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Timing My '78 FJ40, Q/A

Q: I need help timing my 78FJ40 , I have had the distributor out and it is out of time so bad I cannot get it running. Which mark (is there more than 1) on the flywheel do i line up on. I thought when I lined up on the machined out oval "O" on the flywheel that the rotor should point to number 4 on the disributor cap...I have done this...but still cannot get it to run. I have come close..a few backfires.....Please help!!!!!!! Thanks in advance

Dwight P

A: This can be frustrating but you just have to be patient and methodical. First set your points gap at .018 I believe it is, but check your manual to be sure.....wait, if you have electronic ignition then you don't have points. To set your timing, line up what you called the oval O or it is also called the BB with the pointer in the window. I can only tell you how to do it if you have points. Your rotor should be pointed at about the #4 sparkplug and you should see one of the cam lobes close to opening the points, either just short of it or just past it. Put your distributor cap on and check that the rotor is pointing at the terminal that the #1 plug wire is connected to. Then rotate the distributor until that cam lobe is just coming up to open the points and the points are just starting to open. You need to hook a test lamp or a multimeter across the points so that when the points are open the light is off or the meter is showing an open circuit. Rotate the distributor back (counter clockwise)so that the points are closed (the light is on) and then slowly rotate it clockwise until the light just goes off. You'll get the hang of it. With it timed staticall like this it should start up and run ok but not necessarily great. Put your strobe light on it and set it that way. If it won't start or is running real rough, repeat the point opening adjustment drill. 'Course now you get to try to find that BB again.

Maybe somebody with electronic ignition can expand my procedure for you. Good luck and let us know how you come out.


A: there are two markers on the flywheel that you should use. not the machined oval slot. one is a stainless steel BB that is at 7 degrees before TDC. the other is a line near the BB that is top dead center. from what you describe you do not have the distributor aligned with either. line up the BB with the pointer. you might want to pull off the valve cover to be sure that both valves are closed on #1 cylinder when you line up the BB with the pointer as you could be 180 deg off with the valves of #6 closed instead. then reinstall the dist. be sure to line up the oil pump drive slot and rotate the dist shaft approx 30 deg clockwise as the dist shaft will turn counterclockwise when you insert it and make sure that it is seated in the drive slot before you start the engine.


A: Bring the engine up to top dead center for piston #1. If you are not sure, put your thumb over the spark plug hole for #1 while you are turning it. Turn the engine until the timing ppointer points to the ball bearing in the flywheel. Make sure the oil pump shaft slot is pointing to #4 spart plug. Insert the distributor so that the rotor is pointing about 30 degrees clockwise from #4 spark plug. As the distributor drops in the rotor will turn counter clockwise. Double check that the distributor if fully seated into the oil pump slot. Rotate distributor body until the points just open. It should start, but you will need to set the timeing with a light.

Pin Head

A: Check and make sure that the plug wires are in the right scquence. 1-2-3-4-5-6 as you see it, front to rear. Use numbers off the dist cap. Check point or air gap Check rotor and cap Check that when you line up the dist. that no.(1) one piston is TDC, this will be a soild line on the flywheel not the round ball. I think that the ball is 7-8 deg BTDC and is what you set it at when running. I am sure that you have done this but give it a slow go and if you need write down your steps as what was what. Good Luck, let us no.