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How to Set the Timing on a Mazda 626

by Manny Jeter

The Mazda 626 was a mid-size sedan offered by Mazda from 1979 to 2002. The car's ignition timing determined when a spark would occur in the internal combustion engine to start the car. The ignition timing can be thrown off by normal everyday driving. You should routinely check and correct the ignition timing on your Mazda 626 to keep up with the maintenance of your car. The ignition timing for the 2002 Mazda 626 is in a range from 6 to 18 degrees, and can be adjusted with a few tools and mechanical skills.

Turn your car on in an area with space to work on the engine. Allow the engine to idle, and turn off all accessories including the air conditioning/heating and radio.

Exit the car and chock the wheels of your car with wheel chocks for safety purposes. Put the transmission in neutral, if you have an automatic transmission or drive if you have a manual transmission, and firmly engage the emergency brake. Bring the engine to an idle speed of 500 to 800 rpm if you have an automatic transmission, or 550 to 800 if you have an automatic transmission.

Exit your Mazda 626 with the emergency brake firmly engaged and open the hood to gain access to your engine. Engage the fast idle speed control located by the idle air control valve of your engine, so that you engine will maintain its warm idle speed.

Attach the red clip of the timing light to the positive terminal first, and the black clip of the timing light to the negative terminal second. Connect the timing light clamps to the number 1 spark plug wire connected to the engine's cylinder head. Shine the actual timing light on the yellow mark located on the crankshaft pulley.

Observe the timing mark on the pulley and compare the timing to the degree tab located on the front of the engine. You can discontinue all operations if you are satisfied with the current ignition time, or you can proceed to the next step.

Loosen the distributor lock-down bolt with your wrench and disconnect the distributor vacuum hose from the distributor housing. Plug the distributor vacuum hose into the electronic spark computer and ground the carburetor switch with jumper cables.

Use your hand to rotate the distributor vacuum hose until the timing mark on the pulley falls drifts to 6 to 18 degrees.

Unplug the distributor vacuum hose from the electronic spark computer and connect it into the distributor housing. Use your wrench to tighten the distributor lock-down bolt and remove the jumper cables from the carburetor switch. Remove the timing light and turn off the idle speed control.

Close the hood to your engine, remove the wheel chocks from your wheels, and bring your engine back to its pre-operation state.

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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