if i turn the balancer mark to top dead center is the distributer rotor sapposed to be facing the #1 spark plug

(i rotated it with little cranks of the engine, then when it was close i put it in nuetral then turned it by hand to make it perfect)

Um, what year is the car? What engine is in this car?

Whateverm the answer is no. The balancer mark will rotate twice for every time the distributor rotor rotates once. One of those rotations will be for the compressions stroke, the second for the exhaust stroke. The plug needs to fire on the compression stroke. Your balancer mark could easily be in the wrong position.

When the piston of the #1 cylinder is at the top of its conpressions stroke is when the distributor rotor should be on the #1 plug to start off.

I always like the Germans that put a notch on the number 1 position on the distributor housing. It takes a medium amount of talent to get the distributor in correct as initaly the spiral nature of the gear makes it appear you are way off.

Some people have trouble transfering the plug wire position on the distributor cap to where the rotor should be pointing on the distributor housing (you end up a tooth off)

my bad its a 81 chevy malibu with a 350 engine in it

Yes that would be correct. The #1 cylinder coincidentally enough is the same one you connect a timing light to,

Not if the ignition timing is set right.

When the ignition timing is set, the distributor is rotated in order to set it at X? before top-dead-center. So if you put #1 cylinder at TDC, the rotor in the distributor will be off that many degrees from #1 spark plug tower or TDC.


This is pretty bad nitpicking, but the rotor in the distributor will be half that many degrees off, since the degrees in question are on the crankshaft.

But, yes, it must be said that setting the timing via this method should only be to get it so the engine starts and then the timing should be set with a timing light.

Once you set the ignition timing at X? before TDC, it doesn’t change.