How to Set the Timing on a 1965 Ford 289

by John Stevens J.D.
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The 1965 Ford 289 small-block engine was equipped with a single timing chain that connected the crankshaft to the camshaft to ensure that the two components rotated in unison. At the tip of the front of the camshaft is a single gear that meshes with a gear on the bottom of the distributor. Even if the timing chain is installed properly, the distributor must be correctly positioned to ignite the spark plugs at the right time. This principle is often referred to as "timing." Fortunately, positioning the 289's distributor to set the timing is fairly straightforward.

Step 1

Locate the timing pointer just below the water pump pulley.

Step 2

Locate the numbered timing marks stamped into the edge of the harmonic balancer.

Step 3

Draw a line across the number "8" on the harmonic balancer with chalk.

Step 4

Loosen the bolt that secures the base of the distributor to the top of the engine with a wrench.

Step 5

Attach a timing light according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Step 6

Start the engine.

Step 7

Activate the timing light and point its flashing beam of light at the harmonic balancer.

Step 8

Twist the distributor until the chalk mark and the timing pointer align.

Step 9

Turn the engine off.

Step 10

Tighten the distributor's bolt with a wrench.

Step 11

Remove the timing light.

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