There are many ready to run MSD distributors what model number is yours. You are given 3 sets of springs with the billet distributors. Two heavy silver springs usually come on the distributors. You will need a Timing Light to check at what rpm the mechanical advance starts to come in and when it is all the way in. Most people set it up to be all in by 3000 rpms. The MSD distributors come with directions and charts with the different advance curves and springs used. Try one heavy silver spring and one light silver spring to start. Check to see at what rpm the advance curve is all in. Set the initial timing at 10-12 degree BTDC. You will need a Timing Light with built in advance. Check your total timing at 3000 rpms. Should be around 36 degrees. You can check your advance curve with this type Timing Light to see when it starts coming in to when it is all in. When you are idling the engine at 3000 rpms and your reading on the scale of the timing light is 36* the line on the balancer is aligned with 0 on the timing scale on the timing chain cover. Rev to 3500 rpms to see that line doesn't move anymore. Be sure the distributor is locked and cannot be turned.
Its a MSD model 8360. With it being a basically stock 327, I was hoping I could get a general idea of what springs to start with. Do you recommend a certain brand timing light, or are they mostly the same? Thank you for your time.
Just looked at the instructions that are available on line.
It comes with the limiter, so total advance (at the crank) built in is 21 degrees. So, while a dial back timing light is nice to have, in this case it isn't essential.
If you have a regular timing light, with the vac advance DISCONNECTED, your initial advance should be about 15 degrees. That will give you a total of 36. You can always check it later to see exactly at what RPM it is all in. Personally, I would set the initial at 15, use the weakest springs (Doug's advice for one heavy and one light may be exactly where you end up). Connect the vac advance to manifold vac and go drive it. If you haven't already read JohnZ's article entitled "timing 101" do so.
If it pings under load, go one step stronger on the springs. If it doesn't enjoy driving it.
One other thing, I doubt this will be an issue for you, but some engines don't like even 15 degrees at idle. If, when you go to start it hot or warm, it sounds like it is kicking back a little, you will need to use less initial timing, and use a different limiter (comes in your kit) so that you can use less initial, and still get 36 degrees total.
Also, some Chevy engines like 38 total, so don't be afraid to try a couple different settings.
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