1998 Civic Ignition Timing

Hi,
I have recently replaced the distributor on my 98 Civic because my sparks were all over the place when I measured the KV. Even though I was getting sparks they weren't consistent and the car wasn't starting
but was cranking. With the new distributor the car starts, but when I've tried to adjust the ignition timing by rotating the new distributor, I can't get it in the specified range. The manual said to be 12 Degrees from TDC (white) mark, but the most I can get is the TDC mark to be a bit retarded from the pointer on the engine block. I suspect I'm about 14 degrees retarded in timing. I've already rotated the new distributor maximum counter clock wise(for advancement). I've read somewhere that timing belt allignment might shift the timing, but I haven't touched it except to visually inspect it while I was debugging. I didn't check the timing with the old distributor, but it seemed to have more power while I was driving with the old one. Could anybody help me advance my timing 14 more degrees.
Thank You.
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snipped-for-privacy@lycos.com wrote in
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When you use a timing light, is the timing mark lined up anywhere near the group of *three marks* on the pulley??
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TeGGeR®

The Unofficial Honda/Acura FAQ
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TeGGeR® wrote:

doubt it. he doesn't know about shorting out the timing adjust connector yet.
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The OP has emailed me privately, saying this:
"The marker on the engine block is close (a little advanced)from the TDC mark (which is the white marker, 12 degrees prior to the group of three marks). The distributor is rotated maximum allowed for advancement. This is the closest I can get to the center mark of the three marks group."
My reply to him: "Then your timing belt is not installed correctly. It's off by one tooth. It needs to be removed and reinstalled with the cams lined up properly."
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TeGGeR®

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The basic schema of the current timing is the following:
||| | V
the 'V' is the indicator on the engine and the lines are the markers on the wheel. This is the most advanced I can get. I will try changing the timing belt because there might have been 72 months. Is it safe to drive it for short distances in order to pick up some suplies for the repair? If the timing belt is indeed mis-aligned what would have been the danger driving with it like that because the belt was untouched since I've bought it a few months ago. The compression test suggested 150 psi on each piston and I hope I'm in good shape.
Thank You
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snipped-for-privacy@lycos.com wrote:

1. you still need to find the timing adjustment connector to stop any computer advance of the spark. you'll never be able to set it properly without that.
2. from what i have seen, it's apparently easy to not set the timing belt tension correctly if the tech does not follow the honda instructions exactly. if the belt's loose, it can jump a tooth and suddenly not only is your cam timing out, your ignition timing's out too. presubably, your belt was changed some time before you bought the vehicle. if so, there's no need to buy a new one - just make sure this one's set right. instructions in tegger's faq's.
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