81 malibu timing tab degree reading

does anyone now how to read a chevy malibu tab if there are no degree number on it becouse it rusty, or should i just replace the timing cover and get a chrome 16.99 timing cover and 5.99 tab

this is the tab all i can make out are the lines and where it says before, for top dead center

If all your looking for is to be able to properly time the engine, see if you can find a timing tab you can read, like a new one at the store or off another similar engine. Notice which of the zigzag cuts marks 0 deg TDC, and which one marks the proper setting of the ignition timing for the car. Sand off the rust and paint a mark on the proper locations of TDC and the ignition timing. I like white of ignition timing and red or blue for TDC.

Maybe Chiltons or similar at the library could help.
Feel lucky? is this the same as yours? You decide

Try rubbing the tab down with some steel wool and see if something appears.

it looks pretty close to me thanks very much. and another question if i turn the balancer mark to top dead center is the distributer rotor sapposed to be facing the # 1 spark plug

Eyeballing it is probably plenty precise, but alternatively…

Get a yardstick, measure the diameter of the harmonic balancer. Add the distance between the balancer and the timing tab (x 2, since you’re actually wanting to measure the imaginary circle as if the timing tab went all the way around). Then take that number x pi to get circumference. Then divide that number by 360. Now you’ve got the number of inches (or whatever unit you choose to use) per degree. Then just measure how far each little nub is from TDC and and divide that by your inches per degree figure and then re-number!

The timing mark on the harmonic balancer could be twisted out of position. What is the purpose of all this effort?