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Thread: initial timing settings?

  1. #1

    Default initial timing settings?

    I've been having troubles with hard hot starting, so I bumped my initial timing from 10 to 8. still having troubles (killing starters, ive killed 5 starters this summer) talked to the MSD tech on the phone he suggested bumping my timing from 8 to 12. does this seem backwards to anyone else?

    what are you High Compression engine users setting your initial to? I have 11:1 compression.....

  2. #2

    Default initial timing settings?


    Sorry to hear about your multiple starter problems. I'm sure there is a fix, it's a matter of having all of the information. Your engine is 11:1 compression 455, and you have had 5 bad starters in the past few months. What type of starters are these that you are using? All the same? Napa or Pep Boys OEM rebuilt replacements? Aftermarket?

    When you say your killing all of these starters, what exactly are the symptoms? Is it the same problem every time? Any strange noises? Under hot or cold engine conditions?You get the point...

    Your initial timing of 10 to 8 to 12 is not gonna solve the problem, it lies elsewhere.

    Generally speaking, compression ratio vs starter torque:

    up to 10:1=160

    up to 12:1=180

    up to 18:1=200

    over 18:1 =250

    More good info from you will solve the problem,


  3. #3

    Default initial timing settings?

    Are you running headers ? how close is the starter to the headers ? Heat Kills !!! Is your battery good ? I had a hot starting problem (didn't kill starter) but my battery was old . new one in and starts right up !!

    Good luck !!!

  4. #4

    Default initial timing settings?


    im using a custom built starter that is hand built by a guy that is renound for making the best quality starters, so I know for sure that it isn't the starter. the symptoms are they destroy the plastic inner ring gear (not sure what you call it). i just today killed ANOTHER starter, the engine was cold, i started it once, then went to start it again, and i get that ZIIInggg sound. so it isn't just the heat. more info... i thought that the issue was that the battery want charging enough which was stressing the starter, so i put in a high amp alternator, ran a thick battery cable from the back of the alternator directly to the battery (which is in the trunk) so the battery wohuld charge better. then i took the battery to a battery store and they did a load test, said it was a tiny bit weak, but it was ok.


    im beginning to think that it isn't the heat. put in a brand new starter today started up the first time, and i shut it off to adjust the atomic initial timing and the starter fried (after only about 15 seconds of running)

  5. #5

    Default initial timing settings?


    Now were getting somewhere. Your flywheel could be a Buick 166 tooth and your builder might be setting you up with a starter gear that is for a Chevy 168 tooth or even worse a 153 tooth. Your gonna have to count the teeth to know for sure.

    Let us know,


  6. #6

    Default initial timing settings?

    my starter was built by a buick guy, builds starters for the buick community. so probably not that, but i will ask him

  7. #7

    Default initial timing settings?

    Two questions:

    Are you "toasting" the same starters? ... or are they of different manufactures?

    When the engine is rolling over to start, is it 100% smooth or does the engine try to buck and kick back or anything unusual at all?

    We should be able to get this figured out with you. It also may be helpful to identify the small plastic piece/gear that is letting go.

  8. #8

    Default initial timing settings?

    any help is appreciated.

    this last starter was from a local starter/alternator shop, it only lasted for 1 start. the others are from that other guy that hand builds them and they seem to last a lot longer. when the engine is cranking, it goes smooth most of the time, sporadically it will kick back, there seems to be no consistency in which it kicks back.

  9. #9
    msdtech1955 Guest

    Default initial timing settings?

    if it zings...that means it either kicked out(voltage or ground) or that sprag it not working.

    Latitude: 31.730125
    Longitude: -106.29673

    Attached files

  10. #10

    Default initial timing settings?

    Understand the reasoning why you added the heavier gauge from the alternator to the battery direct. Are you running a 2 gauge battery cable from the trunk mounted battery directly to the starter, to a "ford" solenoid, junction connection or ??

    Also, what did you do about grounding? How are you grounded up front, engine to chassis and how is the battery grounded in back? Please include what size/gauge cable being used.

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