How to Adjust the Timing in a Toyota Camry

by Contributor

Adjusting the timing on a Toyota Camry to install aftermarket performance parts gives better horsepower gains and cleaner emissions. This guide covers changing the timing on a Toyota Camry with a distributed ignition system only, all other models use a computer module for automatic calibration and can't be adjusted. Adjusting the timing on a Toyota Camry requires special tools and a clear understanding of engine mechanics.

Start the engine and allow it to reach normal operating temperature. Shut the engine off locate the crank pulley at the bottom front of the engine. Wipe away any dirt or oil to expose the timing marks.

Connect the timing light to the battery of necessary and then to the number one ignition wire. The position of the number one ignition wire varies greatly on the Toyota Camry, always look at the sticker inside the engine fuse block cover to properly identify its location.

Pull out the one or two vacuum hoses from the distributor and plug them with tape or a golf tee. Restart the engine and allow it to idle for 2 minutes.

Point the timing light at the crank pulley. Determine the amount of adjustment required. Loosen the hold down bolts on the distributor and turn it slowly until the crank pulley timing mark matches the middle line of the timing light.

Tighten the hold down distributor bolts and recheck the timing to ensure it's still correct. Turn off the engine and remove the timing light. Replace the number one ignition wire and distributor vacuum hoses.


  • close Forcing an engine to run out of its manufactured specified setting can cause serious and permanent damage to the engine.

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