Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Slightly OT: Timing lights

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Slightly OT: Timing lights

    I'm easing myself into home mechanics - my neighbor gave me an old motorcycle and as my kids get older I'd like to work on cars with them. I need advice on timing lights. What's considered basic, what added features are worth paying for, and what brands/models are decent? I've never done a tune-up.

    Sorry to have to post to this forum, but the small engine forum and motorcycle forum I belong to netted no helpful replies.

    Thanks, Frank.

  • #2
    When dealing with timing lites I think that if it is not there it can't goof up.

    My personal favorite timing lite runs off of 2 D cells so you don't have to hook it up to a battery, Of course if you are working an something with a magneto and is push started you don't HAVE a battery.

    Some older bikes and cars are timed at high RPM My triumph is timed at 2850 RPM, a frends Porche (with points) is timed at 5250 RPM The lite I have is good for 8000 RPM

    Auto advance checkers,spark intensity meters etc can be nice at times however I feel these are just something else to go wrong.


    I don't have it in front of me right now however I will get the make and model tomorrow.

    As I recall it was purchased from Delegard tools about 6 years ago.

    Hope this helps,

    Rob

    Comment


    • #3
      Rob, thanks for the reply and, yes, it does help. Do some timing lights have a maximum RPM that they can be used with?

      Comment


      • #4
        On your older cars. The ones with points and regular carburators. A lot of them have vacuum advanced distributors. You are suppose to remove the vacuum line going to the distributor and plug it before timing the engine. Otherwise the higher rpm will advance the timing. Also check manufacturer's specs for setting timing. I have a 1974 ford truck that I an suppose to remove vacuum line & plug it and check timing while engine is in gear at 500 rpm. for correct timing setting. I don't set timing without help on that truck.
        Living By the Square and On the Level

        Comment


        • #5
          ALL timing lites have an RPM limit.

          The cheap units usually quit about 1800RPM better units vary so look at the specs.

          I forgot to mention but the inductive pickup lites are the only way to go.

          Figure out your needs and then check in on lites. if you buy a cheap one and you find it doesn't fit what you want, you have wasted at least 1/3 the cost of a good one.

          Hope this helps,

          Rob

          Comment


          • #6
            <font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by roberlt:


            Some older bikes and cars are timed at high RPM My triumph is timed at 2850 RPM, a frends Porche (with points) is timed at 5250 RPM The lite I have is good for 8000 RPM

            </font>
            My 911's timing is set at 6000RPM

            It's really fun to set the dizzy with the fan spinning that fast only inches away!

            Whatever light you get it should have two useful features, one a tach readout and two inductive pickup. I don't even know if they still make the old style pickups but since I got my inductive I've been in heaven. Other features like advance etc. are a waste of time IMO. Battery operated sounds good at least until the batteries are dead. If you'll be working with points you'll need a dwell/tach as well. I'll have to check the brand on mine, I bought it from Summit Racing which is near my home. When I had my old Mustang drag car with crank trigger and no advance mechanism I used to set the timing at idle and then rev her up to 6800 to see if the timing was stable, not important on a daily driver but on a high HP motor tuned to the edge with a dizzy driven oil pump it can really matter. I found backlash in my bronze dizzy gear this way that would have killed the motor under load.

            Nice thing about the tach feature is it makes setting the carb or carbs much easier. Inductive pickups are nice for finding dead plugs since moving the pickup from wire to wire is so easy plus you don't get shocked like the old style ones would sometimes do.



            ------------------
            -Christian D. Sokolowski

            Comment


            • #7
              the inductive pickup lights are best. Most newer cars have a non adjustable crank sensor that eliminates the need for a timing light, as timing isn't adjustable in any event.
              Pete

              Comment


              • #8
                Try to find a light that has a bright light and you'll thank yourself later. Milton made one that was pretty good, but I can't say today who has the best. Lots of things have changed since I sold tools.

                Inductive pick ups are nice and work well, but are more fragile. If the pick up is dropped that may be the end of the light. They can be finicky about position at times too and pick up signals from nearby spark plug wires that result in erratic operation.

                [This message has been edited by firbikrhd1 (edited 01-05-2005).]

                Comment


                • #9
                  Frank,

                  I have the timing advance feature on my timing light. I bought it at Canadian Tire for about 100.00 several years ago. I love that feature. Mark where zero is on the crank, with Chalk or a white paint pen, set the advance on the timing lite to your setting. Say 8آ°. Then line up the paint/chalk mark with the zero setting. Voilأ  you are done.

                  NO trying to line up the little 8آ° stamp on the timing cover (car/truck). Timing lights are becoming obsolete other then to check the computer is working correctly. Notice most people are talking about the 70"s and 80"s. After 1990 timing lights are rare neccessity. Not obsolete just rare.

                  Motorcylces are a whole other ball of wax. If the motorcycle does not have a battery then you can just use another car battery to power the light. That is all the battery does. It makes the light stronger and more visible.

                  Good luck

                  Rob

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I bought a nice Craftsman light a few years ago, best they offered - adjustable advance, inductive. It lasted about a year before it quit (trigger switch never felt right) and they would not make it good. Offered repair at about what a new one cost. No thanks.
                    So I bought an Equus light. It has the timing adjustment, plus a digital tachometer which goes to high RPM. Cost a little under $100 IIRC. Good tool.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      One thing many people don`t know about timing lights is cheap ones often will retard the reading as you increase the RPMs. I use an old Snap-On light with inductive pickup and I compare it regularly during racing season with a couple of friends who have what are supposed to be excellent quality lights. So far we all show the same. It never hurts to verify a tool`s accuracy, eh?
                      Location: Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I knew I'd get an education by posting my question here. Thanks to all who answered. I don't necessarily want to buy the most whiz-bang timing light out there, but I knew there were differences at the various price points.

                        Comment

                        Working...
                        X