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Compression for #1, setting distributor

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With so many things done over the past few months to get my 88 wagon on the road again, I'm a bit too excited to think straight. My friend, a past mechanic has been doing most of the work as far as timing belts, seals and all as I watch, learn and hand him tools.


SO..... With the covers on and feeling the butterflies for the first drive, I can't seem to get my thoughts in order.


The Subaru cranks and all of that goodness, but no spark/ignition but funny non-firing-popping noise. We figure (him over the phone) that the distributor is out of synch. Reading the Clymer manual, it says to pull the plugs, put my finger over the plug hole and turn the engine at the crankshaft. That would be great if my arm/hand bent and twisted that way while at the same time covering the hole perfectly. I do feel the intake suction (I think) but not clear on the rest of the strokes. (ho-hum)


I do have and did use the compression testing gauge dry (w/o oil) and turned the crank a bunch of times without registering any compression. Same for #3 and went to the driver's side to test and saw a negligible bump up then drop.


Short of pulling the valve cover on the passenger side to watch the valve train do its dance, What should I do? My kids want to get back in Sasha Car with the dogs and go adventuring again. Any wisdom is more than what I've got.


Thank you in advance,


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On the engine bell housing on the passenger side there is a black rubber plug.

Pull this out, you'll see the flywheel (or flexplate if it's an auto).

On this are timing marks and a little arrow cast into the bell housing to line up.

The marks apply to cyl1, so you can line up the disty like that.


Other option. I don't have the right flywheel/engine combo, so those marks are useless for me. You can put a pen or something down the plug hole, turn the engine and then it's pretty obvious when it's at tdc, the pen stops going up and starts going down. Just make sure you have the compression stroke TDC not exhaust.


With an 88 you have SPFI, so with the green test connectors connected your timing should be 20 DBTDC.

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That's some good information!


Being this close to "being finished" causes me to become excited which leads to foolish errors on my part. This has been a long time coming. :clap:

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If you're having difficulty reaching the plug hole to feel for compression on #1 cylinder, try this...


Put the plug back in #1 and pull the other 3 plugs, then turn the crank. You will definetly feel when #1 comes up on compression.

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