Setting Ignition Timing
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Thread: Setting Ignition Timing

  1. #1
    Member ShaneP's Avatar
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    Feb 2019
    Kansas, USA

    Setting Ignition Timing

    I'm trying to set the timing, running a Charlie's Place electronic ignition. I've watched the video, I understand the process. I have my test light in place on the yellow wire and my goal is to adjust the positioning of the ignition plate to the point that the light turns on AT the LF timing mark. I'm a little concerned about how the engine feels as I turn it over though, and it seems to be acting differently than engines in videos I have watched.

    As I approach the LF mark, I can feel the tension of the valve springs increasing, I have to push the wrench forward to rotate the crank. When the crank position reaches the LT mark and the piston begins its descent, it pulls itself down and instead of pushing against the wrench to rotate the crank, I have to pull against the wrench to prevent the crank from rotating.

    Is this normal? There is no load on the engine, it's in neutral. Obviously this behavior makes it VERY difficult to guarantee that the coil is firing AT the LF mark, it's a moving target! A friend suggested I install the chain, put the engine in 5th gear, and use the rear tire to control the engine and prevent it from spinning the way it is. My concern is that something is awry inside and I don't want to add more parts to a bike that has to come back apart.

    I hope my question is clear and I hope someone can give me some reassurance! Thanks!

  2. #2
    Senior Member ancientdad's Avatar
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    Nov 2016
    Nature Coast FL
    It's typical for our 180° crankshaft twins, nothing wrong or unusual. When I static time an engine, I keep the wrench on the crankshaft at the alternator bolt and use the wrench to manipulate the crank back and forth using that "forward" movement as the LT mark goes by to watch the test light come on at the proper time

    Ride along at the drag strip -

    running points... because I'm too old for mysteries that begin with pushing

  3. #3
    Member ShaneP's Avatar
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    Feb 2019
    Kansas, USA
    Well, that's great news to hear. I guess I will just be more patient with it. Thanks!!

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  5. #4
    Member ShaneP's Avatar
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    Feb 2019
    Kansas, USA
    Closing the loop here, and maybe providing a useful tip for someone who comes across this issue in the future...

    What I ended up doing was sticking an adjustable pin wrench into 2 holes in the rotor 180 degrees from my wrench. Looked like this: ----O---- that way I could use two hands to turn the engine and I had greater control when it started getting squirrely and wanting to lurch forward on me.

  6. #5
    Senior Member DieselKrampus's Avatar
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    Jul 2016
    One of the few truly good tips that I have gained from the guys over at Common Motor, (yes, I know, some of their information isn't right on many things) is to use a large adjustable crescent wrench on the alternator bolt, instead of the correctly sized 14mm box-end wrench, when turning the motor over to set the timing.

    What this does is allows you to get a much better grip on the alternator bolt and virtually eliminate all the "slop" in the system, as Brenden puts it. This makes it much easier to deal with that "spring-action" that the crank experiences when passing the LT mark. This is especially useful for electronic ignition timing as most of the ones I've seen and/or dealt with seem to be much more finicky in getting the timing just right than traditional points.

    Just my $0.02. Hope this helps someone and reduces frustration!

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I537 using Tapatalk
    ShaneP likes this.

  7. #6
    Senior Member mike in idaho's Avatar
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    Jan 2012
    Vise grips, on the alternator bolt, is another good"slop free" way to turn the crank. Backing off all four valve adjusters,to the maximum gap, will remove the spring pressure on the lobes. Adjust the timing then reset the valves.
    '65 YG1
    '65 CB160
    '66 CL160
    '67 CL77
    '68 TR6
    '69 T100R
    '69 T120R
    '72 Commando 750
    '78 XS650E
    '79 Gl1000
    '81 440 LTD
    My company car is a Kenworth

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