How do I set the timing on my TO-30?
Harry Ferguson considered maintaining correct timing an important task. He constantly preached the need to maintain Ferguson tractors and equipment in the highest state of repair to obtain the maximum level of performance. Failure to perform as desired was usually attributed to failure to maintain.
Start by checking the static timing and then check it with a timing light. To set the static timing. Remove the number 1 spark plug, and the timing hole cover. Mark the position of the distributor cap tower with the wire going to the number 1 spark plug on the side of the distributor. Remove the distributor cap, rotor and dust cap, and then reinstall the rotor.
Have an assistant slowly turn the engine with the hand crank or put the tractor in reverse gear, put your thumb over the number 1 spark plug hole, and slowly rock the tractor backwards while checking for the timing marks to appear in the timing hole. Continue rocking the tractor backwards or slowly crank the tractor until the “0” or “DC” mark appears, and you feel pressure or compression on your thumb from the cylinder. When the “0” or “DC ” mark lines up with the line on the edge of the timing hole and there is pressure on your thumb the piston will be at top dead center or TDC. In this position, the rotor should be lined up with mark on the side of the distributor.
If the rotor is pointing to another tower/cylinder, the distributor will have to be removed, the rotor turned slightly and the distributor reinstalled. Loosen the screw clamp at the base of the distributor to remove the distributor. Because the teeth on the distributor gear are curved, the rotor will rotate a few degrees when the distributor is installed. To compensate for this movement, move the rotor a few degrees back of the mark before installing the distributor. If the rotor is just a degree or two off from lining up with the mark you made for the number one tower, rotate the distributor and tighten the clamp. Install the dust cover, rotor, distributor cap, spark plug and plug with. The engine should start. If it does not, recheck the above. Once the engine starts the timing should be set with a timing light.