Re: What should I set my timing to?
Set your timing to as much as your motor will tolerate. Give the motor what it wants not what you think it should like(like a woman [img]images/graemlins/smirk.gif[/img] )This is generally 8-12 or so. Disconect the vac advance(pull the vacume line and plug it)and time it to 10 and reattach the vac advance and take her for a trip. Make sure its all warmed up and get it under load, go up some hills or pull a trailer or drag around some goats in the back, what ever. Do it under different throttle positions from light to full and try to get her to ping. If it dosnt give it more, if it does back it off a bit till it dosnt. If it dosnt ping except at light throttle position(high vac) you might try an adjustable vac advance or try limiting yours. Most distributors give too much vac advance IMO.
How you go about using a timing light depends on what kind you have. If its the adjustable kind then adjust the light to 10 degrees and get the mark on the balancer to line up with 0 degrees on the timing tab. If its non adjustable then you need to move the mark on the distributor to the mark on the timing tab you want.
Sometimes the mark on the balancer is off from the timing tab. If something seems weird(like the motor seems to like 18 degrees advance and there is no sign of detonation or pinging) then there is a chance something is screwey.
If you think you set it right and you are a ways from home and notice some ping you can always yank the vac advance line or dump in some 93 octane till you get home to keep from running in detonation longer than necissary.