Broker Check

Timing

January 30, 2020
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In the late ‘70s I helped my dad restore a 1929 Whippet.  We had previously worked on several Chevys, but this was the first ‘orphan’ car we worked on, meaning the name brand had long ceased production which made parts and information a little harder to find. When it came time to start the engine, we chained the car behind a tractor and pulled it around the barnyard once.  This was our preferred method to start something for the first time, especially when everything might not be in perfect order.  It would fire, but repeatedly backfired and sputtered and refused to keep running.  We carefully reset the timing and repeated the process with the same result several times, we were ready to give up.  Then I went to hand crank the engine one more time to check the timing and I realized the distributor rotor turned counterclockwise, so only two of the six spark plug wires were hooked up correctly. The Chevrolets we were familiar with always rotate clockwise.  After putting the other four wires in the correct holes it fired to life as soon as we started to pull it.  Sometimes things are just not as complicated as we make them out to be.