How To Time A 1999 Ford Contour 4 Cylinder

Knowing how to time a 1999 Ford Contour 4 cylinder is the same as any other 4 cylinder engine. Firstly, the engine management system controls the amount of fuel and air which gets burned at a specific time and rate. What can be adjusted is the amount of advance or retardation in the ignition timing and valve timing can also be adjusted, although you need to stick between specific parameters which Ford states in order to keep your engine healthy.

Tools you Need:

  • Timing Gun
  • Ratchet set 
  1. Timing Gun  To check the timing running in between the correct parameters, you need a timing gun. Above the crankshaft pulley there are notches in the casing. These have numbers on them which means the degree of advance the engine can be set at. Advance is when the spark will ignite the air and fuel when the reaches the combustion chamber (above the piston and at the top of its stroke, or top dead center TDC). By setting the timing a few degrees ahead say for example the engine's standard timing is 12 degrees before top dead center (BTDC) then you might be able to run 14 or even 16 degrees safely.
  2. It is important to listen out for any knocking or pinging which is called pre-detonation. This is when the combustion occurs when the piston is still on its up stroke and can ruin an engine quickly
  3. Attach the clip of the timing gun to cylinder one HT lead and the other lead to the positive battery lead. Start the car and aim the gun at the timing marks on the crank pulley. There will be a mark on the pulley and you need to match the timing marks up, you can adjust the distributor casing until the marks line up.
  4. Having the correct timing is vital for the performance, fuel efficiency and longevity of your engine. If you feel a reduced amount of power or fuel consumption is increased, you might need to check the timing again.
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