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Thread: Checking Static Timing without ECMSpy

  1. #1
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    Checking Static Timing without ECMSpy

    Hey guys. I'm still working through the checklist of things potentially related to spark pinging, and wanted to properly set my static timing, since I had replaced my ignition sensor and just marked the position manually when installing the new one, and matched it up. I don't have ECM spy, but it sounds like it's used to find TDC on the front cylinder at the same time the timing mark is visible in the center of the viewing hole at the base of the cylinders. Could I use the straw in the spark plug hole method to find tdc in the front cylinder instead of using the software? Or does anyone in Phoenix know someone with the software who can help me out? I've read just a couple degrees could throw things off, so wanted to rule it out before moving on to map issues.

  2. #2
    Member DieterVonCunth's Avatar
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    If you see the timing mark in middle of inspection hole you are at TDC front cylinder.
    Then you need to use a strobe light or a PC to fine tune it.
    Last edited by DieterVonCunth; 06-03-2022 at 01:25 PM.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Cooter's Avatar
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    Have you spent enough money and time yet to actually want to find the problem? It's not the sensor. It's not how you lined it up. But here ya go anyway.

    Yes, there are many, many, ways to align TDC of the piston to the sensor.
    1) Set the #1 cylinder to TDC. The straw method works. Looking through the timing hole works. Whatever.
    2) Line up the sensor to trigger at that point. "Using ECMSpy" simply tells you when the sensor triggers, a test light/voltmeter will do the same.

    But you are over thinking how close you need to get it. Don't toss it in there all willy-nilly (you didn't) and no need to break out the Electron microscope either (you're trying too). If you marked the last sensor and lined up the new one (you didn't need to change) the same you're fine... move on...
    Because:
    1) Each single degree of adjustment is about 1/16"-1/8" of movement, an easily visible difference (even for my old eyes) so you'd know if it's off enough to matter.
    2) If your bike is actually pinging and it's pinging because of a 1-2* mismatch of the sensor, you have other issues. The timing map shouldn't be on that razors edge of detonation that adding 1-2* causes detonation.

    If you suspect pinging know that it's not a Buell issue. It is a fundamental, universal, ICE issue:
    1) The ignition sensor can't do that without causing massive other issues like after-fire, surging, bucking. Huge problems you'd know about. It only outputs one signal, sent to the ECM where it is split and timed for each cylinder. Unpredictable un-timed ignition spark (bad CPS) is different from the predictable/early consistent spark causing the detonation you think you have.
    2) A mis-alighned TDC sensor could, but only if it slipped/moved by a huge amount, like 10+ degrees (to the end of the slot, 3/4" away).
    3) Bad/contaminated gas can, but new. Not typically 'old gas' because its the lighter/faster-burning long chain hydrocarbons that evaporate first, old gas burns slower and doesn't detonate as easily. Ethanol or not won't matter, in fact Ethanol could help.
    3) Heavily carboned pistons or combustion chamber can, a quick look with a $20 Amazon endoscope in your phone will tell you, but honestly gas today is so full of additives and oils are so clean, a chamber dirty enough to pre-ignite is fairly rare.
    4) The wrong spark plugs can overheat the ground electrode and cause pinging. But again, they'd need to be drastically wrong. A heat range or 2 won't do it... NGK 8's or 9's won't matter.
    5) An overheating engine will do that, but very hard to do with an air-cooled engine with such a wide margin on running temps and it's certainly easy to see if the engine is overheating...
    6) A sensor issue can cause the timing map modifier to be incorrect. Look at what controls it. Temp sensor, TPS, RPM. All easily checked via Live Data.
    7) Over advanced timing. BUT that map is NOT something that changes on it's own in the solid state, gel filled, Magic Narnia inside the ECM. Done any 'tuning' lately? Fuel maps (.XPR files) include a timing map.

    So, do you even know if the bike is pinging?
    How?
    And no matter what, quit avoiding what you NEED to do to insure you aren't rattling that bike to death and settle your brain at the same time.

    Compare the timing map in your ECM now to a stock one.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Barrett's Avatar
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    JP: I don't know what this is all about but can't make it simpler than the below, if you're not using SPY.

    Pull both spark plugs to relieve the compression
    Put trans in 5th gear and rotate rear wheel in the forward direction SLOWLY till window opening reveals timing mark in center and front cylinder on TDC
    Timing mark in window center is dead on TDC
    Rotate CPS clockwise from present condition approx 1MM
    Now key ON...kill switch to ON...headlight fuse removed....rotate CPS counter-clockwise till ECM activates fuel pump
    Lock in place and be done with it.

  5. #5
    Senior Member 34nineteen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barrett View Post
    JP: I don't know what this is all about but can't make it simpler than the below, if you're not using SPY.

    Pull both spark plugs to relieve the compression
    Put trans in 5th gear and rotate rear wheel in the forward direction SLOWLY till window opening reveals timing mark in center and front cylinder on TDC
    Timing mark in window center is dead on TDC
    Rotate CPS clockwise from present condition approx 1MM
    Now key ON...kill switch to ON...headlight fuse removed....rotate CPS counter-clockwise till ECM activates fuel pump
    Lock in place and be done with it.
    Mic drop.

  6. #6
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    Thanks for all the advice, everyone, and I appreciate putting my concerns in context. Letting my know I'm barking up the wrong tree is helpful. I don't have a stock map, and I'm nervous to trust maps you can find online. My questions surrounding TDC were because the instructions I read made it sound like I had to both line up the timing mark and confirm TDC in the front, which admittedly seemed weird, but regardless I'm not chasing that rabbit now. Honestly the bike seems to run strong, and I'm going to take it to a shop around the corner that knows buells and could maybe test ride it for me to confirm whether or not it's ping. If confirmed, then I'll chase down the map as the main suspect. I haven't spent any money on this issue, it's just that I don't ride much and have a lot of time late at night to think about things.



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