Gregory Bender

Ignition timing

Moto Guzzi V700, V7 Special, Ambassador, 850 GT, 850 GT California, Eldorado, and 850 California Police models


// //

Here is the procedure for static timing the ignition:

  1. Place the left cylinder on the static timing mark on the compression stroke.
    1. Remove the generator belt cover.
    2. Remove both spark plugs.
    3. Rotate the engine in the direction of normal engine operation. When seated properly astride the motorcycle facing forward, the engine rotates counter-clockwise. When you are facing the front of the engine rotating the crankshaft using a 26 mm socket on the nut, you'll be rotating the engine clockwise. Always rotate in this direction. Don't back up. If you go past a mark, you'll need to rotate the engine through again.
    4. Rotate the engine through a number of revolutions and feel (by placing your thumb over the spark plug hole for the left cylinder), when the cylinder is on the compression stroke. If you move your thumb away, you should feel/hear air escaping with some pressure. When air is escaping, you know that you are on the compression stroke. There are definitely other ways to determine if you are on the compression stroke, but this one is the quickest and easiest for me.
    5. Okay, now that you can feel when the engine is on the compression stroke, rotate the engine around until it is just starting to come on the compression stroke. Now, rotate the crankshaft slowly and note the marks on the pulley as they pass the arrow cast into the timing chest cover:
      1. The first timing mark that aligns will be the full advance mark.
      2. The second timing mark that aligns will be the partial advance mark.
      3. The third timing mark that aligns will be the static timing mark. STOP HERE!
      4. The fourth timing mark the aligns will be the TDC timing mark.
  2. Remove the distributor cap and rotor.
  3. Hook up your test light: one lead to ground and the other lead to the post to which the condenser wire is secured on the side of the distributor.
  4. Loosen the bolt that clamps the distributor body to the distributor base (this is the bolt that rotates though the adjustable arc of the distributor body).
  5. Turn the ignition switch on. The timing light may or may not illuminate - it does not matter just now.
  6. Facing the distributor on the right side of the bike, rotate the body of the distributor counter-clockwise. The points should be closed and the light should be off. Now - slowly and with great care and precision - rotate the body of the distributor clockwise until the the light just comes one. This indicates the points are just opening (the narrow lobe opens the lobe for the left cylinder; the wide lobe opens the lobe for the right cylinder). Hold the body of the distributor firmly in that location.
  7. Reach up and turn the ignition switch off.
  8. Secure the distributor body to the base with the bolt.
  9. Unhook your test light.
  10. Replace the distributor cap and rotor.
  11. Replace the generator belt cover.
  12. Replace both spark plugs.