Advance the Cam Timing

Advancing the camshaft timing in relation to the crankshaft will lower the power curve range on your engine. This means that the power curve will start at a lower rpm. Retarding the cam timing, increases the power curve - the power curve will start later at a higher rpm. One reader advanced his cam timing by slipping the timing belt by one camshaft gear tooth. He reported that it gave a lot more low end torque and power but that there were other problems. Advancing the cam timing in this manner would advance the cam by about 18 deg which is way too much and NOT RECOMMENDED. A safe range would be 4 to 6 deg with 6 degree probably ideal. I'll give this a try in the future. Here's a discussion on cam timing and why a stock cam is retarded.

There are timing keys and adjustable timing gears that you can purchase to do this but I have to research it further. Racer Walsh sells adjustable cam gears., so does Need HP - division of Summit racing. Ebay seller ZF864 also sells both round and square tooth adjustable timing gears for a reasonable price.

I purchased the A237 camshaft kit off of ebay and it came with the M-6256-A231 multi-index cam sprocket (also called an adjustable cam timing gear). It allows you to advance or retard your camshaft timing from -8 to +8 degrees in 2 degree increments. I set mine to +6 degrees to lower the torque range. I spend 95% of my driving below 3000 rpm and the engine's peak hp is at 4500 rpm. It did indeed give more oomph in the 1500 to 2000 rpm range. Like all the mods discussed on this website, every little bit helps.

I drove up a test hill where before with my foot to the floor in fourth gear I could go 89 kmh (55 mph). With the cam advanced +6 deg, I was able to accelerate (slowly) and was accelerating at the top at 100 kmh (60 mph).

I found that in normal city driving, the engine is running right around 1800-2000 rpm, previously my power curve started at 2100 rpm. Now the power curve starts around 1700 rpm just about where I want it. After one week of driving, my initial impressions were wrong, it is way better! Highly recommend this modification as its inexpensive ($65) and easy to do. Improves overall driving and power!

The rare M-6256-A231 multi-index sprocket (note the shape of the teeth - square!)

This is page one of the instructions (yes it's that poorly photocopied)

Here is page 2 of the instructions

The problem that I have with my 1992 2.3L is that they changed the type of teeth used on the timing belt and timing gears. They went to a round tooth arrangement and not the square tooth that this multi-index sprocket has. You can see the difference in the photos, it is quite striking when you put them side by side. So up for auction it went on ebaymotors. Sigh...

Round tooth style timing gears on left, square tooth on right

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Copyright March 2011 Eugene Blanchard