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Timing mark almost 180° off?

DToro

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Hi all, I'm trying to figure something out here, car never run great and I decided to check the timing (73 challenger 318 standard).
For what I remember the timing mark are on the driver side, kind of pointing towards the battery.

Well, this car has no timing reference on the block but the mark is on the other side, as picture.
Shouldn't it be on the other side? Car starts and run as normal.
Before I decide to go 180° on the distributor I would like to hear some thoughts. And the distributor seems to be facing the right way, vacuum pointing to the coil.

Any help is appreciated. I found an interesting mention where the person said thelat, on his car, the distributor was wrong and someone has compensated that changing the firing order?

Thanks

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Challenger RTA

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Wrong year timing cover and water pump? 273 or other not sure what year it was changed. If I recall some years had it on that side? could be wrong .look on side of block for casting number. running bad, timing chain wore?
 
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DToro

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More info, this is with the gun on cyl 1, you can see it right under the hose clip (passenger side)
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And this is on cyl 5:

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Challenger RTA

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Or wrong damper? Distributor 180 off. find the casting number on the block.
 
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Righty Tighty

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I agree with @Challenger RTA , first thing I would do before pulling the distributor is verify TDC in #1 and make note of where the timing mark is on the damper. The water pump inlet is on the correct side for a '70 and later small block, but your timing cover doesn't have the marks on the driver side where they should be.

Hard to tell from the pictures, but to me it looks like you have an early timing cover. Those have a bolt on timing tab that you read from the passenger side. Can you get a better shot to see if the timing tab is there or broke off? Try to get a shot looking down from the alternator, that's where the tab would be on an early cover.
 

Juan Veldez

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A couple other things to look for:
1- The woodruff key broke and lets the balancer/damper spin on the crank and is no longer in the proper location for timing.
2- The rubber piece between the inner and outer ring of the balancer/damper has become ineffective and allows the outer ring to spin. From the photo, it doesn't look bad, but not sure.

I didn't think the engine would run very well if the distributor was off 180 degrees, correct?
 

DToro

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I agree with @Challenger RTA , first thing I would do before pulling the distributor is verify TDC in #1 and make note of where the timing mark is on the damper. The water pump inlet is on the correct side for a '70 and later small block, but your timing cover doesn't have the marks on the driver side where they should be.

Hard to tell from the pictures, but to me it looks like you have an early timing cover. Those have a bolt on timing tab that you read from the passenger side. Can you get a better shot to see if the timing tab is there or broke off? Try to get a shot looking down from the alternator, that's where the tab would be on an early cover.
Not a chance,this is the best view from passenger side.

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moparleo

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I see that you are in the UK. Are parts a problem ? You don't say exactly what you are working on . Looking at the pictures, the power steering bracket is installed incorrectly and the front of the engine could use some clean up as well.
First download a FSM for pictures and instructions. Free Service Manuals – MyMopar
I would first do a compression test to check the basic condition of the engine and carefully inspect the spark plugs ( keep them in the order they came out) to determine any oil/fuel burning problems.
I would replace ( all are safety items) the rubber fuel hoses, plastic fuel filter with a metal one, clamps etc...as needed.
To complete the front of engine service.
Proper timing cover (new), water pump, thermostat, (190°), coolant. Inspect all hoses and replace clamps.
Inspect timing chain for looseness, replace as needed. Inspect fuel pump while it is off. Leave timing marks at TDC.
Inspect p/s pump and hoses. Try to locate the proper, missing fan shroud. Inspect radiator for damage /corrosion. Replace cap.
Inspect motor mounts for damage/or oil contamination and replace as needed.
For the top side, Rule number one when working on anything electrically related. Disconnect battery. Always negative first. Best to disconnect both.
Do a complete ignition parts tune-up: New cap, rotor, ignition wires, proper spark plugs. Inspect/clean all electrical connections. New air filter.
Change the oil and the filter
Follow FSM when reinstalling distributor and setting initial timing.
You don't show what carburetor you have so it is hard to say about condition/adjustments.
All these items would run about $200-400 US for good quality parts. Work could be done in a weekend depending on experience, mechanical aptitude, A good helper, proper tools, clean working area, all items at hand. Gaskets, sealers, oil, filters, coolant, hoses, clamps, hard parts etc...
Except for weak/faulty items like distributor, ballast resistor, Ignition box, coil . This should bring the engine up- to good running condition or a few years of regular driving.
Of course it turns into a snowball but these are all items that would have normally been serviced throughout the life of the car. It is now about 50 years old! Who knows how well it has been serviced over that period of time. This at least gives you a good starting point.
Have fun.

01 340 alternator mount.jpg
01 340 alternator mount.jpgdistributor-install.png01 340 alternator mount.jpgdistributor-install.pngLA-DISTRIBUTOR-DRIVE-GEAR-ALIGNMENT-1.jpgLA-DISTRIBUTOR-DRIVE-GEAR-ALIGNMENT.jpgTDCdamper.jpg
 

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DToro

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I see that you are in the UK. Are parts a problem ? You don't say exactly what you are working on . Looking at the pictures, the power steering bracket is installed incorrectly and the front of the engine could use some clean up as well.
First download a FSM for pictures and instructions. Free Service Manuals – MyMopar
I would first do a compression test to check the basic condition of the engine and carefully inspect the spark plugs ( keep them in the order they came out) to determine any oil/fuel burning problems.
I would replace ( all are safety items) the rubber fuel hoses, plastic fuel filter with a metal one, clamps etc...as needed.
To complete the front of engine service.
Proper timing cover (new), water pump, thermostat, (190°), coolant. Inspect all hoses and replace clamps.
Inspect timing chain for looseness, replace as needed. Inspect fuel pump while it is off. Leave timing marks at TDC.
Inspect p/s pump and hoses. Try to locate the proper, missing fan shroud. Inspect radiator for damage /corrosion. Replace cap.
Inspect motor mounts for damage/or oil contamination and replace as needed.
For the top side, Rule number one when working on anything electrically related. Disconnect battery. Always negative first. Best to disconnect both.
Do a complete ignition parts tune-up: New cap, rotor, ignition wires, proper spark plugs. Inspect/clean all electrical connections. New air filter.
Change the oil and the filter
Follow FSM when reinstalling distributor and setting initial timing.
You don't show what carburetor you have so it is hard to say about condition/adjustments.
All these items would run about $200-400 US for good quality parts. Work could be done in a weekend depending on experience, mechanical aptitude, A good helper, proper tools, clean working area, all items at hand. Gaskets, sealers, oil, filters, coolant, hoses, clamps, hard parts etc...
Except for weak/faulty items like distributor, ballast resistor, Ignition box, coil . This should bring the engine up- to good running condition or a few years of regular driving.
Of course it turns into a snowball but these are all items that would have normally been serviced throughout the life of the car. It is now about 50 years old! Who knows how well it has been serviced over that period of time. This at least gives you a good starting point.
Have fun.
MOPARLEO, thank you so much for you detailed post.

Yes, I'm in the UK and parts aren't really a problem, the money on the other hand...
I can easily order from Rockauto, which I believe is the life saver for us in the UK but the shipping costs are a killer. I ordered a hub seal the other day plus 2 small gaskets, everything could be in a tiny envelope, paid something like £10 for the parts and £50 in total to arrive here.

Anyway, ignoring this... I got this car some time ago, It was sitting in a garage for 10 years after a tranny blown. Someone bought, fixed and sold. Previous owner did what he could and kept the car running but not as often.
I bought the car about 2 years ago. It drives and runs, it's "fine". Despite the radiator issue (which looks worse than it is, I topped it once and always check, water is a bit down but that's it, no change) and a very dirty engine/engine bay/carburetor everything seemed ok. What I like about this car is the fact everything is still very original, almost surreal.
Whoever replaced the carb, didn't have the right parts (or access to it at the time) and they created some things. I replaced the bicycle wire used to the acc pedal and I have in my to do list to buy a cable throttle linkage.
Engine wise it got to a point where it's impossible to clean easily, all the dirt (on the carb for example) is impregnated. Yes it would benefit of a new paint job, etc. I "cleaned" as much as I could with carb cleaner etc on the top part but...

During winter times unfortunately it get extremely condensated and that's obviously isn't good for any metal. To the point of having the hood completely wet inside, a little waterfall happens when I open it. I applied for a extension permissions and been granded so the gar will be garaged as soon as I have money to build it.

Right, so car run and drives, but always too soggy, hesitation, dragging itself. On the motorway it will go as good as it can but I never managed to do a simple small burnout with this one for example. Standing or in movement. The immediate response is just not right.
With all this happening, timing, etc, I noticed the acc pump arm has a lot of movement so the diaphragm is probably gone.

I had no idea about the power steering bracket, will certainly look and try to fix. (steering has been isntalled upside down as well, I only corrected this last week since it's not the most straight forward job)

I'm attaching few pics from the engine bay in case you can identify more issues.
Ah, the ignition system is now an electric one - Pertronix.

And finally... the reason I'm very keen in fixing all this suddenly is because I drove an (excuse my language) Mustang 289 and I was jaw dropped. The immediate response was excellent. So certainly my MOPAR is not doing even 50% of what it can.

Yes, I'll test compressions etc and keep you all updated. Thank you.

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casper

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So you say it runs fine. After checking the key on the balancer and that is fine. I would tune the timing by rpm , turn the engine to point of ignition on #1 cylinder, and put a mark on the timing cover and the harmonic balancer then that would be my timing mark at idle for future tuning and checking
 

Adam

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You could make your own tab, or modify something like this:https://www.classicindustries.com/s.../parts//engine/timing-components/timing-tabs/

On the compression stroke you can remove the #1 spark plug and put a stop tool in there (I have used a piece of fuel line). Gently, by hand, turn the engine over until it hits the stop, and mark it on the tab. Then go the other way until it stops and mark it on the tab. TDC is exactly between these two marks.

I have seen pics of timing pointers made from heavy gauge wire.
 

Adam

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Soggy performance… and no timing mark… how could the timing be optimal? A cheap & quick check for you to try, after you get a timing pointer.

Get or borrow a timing light with an advance wheel built in. Warm up the engine and hook up the timing light, disconnect the vacuum advance.

Rev the engine up above 2000 rpm & adjust the distributor until you have 34 degrees total mechanical advance. This is what most Mopar small blocks like.

With the advance wheel adjusted to 34 on the timing light, the timing mark should appear to be TDC. Rev it up a little more and watch the timing mark, make sure it doesn’t climb above 34.

Return to idle and hook vac advance back up.
You are done, take it for a drive.
 

moparleo

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Looking at your pictures I can see that when they converted to a four barrel carb and manifold they used the 2 barrel linkage again. That is one of the problems with the trans and could also affect how far the carb opens.
The four barrel linkages are longer because on a 4 barrel the primary throttle plate is farther forward on the engine than the 2 barrel which would be centered on the engine.
This makes the throttle cable too short and the kick down rod for the transmission also too short.
When I have more time I will try to get you some pictures of what you need. It looks like a lot of things were not done correctly. May be because proper parts are hard to get there. I see very little original stuff there.
 

Challenger RTA

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So as the saying goes.
Be careful for what you wish for. It might not be what you want or to here .But it might have to be what you have to do. The members here are outstand in helping out!
 
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