How do I put a 1977 ford with the 351 back in time?

Blake Rulo

Asked by Jun 15, 2014 at 06:49 PM

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

3 Answers


Valve timing or ignition timing? -Jim

Blake Rulo

Idk it's my buddy's truck all I know is that it jump time and he tried turning the distributor but still can't get it right.


Ok, so since he disturbed the distributor we're talking about both valve timing and ignition timing. You'll need to replace the timing chain & sprockets. On the new timing chain set you will see dimples on both the crankshaft and camshaft sprockets (gears). Using a repair manual or factory shop manual line up the dimples as per the instructions in the manual. Some engines need to have the crankshaft sprocket dimple at 12 o'clock and the camshaft dimple at 6 o'clock while other engines need both dimples at 12 o'clock. Before we go any further this IS a MAJOR job. Expect it to take an afternoon or more. Once you get the valve timing set either #1 or #6 cylinder will be at top dead center. We want the distributor rotor to line up with that cylinder number tower on the distributor. With the distributor cap on, mark the distributor housing at the correct tower then remove the distributor cap. Line up the rotor to the mark you just made and install the distributor. The rotor will move slightly as the distributor is installed as the gears mesh inside the engine. When you see how much & which direction the rotor moves, remove the distributor, reset the rotor accordingly, then reinstall the distributor. As your buddy cranks the engine, move the distributor slowly in one direction then the other until the engine starts. Shut off the engine and clamp down the distributor assembly. Now, using a timing light, set the ignition timing to factory specs by turning the distributor assembly slowly until the timing mark on the harmonic balancer line up with the gauge on the engine front cover. One final note, I don't know if, on this particular engine if the valves have been damaged by the timing chain jumping. You'll need to find this out as well. HTH -Jim

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