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Thread: HELP. Timing lights not receiving spark signal?

  1. #1

    Default HELP. Timing lights not receiving spark signal?

    Hey Everyone. HELP! I'm trying to set my base timing before i start my engine for the first time. However, neither one of my timing lights are lighting up I CANNOT figure out why. One is an EL Cheapo Speedway brand inductive light and the other is a new digital light. I know you aren't supposed to use a digital light because they don't work well with CD boxes but it doesn't even flash when the cylinder sparks? Let me explain my ignition first. MSD 6AL ignition box, MSD Blaster 2 coil, MSD Pro Billet distributor, MSD 8.5mm wires. It's all controlled by a Holley Super Sniper system. Before you start the vehicle with this system, you are supposed to verify base timing by pulling fuel pump relay then have someone turn the engine over so you can verify timing at the balancer with a light. Got everything ready to go, tried turning it over to set my base timing before I started it, no light on the timing light. So, I changed to a brand new timing light. Still not lighting up. Then, I checked to see if I had spark. YES! There is a consistent firing of cylinder #1, so, I clipped the light to the wire coming from the coil to the distributor, just to see. And it lit up like a Christmas tree. So, I switched back to #1 wire, NOTHING! I HAVE to verify the base timing before I can start this thing. It's killing me! I assumed maybe the wires just suppressed the signal really well so I went a bought a cheap set of wires so I can get a signal to the light, but still NOTHING. I'm completely at a loss here and would appreciate some guidance. Thanks!

  2. #2


    Okay let me get this straight. You're trying to check for spark without starting the engine? And when your checking, what terminal is the rotor pointed to?

  3. #3


    Hello! It ended up being my timing light. It wouldn't pickup any signal from #1 wire. But to clarify, according to my Holley Super Sniper fuel injection instructions, I could set my base timing before I started the engine by selecting "Static Timing" from the menu and turning the engine over while checking the balancer with a light. Both of the timing lights I had wouldn't work. I suspect the old one I had went bad and my new digital didn't like the CDI ignition, I'm assuming anyways. I purchased a "cheap" one from Harbor Freight and it worked like magic!
    But I do have another question for you. Can you verify the installation method for a MSD Pro Billet distributor with a Holley Super Sniper system that is controlling timing? So I installed the distributor at 15° BTDC. I used an adjustable rotor and retarded it 15°. I lined up the rotor with #1 cylinder. I set the Static Timing on the Sniper handheld to 15° BTDC. I start the engine and set the pointer to 15° BTDC. Sound right to you?

  4. #4


    yes sir your on the right track

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