Timing light recommendations

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chevytech87

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Good evening everyone!

I finally got my new motor to run and idle today. Took a lot longer than expected to get everything together, learned a lot of new things over the past month. I’m fairly confident I’ve got my base timing kind of close, but really want to put a light on it to check. Unfortunately, nobody in the shop has one anymore. I’ve been advised to find one with a dial. Any suggestions on a unit that isn’t junk and what flavor (digital, dial, neither?) I should be after? This is my first old tech project so I’m a little clueless as to what’s good or bad. Like I said, been learning a lot and having a blast. Very different than my day to day dealership work.

All suggestions appreciated!
 

gmbellew

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I just have a basic bosch one with no dial. works fine for setting base timing. checking for spark, etc. i think I got it online at O'Reilly 4 or 5 years ago for $50. if you want to check total timing and things like that, you'd want one with a dial.
 

bucket

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I've got an old Sears timing light from the 70's. No dial. Not trying to toot my own horn, but I have no trouble checking total timing advance without a dial, just by gauging where the timing marks "would be" if the timing tab was longer. Yeah, I could be off by a degree or so, but I don't have any high strung race engines.

Putting a timing tape on the balancer would make a dial not needed as well.
 

squaredeal91

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All anyone needs is a standard one. Ive got one with a dial tho, its not digital. I like the dial for finding out maximum advance when tuning.
 

chevytech87

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All I really need is to set base for now. I like the degree tape though, another thing I didn’t know existed! Pretty neat. Slightly unrelated, it seems to idle high, around 750-850ish. The cam is a roller 236/252’ at .050” with .565 lift on 110’ lsa. Maybe that’s just where it needs to be?
 

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Rickf

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I've had a snap-on MT1261 for 25+ years, bought it used, don't recall how much I paid, must have been cheap because I am.
 

75gmck25

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I’m using an Innova light with setback dial and a tachometer readout, and IIRC it was about $100-110. It seems to be good quality, and it has all the info I need in one package (both timing and rpm) to check my vacuum and mechanical advance.

I first tried buying a similar light from Harbor Freight, but returned two of them because the tach readout was incorrect. Good quality control - all of them have the same inaccuracy!
 

matt4426

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2nd the Innova dial back timing light. The light is very bright. The dial back feature is way nicer than trying to use a degree sticker that always flies off the balancer. O'reillys and other auto parts stores carry them in stock.
 

matt4426

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All I really need is to set base for now. I like the degree tape though, another thing I didn’t know existed! Pretty neat. Slightly unrelated, it seems to idle high, around 750-850ish. The cam is a roller 236/252’ at .050” with .565 lift on 110’ lsa. Maybe that’s just where it needs to be?

That's a pretty big cam. It will probably like alot of initial advance. You running vacuum advance?
 

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bucket

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chevytech87

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That's a pretty big cam. It will probably like alot of initial advance. You running vacuum advance?
No, I’ve got a hyperspark setup with a sniper. So allegedly I can set timing for startup, idle, etc. in the controller. We’ll see. The cam is definitely larger than I was led to believe, this was a mystery motor I got from a coworkers abandoned project. Many specs unknown, lots of fun
 

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