How to Set the Timing on a 1988 Nissan Pathfinder

The 1988 Nissan Pathfinder 4WD features a 3.0 liter six-cylinder engine. The SUV features both an automatic and manual transmission. Both transmissions have an ignition timing of 12 degrees before top dead center (BTDC) but the ignition timing for each transmission is set in a different way. You should set the ignition timing periodically as a part of tuning up your truck. The ignition timing controls when the spark will occur in the internal combustion engine of your Pathfinder.

Tools Used: Timing light. Tachometer. Wrench.

Set Timing

Put your key in the ignition of your Nissan Pathfinder and turn the car on. Turn all car accesories off, including the radio and air conditioning/heat.

Put your transmission in drive and engage the emergency brake. Bring the engine to an idle speed of 700 rpm if your car has an automatic transmission and 800 rpm if your car has a manual transmission.

Connect the timing light and/or tachometer to your Pathfinder's battery, No. 1 spark plug, and the main crank pulley.

Observe where the timing mark on the pulley falls compared to the standard 12 degrees it should be.

Loosen the distributor lockdown bolt with your wrench. The lockdown bolt should be located by the base of the distributor housing.

Disconnect and unplug the distributor vacuum hose.

Rotate the ditributor with your hand until the timing mark drifts into 12 degrees BTDC.

Tighten the distributor lockdown bolt with your wrench once you have set the timing to 12 BTDC. Connect and plug in the distributor vacuum hose. Remove the timing light and/or tachometer.

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