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Thread: Setting Timing

  1. #1
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    Default "1990 3.0L SeaDrive. (225

    "1990 3.0L SeaDrive. (225 JohnnyRude) Trying to set the highspeed timing by the Reeves method. My understanding is that you remove the plugs, timing light goes to ignition wire #1, and you use the cranking speed and set it at 4 degrees less than otherwise called for. My timing light won't work at cranking speed. What am I missing?"

  2. #2
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    Default Have you a gap tester or a spa

    Have you a gap tester or a spark plug in no1 wire and touching an earth

  3. #3
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    Default is the battery charged?is the

    is the battery charged?is the safety neutral switch compressed?

  4. #4
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    Default it should be at wide open thro

    it should be at wide open throttle with safety neutral engaged with a fully charged battery
    all plugs removed with a test wheel or prop

  5. #5
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    Default "There is a water hose on each

    "There is a water hose on each bank that the plugs can be shoved beside, which holds the base to the block. Battery is overcharged(bad regulator), and turning at WOT. My inductive timing light is an older Sears model, I'm wondering if it just can't deal with the low RPMS? Works fine when it is running, cranking RPM just doesn't seem to trigger it."

  6. #6
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    Default "No, not the light/rpms at all

    "No, not the light/rpms at all. The light doesn't care how fast the engine turns.
    It simply senses the H/V spark discharge in the plug wire.
    If you have no flash from the timing light, there is no spark voltage present in the plug wire.
    So, things to check...as jamie said, you have to have a path for that H/V spark voltage to travel to ground in the plug wire...so you must have a plug with the body of the plug against the block to re-create the normal circuit, or you must have a spark gap tester installed to simulate the normal spark circuit to ground.
    Also, someone mentioned the "neutral safety switch"...I believe they actually meant "safety lanyard kill switch".

    Bottom line...you WANT the ignition system to fire...no safety lanyards pulled, key ON, etc, just as if you were trying to start it.

    also, when referring to WOT, the starter will not turn the engine over at WOT. You need to prop the throttle OPEN at WOT so that the mechanical timing advance is at its WOT position, and set the timing 4 degrees back from spec as the starter turns the engine over.

    Another gotcha....you have to disable QuickStart.
    I don't remember how to do it, it has everything to do with the white/black wire to the powerpack from the port temp sensor. Maybe someone here will post the exact procedure for disabling QuickStart.

    My sincere opinion is for you to get it on the water and do your exact WOT timing while running at 5000 rpm. That is the sure fire way to get it right, and the only way I would do it. That adjustment is far too critical to the engine's life to be left to an approximate setting."

  7. #7
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    Default "[b]all plugs removed with a t

    "all plugs removed with a test wheel or prop

    Just curious justaspark, what does the test wheel or prop have to do with it?"

  8. #8
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    Default "A test wheel wheel is used in

    "A test wheel wheel is used in a test tank to simulate load...the method you are using doesnt call for a test wheel as the timing is set in neutral, wot, ignition on, plugs out and earthed, winding over on the starter motor"

  9. #9
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    Default "Thanks for the advice Doug, I

    "Thanks for the advice Doug, I will check it out. I agree on your analysis of the best way to set it, but I'm a one man show--I can't get 5000RPM & safely check the timing! (I have the throttle set at WOT, key on, and I am activating the starter at the solenoid during the test. After test, plugs back in. Runs fine, and timing light works)"

  10. #10
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    Default Your timing light needs power

    Your timing light needs power from the battery to work.
    When the starter is drawing the battery voltage will be too low to power the light.
    Try powering your light from a separate battery!
    That timing light was made to be powered from a running engine in say a car at idle giving it about 14 volts.

  11. #11
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    Default "just a note--in my opinion...

    "just a note--in my opinion...
    there is,'unfortunately'...but one way...to set,and feel comfortable,w/ign timing of a 2 strk outbrd eng.........and that,is at 5ooo rpm...
    now...........on another note,and understandably,people cant do that..there'in..comes the second best,timing procedure,...and,.i have found it,if done right,to be plenty close enuf...
    -------however............on tune ups,overhauls,etc,..i get them up to 5000,...static testing can,and does often,get u to the point...but after i do all the wk,customer pays 3000 or so...........i want to see it,.MYSELF,..at 5000..so i know its good...after all,...its my warranty...and after 32 yrs,..i can proudly say,...i have never had a come back on my overhauls.........bad pwr pk,.....ign prob ,of course...but not on eng.."

  12. #12
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    Default "In my opinion I would follow

    "In my opinion I would follow the manufacturers recommendation. I think it foolish and dangerous to recommend to anyone to set ignition timing on the water @ 5000 rpm, and what is it that makes 5000 the magic number? In all my years I have never seen that figure stated in any service manual, but I stand to be corrected. Granted there are some who would be capable of this procedure but lets not forget that we are talking 225 hp. Depending on the boat 225hp @ 5000rpm could well be over 60 mph, and who knows what kind of contorted posture might be required to hold a timing light steady on the timing mark. A fools game in many situations, in my opinion."

  13. #13
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    Default "Well, Allan, how would you do

    "Well, Allan, how would you do it? (The non foolish way.)
    I notice you put your opinion in, but you don't offer your version of an alternative.

    (By the way, I feel sure I know the alternative...before you even say it...)

    My '96 genuine OMC book states on page 1-52 "run the engine between 4500 and 5000 rpm" for setting the WOT timing.

    You cannot do that on the muffs.....

    I will continue to hang off the back of my boat at WOT with a timing light to BE SURE to get it set at 18 BTDC at 5000 rpm under load.

    Thanks for your opinion anyway."

  14. #14
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    Default "Doug, did you miss my first s

    "Doug, did you miss my first sentence. I wonder what hp it is that your 96 genuine OMC book refers to. Is there any mention of running the proper test wheel? Does it anywhere recommend, let alone mention, that it be run on the boat on the water? I think not and for good reason. Now, since we are speaking more specifically about a 90 225 I suggest that you refer to that manual. In my opinion, I think the manufacturer has a pretty good idea of how to properly and safely adjust timing. Doug Im not here to get into a pissing match and I respect your opinion, but I think caution should be used when recommending to others how things should be done. Remember, they may not have the experience, knowledge and common sense that you do.

    Respectfully, Al"

  15. #15
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    Default "No, did not miss anything in

    "No, did not miss anything in your post. I clearly got your point that my suggestion was foolish. Nothing ambiguous there.

    If you have access to test wheels, have at it. I don't. I test on the water, foolish or not. (Test wheel is what I thought you would come back with, by the way.)
    But I don't leave it to a static approximate setting. Too dangerous for the engine to be pinging.
    Like JWB, I want to SEE it to be sure. I don't know, but I suspect he uses test wheels, as a pro marine mechanic.

    My 1996 225 is close enough to the 90 225 to speak in generalities here. I refer to my manual, as you can't seem to find the ref to 5000 rpm in yours."

  16. #16
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    Default "By the way, I'll be sure

    "By the way, I'll be sure to post the whole story
    (IF I CAN) when I fall off the back of the boat at 50 mph.
    Just so that you can say "I told you so."

    Heh heh heh"

  17. #17
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    Default So what is wrong with the Joe

    So what is wrong with the Joe Reeves method?
    Every other engine in the world is timed static or at idle.
    I just had an interesting thought.
    I might check the timing on my 150 hp snowmobile at 8200 rpm
    I guess I will need a real long frozen lake for that one!
    My point is of course that there simply has to be a safe and accurate way to do this and timing an engine with the starter turning it over has worked every time for me!

  18. #18
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    Default "Both engines were supposedly

    "Both engines were supposedly rebuilt by an OMC dealer just prior to purchase. I could not adjust the idle because the idle timing adj was so far off it would not allow the throttles to close. Both engines were idling at around 1500. The timing cam rollers at idle were about an inch or more from their mark. Once I adjusted the idle timing and idle, it seems they never ran so well. My thought is that if the mechanic had the idle timing so far off, what about the WOT timing? Incidentally, the factory manual says the WOT timing is to be set using a test wheel, and not a prop. It also says you cannot test using muffs. But this same factory manual says that you must remove the flywheel to replace the regulator/rectifier assembly, and thank goodness that is clearly not true. Most importantly, thanks to everyone for their opinions and assistance!"

  19. #19
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    Default "test wheel,is the trained met

    "test wheel,is the trained method,of setting the timing.....in a test tank....u can,set the timing on a dyno,using muffs...i do it,and have done it all 3 ways,...i DO NOT recommend setting the timing running down the lake..it is actually,very rare,for the owner/operator to have to ever mess w/the hs timing...unless,...things have changed,...power pack,...flywheel,intake,block,..etc...if a person MUST keep messing w/the timing,....i simply suggest a test wheel,....safe,..on the trlr...that is the best,and FACTORY method..."

  20. #20
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    Default "Sorry guys, I had to do the

    "Sorry guys,
    I had to do the ol' Thanksgiving dinner thing....
    Damnedest thing happened!!!

    I was hanging off the back of the gravy boat at 5k rpm, and fell off, landing in a big ol' bowl of green bean casserole.

    You guys were so right! How foolish of me!

    Oh the humanity.....

    Martin...in all sincerity, I hope you get your engine fixed."

  21. #21
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    Default Could be worse. Do you suppos

    Could be worse. Do you suppose that the same method is used to time an aircraft engine!!

  22. #22
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    Default "Martin, All Otto cycle aircr

    "Martin,
    All Otto cycle aircraft engines are statically timed. I can't imagine holding a timing light flapping in the relative wind."

  23. #23
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    Default "Martin in reference to: Tha

    "Martin in reference to:
    Thanks for the advice Doug, I will check it out. I agree on your analysis of the best way to set it, but I'm a one man show--I can't get 5000RPM & safely check the timing! (I have the throttle set at WOT, key on, and I am activating the starter at the solenoid during the test. After test, plugs back in. Runs fine, and timing light works)

    my understanding is that you regained spark after your cranked the motor w/o the plugs my 200 HP Johnson was doing the same thing, I would not have spark and after I took all plugs out and cranked spark re appeared (due to no back pressure/compression from having the spark plugs out cranking speed increased) some one in the forum recommended that that the problem might be the starter itself no turning the motor fast enough to energize the ignition system, they recommended two things: ensure that starter is good and the other to make sure the battery is fully charged in order to have the juice needed to turn the starter at the proper speeds and then activate the ignition system on the motor.
    I have had my 200 Johnson (89,90,91 model) for over a year now and I have had issues after issues after issues with it, and I have solved most of them, but man seems like the never ending story as a matter of fact Im having the same issues that u have with the timing, but I been away from home for the last 3 month and have not been able to work on it, mine wont rev up any higher than 4200 rpms, I think it is a timing issue, it also runs rich at idle but w/o idle screws it is almost impossible to lean it out, well enough of my story, let us know what happens to yours, dont take Dough lightly he gets hot quick, but he knows what he is talking about, me and him go back about a year since I bought my piece of s##t motor."

  24. #24
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    Default "Many thanks to everyone. At

    "Many thanks to everyone. At this point I am going to take the boat out an run it, since it sounds better than ever. I will be taking my timing light with me and will be trying the Doug method, seas and spouse at the helm permitting!"

  25. #25
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    Default "UUURRRRFFFFFFF..... Now I am

    "UUURRRRFFFFFFF.....
    Now I am worried....seriously....kinda like the old "put your money where your mouth is" ....or "now the rubber hits the road".....
    Reality has set in....

    PLEASE be careful. Calm seas, lake, or river and a very skilled driver. Very easy take off and stop.

    The way I do it is remove the cowl, connect the timing light, and point light to timing indicator after you make 5000 rpm. Stop the engine, turn timing adjustment screw if required with engine OFF, and re-try.
    I am leaning over the back of the rear seat, not physically down in the engine well, a good 60% of my body is still in the boat. So on my rig, it seems the risk is minimal. You will need to be your own best judge.

    Another helpful thing is to paint the timing marks on the flywheel with dayglow paint...yellow, white, orange....which I get at a gun store. The paint I use is for painting gun sights for high visibility. Also if you can do it on an overcast day, you will be able to see the marks better.

    What I do is out of necessity. I cannot bear the expense of test wheels for different motors, and the timing adjustment is usually only needed once. When it is set, it is set. It is all mechanical after all.

    Dangerous to do? Foolish to do? Probably so, but the timing MUST be set. The Reeves method is fantastic for getting it close, but it doesn't guarantee the timing to be exact. It gets it in the ballpark, so the engine can run.
    That's the way I understand it, anyway. Could be wrong here, too.

    Martin....PLEASE do this for all readers of this thread. Set the timing using the Reeves method, getting it as close to perfect as possible, which would be the timing spec for your motor MINUS the 4 degrees as specified by the Reeves method. Then, when setting the timing on the water at 5K, see how close it was using the Reeves method. Was it 1 degree off, 5 degrees off, etc. Please post the results. Thanks in advance.

    As for getting "hot"...well, yes, I guess I am guilty. I will say one thing about that...there sure is a lot of passive/aggressive BS criticism flying in these posts. That's for sure.

    If I post again, I will be sure to try to keep cool...."

  26. #26
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    Default "One other quick thought....wh

    "One other quick thought....what if you do the Reeves method wrong?
    You have spent an hour doing the link and sync, and you accidentally do the Reeves WOT method wrong. You then choose to not check it at 5K. Then what?

    If you don't disable Quickstart properly, you have immediately done the Reeves method incorrectly. Right?

    I still don't see the proper method for disabling Quickstart posted here, pro mechanics reading...please help us out with the exact procedure. It has to do with the yellow/red solenoid to PP wire, and the white/black port temp sensor to PP wire. Which one do you let float, and which one needs to be grounded?"

  27. #27
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    Default Note that the red/yellow MUST

    Note that the red/yellow MUST be disconnected AND black/white grounded to power pack to be sure quick-start is not active during cranking test!!

  28. #28
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    Default "It's hard to believe OMC

    "It's hard to believe OMC couldn't come up with a better method of timing the engine. Over 30 years ago, Chevrolet imbedded a magnet into the harmonic balancer and provided a simple port where relatively inexpensive electronic device could be used to read the timing digitally. They retained the standard setup but there were so many belts and hoses in the way that it was difficult to safely use the standard strobe light. I would sure be interested to see how far off the Reeves method is as compared to the timing light method. Exactly what does OMC call for in their manual??? I guess If you really wanted to be accurate, you could do the WOT back of the transom method at night as to better see the timing marks(just kidding). One last question...is it more challenging to drive the boat smoothly under these conditions or to hold the timing light steady and read the marks??? Just wondering so I can explain this to my wife if she has to be the one holding the light."

  29. #29
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    Default "Be sure and tie a 30' pie

    "Be sure and tie a 30' piece of anchor rope to her ankle and then cinch it off on a stern cleat. That way IF you notice that she's not there anymore, you can stop the boat and haul her in with the rope...."

  30. #30
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    Default "Bob, OMC did come up with a b

    "Bob, OMC did come up with a better way. The optical igniton tester allowed static timing adjustements on the OIS2000 equipped 60 degree V4 and V6 motors. You could set the timing without even starting the motor!

    I'll take that over a crusty old POS chevy any day!"

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