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How to Set the Timing on a Dodge 3.0L

by Manny Jeter

The Dodge 3.0-liter, 6-cylinder engine was used on the 1991 Dodge Caravan minivan. The ignition timing determines when a spark will occur to start the internal-combustion engine. You can check the timing with a few tools and some basic mechanical skills. The ignition timing for the Dodge 3.0-liter engine is 12 degrees before top dead center.

Turn the 3.0-liter engine on by placing the key in the ignition. Ensure you have enough space to work on the engine safely, and shut off any accessories or equipment in the car

Exit the car, and put chocks under the wheels of your car. Enter the car, firmly engage the emergency brake and put the transmission in neutral if you have a manual transmission or park if you have an automatic transmission. Gradually bring the engine to an idle speed of 800 revolutions per minute, or 800 rpm.

Exit your car with the emergency brake firmly engaged, allowing the rpm to go back to zero. Open the hood to work on the engine.

Connect the timing light to your car's battery by placing the red clip on the positive terminal first and the black clip on the negative terminal second. Next, attach the timing light clamps to the number 1 spark plug. Finally, shine the timing light on the pulley connected to the crankshaft of the engine.

Observe where the timing mark on the pulley falls compared with the degree tab on the front of the engine. Remember, 12 degrees is the factory recommendation; you no longer need to work on the engine if the timing is correct.

Find the distributor lock-down bolt at the base of the distributor housing, and use your wrench to loosen it. Disconnect the distributor vacuum hose, and plug it into the electronic spark computer. Use jumper cables to ground the carburetor switch. The engine should still be running.

Rotate the distributor with your hand until the timing mark aligns with the 12 degree before top dead center tab on the front of the engine.

Unplug the distributor vacuum hose from the electronic spark computer, and plug it back into the distributor housing. Use your wrench to tighten the lock-down bolt, and remove the jumper cables. Remove the timing light from the battery and spark plug wire.

Close the hood of your vehicle and enter the vehicle. Put the transmission in park, exit the vehicle, and remove the wheel chocks from the wheels of your vehicle.

Items you will need

About the Author

Manny Jeter began writing in 2005. He has written for the newspaper "Daily Collegian" and the website CampusLive. Jeter completed the entrepreneurial initiative workshop and earned a Bachelor of Arts in journalism at the University of Massachusetts.

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