Vintage Mustang Forums banner

1 - 19 of 19 Posts

·
Administrator
Joined
·
19,493 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I need to pick up a timing light for this weekend to work on Trouble. Is there any particular brand or type that you guys would recommend? I'm seeing a wide range of prices, and don't have any familiarity with this item. I want something reliable, without costing an arm and a leg.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,032 Posts
How "arm and a leg" are we talking ? I'd shoot for an inductive pickup, d.c. powered dial-type or digital (offset reading) model of good quality. They are usually in the $60-$100 range.. Make sure the strobe is as bright as possible, or you'll have trouble using it.

The offset reading capability makes it unnecessary to interpolate between markings for either intial or total advance.
A very cool thing. I think the basic non-offset types start around $30.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
19,493 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Well, so far, I've seen a $60 one at Pep Boys and a $30 one at Harbor Freight. I'm just wondering about the price differences. I'd like to keep it under $50, but I don't want to buy junk.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
63 Posts
That description sort of reminded me of those ancient lights that used a spring thing you hooked between the plug and plug wire. I don't even know if they still sell them but DON'T buy one!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,393 Posts
A word of caution on the "offset" style. On several occasions I have seen customers who used their wonderful Snap-On timing light, with the ability to set the timing with a dial on the back, time their engine at somewhere in the neighborhood of 72 degrees of advance.

Most racing engines are "total" timed, rather than set at 10 or 12 degrees initial at idle. That means you rev your engine to about 3500 and set the total timing at about 36 degrees, as an absolute. Well, when you are using the 36 degree mark on your balancer and have 36 degrees dialed into your timing light, that means you have 72 degrees of timing dialed into your engine. That also means your engine is history after just a couple of laps.....This isn't something that happens just once in a while, it happens quite a bit and by professionals, too!

I stay away from those timing lights altogether.

Just my .02......Gary
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
409 Posts
About 20 yrs ago I bought one from Sears, chrome finish and all, still have it and it still works.
Probably still under $30. ::

Don
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,514 Posts
Don't get all fancy, it's not worth it. I have an , Acton or Actron(?) gun I bought from Summit that's identical to the one MSD sells and I hate it. The pickup and power feeds plug into the gun and likes to fall off all the time. . .

My other timing light is a red plastic Sunpro I bought at Kragen 13 years ago for $29.99. It's a little beat up but it still works fine! And there's no stupid plug in leads to deal with.

You can see both types here:
http://www.jegs.com/cgi-bin/ncommerce3/ProductDisplay?prrfnbr=2998&prmenbr=361

My old Sunpro looks like the $39.99 one. Only $10 inflation in 13 years, not bad.

Robert
 

·
Moderator
Joined
·
7,009 Posts
I got my inductive timing light at walmart for about $30.00 It's worked for everything I've needed it for. "Inductive" means the spark signal is picked up via a little plastic clamp you snap over the #1 wire.

Phil
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,038 Posts
I have one of these and one of these. The first one is nice because I don't have a timing scale on one of my cars. I have a pointer and a dot on the balancer, so I dial in what I want on the gun and then rotate the distrubutor till the dots match.

The second one I've had for over 20 years. Tuff sucker.

Unless you are constantly tuning, the light is going to get used a couple of times then sit for years.
 

·
Gone but never forgetten
Joined
·
25,239 Posts
I have a SunPro similar to the one 66benchcoupe pictured, but min is chrome. I bought it for about $25 when I was 18. I'm now 44, so it's worked flawlessly for 26 years. If I were buying a new one, I'd buy one of the ones that you can adjust (the one cautioned against by someone else in this thread). The reason I'd like to have one, is because it's extremely difficult to tell FOR SURE what your total timing is, since the marks only go up to around 20 BTDC. You can use the adjuster on the back to see what the total timing is very easily (you DO have to be careful with them, though, and understand them). The only reason I don't have one like that is because I can't justify spending the money for one when my 26 year old Sunpro won't die.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,032 Posts
No, I wasn't referring to one of those, but I know what you're talking about - I had one as my first timing light when I was about 18 or so - WAY back when ! It worked AWFUL.. LOL !
I'm pretty sure I recall getting the heck shocked out of me by the uninsulated spring thingy that connected directly to the spark plug ::

Cheers..
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
19,198 Posts
Avoid Harbor Freight like the plague. Have you checked Sears?

Try and get with with adjustable settings, and be sure to get an inductive one.

Are you still running points? You really need a dwell/tach meter too! Now those are hard to find these days!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,885 Posts
That description sort of reminded me of those ancient lights that used a spring thing you hooked between the plug and plug wire. I don't even know if they still sell them but DON'T buy one!
I've still got one of those things that I bought at Radio Shack about 30 years ago. Believe it or not, it still works. I recently bought the Sears gun with the inductive hookup and the advance dial on the back. I like that one a lot. It's a little over the $50 mark but it's a very nice piece of hardware. Definitely avoid Harbor Frieght.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
630 Posts
hehe... I got my dads timing light that he also bought when he was 18. It's got the plug spring also

It is a real experience :p
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
19,493 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
Too late, I got one at Harbor Freight. Well, you can curse it, too, when you're here. ::
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
77 Posts
i hope you picked it up at one of their stores, i just ordered a code reader on line they lied about shipping- they said they sent it ups on aug 17 they actually sent it postal on the 19th. plus they overcharge for shipping and charge a sererate handleing fee.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
19,493 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
Yes, there's a store here in Tucson. Plus, they were having a sale I didn't know about, so the price was better than on the website.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,402 Posts
I'm not reading the oter poats before posting this, so sorry if it was suggested.
I have a Snap-on light with the advance knob on it and it has been the bomb , baby, the bomb! Don't cheap out on your diagnostic tools. Your cars are worth more that that! ::
 
1 - 19 of 19 Posts
Top