How to Set the Timing on 1989 Honda Accord

The 1989 Honda Accord distributor is driven by the end camshaft on the back side of the cylinder head. Over time the timing belt that connects the crankshaft and the camshaft will stretch and cause minor changes in the ignition timing that can rob the engine of power and fuel mileage. Set the timing in this car when performing a tune up to compensate for these small changes in ignition timing and restore lost power and fuel economy.

Tools Used: Timing light, Paper clip, 12mm wrench

Set Timing

Start the engine and warm it up until the cooling fans come on to indicate it has reached operating temperature. Setting the timing before the engine has reached operating temperature will result in an error caused by the higher idle speed that the engine runs at when it is cold.

Turn the engine off. Attach the timing light power cables to the battery located in the front of the engine compartment on the passenger side of the 1989 Honda Accord. Clip the timing light's spark plug wire pickup around the spark plug wire closest to the driver side of the engine.

Short the timing connector min the Honda's engine compartment by pushing the ends of an unfolded paper clip into the two terminals in the connector. The timing connector in the 1989 Honda Accord is located on the main wiring harness that runs along the driver side of the engine compartment and is identified as a two wire connector with a yellow cover over it.

Start engine. Wait for the cooling fans to stop running and aim the timing light at the timing pointer on the plastic timing cover on the front of the engine. Observe timing timing marks on the crankshaft pulley located below the timing pointer.

Loosen two 12mm nuts that secure the distributor to the passenger side of the cylinder head. Rotate the distributor to set the timing to 18degrees +/- 2 BTDC (Before Top Dead Center) and retighten the distributor nuts. On the 1989 Honda Accord, 18 degrees is the middle mark (painted red) of the three marks on the crankshaft pulley. The 18 degree mark should be centered in the timing pointer.

Turn off engine and remove the paper clip from the timing connector and unclip the timing light from the battery and spark plug wire. Test drive the Honda to verify the engine runs properly.

Tips & Warnings

Wear safety glasses and work gloves when working around a running engine to prevent serious injuries.

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