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After reading some of the threads on engine timing, I decided to check my own timing with a light. I have a 1600 GT Jr. and after running the engine past 5000 rmp, I noticed the advance was quite a bit less than the MAX timing mark. The car runs okay but never really had that punch. If I loosen the pinch bolt at the base of the distributor, should I rotate the distributor clockwise to advance? Should I rotate it while the engine is running? Or just twist it in small increments while stationary and then use the timing light until I get the desired reading?
 

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more advance means turning in anti clockwise direction.
I would turn the distributor while stationary. Be careful not to stick a finger in the fan. It is safer to do it with a stopped engine
 

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timing advance

If I recall correctly, the MAX mark on the pulley is at 40degrees advance.
Most modern fuels struggle to deliver the required octane to manage that (so I have been told). When my car (1600 GT Junior) was set up on the rolling road recently, it was set at 34 degrees advance. This was the optimum point before power / torque started dropping off.

A tip I was given by the chap running the rolling road... put some white tippex (typewriter correcter fluid) between the clamp and the moving base, then when that has dried (less than 5 mins) use a pen to scribe a line in the tippex. This will give you an accurate marker of where you started. Then, move the distributor (when engine off) in 1 or 2 degree increments (again, the tippex will be your reference point) and move it to establish whether performance improves at high revs, or gets worse (or possibly starts 'pinking').

You should be safe doing that, as you'll always have your reference point if things dont work out.

Of course, before you start changing the timing, check your dwell (points gap).
 
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