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Which way to advance/retard timing

Old 04-23-2011, 12:37 PM
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Which way to advance/retard timing

If u are looking at the distributor cap from the driver's side, does turning it clockwise retard or advance the timing? I have no money for a timing light so I am gonna turn it little by little one way or another until it drives right. It is very very slow on take off and up hills, so I am thinking it needs to be advanced. I already turned it clockwise 1/8th of an inch and there seems to be no change. Can someone please help?

92 pickup, 4x4, 22re
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Old 04-23-2011, 12:40 PM
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Do not set your timing without a timing light. You can do more harm to your engine then good.
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Old 04-23-2011, 01:35 PM
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I never use one on my rig anymore. I don't really see the point if I'm not trying to set it to stock specs. I have mine advanced by ~13 past that(which is nearly as far as it will go BTW) running on 91 octane. It's a 3VZE, but that's irrelevant, ignition timing is igniton timing on any engine. You set it where you want it, if not stock, get it idling right then do the high load low rpm test. If it pings WOT in 5th gear @ 25 mph, retard it 'till it almost doesn't(it should just slightly). Simple really. And always remember: Mo' advanced = Mo' betta'!

That's why the ECU on EFI engines tries to keep it as advanced as possible/at the brink of detonation, at all times. Thank you knock sensor!

Last edited by MudHippy; 04-24-2011 at 06:33 AM.
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Old 04-23-2011, 01:43 PM
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That's true MudHippy and me and you can get away with doing that, however, if the guy has to ask which direction, he's too inexperienced to be setting his timing by ear the old school way. And if he's turning the dizzy and nothing is happening he's not setting timing correctly anyway and has not looked at the FSM procedure to properly adjust timing on a 22re engine. Meaning the timing jumper. Whatever change he makes without the jumper in the ECU corrects and puts final timing where it is supposed to be.

And doesn't the ECU determine max timing anyway and setting timing on an EFI truck is only setting base timing? Unlike us 22r guys in that the ECU doesn't control timing advance and you can actually set your final advance by keeping the vacuum lines on.

And timing too far retarded is worse then timing too far advanced.

But us old school guys at least on carb'd trucks always set timing to the point where you have max vacuum which usually ends up being where the idle is the highest if you don't have a vacuum gauge.

But my carbd truck doesn't like anything over 3 degrees advanced. At least not on the highway.

EDIT: Advancing timing past factory is not a fix for power issues and should not be used as a trouble shooting tool to gain lost power from something else that might be causing a loss of power. And this is exactly what it sounds like this person is trying to do.

Last edited by xxxtreme22r; 04-23-2011 at 01:51 PM.
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Old 04-23-2011, 02:37 PM
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ok, lol, you dis-ed the guy and STILL NEVER ANSWERED HIS QUESTION!!!! HAHAHAHAHa
If i'm not mistaken its clockwise to advance.
I had a lack of power issue (beyond the fact that the 22RE is not a power moster and its an automatic) and testing/setting the TPS helped.
Guess i'm a real noob too.....whats a "dizzy"??????
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Old 04-23-2011, 03:43 PM
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I didn't give him a straight answer because I wanted him to look at the FSM. If he does he will get his answer. I don't want the guy messing up his motor setting timing incorrectly, because he can damage it. Although, like MudHippy had said with the knock sensor in there it's a little harder.

Notice MudHippy never game him his answer either.

Last edited by xxxtreme22r; 04-23-2011 at 03:49 PM.
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Old 04-23-2011, 05:33 PM
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understood, I just wasnt quite as willing to doubt his abilities as being completely incompetent simply because he asked a question that seemed uneducated. I have built and set the timing on more motors than I care to count for the last 32 yrs and when I got into my toyota I had to ask questions. That is how we learn. If we dont ask we will forever be uneducated.
From my experience, unlessyou have pulled the distributor and turned the rotor, you cant hurt the motor by adjusting the timing to its mechanical limit @ the distributor. IMHO
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Old 04-23-2011, 06:08 PM
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Again what is a dizzy?
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Old 04-23-2011, 06:24 PM
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Originally Posted by xxxtreme22r View Post
Notice MudHippy never game him his answer either.
Sorry. Clockwise = advance.

But regardless of whichever way the distributor is turned, if it raises the idle speed that direction is advancing the timing. If it lowers the idle speed, that direction retards the timing. That's true for any engine with a distributor.

Originally Posted by Buck87 View Post
Again what is a dizzy?
Dizztributor.


Adding to the topic:

What I was refering to was the knock control system.
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The ESA system on these engines is actually quite simple. It's fully explained in this pdf: http://autoshop101.com/forms/h40.pdf

And, no, base timing(a.k.a. initial timing) changes everything. The ECU can't change it, and has to make it's calculations for the exact ignition timing based on it. It can only advance, or not advance, the timing angle beyond the base/initial timing angle.

What you mean is the basic and/or corrective ignition advance, which is all the ECU does as far as ignition timing correction. Essentially, it only has ~2/3 control of the final/actual timing advance angle. You have control of the rest.
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Last edited by MudHippy; 04-24-2011 at 06:24 AM.
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Old 04-23-2011, 06:52 PM
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Jason, borrow a timing light. Jason just get it done.
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Old 04-23-2011, 07:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Teuf View Post
Jason, borrow a timing light. Jason just get it done.


Ya gotta start somewhere to know where the hell you're at whichever way you do it.

I don't know if this is common for all 3VZEs, or maybe just 88s, or just my 88. Anyways, stock timing is way too easy to set without a light than to bother hooking one up. Just turn the distributor fully counter-clockwise 'till it stops. BANG! 10 BTDC spot on every time.

Last edited by MudHippy; 04-24-2011 at 07:07 AM.
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Old 04-24-2011, 06:10 AM
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Originally Posted by worshipmentor View Post
ok, lol, you dis-ed the guy and STILL NEVER ANSWERED HIS QUESTION!!!! HAHAHAHAHa
If i'm not mistaken its clockwise to advance.
I had a lack of power issue (beyond the fact that the 22RE is not a power moster and its an automatic) and testing/setting the TPS helped.
Guess i'm a real noob too.....whats a "dizzy"??????
THANK YOU WORSHIP MENTOR! I had an '88 Z-28 that I worked on extensively - switched from a 305 EFI to 383 stroker EFI and finally to 383 stroker carbed which involves swapping out distributors among many other things. I messed with the timing a lot on those motors. I am very experienced and comfortable with setting timing by ear.

I just thought the timing direction on a Toyota MIGHT be different from a GM. I went ahead and set it yesterday before I got replies. I marked the initial setting with an awl by the bolt that keeps the dist from turning, so I fiured I would just set it back there if things went awry. I turned it clockwise. It took 2 times, but it idles smoothly, takes off better, goes up hills better (LOL) and doesnt ping anywhere from 0 to 65 mph.

Thanks for all the replies and have a great day!
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Old 04-24-2011, 06:30 AM
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Anytime!(Pardon the pun)
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Old 04-24-2011, 06:50 AM
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Couldn't one figure out which direction to turn the distributor by looking at the firing order on the cap? This would tell you in which direction the rotor turns. In order to advance the timing you would turn the dizzy in the opposite direction. This would be on any engine. Not just a toyota.

I know for me if someone couldn't figure out in which direction to turn my rotor to set my timing, my truck nor any other friends vehicle would no longer be in their shop or taken to it. I don't care if they have been working on SBC's for 30 years. Just saying.

And I didn't mean to dis the guy, but with the info originally given I like to err on the side of caution as I would prefer not to see someone mess up their engine because they got in over their head. Even with as easy as timing an engine is.
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Old 02-01-2014, 06:48 AM
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i was hopping you or mudhippy could help. ive raced celicas all my life. ( dirt track) im use to locking down vac. advance or using electronic distr. and setting my timing at 29 btdc with my 500+ lift cam so there is no adjustment at my constant 4500+ rpms.
i recently did a supercharger upgrade on my 84 4x4. 20/22r hybrid build with custom 93mm 20r pistons. so it is basicly like a 2.5 liter 20r. my problem is at heavy loads its falling on its nose i think largely bc at 10psi it does not have enough retard in the timing. how do i retard the timing so that it still idles fine.
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Old 02-07-2014, 08:44 PM
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While were on the topic of timing I have a question too. Im new to toyota and working on trucks in general and I just bout a beat up 82 pickup with the 22r (carbureted) and a lot of the emissions gear has been removed and I'm trying to get the truck to pass. Everything I saw online said 6 degrees advanced was the magic number for the best burn. I set it to that and i definitely noticed it runs much smoother and has a little extra power but will that make it run cleaner cuz that's all I'm worried about till I can do the efi swap I'm planning and throw a new cat in there. Thanks for any help and if you have any other tricks to help me pass an emission test till I can do the swap it will be greatly appreciated.
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Old 02-14-2014, 11:48 AM
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Timing lights that are sufficient for what you need are $30 at harbor freight. Get one. From 10 to 12* btdc alone makes a big difference in performance!
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Old 03-08-2015, 02:56 PM
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how many degrees?

I have a 85 22r Toyota pickup 4th gen and need to know how many degrees to set to for stock? Anyone know for sure?
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Old 03-11-2015, 04:50 PM
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The 85 is considered a 2nd gen just FYI. As to advance and retarding of timing. If your not sure you should get a timing light so you do not give it to much timing. This can generate too much heat and cause problems. Timing light are cheap compared to engines.
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Old 09-29-2016, 03:45 PM
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So my car just failed smog because it was FB 28 on the ignition timing and I was wondering if it was possible that the previous owner put the distributor in wrong because apparently I need to advance the timing 28 degrees it to pass smog it is turned aas far as it will go counter clockwise. How many degrees are on a stock distributer for a 1987 22rte pickup? Should I just advance it? It is also running really well it passed everything besides the ignition timing
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