Trouble Timing 87 Chevy 350 Reman Crate Engine

Posted in Perfomance Parts

Harmonic balancer is off the old engine put on the reman, Running carb not fi. By timing light the single mark on the balancer is off the scale by quite a bit toward the passenger side. Runs fairly well. electrictronic ignition with vacum advance. Sticker calls for 0 degrees but to get to that I would have to turn the distributer halfway around or more. Im thinking the harmonic balancer mark is not right for this engine or the person who set it up didnt top dead center it before dropping the distributer in. Far as I can see there is only one mark on the balancer no dergree marks. any ideas how to set this up so I can check the timing with the timing light?

There are 5 Answers for "Trouble Timing 87 Chevy 350 Reman Crate Engine"

    1. jim says:

      bring #1up to tdc compression stroke with both valves closed [valve cover off] dist. rotor should point to #1 tower on cap. if it does make your own timing mark on the harmonic balancer

    2. Christopher says:

      Sounds like the distributor is 180 degrees out. I have seen this a lot with GM small blocks. Yes, a chevy small block will run if the engine timing is 180 degrees out. The problem is the timing won’t adjust properly. I would disconnect the BAT wire from the distributor cap and remove number 1 spark plug. Now the tricky part. Place your thumb or finger over the plug hole and have someone crank the engine. You will notice a difference in the amount of force against your thumb as the engine rotates. When the engine reaches TDC #1, it will force more pressure against your thumb. Now that you can tell the difference. Only bump the engine over until you feel the strong force. This would be TDC #1. Now check where your timing mark is at on the harmonic balancer. Now remove the distributor cap and check it’s position. The tap on the rotor should be pointing toward number 1 cylinder. If it isn’t, you are 180 out.
      This is a lot easier for me to do, then it is for me to try and explain it.
      Hope this helps. Christopher

    3. chevyraceman_383 says:

      The damper should only have 1 mark. That the the hash mark

      Your timing scale should be on a tab thats eaither welded onto timing chain cover or bolts on using 2 of the timing cover bolts.

      Most stock scales/timig tabs in the 80’s was small, only reading 4, 2, 0, 2, 4

      Being as most engines by now used a computer to controll the timing and you just set timing to 0*

      Being your running a carb, I’m guessing HEI dist, non computer controll.

      You need to buy an aftermarket $8 bolt on timing tab that reads more.

      Then timing the engine at idle and with vac advance hose took off dizzy to about 12 to 14 degrees before TDC (top dead center)

      This will be the numbers on the pass side of tab before the 0 mark

      Now if your still using the computer and computer controlled dizzy, you will need to find the EST (elec spark timing) wire and un hook it. Then time the engine to 0*, and then hook the EST wire back up which would advance the timing more and bring it off the tab at idle.

    4. mailbox1024 says:

      If everything checks out by everyone here at the forum explains about TDC and timing marks, then you may have a bad harmonic balancer. There is a rubber gasket that runs through the center of the balancer, if this breaks or shifts, the marks will never line up. One last thought, did you remove the vacuum advance hose from the distributor while you tried to time this motor? The vacuum advance needs to be disconnected and plugged and the mark will be closer to the TDC mark on the timing pointer. maybe just a slight oversight on your part.

      good luck…….

    5. done wrenching says:

      We used to make new groove in balancer if timing indicator is in different spot. Take your time and put a new groove or mark on it.