Timing Way Off?


New Member
Dec 28, 2009
I replaced my head gaskets on my car, took the entire top end off but left the distributor in place because I didnt want to mess with the timing. Threw everything back on and when I tried to start it, the timing was too far advanced for the car to even start. Didnt have a timing light but I had to rotate the distributor almost an inch just to get it to run right again and idle ok (its idling 500 rpm higher now too and I didnt mess with the carb at all). What could have caused this since I didnt mess with the timing at all?

Its a procharged 393, msd 6al2 programmable box, msd distributor. Left the battery disconnected during the week it was apart (dont know if that matters at all)
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Many of the major auto parts chain stores will rent/loan tools like timing lights. I suggest you try that or do what I did which was to pony up the $$ and buy one. No serious Mustang DYI'er should be without a timing light, torque wrench, quality DVM, compression tester and fuel pressure tester.
Before you get the timing light, if you still have the stock intake- the distributor shaft and lower intake have corresponding marks on it for the factory to align the timing. You can ballpark the timing with that to set it to around factory 10 BTDC and then set the timing with a timing light.

You also say you have an aftermarket timing box- first thing I would do is disconnecct that and set the timing - then reconnect them.

Make sure you remove the spout connector before you set the timing
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