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I have what I hope is an easy question. I just installed a new distributor (old one locked up) and I set the timing by ear. (durrently do not own a timing light) It idles good and runs smooth except when I jump on it. Under hard excelleration I get valve clatter. Do I need to advance or retard the timing and by how much? I realize withou a timing light this will be somewhat difficult to measure but I have to ask. Thanks
Did you change plugs and wires? I had the same thing happen to me once and after changing plugs, gaped correctly, the chatter went away under acceleration. Also make sure your points are gaped correctly, and verify firing order.

Please check back and let us know the resolution. SSig_goodjob
the plugs looked fine and the wires are new. I also run the Petronix system so points are not the issue.
Try retarding it just a bit. Timing is one thing, idle setting on the carb is another. It might be idling fine based upon the idle setting, but the timing could be of causing the early detonation. Another trick not in the book that a Ford Service tech from the 60's and 70's shared with me is to cross the 7 & 8 plug wires in the loom prior to connecting them to the plug. It was my understanding that this helped with the detonation when I had the same problem.
(11-09-2010, 03:51 AM)tkelley Wrote: [ -> ]the plugs looked fine and the wires are new. I also run the Petronix system so points are not the issue.

The Petronix points still require that they are gaped, they even provide a little tool to gap it correctly. Probably not the issue.
All things mentioned before, being good. Back the distributor up (retard)it in about 1/8 increments just to where the detenation (valve clatter) goes away. If throttle response seems sluggish start advancing it till the clatter just comes back, and then ease it back till it just goes away. You are looking for the fine line between the two. This the closest you can come without a timming light. And will run just as good. OLD SCHOOL BUT IT WORKS.Cool
JTS 71 Mach1
Here may be something you haven,t thought about . Rememeber the distributor does drive the oil pump also . What you are taking about reminds me of the chatter on the lifter,s . It seems to me the lifter,s start to chatter when you lose oil pressure in the lifter area . You could be flotting the lifter,s because of lack of oil . Remember 351 C have this problem from the start . Check the distributor by removing the cap . Check the rotor to see if it pointed to where it should be . Put a mark on the distributor housing from number 1 plug wire . See if the rotor is lined up with that mark on number 1 plug . If it is not you are off some . Good luck . Idea C . L .