Top Gear Philippines

Dear Ferman,

Do we need to advance initial timing if we have headers and mufflers? How will you know if there is a detonation (problem in the engine)? Is it like a backfire noise?


Evo Lance

Hi, Evo Lance.

The answer to your first question is not necessarily. Initial timing will be dictated by what you've got on the car and how well everything works together. Installing a header and a free flow muffler will affect your air fuel ratio. Get your header and muffler combination right and you will likely gain a bit of power from the modifications. Get it wrong and you will lose performance and fuel economy. If you've already advanced your initial ignition timing before, then further advancing it may not give you the power you are looking for.

Too much ignition advance doesn't do any good and, in many instances, may actually reduce power output. One of the negative effects of too much advance is "tope," or detonation. This is characterized by a "marble-in-a-tin-can-being-shaken-around" sound. This is something you don't want to hear as this sound is often a precursor of a soon to be dead engine if you don't back off the throttle when you do hear it, particularly on high powered engines. Backfire is different.

Best regards,

Ferman Lao

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Ferman Lao
Technical Editor
Wearing the hats of a race car driver, driving instructor, grease monkey, tuner, dyno operator, auto shop owner, motoring journalist and CAGI president at one time or another, or all at once, deep down he's just another guy who loves cars.
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