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MG MGB GT V8 Factory Originals Technical - Timing for 215 Buick

Can anyone tell me the correct timing setting for the Buick 215? Ready to fire it up and need to know the correct setting once I get it going.
Jeff Howell

Here ya go, Jeff.
Carl Floyd

It seems to be rather tolerant of timing variations. Somewhere, I think it may have been the 215 group on yahoo, at one time there was a thread in which it was recommended to change the timing to assist in keeping the engine cooler. I can't remember the recommendation but the number 13 comes to mind for some reason. I think I always ran about 10. I tried it all over the place and never did get the engine to ping. No idea why, it just didn't. Or maybe I just couldn't hear it. Anyway I think you can't possibly go wrong with 5 but can do better. Best of luck.

Jim Blackwood

Timing varies from engine to engine. The numbers are genetic to all Buick engines. Head chamber design (open,closed), compression, cam, carburation, manifold, altitude and fuel grade.

The best way to time an engine is with a vacuum gauge, the grade of fuel you will be using and at running temp.

Place the vacuum gauge on a direct vacuum port (full vacuum) make sure you chuck the wheels. start to adjust the carb until you get the highest number of vacuum, once this is done you may proceed to adjust the timing; 1. Set idle to 2000 rpm with vacuum advance conected. 2. start to advance the distributor until you get the highest vacuum number keep going until starts to drop, go back to the highest number of vacuum and reduce by 1/2 of vacuum. secure the bolt adjust idle to the highest vacuum # This will take care of the cam needs.

Your timing is done. Get a timing light and record the timing numbers for future tuning. You may be surprise of the numbers, do not worry about it.

Yes, engine will run cooler and it will be more responsive and quicker starts. Just make sure your carb has the correct jets. This process will take care of your engines needs. At cruising speed you will notice that the engine uses less throtle and it's more responsive plus gas mileage will improve.
Bill Guzman

Sounds like a good proceedure Bill, but could you be a little more specific on the part about reducing vacuum to 1/2 and setting the idle? I don't think that part was really clear. Thx

Jim Blackwood

Yes Jim.
Once you reach max vacuum, lets say 26 inches of vacuum at 2000 rpm, you would then reduce the amount of vacuum by retarding timing until it would read
25 1/2 This would avoid any pin in the engine.

Bring back to idle and adjust idle screw until the vacuum reads the highest point without going over 1000 rpm lets say 16 or < inches of vacuum if you have a heavy cam, some times it may require an idle of 1200 or hihger it all depends on the cam and carb. The engine should run smooth at idle when set with this process. You should be able to release the clutch without using the gas pedal and it should not stall.
Then everything is right.

Looking forward to see you again Jim. I have lots of questions about megasquirt.
Bill Guzman

Great info, Bill. Thanks.

My 215 does as Jim said. It doesn't seem to care much where I set the timing. I have twisted that distributor all over the place. You have to go quite extreme to tell a difference. I've never seen anything like it.
Carl Floyd

Carl, the head design and the compression ratio has allot to do with how much timing it will take. Alum heads can tolerate more timing due to the quicker release of heat build up thus eliminating detonation, which means more advance timing can be given to the engine.

Carl, hope to see you soon in TN.

Bill Guzman

Ah, now it all makes sense. Thanks for the clarification. Now here's where it gets fun, I can do all of that without leaving the driver's seat! I've got full control of timing and mixture as well as idle air control. But I can't say I've exactly become expert at it yet, still more tuning to do, and more learning. But this has helped. Looks like I'll have to fire up the truck and play with the settings some more, maybe there's more to be had there.

As for the MG, I've completed the work on power distribution, fuses, relays, and all but a few terminations under the hood such as the headlights and a few sensors so it looks like it's time to move inside and begin terminating the wires behind the dash. Should be pretty easy but it does involve a lot of wires. Still, one at a time and it'll soon be done.

I found a very good inexpensive ratchet type crimper for open barrel type connectors and will be getting that info to Dan for inclusion on his website.

Sorry Jeff, didn't mean to hijack your thread there. I'm really looking forward to Townsend this year, promises to be the best meet ever.

Jim Blackwood

Bill, thanks for the info and I will give this a try. I did get it to fire last night, but lost a quart and half of oil, the gasket on the oil filter slipped out the poured oil all over the floor. This leads to my second question. I was hitting almost 70# of oil pressure. My old 215 never went over 45#. Is this something I should be concerned about. Did not run the engine but about a couple of minutes as the wife was yelling (no mufflers and in the basement fumes) and did not run up the RPM past 2500 RPM.
Jeff Howell

Jeff, 80 lb of oil pressure is normal, when hot it should be around 35-60 lb of pressure. It also depends on the viscosity of the oil a 20-50 will read higher pressure than a 10-30.

My 3.8 V6 Buick engine runs 80 lb cold and 50 hot on 5-30 Mobnil 1 on a real hot day of 102 dry heat will run 40 lb hot.
Bill Guzman

Bill, my old 215 V8 was never over 50# and this just threw me. I cranked it again for a minute and the darn oil filter gasket blew out again. I threw the whole thing away and installed a new one as I was tired moping oil. I have not got it hot yet and my rebuilder suggested I break it in with 30 weight oil. After 300 miles will switch to 10-30w. Hope to crank it again to see if the gasket issue is over.

Thanks for the reply and hope to have it on the road next weekend.
Jeff Howell

hey Jeff are you going to Townsend in April
Todd Price

sorry in june 18th to 21

Todd, yes I plan on going. I have paid my fees and looking forward. Do you plan on attending?
Did you ever get your car finished? As you can tell I just cranked it for the first time and tieing up the last of finishing touches.
Jeff Howell

"I cranked it again for a minute and the darn oil filter gasket blew out again."

" rebuilder..."


I'm thinking we need to re-evaluate. I agree with the 30wt break-in oil. Did he do anything to jack the oil pressure? I have bigger oil pump gears for my next engine, but my 215 has stock gears. Also, did he give you specific cam break-in instructions?
Carl Floyd

The voice of experience, Jim Stuart sez:

"Various springs are available which will change the opening (or closing?) point of the pressure relief valve, which is part of the oil pump. When doing the mods to my oil pump to make it a high volume pump, the kit from Melling contained several springs of different strength & color. Using the recommended spring resulted in 100 lbs of pressure at idle, pegging the gauge while running. Far too much pressure. After experimenting, I finally went back to the old, used stock spring originally in the pump. Idle pressure, hot, 800 rpm's is around 25 lbs, hot running at 2000 rpm's is around 45 lbs. This is on a 4.2 that now has around 250,000 miles- same pressure as when new."

Found in the archives.
Carl Floyd

About the only thing I can think of that would cause enough pressure to blow out the gasket when cranking would be if the pressure relief valve was sticking. Either that or you have a bad filter. With that much pressure a multi-grade oil should do fine, I'd try the new filter first and maybe pull the relief and make sure there's not a problem there. Maybe ask your rebuilder if he replaced the spring.

Jim Blackwood

The gears were stock, but I went to the pancake oil filter housing that I bought through D&D. It came from over the pond and has FLOTEC stamped on it. It is very slim and I installed it as is with no changes. I cranked it again last night with a new filter and it did not blow out the gasket. My wife was at the wheel and said it went up to about 70#. I only ran it about a minute as I do not have all my coolant in it yet. I order Prop. Glycol which you do not add water and did not have enough to fill the radiator. Waiting on my third gallon to arrive to top it off to run it for a period of time.
Has anyone ever run the FLOTEC adapter and ran into this? The FLOTEC has two brass screws in the back, Jim do you know if this is where you could put different springs to control the pressure? I will call D&D Monday to see if they have ran into this.
I guess more press is always better than low or no pressure.....
Jeff Howell

This thread was discussed between 29/03/2006 and 02/04/2006

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