Ignition timing at Zenith 2018


Below is a snap shot of setting the ignition timing on a running 2700 cc Corvair on my run stand at the 2018 Zenith open house.



Above, the 2700cc Corvair of Mark Miller, getting its timing set with a $50 strobe light at the Zenith open house. Although the procedure is something we demonstrate at every college and I have written about extensively, we still have people who fail to do this.  In the case of Mark’s engine, it took me less than 30 seconds. I showed about 20 people watching how easy this is.  Just as you should never get in a Lycoming or Continental powered plane if the owner didn’t set the magneto timing, you should never fly a Corvair were the timing was not set. No A&P does an inspection on a certified plane without checking the timing. Because the plane is experimental and the engine started life in a car is no reason to cut a corner.


For the last 29 years, I have made a business of sharing what real builders need to know. I have left the goal of showing what some people get away with to others, not all of whom are still here.






4 Replies to “Ignition timing at Zenith 2018”

  1. I think you may have written more on setting the timing than any other topic (using the correct oil might be a close second). Surprising to see how often it is still an issue despite this.

    Are there any updates to particular brands or models of timing lights that you like / try to avoid?

      1. The dial back knob and slip when you are not paying attention. Not a car issue, but happens in prop blast . Also, the accuracy of the circuitry that produces the delay , particularly in a cheap light, is questionable

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