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Setting M10 Timing?

Hey everyone, I just recently picked a 1984 318i from a friend of mine for next to nothing, it needed a head gasket and a few other minor bits, but nothing really major, and if nothing else it seemed like something fun I could tinker with then resell. Turns out the head gasket had just been replaced by another friend of mine, and for whatever reason he used a gasket sealer on the head gasket, and I have to be honest, going to all the work of replacing the head gasket knowing it had just been done, and needed to be done again because my friends are idiots is a bit frustrating, but it wasn't too bad, it took me about 4 hours to get to where I am. Which brings me to my question...

Right now, everything is back together, all I need to do is put the cam gear on, set the timing, and then put the timing cover and valve cover on, then it should be good to go. Which leads me to the one roadblock I ran into on this project. How do I set the timing on this engine? I can see the timing mark on the cam gear, as well as the distributor, but the crank is where I reach a problem. I can't see any marks or anything indicating top dead center. Last time my friends did this they had a shop set the timing for them, and that cost $350, not something I'm trying to spend when I know I can do it myself. Can anybody tell me how to do this?

Also, one more question. What size socket do I use to turn the crank? I went up to 27mm, but it's bigger than that, and I don't have any bigger sockets, so before I buy a bunch to guess and check, I'd like to know the right size from the get go.

Thanks guys.
Old 03-24-2008, 03:59 PM
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I suppose an adjustable wrench and a ruler could get you the crank bolt size.

For TDC, you can put a screwdriver in the #1 spark plug hole and watch for TDC then put a drill bit or 3/8"socket extension into the flywheel lock hole on the bellhousing near the starter to hold it there.

The Tech Info Center has articles on head replacement and timing that may apply but if not I'm sure the timing procedure is on the web.
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Old 03-24-2008, 06:37 PM
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I suppose you're right, that is a way to do it, I was just wondering if anyone knew the actual size, but that is a good idea, thanks.

I also never thought about the screw driver idea, another good little trick that I completely forgot about.

I also did check the tech articles, but anything pertaining to the M10 engine is completely absent, they are fantastic articles for M20s and the like, but I'm pretty much S.O.L. with the lowly 84 318i, but that should definitely be enough for me to be able to figure it out, thanks.
Old 03-24-2008, 07:32 PM
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Here is the M10 procedure from a shop manual.
There's not much to it just align all the timing marks.

Refitting
12 Refit the tensioner rail and chain guide
rail, if removed.
13 Temporarily refit the lower timing chain
cover and vibration damper, so you can check
the crankshaft timing marks. Once you’ve
verified the TDC marks are aligned, remove
the damper and cover.
14 Loop the timing chain over the crankshaft
sprocket, then loop it over the camshaft
sprocket and, guiding the chain between the
chain guide and tensioner rail, refit the
camshaft sprocket on the camshaft. Make
sure the camshaft timing marks are aligned.
15 The remainder of refitting is the reverse of
removal. Be sure to tighten the fasteners to
the correct torques (see this Chapter’s Specifications).
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Gone: :'( 98 Camry V6 97 Camry I4 97 Mazda 626 I4 :'(93 Sentra SE-R 88 Toyota Truck I4
Old 03-25-2008, 06:20 AM
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Awesome, that's just what I needed, thank you very much.
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