Discussion in ''Da Nailhead' started by Dragdoc, Jul 30, 2020.

  1. Dragdoc

    Dragdoc Well-Known Member

    What is typical best timing for the nailhead? Believe I saw 12 initial, 32 total and all in at 2200-2500 rpm. Seem right?

    ‘60 LeSabre 364 with 4bbl, dual exhaust, st 400 and 3.20 gear
  2. gsgtx

    gsgtx Silver Level contributor

    what gas you running ethanol or non ethanol. ethanol likes a degree or two of extra timing.
  3. LARRY70GS

    LARRY70GS a.k.a. "THE WIZARD"

    Best timing at wide open throttle will be 30-34* Getting it all in by 2500-3000 is preferred. No one can tell you what your engine will like or tolerate for timing. You have to experiment. Also, there is no guarantee that you'll be able to run 12* initial timing. It will depend on what particular distributor you are using. The car is 60 years old, are you sure it has the factory correct part number distributor it left the factory with? That distributor called for 12* initial, but if you have a different distributor, it might have more mechanical advance than the original distributor. If you are unsure, set the maximum timing to 30-34*, and then see where your initial timing ends up.

    Here are the ignition specs from the 1960 Buick Chassis Manual,
    Again, this only applies if you have the original distributor.
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2020
  4. Dragdoc

    Dragdoc Well-Known Member

    Ethanol blend fuel. I do have access to someone in the Chicago area who has a sun machine for dialing in distrubutors.

    and yes original dizzy. Has the 118 weights

    interesting that the factory manual has that much range listed. I would expect pretty specific numbers!
  5. Stevem

    Stevem Well-Known Member

    The best timing for good idle and drive ability and then max power are always 2 different things on any motor, so as such it always comes down to a balancing act!
    In general most motors on gas in terms of best hp at high rpm want a slight 2 or 3 degree retard from the numbers of best drivability.
  6. Dragdoc

    Dragdoc Well-Known Member

    LESS timing for best Horsepower and MORE timing for general drivability?

    I’d have thought the opposite!
  7. gsgtx

    gsgtx Silver Level contributor

    at HIGH rpm
  8. LARRY70GS

    LARRY70GS a.k.a. "THE WIZARD"

    Specific? In 1960?:D Back then, production tolerances were a joke. Even in the 70's, look at the timing specs for various distributors,


    Always a range, because the actual amount of mechanical timing could be anywhere in that range. That's why I always advise someone to set the full throttle timing to what they want. It's very easy with a timing light and some very light springs. Once you set that, then put the heavier springs back in and idle the motor down as low as it will go and see where the initial timing ends up. Then just subtract and you know exactly what is in the distributor.

  9. LARRY70GS

    LARRY70GS a.k.a. "THE WIZARD"

    In terms of idle and cooler running, most motors will like 12* + at idle. Buick engineers figured out what ignition timing Buick engines made best wide open power at a long time ago. Again, look at the distributor specs through the years. 30-34* is what they want. It will usually be in that range. Again, you need to experiment with your combination. A chassis dyno or the track will help you narrow that down.

    Back in the day, the Stinger S-4 ignition retarded spark 1 1/2-2*/1000 RPM once all the mechanical timing was in. You could run 38-40* timing at launch, and it would retard back to 34* or so at the top.
  10. BQUICK

    BQUICK Well-Known Member

    I pull 4deg out over 5000 with my MSD Digital 6.....
    Stingers were the ticket back then. Not as strong a spark as the newer MSDs tho. First run at the track was usually a throw away as it was trying to clean the plugs off.
  11. Dragdoc

    Dragdoc Well-Known Member

    OK great info guys. I have a digital timing light and can see what the total is at currently and go from there.

    With all the experimenting to be done I guess the Sun machine does not make too much sense!

    I doubt I get that motor over 5k rpms so probably dont need to worry about taking timing out of the top end

    Now if I can only figure out how to tune the Eddy AVS2 carb...
  12. gsgtx

    gsgtx Silver Level contributor

    whats wrong with the carb ?
  13. LARRY70GS

    LARRY70GS a.k.a. "THE WIZARD"

  14. Dragdoc

    Dragdoc Well-Known Member

    Carb is fine - brand new and put on right out of the box.

    But it will need to be dialed in to the car, just like the distributor.
  15. gsgtx

    gsgtx Silver Level contributor

    the air valve should be good at factory setting don't think you will have to adjust unless you way over sized the carb

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