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Aligning harmonic balancer (crankshaft) pulley with Piston #1 at TDC

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I have a timing question question:

Can i adjust the camshaft and crankshaft sprockets to the right timing position without moving the whole crank shaft and messing with the position of the pistons? after taking off the timing cover? would i need to remove anything else before adjustment?

my Timing mark on the Harmonic Balancer is failing to line up with the 0 degree timing mark on the timing cover.. I changed distributor and failed to take it TDC on piston #1 compression stroke. Sooooooooooooo I think that my timing may be off

Hence the question on whether i can align those sprockets, align the dist. correctly and then I should be good?

Or should I put it all back together with dist rotor at 1 and piston 1 at TDC?

All suggestions are welcome!!!!! PLEASE and THANK YOU!!!!!!
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You will need to determine if #1 is at top of compression or exhaust. With valve cover off, it you can see if both valves are closed when approaching top dead center.

The other issue, (not clear from your wording) is whether zero mark aligns correctly to top dead center. If the pulley is old, it is possilble that it slipped on the rubber. Best bet is to simply replace it.

Timing gears are a separate issue. If the marks on the gears line up valve timing is ok, otherwise it must be fixed. Changing cam timing has nothing to do with whether the pulley correctly indicates TDC.

Premium Member
12,482 Posts
With #1 spark plug removed, turn the engine over clockwise using the 3/4″ front crankshaft bolt.

You will see the degree marks on your front cover and you will see the timing mark on the balancer. Mark them with chalk or white-out.

While turning the engine over, put your finger/thumb over #1 spark plug hole. As the mark on the balancer approaches the marks on the front cover, if you are coming up on #1 TDC, pressure in the cylinder will push on your finger. If there’s no pressure, you’re at #6 TDC and need to crank the engine over until you see the marks coming together and you get pressure. Set the mark on the balancer to the 0 mark on the front cover.
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