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Old 12-18-2009, 11:51 PM   #1
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Timing advice - 1984 454 with QJ

I know there are some experts on the forum with experience of the 454 so I hope someone can guide me.

I am restoring a 1984 Monaco with a low mileage (48k) 454 with standard cast manifolds and CA smog equipment. I'd like to eventually remove the smog kit but for the time being it has to stay.

I've upgraded the cooling system with a 5 row core radiator, 195 degree hi performance thermostat and am replacing the leaking quadrajet with a rebuilt one.

I have just purchased a ProComp HEI distributor and it has variable vacuum advance so I'm looking for the timing procedure and the recommended settings for timing. We have a GCWR of 17,500# and tow a 4400# Jeep so I'd like to err on the side of caution because of mountain climbing and preignition.

What would you suggest as a starting point?

Thanks
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Old 12-19-2009, 12:40 AM   #2
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Steveclv. I would start with factory specs. Then drive unit fully loaded at wide open throtle (wot) to see if it pings at that timing if not then add some more degrees of advance and retest to see if it now pings repeat untill the unit just starts to ping at this setting you have reache max timing for your rig and the motor will run its best. Just remember many thing effect timing like temp. alt. octane of fuel, gearing etc etc. So it realy is a trial and error job. Also timing must be keep retarded far enough so it does not buck the starter during hot starts. Hope this helds.
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Old 12-19-2009, 12:49 AM   #3
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Thanks

If I increase the base timing, do I have to crank back the vacuum advance? Obviously there isn't anything I can do about the mechanical advance at this point.
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Old 12-19-2009, 06:28 PM   #4
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Rather than re-hash a topic already pretty well beat to death in another thread, check out the thread lower on down I started related to 454 performance and economy - it pretty well covered all your questions, and then some...

'88 Winnebago - GM 454 power/MPG issue

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Old 12-19-2009, 11:21 PM   #5
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Thanks, I wade through the posts to get what I need.

I installed the new distributor today but found that the vacuum advance canister had a ton more advance than the GM original so I swapped back to the GM one and will order an adjustable canister and a new weight/spring set - someone suggested a blue and a silver spring gave the best mechanical advance characteristics.



I timed it at 5.8 BTDC with vacuum disconnected at 700 rpm and will see whether I can advance it a bit at a time when road testing.
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Old 12-19-2009, 11:55 PM   #6
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steveclv, regarding the timing, our first coach was an 84 Airstream with the 454. If I recall correctly, the timing was 8 degrees BTDC and set with vacuum line disconnected from the distributor. I plugged the vacuum line while it was disconnected. I would start there then experiment with moving it up to 10 degrees and watch coolant temp and listen for any pre ignition knock.

I would also recommend replacing dist cap, rotor and use high temp plug wires as the 454 liked to cook those plug wires. Would also recommend making sure your fan clutch works properly as that's important when climbing grades.

It should have the turbo 475 tranny and if you hear it whine in low gear that's good as it has the straight cut planetary gears and is fairly bullet proof tranny if properly maintained. We had the 475 in ours and never gave us a bit of trouble.

Best of luck with your project
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Old 12-20-2009, 11:56 PM   #7
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Thanks Jim

Yes I have the 475 tranny and now that I filled it with fluid (it was 4 quarts low) it seems a little happier

I set the timing today but couldn't get it to run at 4 degrees so advanced to 10 ish and it ran better - then when I packed up for the night, I suddenly realized that I never set the idle speed mixture (doh!) so will have to start again in the morning. Live and learn LOL.
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Old 12-21-2009, 03:55 PM   #8
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Hey Steve, you're welcome, believe me, I've been there, done that, lots of fun isn't it?--LOL
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