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I'm about to tell you of a trick I use to time my scooter entirely from the
right side, as a one-man operation. I have a Crane Hi4 ignition and these
photos are of that. Yours may be different, but with what you see here you
may be able to grasp the concept and adapt it to your particular situation.
Dialback timing light.
I did not invent this trick. It was related to me by a guy (his shop calls him the "Guru") who works for one of the major aftermarket performance parts company. Because of potential liability issues, he asks not to be identified. I will honor that request, but we owe him a big "Thank you!".
What you are going to do is mark the edge of your ignition trigger cup. The
mark will become your new timing mark that you will use instead of the mark
stamped on the flywheel.
A timing mark on a moving object (the flywheel, or the cup when you're done here) is no good without a stationary reference point on the engine. In the case of the normal way to time your engine that reference mark is not really a mark, it is the hole in the left engine case - you center the timing mark in that hole. Your new reference point will be the left screw that secures the points plate. Once you have those two marks in place you use a dialback timing light to time the engine.
Your first, very first, step is to bring the front cylinder up to Top Dead Center on the compression stroke and static-time the engine following the instructions that came with your ignition system. I'll leave it to you to use whatever technique works for you; just make sure you are on the compression stroke, and that it is the TDC mark showing in the timing hole, not the advance mark.
Take the ignition cover plate off. This is what you'll find inside the cone.
If you have an ignition with an external black box, like the Crane Hi4E, you'll
find just a timing plate with no black box. This trick works just the same,
regardless of where the black box is. It will NOT work with a Dyna or any
that uses a mechanical advance.
Don't look for the yellow line and red dot in your engine - that's something I added to the photo for illustration purposes ( That's a joke, guys. I know you're not really looking for the yellow line in your engine. You're not, are you? If so, see the instructions above about closing this page . . . )
That yellow line is important - it marks a straight line between the two posts that secure your timing plate. Draw that line with your imagination on the timing plate assembly and make a mark just about where I have placed the red dot. You are about to drill a hole there AFTER YOU TAKE THE PLATE OUT! You hear me, you hillbilly?! Take the plate out first!
Don't try to drill it with the plate still mounted. If you do, you'll wind up
buying yourself a new timing cup. You don't have to
disconnect the wiring and take the plate to the drill press, you can just pull
of the case as far the wire lets you and use a hole shooter on it,
but you're about to do something that you can screw up. For instance, you
don't secure the plate before you drill it, and the bit grabs as it punches
through and spins the plate out of your puny grasp and turns the wire up into a
coil that looks like a spring before it breaks loose and ruins the ignition.
BE CAREFUL and if you don't know what you're doing, FORGET IT!
Now do it. Drill about a 3/16ths to 1/4" hole. Up to a point, the diameter doesn't matter.
Note the photo. In the background you see the cup, with a small bolt in the center. You are going to take that bolt out and remove the cup, but not yet. You hear? NOT YET.
Once you've drilled your hole, put the timing plate back in place, exactly where it was, with your new hole on the imaginary yellow line between the posts. (The photo below does not show it that way. That is an error on my part and you should ignore the position shown in the photo. The hole should be on the imaginary line.)
When you look through the hole you should see the edge of the timing
cup. Doesn't matter if it's exactly centered over the edge of the cup. It's
nice if it is, but it's not
critical. If you can't see it because you drilled too far to one side or the
other, just pull the plate again and use a small file to "stretch" the hole in
the direction it needs to go to let you see the cup.
Take a Sharpie marker and through that hole
put a mark on the edge of the timing cup. The mark must be on the line between the two posts - that is, on the imaginary yellow line in the photo. That's going to become your new
mark, once you make it permanent.