1. #1


    Okay, so a few weeks ago, my TFI kit that i ordered from http://www.driveajeep.com arrived via air mail and I got it installed pretty easily from the instructions they provided. The biggest problem i found when following the install guide was figuring out the best place to mount the new TFI coil.

    As part of the install, they recommended either re-gapping your spark plugs, or putting in new spark plugs (either gapped to 0.045) This wasn't a problem, I just went and bought myself 6 Bosch Platinum and managed to remember my high-school auto-shop class when they taught us how to do this. (not exactly brain surgery)

    After putting everything together and splicing in the new coil, everything started up pretty much first try and I could immediately tell the difference just by the way it sounded when it idled. Nice and smooth, not shaky and sputtery like the stock distributor and coil were.

    After taking it out on the road, i noticed less sags, and NO more backfiring when i gunned it too hard.

    Okay, so far so good, but i want to smooth it out even more, so the install manual said that i should also set the timing on the engine and advance it to about 6-8 BTDC.
    Now THIS i'd never done before, but I was game to learn something new, so I went out to canadian tire and spent $60 on a new timing gun, and read up in my Haynes manual to find out how to do this.

    Get timing gun.... Check...
    Locate timing marks... uhh... okay, i found it, there are notches, but there are no numbers... (weird)
    locate distributor bolt.... uhh... okay... where the heck is this thing!?!?!
    The manual says it's right under the distributor, but i'm feeling around the bottom of that thing and its completely smooth!

    This is when i start calling up chrystler and asking them if they will deal with it for me. Basically, they wouldnt adjust the timing for me unless they could charge me the standard hourly rate to figure it out, because it probably won't plug into their little computer!!! :-x

    Okay, so i'm on my own... lets have another look at this thing....
    Oh, wait a minute, there's a 1/2" bolt on the actual ENGINE BLOCK next to the base of the distributor rod... I wonder what happens when i loosen it... Hey, we got turning happening... 8-)
    And to think I've been looking on the BOTTOM of the distributor instead of the actual engine block (duh!)

    Okay, Now to put it all in place.
    All in all, it was pretty easy to figure out the timing. When i started, the notch was WAY PAST the END of the timing markers, so i managed to get it into the measured area easy enough and i just kept fiddling with it until it idled without "straining"
    This ended up being closer to 10-12 BTDC rather than the 6-8 BTDC that they called for in the manual.

    Accelleration is nice and smooth, but i can see that this is going to need some fine tuning.

    So here's the part where the questions start:

    1) The timing markers have NO numbers on them. Looking in my haynes manual, i can see a picture that looks CLOSE to what is actually in there (page 1-32 fig 1.30) with the exception that it doesnt have the part with the numbers on it... just the ticks.

    2) I need tips and tricks for fine tuing this timing. Things to look for, things to listen for, things to feel for, and things to smell for.
    I originally figured that the closer i got it to TDC without pinging, the better it would run, but in practicality, i noiced that listening for the smoothest idle made for the best performance, but i'm just GUESSING!!!

    3) That Vacuum advance thingie.... How can i tell if its WORKING or if its TOAST?! Seeing how this is a straight rotor distributor with no points or mechanical advance, I'm a little unclear as to what function it actually HAS on this distributor...

    Anyways, thats all for tonight... There's a big bar of SOAP with my name on it waiting for me in the shower.[addsig]
    \'82 CJ-7 - AMC 258 -
    Mods: Weber Carb, Borla Catback, Juicebox TFI, 31\" BFG AT, Powermaster 150a alternator, H4 headlights, blazer heater motor conversion, WORKING gas gauge.
    Now with 80% less rust!!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    arkansas, or 34*06'N-93*04'W


    how fast do you type that must take forever!!haha[addsig]
    82 CJ5 that dont run.... and is no more.... 94 Z71

    J, you wont be forgotten

  3. #3


    uhh.. i type fast... only took me about 15mins or so to write up.

    I tend to write alot of documentation and zillions of e-mails every day at work, so it kinda comes natural :-D [addsig]
    \'82 CJ-7 - AMC 258 -
    Mods: Weber Carb, Borla Catback, Juicebox TFI, 31\" BFG AT, Powermaster 150a alternator, H4 headlights, blazer heater motor conversion, WORKING gas gauge.
    Now with 80% less rust!!!

  4. #4


    You have to apply vaccum to the vacuum advance unit if it holds it is good. When you timed it did you remove the vacuum hose and plug it? And yu should be reading it at I believe 1600 rpms. Listening is the best way to go.[addsig]

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 1999
    Virginia Beach VA


    I've never had good luck setting my timing, too many vacuum leaks, etc. I always end up just setting the timing by ear [addsig]
    My 2005 Wrangler Build Thread

    He who is without oil shall throw the first rod. -Compressions 8.7:1

  6. #6


    :-D :-D I completed the same upgrade on my 4.2 and also noticed that it was much smoother overall. However, I did NOT adjust the timing for the same reasons you identified (mainly I didn't have a timing light). Anyway, it runs great so I would hate to go against the "if it ain't broke - don't fix it" theme. I just hope that I am not causing any future problems. According to this write up on this at this sight, it doesn't say you HAVE to adjust timing, so there I am :-D [addsig]
    1989 Sahara, 4.2, ignition upgrade, Pioneer CD, 8\" sub, 1\" shackle lift, Bombproof motor mounts. Lots to go!

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