How to Set Timing on Chevy 350 without Timing Light

Well, I am not an expert mechanic, but I do know how to work on cars. But, I had no idea how to set timing on my small block Chevy 350 engine without using the timing machine.

After researching, I came up with this article, that shows you step-by-step how to set timing on your Chevy 350 without timing light.

You’ll be surprised at how easy it is.

How to Set Timing on Chevy 350 without Timing Light

how to set timing on my small block Chevy 350 engine without using the timing machine

Follow these steps to Set Timing on Chevy 350 without Timing Light:

1. Remove the Spark Plugs from The Driver Side Cylinder

Put your finger over the hole and manually turn the engine over until you feel the compression stroke.  Turn the key and wait for the engine to start. 

2. Spin the Motor Over

We need to spin the motor over to find the center of the compression stroke.

3. Find the Top Dead Center on The Compression Stroke

To find the dead center, hold your finger over the hole, spin the engine over at the crank with the ratchet and wait until you have pressure pushing against your finger. This indicates that you are on the compression stroke.

4. Make a Mark On the Timing Cover

Marking the timing cover will help you line up decently close with the zero degree.

5. Pull out The Distributor

You need to remove the distributor in order to check and arrange it in line with the firing order of the 350.

6. Arrange the Distributor according to the 350 engine’s Firing Diagram

Check out this article to know the exact 350 Chevy Firing Order Diagram.

7. Make a Mark as To Where Your Motor Is and Make Sure It Is Pointing Towards #1 Spark Plug

Marking correctly is the key here, because we don’t have a timing machine we will have to make an educated guess, so that we can get the timing right in the first try.

8. Rearrange the Wires & Route Them to Defaults

Connect all the wires & spark plugs we removed in the initial steps, so that we can check if the timing is set correctly.

9. Fire up The Engine

After everything is wired up and distributor is connected, it is time to check if you set the timing right. If you followed all the steps correctly, you should be able to get it right in the first try. If not, make a few adjustments in the markings and you should be able to set the timing yourself on your chevy 350 engine.

By following this process, you will be able to Set Timing on Chevy 350 without Timing Light.

What Should Small Block Chevy 350 Timing Be Set At?

“Normal” base timing for a street high-perf small-block Chevy is somewhere in the 12- to 18-degree BTDC before top dead center range, with total timing at full centrifugal advance about 34 to 36 degrees BTDC, as read at the crank.

But before you do anything, it can’t hurt to get a second opinion. Try using a different timing light and see if the results agree.

What to Look For When Setting the Timing on a SBC 350 Engine?

Before you start setting the timing on your small block chevy 350 engine, you need to know what to look for:

  1. The first thing to do is to check the ignition system.
  2. If you see spark plugs that have a very short gap, you will have to adjust the timing. The next thing to check is the distributor. Make sure that it is set at the correct position. If it is too far forward or too far back, you will have to adjust the distributor.
  3. Another thing to check is the camshaft. If it is not set at the correct position, you will have to adjust it.
  4. Finally, check the cam cover. If it is not set properly, you will have to adjust it.

How to Set Timing on a Chevy 350 With a Broken Timing Light

If the timing light is broken, you will have to adjust the distributor. The distributor controls the ignition timing. This means that the timing light has to be working for the distributor to work. If the timing light is broken, the distributor will not work. So, you will have to adjust the distributor. What If the Distributor Is Not Adjusting Properly?

If the distributor is not adjusting properly, you will have to adjust it. First, you will have to adjust the timing marks on the distributor. The distributor is usually located behind the engine. You will have to look for a mark on the distributor. This mark tells you how far the distributor is set from the camshaft.

Other Timing Considerations

You will also have to check the camshaft position. If the camshaft is not aligned with the crankshaft, the distributor won’t adjust properly.

You will have to move the distributor to a position where the camshaft is correctly aligned with the crankshaft.

You will have to adjust the timing marks on the distributor to make sure that the camshaft is aligned with the crankshaft.

You will have to move the distributor to a position where the camshaft is correctly aligned with the crankshaft.

Can You Adjust Timing without Timing Light on Chevy 350?

 You can adjust timing without a timing light on Chevy 350 by following the process shown above.

Conclusion

I hope that this article has given you all the information you need on How to Set Timing on Chevy 350 without Timing Light.