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A tale of two timing buttons


Well-known member
West greenwich/RI
So about a year ago I had acquired a M1061 radio trailer with 2 beautiful MEP-003AASK's, one with 3 hours, the other with 6. One of which I did a nice restoration on, which I had posted pictures of. ( all it really needed was paint work and the typical fuel system work from sitting since 1989 ) and ended up selling a couple weeks ago.
The other had an issue with smoking badly for a few minutes until it warmed up.
I went all through the machine checking everything. Injectors, head gaskets, heads, glow plugs, IP, EVERYTHING!
Each thing I fixed seemed to make the issue better but not completely fixed.
Now I had a tad bit of smoke from cyl. 1 and 4 but 30 seconds of heavy smoke from #3
I started to concentrate on cyl.3 , checking compression ( #3 was actually 25 psi higher than the other 3 ), lapping the valves, checking the rings, glow plug, injector again everything, but still no smoking gun as to why that cylinder was smoking at startup.
Early on, before doing any work on it, the machine was hard starting and billowing white smoke like a freight train, so one of the first things I did was rebuild the injectors and IP.
After thinking I had exhausted every possibility I remembered back to last year when it all began and I remembered checking the IP timing after rebuilding the pump. I originally thought it was off by about 2 1/2 lines, but chalked it up to me not performing the test correctly, thinking "Why would it be wrong on an untouched motor"
Plus, once warmed up the machine ran clean and produced over 14Kw.
The smoke did not seem to affect performance, but to me it's an indication that something isn't quite right.
Today I decided to revisit the IP timing. After performing the flow test ( correctly ) sure enough, off by 2 1/2 lines, right from the factory on a motor with 3 hours on it.
The button in the machine was marked "10", which isn't even listed in the chart in the TM. According to the TM I need to step up 5 sizes, so luckily I have a full line of buttons on hand. Threw in a #15, reinstalled the pump, bled the lines and she fired right up! To my surprise, not a lick of smoke at all!
So the moral of the story is:
1) Incorrect pump timing can not only affect power, but if the timing is late it can also affect starting performance and cause white SMOKE when cold.
2) Don't assume that everything is set correctly from the factory, apparently they too sometimes make mistakes.

Why only cylinder #3 you ask? Well that I can not explain. all I can assume is that some small manufacturing difference within the IP or the cam lobe for #3 must have made cylinder 3 more sensitive to incorrect timing than the other cylinders.


Staff member
Burgkunstadt, Germany
Ray, I love it when people use this phrase. "Don't assume that everything is set correctly from the factory". The "A" word. Man, it can bite you in the patootie.
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