My son has a 92 Fox Body Mustang with the 5.0 Ford engine. We’re having problems setting the timing. The timing marks for coming up underneath the car rather than on the timing gage. We pulled the distributor and rotated it 180° but that doesn’t help. We’re sure were connecting the timing clip to the number 1 Spark plug so that’s not the issue. Do you have any suggestions as to how we can get the time in march back to where they need to be.

  • Have you altered the timing between the crankshaft and camshaft? Is the piston coming up to TDC when the distributor rotor arm is pointing at plug 1?
    – Solar Mike
    Commented Jan 27, 2018 at 22:17
  • Welcome to Motor Vehicle Maintenance & Repair! Commented Jan 28, 2018 at 0:30

1 Answer 1


I think the big issue is, you're trying to find TDC on cylinder #1 the wrong way. Take the spark plug out of the #1 cylinder. Place your finger over the hole and bump the starter until you feel (and hear) pressure push against you finger. When it does, the piston is coming up onto TDC on the compression stroke. Then roll your timing mark on the crankshaft dampener up to the marks on the timing tab. Once there, set your timing on your distributor. By using the spark plug lead as your indication of #1 cylinder, your using what the distributor is telling you is cylinder #1 and not the engine itself. If the distributor is out of time, it will also display an improper signal so you'll never get it right.

  • @MikeC There isn't a TDC mark on the front cover and balancer?
    – Ben
    Commented Jan 31, 2018 at 23:55

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