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post #1 of (permalink) Old 01-08-2000, 12:22 PM
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Ignition timing

I am new to this forum but I recently bought an 89 Sidekick JLX. I need some information in checking and adjusting the ignition timing. I have Chilton, Haynes and access to AllData on the net. Having read all of that information, my problem is as follows.
Chilton and AllData indicate that I should short out "C" to "D" on the Diagnostic coupler. Problem, there is no wire in the "D" position (three wires only). As an alternative, they say to short "D" to ground.
It makes no sense to short a pin that has no wire on it so I have tried the other pins to no avail.
Shorting of this pin is supposed to set timing at initial setting. Does not work.
Haynes manual has no reference to shorting pins, just read timing and adjust distributor.
I found very little post about any problems about timing so I must be missing something simple.
The real problem is that setting the timing at 8 deg. BTDC causes the sidkick to have no power, the Cat Converter gets extremely hot, etc. All indications are that the timing is not correct. The Timing Belt was changed before I bought the Zuk.
Any advice would be appreciated.

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post #2 of (permalink) Old 01-08-2000, 11:26 PM
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Re: Ignition timing

i have an 89 jlx 5spd as well. i haven't checked the timing for a couple of years, and really don't remember much about it, so i just looked it up in my hayne's. i have no recollection of shorting any pins. i do remember doing that to some connector somewhere to draw codes out of the computer. hayne's does not say to plug the vac advance hose on the dist, but i did anyway. i remember that the vac advance did not seem to change the timing whether it was connected or not, but only caused the timing to change at higher speeds. i checked this by revving the engine and watching the timing mark with the hose connected, and with it disconnected and plugged. make sure that you have all your accessories off when you do this. the interior fan and any lights will up the engine speed, which could screw up your readings. mine idles at around 800 with no accessories on, and you can hear the injection is much quieter then, as it is not trying to idle up the engine with longer duration injections. obvious question is was the tim light on the first cyl, at the front. i will assume yes. i don't remember where the advance hose connects at the intake without running down to the parking garage. is it on the pcv system? i remember a tee there. that pcv must must must be replaced every year. they, and the related hoses plug up with goo. just wondering if vacuum is not making it to the advance due to goop. could have a bad advance too. if the hoses do plug up, you could blow out your valve cover gasket and lose oil first, then your engine, and both very quickly. happened to me, caught it in time. cardboard in front of the rad will get the engine temp up enough in winter to boil off the condensation so it won't plug up the pcv. careful you don't overheat. i use the interior fan on high heat to regulate engine temp on warm winter days. watch out for an oil leak at the front of the engine that seems like the oil pan. the oil pump is vertical on the front of the engine, about an inch thick. the gasket between it and the block fails. check your oil frequently to get a handle on losses, and or consumption. i have 182,000 km on mine now and use around 1 litre in 1200 km, after having the leak fixed. 500 to fix it at the dealer by the way, but worth it for peace of mind. might want to get several tanks of injector cleaner through it too, if you don't know much about the maintenance history. change the trans, diffs, and transfer case oils too. apologies if you already know about this stuff, just trying to help. mine still runs great and has never been apart, and has only had brakes and exhaust and tires over the years. and a new cat. and a new clutch cable. common. if you think the clutch is bad, change the cable first. if the freeplay in the pedal dissappears and the pedal seems like it won't return fully to the top, or you can't get the cruise to engage, that's probably the problem. only 60 bucks for a cable. hmm. wish i could hook up my tim light and check tim readings at several different engine speeds for you so you could compare, but my stuff is in a different city in a storage locker. divorce, yada yada, looking to buy a new garage, i mean house right now. whew. hope something in there was helpful.

post #3 of (permalink) Old 01-13-2000, 08:38 PM
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Re: Ignition timing

Thanks for the information. I went back under the hood and tried one more time to set the timing "by the book" (Haynes). It runs better since I adjusted the throttle position sensor a bit. However, it only starts 1/2 the time now, usually floods and requires disconnect of injector to get started again. It does run, in fact sounds much better than when the timing was advanced. I set the timing at approx. 22 deg BTDC and it runs fine, but is noisy.
I plan to replace the valve seals this week end so I will check the timing marks while the covers are all off and see if the marks are set correct. Then I will do a valve lash adj. and set the timing one more time. Hopefully, I will find something obvious in the process.

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post #4 of (permalink) Old 01-13-2000, 08:50 PM
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Re: Ignition timing

Your first post said 8 deg BTDC, and you ended up setting it at 22 deg BTDC. Was that a typo I was reading. Sure is a big difference, but if it works, what the hey!!!

post #5 of (permalink) Old 01-14-2000, 07:26 PM
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Re: Ignition timing

No typo,it will not run consistently at 8 deg BTDC so I have it set at about 22 deg. I believe the timing belt is off a tooth or two. I plan to check that situation this week end while changing the valve seals. Wish me luck.

post #6 of (permalink) Old 01-14-2000, 07:55 PM
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Re: Ignition timing

Yes, please let us know. I'm still getting a slight knock and I know my timing is set correctly. I wonder if my timing belt has slipped also.

post #7 of (permalink) Old 01-26-2000, 03:40 PM
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Re: Ignition timing

OK, I went trough the considerable work to check the timing belt and timing marks. I found that the timing marks on the crank and cam were properly aligned. My Haynes and Chilton books say that the cam mark should be "up" in line with the mark on the cover when the crank mark is at it's mark. When those two conditions are set, the distributer should be at # 1 plug. Well, that was not the case, it was at the # 4 position. I am glad that the marks lined up OK, but am a bit at an impasse concerning what to do with the distributer. I can just change the wires to the correct position or lift the distributer and rotate the shaft 180 degrees. I am not sure that this will correct the fact that the Sidekick will not run with the timing set at 8 deg BTDC.
I plan to move the plug wires to the proper position first and see if that makes any difference to the timing marks. If not, then I will try rotating the distributer next.
While I was doing all of that work, I also checked the thermostat for proper temperature. It was not working either. It was staying open all the time. lAt least now the thing gets up to normal operating temperature.


post #8 of (permalink) Old 01-26-2000, 06:57 PM
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Re: Ignition timing

With both timing marks in the "up" position, as you described it. The distributor should be pointing at #4. Hand crank the engine 180 so the marks are pointing at each other, then the distributor will be at #1. Sounds like your timing is set.

post #9 of (permalink) Old 02-03-2000, 12:53 PM
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Re: Ignition timing

i have the same problem and cant figure it out ,my timing sits at the same place .if you have any luck let me know


post #10 of (permalink) Old 02-19-2000, 10:16 AM
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Re: Ignition timing

OK guys, I have been away for awhile but here is the latest!
I re-read the book and determined that the Crank to Cam timing belt was correct and that the position #4 was correct on the Distributor. However, the marks on the crank and the timing was still about 22 degrees advanced for a good running point.
I then took out #1 plug, rotated the crank until I got to the #1 firing position and confirmed the mark on the crank pulley was at TDC.
I then confirmed that the distributor was not really at #1.
I pulled the distributor up until the gear disengaged and moved the rotor one tooth.
Needless to say, I went the wrong way the first time but corrected the
mistake and went the other way two teeth. Now the timing is correct with the indicators on the timing cover and it is set at 8 degrees and running good.
In all of this work, I found that the vacume line to the distributor has
no vacume. The line is open to the venturi of the TBI but there is no vacume. This causes a ping/knock on acceleration since the timing is not retarded when the vacume drops.
This weekend, I am going to pull the TBI and see if I can find out why there is no vacume.
This line also feeds the EGR VSV and that is not working either.
Also I noticed there is no vacume on the line going to the cannister from the gas tank.
If any one has any ideas on the "lack of vacume" from the line at the base of the TBI, I would appreciate a response.


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