Timing and distributor position procedure 301 v8

Rusty Muffler

Active Member
Feb 11, 2011
Reaction score
Petaluma, Ca.
On my 57 Belvedere 301 v8 I first get my #1 piston (drivers side front) to TDC on compression stroke. Then I line up the DC (dead center?) mark on the crank pulley. But when I drop the distributor in the rotor is pointed in the 8 oclock position? According to the FSM the rotor should be pointed in the 5 or 6 oclock position. If the distributor was 180 degrees off the rotor would be in the 2 oclock position, both wrong. It's telling me that the timing chain could be off and this is a newly rebuilt motor. What am I missing here? I'll double check tomorrow and make sure she's on the compression stroke #1 but I adjusted the valves and the valves at #1 have play like they're on the compression stroke.
One of the good things about Chrysler V-8s is that they use an intermediate shaft to index with the camshaft rather than being like other motors whose distributor shaft and gears interface directly with the oil pump drive. If that intermediate shaft is not in the correct place at TDC, then the distributor will not align correctly (rotor to spark plug wire terminal on the distributor cap).

Unless you are trying to get it to the way it came from the factory, it doesn't matter. Once you have it set up like you do, you can just make that the #1 plug and set your firing order from there. The engine will not run any differently.
All you guys are great! My original distributor has a steel tubing for the vacuum advance so it needs to be close to a certain position or other parts interfere. Thanks!
Mysterious Timing Issues On My 318 Poly, Any Ideas On A Fix? (
Take a long flat tip screwdriver and put it in the distributor drive slot.

Rotate is CCW and it will come up the cam gear and allow you to relocate the slot to what ever position you want.

That will fix the rotor pointing wrong issue.)
Thanks 58 Belvedere!!!
I seem to remember the FSM stating the position of the slot in the shaft in the engine rebuild section.

Page 332 of the FSM under distributor installation.
The text says the slot at the gear end of the distributor drive shaft should point to the first intake manifold bolt on the left side of the engine on the 277, 301 and 318 cuin. engines.

It then refers to figure 18, which is hard to tell but,looks like they consider the first intake manifold bolt at the front of the engine
Last edited: