Retard or advance? | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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Retard or advance?

Explorer Junky

Well-Known Member
March 15, 2010
Reaction score
City, State
Grand Rapids, Mi
Year, Model & Trim Level
1997 XLT 4 dr 5.0
I recently installed 1.7 full roller rockers in my 97 Ex with 5.0 and AWD (stock is 1.6). Also, a set of TMH's went in to the mix. Now, a mechanic told me that there is a wire that you can remove from the timing sensor (red with a stripe) that will retard timing. Or is it advance??? See I am confused. Anyone know about this? Also, with the extra lift from the rockers, would you want to advance or retard your timing??? Any genius's out there that can help me??

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Generally speaking as the performance mods go does the advance.
Now there are exceptions. But think of it this way. The engine is no more then an air pump. So now with the new 1.7 rockers and the headers that will change the dynamics of the air flow from stock CFM flow rate to a more aggressive flow (more). Then the spark will need to ignite the air/fuel mixture off a few more degrees before top dead center (advance) to get a good combustion due to the increased air/fuel mixture. Now when the piston starts down on the power stroke it will optimize a more complete combustion which puts more power on the down stroke.
Now's the time to think new cam profile also. The list just grows and grows ha ha .
But be careful about too much advance. If the spark gets there too soon, it will put a lot of strain on the rod bearings. Why. Because as the piston starts to go up and it's building compression inside the cylinder. The air space between bearing surface and connecting rod journal on crank slowly compresses, relatively speaking. But now if the point of combustion is too soon.
Then it slams the connecting rod bearing against the cank rod journal while there is still too much air clearance. The air clearance is the space that the oil needs between bearing and crank journal. This can be heard as a Pinging sound.
I once built a contraption on one of my drag cars that I could manually advance the Vertex Magneto (distributer) half way down the track by pushing a steel rod as the RPMs increased.
But I'm talking old school stuff here and don't have a clue how all this would affect your computerized engine with out changing a chip or something else.

Ok! I understand the "Advance" part. Simply put, it means that the plug fires SOONER than later. Now, do you or anyone else know about this wire on the timing sensor that is used to eliminate spark knock!??? Would that mean advancing timing to get rid of spark knock?

I wouldn't be fooling around in there--could cost you more than you think. Ping a hyper piston once good and uh oh

Talk to James Henson and, -pluck down the $$ for what you really need, which is a custom tune and xcal device you can use to manipulate the "curves" within a safe margin

I will repeat myself again. If you plan on modifying your engine at all, you must, must MUST include tuning in the budget.

Talk to James.

or your next thread just may be

"why is oil puking from my dipstick???!!!11

Because the issue confuses you should be the clue you ought leave this one to someone who does know.

Thats why i am asking! BEFORE i do something!!