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1G Weird timing issues, cam gears must be off a tooth or car won't run right


10+ Year Contributor
Oct 25, 2010
Athens, Pennsylvania
I tried getting help on my issue a few months ago. Nobody could figure it out but now I am determined to figure it out and hopefully you can help me.

First off, I have a 93 Eagle Talon TSi AWD. It is auto, has a 14B turbo, 3 1/2 inch turbo back exhaust, NGK plugs and wires, and a boost gauge. Other than that, it is fairly stock. Even still running the 390cc injectors.

Now that I got that out of the way, here is my problem. The timing belt has to be advanced a tooth off each cam in order for it to run well. When I first bought the car, I noticed the timing marks were off. I re-timed the timing belt to the factory timing marks.

Once I did this, the car ran like crap. Would barely move, spit and sputtered, just absolutely horrible. CAS was 5* with a timing light. Once I rotated the CAS all the way forward, the car ran alot better than at 5*. I talked to the previous owners (now girl friend) father about it. He said he did the same thing when they bought the car almost 10 years ago.

He talked to the previous owner before my girl friend owned it. They did not know why it had to be a tooth off each cam, but that's how they had it since it wouldn't run well otherwise. They also said something about an "arm" or "tensioner" that was flipped upside down.

My talon has balance shafts with no balance shaft belt. My girl friends dad said he put one on when they bought the car and it ran crappy. So he took it off and left the balance shafts in.

It also doesn't seem to make much of a difference on where the CAS is timed at. For example, moving it all the way forward has little to no effect compared to if you rotate it all the way back. I have it at 5* putting it somewhere around the middle.

About a month ago, a CEL came on for my coolant temp sensor. I replaced the sensor but the CEL was still on. So I disconnected the positive cable from the battery for about a half hour. It cleared. Then I went for a drive and the car felt like it had literally 40 more horsepower.

Recently, it has much less power when very warm outside. Once it cools down a little at night, it runs descent. But nothing like it did when I reset the CEL. Also, disconnecting the battery for 30+ minutes doesn't do anything anymore.

Why would my engine have to be advanced one tooth on each cam in order to run properly?

Also, when grounding the timing plug on the firewall, cylinder one stops firing. What would cause this to happen?

I hope someone can figure this out. Ask me questions, etc. I will do my best to help you if you are trying to help me.


Supporting VIP
Aug 18, 2007
Leawood, Kansas
After reading the thread, I wondered have you checked the ECM or ECU? How does it start? Several cranks, fires right up, and depends on variable factors? Sounds like leaking capacitors, I would check the that out, especially if you have recheck timing both manually and with timing light, and looked for vacuum leaks and repaired any leaks the next step would be ECM issues.


5+ Year Contributor
Jan 30, 2003
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
exactly what I was going to say and its not the fuel pump tester it is something else but right in the same location. Ive done that before:ohdamn:

Yeah, the timing one is closer to the battery and is larger/rounder and has a cap on it. Kinda looks like the MAS plug, rather than the TPS plug. I think you need it grounded for base timing adjustments and BISS adjustments.

But to the OP, I would forget the "tips and tricks" with the valve timing, just get it back to factory specs.


10+ Year Contributor
Oct 25, 2010
Athens, Pennsylvania
Yep. That is exactly what I intend on doing. If I am going to make more power, I am going to spend the money to do it right and not hack the timing all to hell. If you are going to do a free mod, stay away from the timing belt as it is a critical part of the engine.
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