How to Time a Nissan Z24

by Manny Jeter
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The 1990 Nissan Datsun pickup truck comes equipped with Nissan's Z24 engine. The last year of production for this engine was 1990. Performing an ignition timing check as part of your routine maintenance will help you keep this older engine running smoothly. The ignition timing on the Z24 engine is 15 degrees but it can be adjusted a little over or under, depending on your preference. You will need to be careful not to damage any of the engine parts. In addition, keep your hair, clothing, jewelry and hands free of fan blades and other moving parts under the hood as you are adjusting the ignition timing.

How to Set the Ignition Timing on a Z24 Engine

Step 1

Park your Datsun pickup or other Nissan vehicle with the Z24 engine. Make sure all accessories are turned off in the vehicle.

Step 2

Chock the wheels of the vehicle using wheel chocks. Put the transmission in neutral and set the emergency brake. Bring the engine to a warm idle speed of 750 rpm for an automatic transmission or 800 rpm for a manual transmission.

Step 3

Exit the vehicle and open the hood to access the Z24 engine.

Step 4

Connect the red clip of the timing light to the positive terminal of the car battery and connect the black clip to the negative terminal. Connect the timing light to the No. 1 spark plug and the main crankshaft pulley.

Step 5

Observe the timing mark on the pulley to check your engine's current ignition timing. If the timing is acceptable, remove the timing light cables, close the hood, remove the wheel chocks and turn off the engine.

Step 6

Locate the lock-down bolt on the distributor if you wish to adjust the ignition timing. This bolt should be located at the base of the distributor housing. Loosen the lock-down bolt with a wrench and disconnect the distributor vacuum hose from the distributor housing.

Step 7

Rotate the distributor with your hand until the timing mark on the pulley matches the desired timing. The factory recommendation is 15 degrees, so you should not deviate much from that setting.

Step 8

Tighten the lock-down bolt with your wrench and reconnect the distributor vacuum hose to the distributor housing. Remove the timing light cables, close the hood and remove the wheel chocks. Turn off the engine.

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