When Rules Mandate GM HEI with unaltered advance mechanism
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(all information below is a recommendation from Race-1 not necessarily from GM)
1) We recommend this engine be set at a TOTAL timing of 32 degrees.
(Note) different amounts of timing may be beneficial due to different fuels, exhaust designs, carburetor choices and weather/altitude conditions.
However, unless dyno testing is available (or controlled race track testing) we advise 32 to be the number.
2) The balancer is marked out in degrees, and we highly recommend using the marks on the balancer and NOT a high-tech timing light with dial up advance. (Keep it simple.)
New style (skinny/thin/light weight) balancers NEED to be checked for correct TDC mark—MOST are NOT correct.
3) Total timing is set with the engine hot and at an elevated RPM.
There are factory recommendations as to the RPM to set total timing,
HOWEVER, RACE-1 does NOT recommend using a specific number, but rather you continue to elevate RPM at least 500 to 600 past the RPM where the timing sets solid.
4) Vacuum advance pods should NOT be hooked to any source of vacuum or air—plugging is recommended but not necessary.
The advance weights in the GM HEI distributor are made from a material that commonly cracks and/or breaks.
Checking TOTAL timing should be a regular maintenance item when rules require using the stock GM HEI distributor.