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How to read timing pointer 350/5.7L chevy small block

Discussion in 'GM Powertrain' started by Crawdaddy, Jul 1, 2013.

  1. Crawdaddy

    Crawdaddy Moderator Staff Member Platinum Contributor 1000 Posts

    I am trying to check and reset the timing on my 1991 Suburban with the 5.7L engine. I hooked up the timing light and started checking the timing. Trick is, I have no idea how to read this timing pointer. I'm fairly certain that the large, wide V on the right hand side of the pointer is 0, but I'm not sure. The pointer appears to have markings on it, but I can't read them through the rust. I need to be at 0* BTDC, so if the V on the right is 0*, I can get away without cleaning it. Any ideas on cleaning the pointer up? It's not easily accessible because of the water pump, serpentine belt, etc.

    Here's my timing pointer:
    timing pointer.jpg


    Here's what I'm basing my 0* off of:
    305TimingTab.jpg
  2. Crawdaddy

    Crawdaddy Moderator Staff Member Platinum Contributor 1000 Posts

    Wow, I expected someone to have piped up by now. I'm still uncertain on this.
  3. Pikey

    Pikey Moderator Staff Member 1000 Posts

    I have had luck cleaning them up with some WD-40 or PB Blaster and a scotch bright pad. I just spray one of the chemicals on and then hit it lightly with the scotch bright, then wipe it off. Since yours is a PITA to get to, you may be able to get the scotch bright to stick to the end of a long screwdriver or rod somehow. (duct tape)

    - - - Updated - - -

    Here is a video I found that has a pointer that looks just like yours. Maybe it will help you.
    1 person likes this.
  4. Crawdaddy

    Crawdaddy Moderator Staff Member Platinum Contributor 1000 Posts

    I've been searching Google Images looking for my pointer. I didn't even think to check Youtube.

    I don't have a Scotch Brite pad at hand, but I have some 220 grit sandpaper. Do you think that'll do?

    That timing pointer sure looks like mine. If nothing else, I feel pretty confident that I can get the timing right now even without cleaning.
  5. Pikey

    Pikey Moderator Staff Member 1000 Posts

    you just need to be careful with sand paper. If the surface is really corroded it will sand the metal down so you would basically remove the marks. I just googled 1991 5.7L 350 timing pointer. It came up with a bunch of hits. Many new pointers for sale. The one in the video even has the same tube yours does
  6. Crawdaddy

    Crawdaddy Moderator Staff Member Platinum Contributor 1000 Posts

    I just got done timing the suburban. I did get out there with some brake cleaner and 200 grit sandpaper and cleaned up the pointer some. It was enough to basically work. I didn't end up setting the timing back to 0* like I was supposed to, but about 3*. It seems to run ok, though I did like the peppiness of the motor when I was up in the 10-12* range. I'm really thinking more of trying to get my ignition improvements done that include a MSD coil, cap, rotor, and wires, and new plugs with a wider than stock gap.

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