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1949 Roadmaster Timing


autonut
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I purchased a '49 Roadmaster about eight months ago.  The other day I decided to check point gap and timing. Point gap was okay and then to check timing.  We could not see any timing mark!!  We put the timing light on all cylinders and was never able to see the timing mark we are suppose to see.  Did the mark come off or did someone put the engine together without the mark??  All a mystery at this point!!

Can anyone enlighten me on how the timing mark was attached to the flywheel?  Most cars I have worked on, the timing mark is on the front crankshaft balancer and is easier to see and get at with a timing light.  I have never been into a Buick eight engine so don't know how they are constructed. Hopefully someone can help me out of this dilemma.  Engine runs okay so timing can't be that far off but no way to really check it. Any & all suggestions will be greatly appreciated.  Thanks/Lee

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Check your manual.  On earlier straight 8's The timing mark is on the flywheel and is seen through a "window" on the bellhousing at the rear of the engine.

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Hello,there may be a metal cover over the flywheel window,most are missing.On the flywheel itself there is a marking that is supposed to be painted,get number 1 cylinder at top dead center and you should see the marking,believe it is 4 degrees from tdc it is like a grid mark on flywheel.If that doesn’t work pull off the lower flywheel cover and turn engine over until you can find .There are two marks on flywheel also used for setting valves timing mark and bottom dead center.

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Find the  window to the flywheel and gently bump the engine over until you find the mark. Your service manual should have a picture of what the mark looks like. Use a white marking pen to highlight it, either through the inspection window or by removing the lower flywheel cover. Then you can use a timing light as normal. Hard to get it in there to see anything, but it can be done. Here's a very crappy video of me timing my '41 Buick using a modern timing light and you can see that I've highlighted the flywheel mark in white (you can sort-of see it move as I adjust the distributor):

 

 

1120013577_n_071942BuickShopManual-Engine-016-016.jpg.a5369fe9d2513f6913a7cd70a6eb9e11.jpg

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Yes I removed the metal cover.  Could see no markings on the flywheel period. I'll have to pull the lower flywheel cover I guess. Really hated to have to do that.  If the markings are permanently embossed on the flywheen then I don't understand why it was not seen.  Have to dig deeper. There is always an answer but sometimes the answer is extremely illusive. The flywheel is quite a ways back from the opening.  In the Buick manual it shows the markings very close to the opening which makes me wonder if something is missing.

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The markings are EXTREMELY faint. It took me a while to find mine, although I was able to get close simply by putting cylinder #1 near TDC. I don't know why they didn't make them easier to see. Use a paint pen to highlight them and your life will get a lot easier.

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Hello again, I marked the timing mark on mine with white paint also, it is hard to find the mark is actually more of a slot about 1/16 th wide .As you mentioned get it to top dead center and you may be able to see it . They were originally marked from the factory but that was 1949 , amazed you still had the cover on your car, most were discarded long ago,to the point most owners don’t know they existed.

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Lee,  get under the car however you can.  Remove the flywheel cover.  While observing the engine [ front ] side of the flywheel, rotate the engine until the marks can be seen.   Actually a crosshatch mark at 4 degrees btdc.  Originally yellow.  I use white to mark it.  Then some white in the index mark in the front of the housing above the timing hole. 

 

 I went further and rigged one up at the crank pulley.

 

 One can also time it with a vacuum gauge, looking for max vac.

 

  Ben

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Jumping in here.  Just to clarify the OP problem, when the timing cover is removed the flywheel is 2-3 inches aft of the hole.  One can only see the front face of the flywheel.  There is no pointer of any sort.  There are no visible markings on the flywheel face, just some nuts.  Is there supposed to be something attached to the front of the flywheel that has the markings which sweeps by the opening?

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Rebus, the flywheel IS MARKED.  An area about 1/8th inch is "cross hatched" an was originally yellow.   TDC is marked, and 4 degrees before tdc is marked.  Difficult to see. The reason I do as I suggested to  Lee and remove the flywheel cover from the bottom of the flywheel housing.  Gives one access to the lower half of the flywheel.

 

  Lee, the vacuum gauge timing works very well. I know folks that swear it is the ONLY way.  The setting mentioned in the manual can be looked at as a starting point. If there is wear anywhere in the system it will, in all likelihood, be slightly imperfect. Get it close. Drive a few miles. If YOU are satisfied, great. If not, adjust on way or the other until you are.  I remember Dad playing with his by the hour.  Now wonder if it was just a way to stay out of Mom's way!😁.  He, and many other, like as much advance as the car can handle.  He , and I as well, would slowly advance the timing until the starter "kicked back" a little. Then back off a smidgen.  Or, until the engine "pinged" on moderate acceleration, then back of some. And these adjustments would usually be small enough that tightening the hold down bolts might move the distributor if one is not careful.  You are not going to hurt anything. Play with it.

 

  Ben

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If there are marks on the flywheel three inches away from the hole with no precise pointer then they are useless.  Stupid design.

 

However, the way you describe your dad timing it is how I do it (with the Packards though they have an easy scale and pointer on the front vibration damper, plus an octane Vernier on the distributor) and is in my opinion a more accurate methodology for the specific fuel, engine and driving conditions for that car.  So the markings provide an interesting baseline but aren't that useful anyway.  The only proviso is that one must have good hearing for the drive test.

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