Author Topic: Advancing timing - do you absolutely need a timing light?  (Read 14195 times)

Offline Gubro30

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  • Posts: 88
Advancing timing - do you absolutely need a timing light?
« on: August 28, 2012, 09:25:53 AM »
It seem everyone are saying a +3degrees advance over the 30degrees stock (33 total) is best for a K75. Can't I simply rotate the timing plate 3 degrees CC to achieve this?

Thanks!
1986 K75C with K100Std fairing, Black. 50Kmiles

Offline wmax351

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Re: Advancing timing - do you absolutely need a timing light?
« Reply #1 on: August 28, 2012, 11:22:49 AM »
Kinda. Its a bit trial and error anyways.

Just buy a harbor freight timing light. http://www.harborfreight.com/xenon-timing-light-3343.html 14 bucks.
  • Ann Arbor, MI
  • 1991 BMW K75 Standard, Refreshed '94 engine
Bikes:
Current:
1991 BMW K75 Standard, Refreshed '94 engine


Past:
'83 BMW R65LS (An R65 with a prototype K Bike Front End)
'75 Honda CB550F
'69 Honda CB175
1999 Royal Enfield Bullet 500 (Last month of the original '55 model)
1973 Triumph Tiger TR7V (5 speed, Right Shift, Disc Brake)
1971 BMW R75/5 in Toaster outfit
1979 Harley Davidson XLS-1000 Sportster Roadster

Offline motodude

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  • Posts: 539
Re: Advancing timing - do you absolutely need a timing light?
« Reply #2 on: August 28, 2012, 11:26:44 AM »
You'll prolly get lots-o-replies on this one.

One way, without a timing light, that I've used--but not on a motobrick, yet--is what I call, "road timing".  Fill the tank with whatever gas you want to run.  Set your timing where you think is best.  Take it out on the road, stick it in something like third or fourth gear @ ~2500 rpm and roll it on hard.  If it pings, you'll need to retard the timing a bit from there.  If it doesn't ping, you can advance the timing a bit from there.  I usually continue in this fashion until I have it where it does not ping but if advanced any more it will.  If you're uncomfortable with that setting, you can always retard it a smidge from there for insurance.

A timing light is great but this method of timing gets you where you can have the highest advance, w/o pinging for the octane of gas you want to run.  For a touring bike, I prefer regular as it is cheaper and some places you may end up, will have two pumps, one labeled, "Diesel" and the other labeled, "Gas".  I can assure you, the one labeled "Gas" does not dispense "Super".

Just one way to get there,
Tom
'95 K75RT
'90 K75RT
'87 K100RS Motorsport
No, I am not cool.  Yes, it really is the journey.

Offline Gubro30

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Re: Advancing timing - do you absolutely need a timing light?
« Reply #3 on: August 28, 2012, 11:41:47 AM »
You'll prolly get lots-o-replies on this one.

One way, without a timing light, that I've used--but not on a motobrick, yet--is what I call, "road timing".  Fill the tank with whatever gas you want to run.  Set your timing where you think is best.  Take it out on the road, stick it in something like third or fourth gear @ ~2500 rpm and roll it on hard.  If it pings, you'll need to retard the timing a bit from there.  If it doesn't ping, you can advance the timing a bit from there.  I usually continue in this fashion until I have it where it does not ping but if advanced any more it will.  If you're uncomfortable with that setting, you can always retard it a smidge from there for insurance.

A timing light is great but this method of timing gets you where you can have the highest advance, w/o pinging for the octane of gas you want to run.  For a touring bike, I prefer regular as it is cheaper and some places you may end up, will have two pumps, one labeled, "Diesel" and the other labeled, "Gas".  I can assure you, the one labeled "Gas" does not dispense "Super".

Just one way to get there,
Tom

Thanks a lot Tom!

If I know I already want to advance it by 3 degrees; can I simply turn the timing plate like I said 3 degrees by measuring it adequatly and go try it the way to suggested on the road?

Thanks!!
1986 K75C with K100Std fairing, Black. 50Kmiles

Offline wmax351

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Re: Advancing timing - do you absolutely need a timing light?
« Reply #4 on: August 28, 2012, 01:35:13 PM »
You'll prolly get lots-o-replies on this one.

One way, without a timing light, that I've used--but not on a motobrick, yet--is what I call, "road timing".  Fill the tank with whatever gas you want to run.  Set your timing where you think is best.  Take it out on the road, stick it in something like third or fourth gear @ ~2500 rpm and roll it on hard.  If it pings, you'll need to retard the timing a bit from there.  If it doesn't ping, you can advance the timing a bit from there.  I usually continue in this fashion until I have it where it does not ping but if advanced any more it will.  If you're uncomfortable with that setting, you can always retard it a smidge from there for insurance.

A timing light is great but this method of timing gets you where you can have the highest advance, w/o pinging for the octane of gas you want to run.  For a touring bike, I prefer regular as it is cheaper and some places you may end up, will have two pumps, one labeled, "Diesel" and the other labeled, "Gas".  I can assure you, the one labeled "Gas" does not dispense "Super".

Just one way to get there,
Tom

Thanks a lot Tom!

If I know I already want to advance it by 3 degrees; can I simply turn the timing plate like I said 3 degrees by measuring it adequatly and go try it the way to suggested on the road?

Thanks!!

In the absence of a timing light, I would do the "road timing" method.

In addition, I have used the "Road timing" method, combined with timing light measurement. Runs well, no knock, even at sea level. Better mileage too.
  • Ann Arbor, MI
  • 1991 BMW K75 Standard, Refreshed '94 engine
Bikes:
Current:
1991 BMW K75 Standard, Refreshed '94 engine


Past:
'83 BMW R65LS (An R65 with a prototype K Bike Front End)
'75 Honda CB550F
'69 Honda CB175
1999 Royal Enfield Bullet 500 (Last month of the original '55 model)
1973 Triumph Tiger TR7V (5 speed, Right Shift, Disc Brake)
1971 BMW R75/5 in Toaster outfit
1979 Harley Davidson XLS-1000 Sportster Roadster

Offline Gubro30

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  • Posts: 88
Re: Advancing timing - do you absolutely need a timing light?
« Reply #5 on: August 28, 2012, 01:36:43 PM »
Wmax:

How exactly did you proceed mechanically-wise? This is my first attempt at playing with timing on bikes :)

Thanks!! :2thumbup:
1986 K75C with K100Std fairing, Black. 50Kmiles

Offline wmax351

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  • Posts: 1218
Re: Advancing timing - do you absolutely need a timing light?
« Reply #6 on: August 28, 2012, 01:49:16 PM »
Wmax:

How exactly did you proceed mechanically-wise? This is my first attempt at playing with timing on bikes :)

Thanks!! :2thumbup:

http://skylands.ibmwr.org/tom/tech/k75_timing.html
  • Ann Arbor, MI
  • 1991 BMW K75 Standard, Refreshed '94 engine
Bikes:
Current:
1991 BMW K75 Standard, Refreshed '94 engine


Past:
'83 BMW R65LS (An R65 with a prototype K Bike Front End)
'75 Honda CB550F
'69 Honda CB175
1999 Royal Enfield Bullet 500 (Last month of the original '55 model)
1973 Triumph Tiger TR7V (5 speed, Right Shift, Disc Brake)
1971 BMW R75/5 in Toaster outfit
1979 Harley Davidson XLS-1000 Sportster Roadster

Offline Gubro30

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  • Posts: 88
Re: Advancing timing - do you absolutely need a timing light?
« Reply #7 on: August 28, 2012, 01:53:57 PM »
I have read and re-read that article several times, but having never tackled this before I'm still unsure of a few things  :loco:

Would I have to simply move the pick up plate 3 degrees counter clockwise? How would I align it exactly?

THanks!
1986 K75C with K100Std fairing, Black. 50Kmiles

Offline Gubro30

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  • Posts: 88
Re: Advancing timing - do you absolutely need a timing light?
« Reply #8 on: August 28, 2012, 02:52:38 PM »
OK So I'll go ahead and buy this http://www.canadiantire.ca/AST/browse/4/Auto/AutoTools/TimingLights/PRD~0252029P/Digital+Timing+Light.jsp?locale=en ;

and simply return it once I'm done 10 minutes later  :yes

Which way do I rotate the pick up plate to advance timing, clock-wise or counter-clockwise?

Thanks!
1986 K75C with K100Std fairing, Black. 50Kmiles

Offline wmax351

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  • Posts: 1218
Re: Advancing timing - do you absolutely need a timing light?
« Reply #9 on: August 28, 2012, 03:05:14 PM »
I believe you will turn it counterclockwise. It will be the opposite of the direction the crank turns.
  • Ann Arbor, MI
  • 1991 BMW K75 Standard, Refreshed '94 engine
Bikes:
Current:
1991 BMW K75 Standard, Refreshed '94 engine


Past:
'83 BMW R65LS (An R65 with a prototype K Bike Front End)
'75 Honda CB550F
'69 Honda CB175
1999 Royal Enfield Bullet 500 (Last month of the original '55 model)
1973 Triumph Tiger TR7V (5 speed, Right Shift, Disc Brake)
1971 BMW R75/5 in Toaster outfit
1979 Harley Davidson XLS-1000 Sportster Roadster

Offline Gubro30

  • ^ Motobrick Curious
  • Posts: 88
Re: Advancing timing - do you absolutely need a timing light?
« Reply #10 on: August 28, 2012, 03:16:46 PM »
Thanks!  :bmwsmile

I can't wait to see the effect on throttle response and engine smoothness.
1986 K75C with K100Std fairing, Black. 50Kmiles

Offline Duc750

  • ^ Proficient Motobricker
  • Posts: 132
Advancing timing - do you absolutely need a timing light?
« Reply #11 on: August 28, 2012, 06:19:57 PM »
I've not tried adjusting a k but on an oil head (which I thibk has the same he's plate set up) the most you can get is about 4 degrees advance

2001 K1100LTIC not even run it at 52K
1994 Duc 907ie
1998 R850R
1987 Duc 750 Paso

Offline motodude

  • ^ SuperNatural Motobricker
  • Posts: 539
Re: Advancing timing - do you absolutely need a timing light?
« Reply #12 on: August 28, 2012, 09:14:02 PM »
You'll prolly get lots-o-replies on this one.

One way, without a timing light, that I've used--but not on a motobrick, yet--is what I call, "road timing".  Fill the tank with whatever gas you want to run.  Set your timing where you think is best.  Take it out on the road, stick it in something like third or fourth gear @ ~2500 rpm and roll it on hard.  If it pings, you'll need to retard the timing a bit from there.  If it doesn't ping, you can advance the timing a bit from there.  I usually continue in this fashion until I have it where it does not ping but if advanced any more it will.  If you're uncomfortable with that setting, you can always retard it a smidge from there for insurance.

A timing light is great but this method of timing gets you where you can have the highest advance, w/o pinging for the octane of gas you want to run.  For a touring bike, I prefer regular as it is cheaper and some places you may end up, will have two pumps, one labeled, "Diesel" and the other labeled, "Gas".  I can assure you, the one labeled "Gas" does not dispense "Super".

Just one way to get there,
Tom

Thanks a lot Tom!

If I know I already want to advance it by 3 degrees; can I simply turn the timing plate like I said 3 degrees by measuring it adequatly and go try it the way to suggested on the road?

Thanks!!

You're welcome. 

If it were me, I would not get too hung up on how many degrees this way or that.  Unless you have a degree wheel and a timing light, or some other way to accurately measure (like a dial indicator), you're only going to be "close" anyway. 

The point of "road timing", is to get your timing as far advanced as you can w/o experiencing detonation, in a "real world" situation.  There are several factors that control that.  Fuel octane and timing are the big ones but spark plug heat range, engine condition (carbon build up in the combustion chamber, blow-by, etc) and engine temperature are others.

But to answer your question, yes.  Turning the HES plate 3 degrees (CC, I think) will advance your initial ignition timing by as much. 

Tom
'95 K75RT
'90 K75RT
'87 K100RS Motorsport
No, I am not cool.  Yes, it really is the journey.

Rick G

  • Guest
Re: Advancing timing - do you absolutely need a timing light?
« Reply #13 on: August 28, 2012, 11:25:20 PM »
Looking at the hall sensor front on the engine rotates CCW so you need to go CW to advance.

Offline TimTyler

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Re: Advancing timing - do you absolutely need a timing light?
« Reply #14 on: April 30, 2013, 08:58:51 PM »
Update:

Recently reset the timing using two different adjustable advance timing lights and this is the result with 1krpm set to 6 degrees BTDC.


Offline Nine80seven

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Re: Advancing timing - do you absolutely need a timing light?
« Reply #15 on: May 30, 2016, 12:49:27 PM »
There is much posted wherever on which it whozit direction to rotate the HES plate to advance timing.  Thanx Tim for showing the plate.  One guy says frontwards, the next says backwards.  Had to bump this for a definitive direction. 
  • MN
  • 85 K100RS

Offline TimTyler

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Re: Advancing timing - do you absolutely need a timing light?
« Reply #16 on: May 30, 2016, 12:55:20 PM »
After messing with timing several times over the years, I've gone back to the default position. My suggestion is to leave it be.

Offline TimTyler

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Re: Advancing timing - do you absolutely need a timing light?
« Reply #17 on: July 16, 2016, 11:14:51 AM »
I've been messing with HES setting lately.

The last photo I posted in this thread (from 2013) was obtained when setting the timing at idle using an adjustable timing light. I lined up the two V's at six degrees advance. With this setup my K75 is buzzy.

I installed new NGK DR7EA plugs last week. I use resistor plugs since I'm using non-resistor Magnecor ignition wires.

Lately I've tried advancing the timing (using the popular method from skylands.ibmwr.org) to about thirty-three degrees at 4000 RPM using the adjustable timing light  (turning the HES clockwise). This results in a higher idle RPM and a much smoother engine at all RPM's. The only downside is that I get a solid knock-knock I can feel in the pegs at ~3500 RPM. No knocking below or above ~3500 RPM. With this timing the bike feels like it's riding on glass at high RPM's.

I remember I experienced this knock about a year ago after switching to the Magnecor wires and I think it was remedied by switching to iridium spark plugs.

So... does this sound like the kind of knocking you get from improper engine timing?


Offline Martin

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Re: Advancing timing - do you absolutely need a timing light?
« Reply #18 on: July 16, 2016, 02:51:34 PM »
Knocking does suggest incorrect timing, were the iridium spark plugs resistor type, and besides the expense any reason for not using them again. If they worked with the Magnecor wires and you had no knocking why not go back to them.
Regards Martin.
  • North Lakes Queensland Australia
  • 1992 K75s Hybrid, Lefaux, Vespa V twin.

Offline TimTyler

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Re: Advancing timing - do you absolutely need a timing light?
« Reply #19 on: July 17, 2016, 10:50:32 PM »
They were resistor plugs.

I advanced the timing a bit further yesterday and no change in knocking. It's just a knock-knock when passing 3500rpm.

Got a busy week ahead so I'll mess with it some more next weekend.

Offline Martin

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Re: Advancing timing - do you absolutely need a timing light?
« Reply #20 on: July 18, 2016, 12:21:29 AM »
If you still have the old iridium plugs might be worthwhile putting them back in and see if they cure the knocking.
Regards Martin.
  • North Lakes Queensland Australia
  • 1992 K75s Hybrid, Lefaux, Vespa V twin.

Offline Laitch

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Re: Advancing timing - do you absolutely need a timing light?
« Reply #21 on: July 18, 2016, 09:27:06 AM »
The "riding on glass" as a new feeling on the bike seems like a warning symptom. Even transitory detonation—if that's what's happening in the engine—is not desirable.

I think it's asking a lot of a well-worn engine when asking for a performance boost at an advanced stage in its life—especially when the stock timing has delivered its rider to far-flung places and back home again successfully.
  • Along the Ridley in Vermont.
  • 1995 K75T 72,000 miles
I wept because I had no radials until I met a man who had no splines.
http://www.motobrick.com/index.php/topic,296.msg53303.html#msg53303

Offline almostordinary

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Re: Advancing timing - do you absolutely need a timing light?
« Reply #22 on: August 06, 2019, 03:17:39 PM »
Found myself in this situation and wanted to share the tech write up page since it's no longer active.

Here's an archived version of that page... hope it helps someone else out w their bricked brick.

https://web.archive.org/web/20170329103939/http://skylands.ibmwr.org/tom/tech/k75_timing.html

-Ian
  • Los Angeles
  • 1991 K75s

Offline BlitzenGruv

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  • My first BMW. Been riding old British forever..
Re: Advancing timing - do you absolutely need a timing light?
« Reply #23 on: August 08, 2019, 01:36:31 AM »
So, where in the hell are the timing marks on these bikes? What can one see rotating relative to something else to even use a timing light? Certainly not the HE pickup.
My K is the most powerful bike I have, and I like being able to run lower grade petrol. I'll leave the timing alone unless I need to replace the HE sensor.
  • Crossville, TN
  • '92 K100rs, 16v, '71 BSA Lightning, '72 Triumph Bonneville, '72 Triumph Trident
You say I'm schizophrenic, but I don't believe we are.

Offline Laitch

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Re: Advancing timing - do you absolutely need a timing light?
« Reply #24 on: August 08, 2019, 01:47:12 AM »
where in the hell are the timing marks on these bikes? What can one see rotating relative to something else to even use a timing light? .
You can see where you were before you rotated.  :laughing1: The link supplied by almostordinary seems to cover theory and practice, but as long as the engine isn't pinging or detonating and it's the most powerful moto you've ever had, what is there to change? Are you trying to seek out new life and boldly go where no man has gone before? Parkour is all that's left for you, and unused structures for that are lessening, so you'd better get crackin'.
  • Along the Ridley in Vermont.
  • 1995 K75T 72,000 miles
I wept because I had no radials until I met a man who had no splines.
http://www.motobrick.com/index.php/topic,296.msg53303.html#msg53303

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