timing mark. Because by whatever method, a timing mark, is a timing mark, is a timing mark... .

          I would differ that setting a engine timing exactly to the manual will produce the greatest result. There are too many variables (altitude, humidity, octane of fuel, temperature, etc.). The manual setting may be the safest setting (and nothing wrong with that), but not necessarily ideal. That is why modern cars use sensors on the variables and let the computer make the timing adjustments.

          Side note to support altering factory settings: On my Protege daily drive I advanced the timing 4 degrees by slotting the bolt holes on the crank trigger reluctor wheel. This gets around the "the timing can't be adjusted" argument on newer cars. It made a significant difference in how the car accelerated. And apparently the cam sensor doesn't compare itself to the crank trigger..., or 4 degrees isn't enough to cause a check engine light. I run the same octane and drive under the same low humidity/ higher outdoor temperatures without incident. So..., I think one needs to be careful, but altering timing out of spec can be advantageous. And, if there was a problem of pinging/detonation I'd argue for retarding too.
          Last edited by wittsend; 02-24-2016, 03:54 PM.
          '64 Lark Type, powered by '85 Corvette L-98 (carburetor), 700R4, - CASO to the Max.


          • #6
            Well...this subject has me thinking and wondering (a combination of mental activity indicating confusion)...but if you think about it, that timing light will still flash on the first cylinder...and seven more.

            If any of you have an engine handy, out in your warm garage, and a timing light nearby, how 'bout going out, attaching the light to your coil wire, fire it up and tell us what you see. I suspect you will get a similar result as if you only attached the light to the number one cylinder, except, more light. More light, because of the frequency of the flashing, but you should still see the number one at the set timing mark.

            I'm just not sure what it does to give you an advantage in tweaking the timing? Unless, using the coil and therefore any electrical interference caused by powering the strobe light itself, will be equal on all cylinders. Not sure if it has any significance, but, at least in theory, connected that way, all current should encounter equal resistance.
            John Clary
            Greer, SC

            SDC member since 1975


            • #7
              I never thought to try it. Doing the timing that way gives you a flash for both cylinder 1 and 6. at the timing mark on the vibration damper. Might show that your distributor needs repair; the same as a distributor machine would. You could degree the vibration damper and look at all firings



              • #8
                Maybe the original poster can get the overseas "mechanic" to explain. It seems with the "quotes" implying something different that the person might be a questionable "mechanic" and the term "flywheel (?)" might really the balancer/pulley (who knows). Add in the person relaying the story might have had limited understanding and the potential "overseas" terminology and this whole story is ripe for misguided conjecture. But, yes as I stated above the only advantage would seem to be a brighter illumination (or not shorting the trigger signal).
                '64 Lark Type, powered by '85 Corvette L-98 (carburetor), 700R4, - CASO to the Max.


                • #9
                  Forget about the quotes around the Mechanic, I did that to put him in the spotlight. The (?) after the Flywheel was also mine, believing that the emailer meant the crank damper where the timing pointer is.
                  Obvious result is that no one here has ever done this nor can attest to the veracity of the procedure. Those of us that have used a timing light can speculate what would happen, but with the lack of experience cannot definitely say it's viable or not....
                  64 GT Hawk (K7)
                  1970 Avanti (R3)


                  • #10
                    Many pre war cars were timed using the flywheel. There was no capability for timing an early car as we have come to expect using the harmonic balancer because there was no timing mark and no pointer in the front of the engine. I believe that the flywheel provided a short cut to finding TDC and then each engine was dialed in by advancing the timing until it developed spark knock and then the timing backed off a little.


                    • #11
                      I have heard of methods similar to that described. With that said, I have never even tried it in my 60 years of using various timing lights. I see no reason to go away from what is recommended and works.
                      Gary L.
                      Wappinger, NY

                      SDC member since 1968
                      Studebaker enthusiast much longer


                      • #12
                        My 1956 was just like you described, but I found that the vibration damper was installed incorrectly , It can be installed wrong and unless you verify top dead center on number one piston and check the correlation with the mark on the damper you would never know!


                        • #13
                          The Stove Bolt Six from Chevrolet was always timed with the flywheel AFAIK. I had a 62, last year of production, and it was timed with the strobe on the flywheel, not the pulley/balancer.

                          I have adjusted the timing on many engines (that were already close) by twisting the distributor and listening for pinging (especially when changing grades of fuel). Sixes, eights, fours... Heck even the Japanese had Octane screws on the side of distributors for years until electronics came out. Listen, adjust, listen, repeat.

                          Now that my hearing is not what it was, maybe I shouldn't!

                          Just remember, heavy knocking can hole a piston NOW! YMMV
                          Frank DuVal

                          50 Commander 4 door


                          • #14
                            Just went out to the garage and hooked the timing light to the coil wire and while you
                            could time the ignition this way the light flashes so quick the bulb doesn't reach full brightness.
                            Much better on #1 wire.


                            • #15
                              much of the above doesn't make sense at all...... My understanding is you can only install the damper 1 way. How can you alter it without drilling new holes ?? Backwards ?