The regulation of a car refers to starting and the process by which the spark plugs ignite creating a spark in the combustion chamber of the car. The starter must be set correctly for the car to achieve the highest level of performance, which affects the speed and efficiency with which the engine starts. You can adjust your car's ignition using a strobe gun and a set of wrenches (tools you can find at any auto parts store).
Part 1 of 3: Know what ignition regulation consists of
Step 1. Find out whether or not your car needs an adjustment
A modern car that is controlled by electronic ignition does not need to have the starter adjusted, but an older car with a 4-stroke engine requires that the starter be adjusted periodically to optimize the efficiency of the engine, keeping in mind that the spark must be ignited at the right time during the ignition cycle.
If you hear signs (such as metallic sounds or engine backfire) that indicate that the regulation of your car is not working at all well, or if its power is very rich or very poor, you will need to take it to the mechanic or adjust the regulation yourself same
Step 2. Learn about the ignition cycle
The four "strokes" in the four-stroke engine refer to the intake, compression, expansion, and exhaust processes. Ignition timing refers to the point between compression and expansion at which the spark plug ignites and causes combustion resulting in horsepower (by forcing the piston into the cylinder).
The spark plug should ignite when the piston is positioned for the compression stroke just before it reaches its maximum point (known as "top dead center"). Over time, this tends to get a bit misaligned, making it difficult to find an optimal time to light the spark plug. The distance before "top dead center" is the ignition timing and is represented by a row of ordered numbers on the balancer or flywheel through an access hole
Step 3. Learn the ignition timing number
Look for a row of numbers that looks like a ruler on the front of the engine's harmonic balancer (or flywheel), which should have the numbers above and below zero. Normally, when the car is zero kilometers, the ignition timing is the factory default before top dead center. Regulation advances as engine speed accelerates; however, this results in a variable that will need to be adjusted periodically using a strobe gun.
The numbers to the left of zero on the timing belt refer to the piston as it moves down, while the numbers to the right of zero refer to the movement of the piston upward. Moving the wheel to the right is known as "advancing" the regulation, while moving it to the left is known as "lagging" the regulation
Part 2 of 3: Check the ignition timing
Step 1. Connect your strobe gun or timing light
Plug the strobe gun into the power and ground terminals on your car battery, and plug the sensor that came with the gun into the first cylinder spark plug wire. Follow the particular instructions for your strobe gun to connect it correctly.
The "gun" works by lighting the timing marks stroboscopically as it turns, allowing you to see the point where the spark plug fires above the timing rate. When the spark plug ignites, the sensor sends a signal to the light, which flashes on the gun, illuminating the numbers at the proper time
Step 2. Find someone to help you rev the engine
To check the timing number and watch it light up, ask a friend to rev the engine while you light up the timing numbers with the gun. Obviously, you have to make sure the car is parked. Keep your hands a safe distance from the engine while accelerating.
Step 3. Point the light directly onto the harmonic balancer and find the number
Even though the wheel turns, the light should appear to "freeze" at a certain number. This is the regulation number. Take into account the number of degrees to the right or left of zero.
- Since the revolutions per minute increase, the point at which the spark plug ignites must also increase a little. This is normal because the ignition runs in a curve, allowing you to increase speed and adjust the throttle accordingly.
- To check full throttle, you should make sure to rev the engine to at least 3500 rpm. This will allow you to ensure that the ignition timing curve is being created, as well as the initial timing.
Step 4. If necessary, count for idle trim
If your vehicle has advance vacuum regulation (in addition to mechanical regulation), you will need to loosen the distributor adjusting bolt before starting the engine. Next, you must remove the vacuum advance hose from the carburetor and plug it with a cloth to check the regulation.
The idle regulation works by minor adjustments at low rpm, turning slightly to adjust the regulation
Step 5. If necessary, adjust the regulation
Now that you've found the ignition timing number, how do you know if it needs an adjustment? All car models have different regulation values, depending on the year in which they were manufactured and the variety of transmission used. To find out whether or not it is necessary to adjust the regulation, find the optimal regulation number for the make and model of your car and adjust it if necessary.
If you don't know the regulation number for your car, go to a mechanic or licensed employee at your local auto parts store and consult their manuals to find the appropriate regulation number
Part 3 of 3: Adjust Ignition Timing
Step 1. Loosen the bolt holding the engine distributor just enough that it can be flipped over
To adjust the regulation, all you have to do is turn the body of the distributor in one direction or the other, whether you want to advance or delay the regulation.
If the rotor turns to the right, you will advance the regulation by turning the distributor to the left, and vice versa. You will need to give it a tap to get it right, so find someone to help you rev the engine, check the number, and turn the distributor
Step 2. Make adjustments while the engine is idling
Grip the distributor firmly and slowly turn it to one side or the other. Continue turning until the adjustment mark is in the correct position. Align the timing marks by continually moving the distributor and checking with the strobe gun. Once you fit it where you want it, lock it back in by tightening the bolts on the distributor.
Step 3. When in doubt, full regulation should be somewhere between 34 and 36 degrees
A small block throttle curve (typical for Chevy's) should be set somewhere in this range for maximum performance when revving the engine to 3,500 rpm. At this point, regulation should stop moving forward and should remain stable.
The total throttle number minus the base throttle number must match the motor specifications for the total degrees of advance. If a number is not specified, you could have a problem with the distributor's mechanical advance
Step 4. Tighten the distributor bolt after making sure the regulation is set correctly
- It is always good to clean car parts after removing them, and check for wear before reinstalling.
- Clean the timing mark index on the harmonic balancer and mark the top dead center mark with some white or yellow paint to make it easier for you to see.
- Remember that you are going to work under the hood of the car, turning the engine on and off. Make sure you take the necessary safety measures, such as wearing closed shoes and gloves, and not loose clothing that can get caught in some moving part under the hood of the car.
- The distributor sends the high voltage electrical current for starting. A damaged distributor or worn spark plug wire can deliver a painful shock when handled with the engine running.
- Make sure to let the engine cool down before you begin removing any of the parts as they could be hot.