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Carburetors Carb discussion and questions. Upgrading your Third Gen's carburetor, swapping TBI to carburetor, or TPI to carburetor? Need LG4 or H.O. info? Post it here.

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Old 08-10-2012, 01:38 PM   #1
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How to time HEI & carb 1999 Vortec 350

I swapped a 1999 vortec 5.7 into my 92' camaro. My question is How the heck do i time this thing. I ditched the computer/ Fuel injection for a carb. I have the plastic vortec timing cover and the vortec 8" balancer. No timing numbers on the vortec plastic cover or balancer

I have a regular small block HEI distributor with vacuum advance and a Holley vacuum 2ndary carb. HELP PLEASE
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Old 08-10-2012, 02:07 PM   #2
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Re: How to time HEI & carb 1999 Vortec 350

You need to get a timing tab that has numbers and replace the one on the motor OR you can get an adjustable timing light, set your base timing (say 10*) and then mark it up with the current timing tab. The adjustable timing light will allow you to offset by however many * you program it to.
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Old 08-10-2012, 02:34 PM   #3
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Re: How to time HEI & carb 1999 Vortec 350

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Originally Posted by hrspwr View Post
You need to get a timing tab that has numbers and replace the one on the motor OR you can get an adjustable timing light, set your base timing (say 10*) and then mark it up with the current timing tab. The adjustable timing light will allow you to offset by however many * you program it to.

I dont have a timing tab with numbers but i do have an adjustable timing light. This may be a really dumb question but how do i set the base timing to 10* btdc without #'s on the timing tab?

Last edited by thegoon1969; 08-10-2012 at 03:19 PM.
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Old 08-10-2012, 03:20 PM   #4
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Re: How to time HEI & carb 1999 Vortec 350

Ok i lined up the crank gear at 12 o clock and the cam gear at 12 o clock (BTDC) I droped the distributor in and marked the #1 terminal (the terminal the rotor was pointing to when the distributor seated. I put the timing cover back on and installed the balancer on the crank/key way. Now what do i do? set my adjustable timing light to 36*?
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Old 08-10-2012, 03:23 PM   #5
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Re: How to time HEI & carb 1999 Vortec 350

Get a wire coat hanger.

Pull #1 spark plug.

Turn motor to TDC compression stroke on #1.

Pick out a close bolt, bend a piece of coat hanger over to make a makeshift timing tab, and align it to the mark on the balancer.

This will give you something close to get it running right. They also sell adjustable timing tabs that bolt to the timing cover bolts. Id pick up one of those if you can.
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Old 08-10-2012, 03:48 PM   #6
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Re: How to time HEI & carb 1999 Vortec 350

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Originally Posted by thegoon1969 View Post
I dont have a timing tab with numbers but i do have an adjustable timing light. This may be a really dumb question but how do i set the base timing to 10* btdc without #'s on the timing tab?
If i am not mistaken, on the tab there should be an indent or a mark missing. This is TDC 0*. Adjust the timing light to the desired timing advance then with the motor running, spin the dizzy until the mark on the dampener and the timing tab indent line up. Once lined up your base timing is set.
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Old 08-10-2012, 03:55 PM   #7
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Re: How to time HEI & carb 1999 Vortec 350

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Originally Posted by thegoon1969 View Post
Ok i lined up the crank gear at 12 o clock and the cam gear at 12 o clock (BTDC) I droped the distributor in and marked the #1 terminal (the terminal the rotor was pointing to when the distributor seated. I put the timing cover back on and installed the balancer on the crank/key way. Now what do i do? set my adjustable timing light to 36*?
Before you go any further answer this, The crank gear and cam gear, are you referring to the Timing chain gears? If so you have to make sure that those gears are aligned properly(lining the dots so they meet each other, crank at 12 o'clock position and cam dot at 6 o'clock position). Next without spinning the motor drop the dizzy in place so that the rotor tip points directly at the #1 piston. That is how you know your dizzy is in right and not 180* out. Next with the cap on, your #1 plug wire should be on the terminal that the rotor is pointing to. Connect the remaining plug wires in the correct firing order and then set your base timing with the vacuum advance disconnected.
If you spin the motor after you put the timing cover on, that is not a big deal. You will however need to find TDC again when the #1 piston is on the compression stroke. To do this, as you spin the motor and the #1 piston starts to come up, make sure that neither valve is opening or closing. If you are coming up and the exhaust is opening then you are 180* out.

Last edited by hrspwr; 08-10-2012 at 03:59 PM.
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Old 08-12-2012, 03:29 PM   #8
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Re: How to time HEI & carb 1999 Vortec 350

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Originally Posted by hrspwr View Post
Before you go any further answer this, The crank gear and cam gear, are you referring to the Timing chain gears? If so you have to make sure that those gears are aligned properly(lining the dots so they meet each other, crank at 12 o'clock position and cam dot at 6 o'clock position). Next without spinning the motor drop the dizzy in place so that the rotor tip points directly at the #1 piston. That is how you know your dizzy is in right and not 180* out. Next with the cap on, your #1 plug wire should be on the terminal that the rotor is pointing to. Connect the remaining plug wires in the correct firing order and then set your base timing with the vacuum advance disconnected.
If you spin the motor after you put the timing cover on, that is not a big deal. You will however need to find TDC again when the #1 piston is on the compression stroke. To do this, as you spin the motor and the #1 piston starts to come up, make sure that neither valve is opening or closing. If you are coming up and the exhaust is opening then you are 180* out.
the crank gear at 12 o'clock and the cam gear at 6 o'clock would be TDC compression stroke for #3 piston also would be TDC exhaust stroke for #1 piston. crank gear at 12 o'clock, cam gear at 12 o'clock would be #1 cyclinder TDC on compression stroke.
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Old 08-12-2012, 03:33 PM   #9
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Re: How to time HEI & carb 1999 Vortec 350

If im not mistaken, once the motor is at #1 tdc compression stroke you can actually drop the distributor in any position you want and what ever terminal the rotor points to is your number #1 plug wire. then just follow the firing order clockwise around the distributor.
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Old 08-13-2012, 09:15 AM   #10
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Re: How to time HEI & carb 1999 Vortec 350

Quote:
Originally Posted by thegoon1969 View Post
If im not mistaken, once the motor is at #1 tdc compression stroke you can actually drop the distributor in any position you want and what ever terminal the rotor points to is your number #1 plug wire. then just follow the firing order clockwise around the distributor.
You are right. Best practice is to have it closest to the #1 piston.
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Old 08-16-2012, 12:57 PM   #11
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Re: How to time HEI & carb 1999 Vortec 350

I thought there was a TDC mark molded into the timing chain cover, even on one of those plastic Vortec covers. I hope so because I don't think you can install a traditional metal timing tab on top of one of those plastic covers.

Ya know, you CAN simply replace the plastic cover with a regular steel one. 2 bolt holes are missing but it's not the end of the world. Little RTV on the gasket and just forget about those 2 missing bolts (or drill and tap the block for them yourself if you're the nit-picky type). And you don't have to deal with that crank position sensor sticking out any more (or leaking if you try to remove it and plug the hole).
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Old 08-16-2012, 02:06 PM   #12
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Re: How to time HEI & carb 1999 Vortec 350

Or you can just rotate it over until its at TDC and make a mark somewhere yourself. And use that as a reference point. I put neon green fingernail polish on my ZERO mark, and neon pink on my damper at the 32 degrees mark to have a good frame of reference when timing it. Thanks to my sister!

Just be aware if you got the homebrew route andm ake your own tell-tale mark somewhere on the timing cover or the block to line up with the damper, even if you get that piston right up at TDC where you can feel it right there with, say, a pen or a pencil or a dowel, it's not gonna be EXACTLY TDC to the kind of precision you normally get. So just use it as a rough reference and dont go too crazy with the timing advance until you know your safe zones.
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Old 08-16-2012, 02:06 PM
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