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S1 Esprit ignition timing


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Is there a good write up on how to do this. It’s my first time attempting it. 

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Hi Tony,

Have you set the timing on another car?  

if so…

There are some marks on the flywheel that can be seen through an opening in the top of the transmission bell housing. You can jack up on rear wheel, the the car in gear and turn the engine to TDC so you can see the marks. I highlighted mine with a silver Sharpie marker to make them more visible. 

There are marks on the crank pulley in the front but I don’t think you could see them with a timing light while the engine is running. 

I don’t remember the proper timing. Maybe 8-10 deg Before TDC at idle. 

If you have never measured ignition timing, you will obviously need a timing light. To change the timing, you need to loosen the distributor and rotate it. This can be a headache if you don’t remove the air filter housing. I have also found that the Esprit distributor is prone to “popping out” and coming off the drive gear which necessitates resetting everything. 

I don’t know if I have told you too much or too little. 


Jim McLeskey Richmond, VA USA

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  • 3 weeks later...

As above, make sure when you do the timing it is set at 3000 rpm or whatever the higher figure is in the manual. The reason for this is the engine will spend most of its life operating around the higher rpm. When it reduces to idle you will find its around 8-10 if the distributor is in good condition.

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