MSD Ignition is known in the automotive sector worldwide for its Multiple Spark Discharge ignition system. Although they introduced this technology back in the 70s, this is still used in the modern combustion engines of racing cars and bikes.
If you use a regular timing light in the MSD system, it will not give you an accurate result. Because it can not detect multiple sparks while measuring the timing. In that case, you need the specialized MSD compatible timing light. Here I am going to introduce the best timing light for MSD ignition that you can use without any doubt.
1. MSD Ignition 8992 Timing Light
The first timing light in this list is from the MSD Ignition itself. They are the pioneers of engine ignition technology. So, the timing light from their company should be good enough for your engine.
Hence, I didn’t get surprised when I got the best performance from this timing light. The design of the tool is minimal with the sturdy build quality. Since it doesn’t come with a carrying case the solid exterior is appreciable.
The timing light is quite accurate while measuring. It supports a wide range from zero to 10000 revolutions per minute. This is undoubtedly a big deal. The signal was stable too. I didn’t see any lags while using this.
The strobe lights are also brighter than other conventional timing lights in the market. Normally, MSD timing lights are costlier. But this model has a good balance between price and performance. Overall, this is a great buy if you want a reliable timing light for your vehicle.
2. MSD 8991 Timing Light
This is yet another timing light from the same manufacturer. However, this one has slight differences in outlook, features, and obviously in the price. The main feature of this timing light is it draws power from internal batteries.
For this obvious reason, you don’t need to connect it with the vehicle’s main battery. Rather you will have to use six AAA batteries. Hence, this self-powered timing light is very convenient. You can even use it on hybrid or racing cars that don’t have a battery pack near the engine.
The timing light provides accurate readings. Even this is quicker than other timing lights that require connection with the battery. On top of that, you don’t even need to mess with the cables and battery clamps.
The strobe light is pretty intense even in daylight. I don’t have any complaints about the build quality either. However, the price is on the costlier side. If you have a very tight budget and looking for the best cheap timing light then this should not be the pick.
3. INNOVA 5568 Pro-Timing Light
Innova is well-known for its scanning and code reading tools. This automobile timing light from Innova is a bestseller in recent times. Besides, the price also falls in the affordable segment.
This is one of their four different models. This one comes with a digital display and an intuitive user interface. The display provides four different readings including a tachometer, voltage, etc. The timing light is tested to work on up to 10000 RPM.
The build quality is decent and flights well with the more premium options from the MSD. The exterior of the timing light is crafted from high-quality shockproof material. Besides, you are getting a rugged casing for storing it in rough conditions.
I didn’t have any problems with aiming it at the testing point. It’s because of the adjustable barrel design. It has a long enough connection wire that is detachable for convenience. Finally, if you are tight on the budget and want a great deal then this is a must-buy.
4. MSD 89921 Timing Light Cable
This product is not a full-fledged timing light. Rather it works as a replacement part for your existing MSD timing lights. So, don’t expect to get the ignition timing by using this tool.
But it is appreciable that MSD is providing this spare cable so that you don’t need to buy their costly timing lights. This cable works great with the MSD 8992 timing light. The cord is made of high-quality copper materials.
The insulator is also made of high-quality plastic just like the stock one. It’s not surprising that the cable of your timing light may get worn out after using that for a long time. It mostly happens when the timing light has better longevity.
So, at a much lower price than a complete timing light set, this is a great buy. However, it is not compatible with all their timing lights. But if you are in this scenario when your existing timing light’s cable is damaged then you can pick this up.
5. INNOVA 3555 Advance Timing Light
This is yet another timing light from Innova’s portfolio. However, this one is the most basic. You will not get a fancy display or anything in this tool. Rather you will have a physical knob to set the basic functions.
Although this is a basic tool, it supports both conventional and computer-controlled ignition systems. You can even adjust the scale up to 60 degrees by using the knob. The numbers are beautifully marked on the dial.
Just like every other Innova timing light the build quality is superb. The body is made of high-quality ABS plastic. I liked the barrel design. It is flexible and you can adjust it to any angle so that you can aim it precisely.
This tool only supports 4 cycle systems. But I think this is adequate for most users. On top of that, the price is quite affordable. Overall, this is a pretty good deal for the new users who need only the basic functions.
6. INNOVA 3551 Inductive Timing Light
This is an inductive timing light from Innova. This kind of timing light works best in terms of accuracy. Besides they are pretty easy to use. However, this is just a basic timing light without a tachometer or other fancy features.
The exterior is not that rugged. However, this is not flimsy either. I think it provides a decent build quality even at this tighter price range. The tool is also compact. You can easily carry this in your bag.
It can check no-spark conditions apart from regular timing checks. You can also get electronic advance and retard with this powerful timing light. I found this tool quite accurate. The manufacturer is claiming a skip circuitry test up to 10000 great RPM.
The main benefit of this timing light is the price. Otherwise, some other timing lights provide much more features than this. So, if you are on an extremely tight budget you can pick this up without any hesitation.
7. Performance Tool W80587 Timing Light
Performance Tool is not the most popular brand out there in terms of timing lights. However, they make decent products at competitive prices. This one is my most favorite among their product lineup.
The build quality is not that premium. However, there is a 7 segment display and some LED indicators for easier operation. This is appreciable for a budget timing light like this. There is a 5 feet long cable for pickup leads.
The timing light is made of a xenon flash. You can easily see that flashing even in bright outdoors. I liked how the manufacturer thought about small details while designing this powerful tool.
The RPM range is a little bit lower than other costly timing lights. But 9000 RPM is adequate for most of the users. Besides, you can adjust the spark advance up to 90 degrees. Overall, this is a nice little timing light with great features that you can consider.
8. Actron CP7527 Inductive Timing Light
Actron timing lights are made of high-quality materials and are quite accurate. On top of that, the price is also cheaper. This is why they have got much popularity within a short period.
This is Actron’s most basic timing light with basic features. You are not getting any features like adjustment knob, digital display, or dial. Rather this is a pretty straightforward tool with one-button functionality.
Honestly, I didn’t expect much from this timing light considering the price. But it surprised me. It looks premium at the first glance. But you will feel the cheaper body material when you will take it on your hands. But, I don’t have many complaints regarding this.
In terms of performance, this tool shines. I got accurate measurements with this tool. But I missed the degree adjustment dial. It would help to get more accurate results. The leads are not detachable. But they seem durable enough. Overall, this can be your great little companion if you want a secondary timing light without spending much.
9. Performance Tool W80578 Timing Light
This one is a self-powered timing light that doesn’t require any kind of connection with the car’s battery. If you are okay with buying external batteries then you can go for these types of timing lights.
This is the smallest timing light in this list. The overall footprint is compact and easy to carry. The size took a toll on the build quality. It feels flimsy. But I don’t think you will be able to break it anytime soon.
The exterior of the timing light is made of glossy plastic and the insulator is made of durable rubber. The timing light comes at an angle of 15 degrees. However, it was also very easy to aim and measure. You will need two D batteries to run this tool.
If you ask me which is the best cheap timing light, I will refer you to this. I was a bit skeptical about this tool at first. But I was wrong. The timing was also accurate as of my testing. However, if you want more features or an all-in-one tool then it’s not recommended.
10. ESI 130 Self Powered Timing Light
This is yet another simple timing light by Electronic Specialties Incorporated. This timing light doesn’t need a power supply from the vehicle’s battery. Rather it can function pretty well with a couple of D batteries.
The build quality and sturdiness will not impress you. It’s average and looks decent though. But the main feature of this timing light is its RPM range. It can take up to 14,000 RPM which is not even found on costly timing lights.
The cord seems durable too. It has a protective sleeving that keeps it safe from the high temperature of the engine compartment. The length of the leads is only four feet which is smaller if we compare with other timing lights in the market.
It is equally accurate and effective on both two and four-cycle engines. Overall, this timing light provides great specifications on paper. It may not last that long like other premium tools but you can pick this up for better specs.
Best Timing Light For MSD Ignition - Buying Guide
Timing lights are easily available on the market. There are a lot of options too. However, timing lights that support MSD ignition are not that common. Sometimes people end up buying the wrong timing light that doesn’t work accurately on their systems. This is a great hassle and waste of money.
Again, some people lack the basic requirements of good timing light. Therefore, they have to depend on others to know which will be good for their cars. Here I am including a complete buying guide that will help you to choose the best timing light for MSD ignition on your own.
Build Quality and Body Material:
This is the most vital factor of timing light. You might say that you will not be willing to use that for a long time. But still, if you buy a timing light with a premium finish, it will more likely function accurately for a long period.
Normally vehicle accessories are made of metal and they are of strong build quality. You may want to store a timing light with your regular spare parts. Therefore, it must be strong enough to withstand rough storing conditions.
Some timing lights come with a solid hard case. Try to pick that up even if you have to spend some extra bucks. Since they are made of plastic, don’t forget to consider the temperature resistance. Otherwise, it might get melted by the excessive heat of the engine, accidentally.
Power Source and Voltage Rating:
A timing light is mostly an electrical device. It needs DC power to function. Although different timing lights draw power from different sources. Most timing lights have to be connected to the main battery of the vehicle. In that case, you have to buy the timing light that matches your car’s voltage. 12V timing lights for 12V car systems are most common in the market.
Compatibility with the vehicle engine should be considered first. Although most timing lights are compatible with traditional engines. Normally, vehicle engines are of two common types. Two strokes and four strokes. If you own both types of vehicles, you must pick a timing light that supports both.
Another main thing is the compatibility with multiple spark discharge technology. Since you are here to get the best timing light for MSD ignition system, you must inquire about the support for MSD. Otherwise, everything will go in vain.
Timing lights also have different variants too. Inline and Inductive timing lights are normally seen. The inductive timing light is easier to use and they are most accurate. If you have the flexibility to choose then always choose the inductive one.
User Interface and Additional Features:
Although this is a pretty basic electrical hardware it can be equipped with integrated chips and display systems. Some timing lights feature LCDs for showing the output and navigation. These are costly. If you are comfortable with navigating without a display then I will not suggest you go for that only for the display.
Modern timing lights are not only equipped with basic features. Rather they can perform various diagnostic tasks. They have a tachometer and some other sensors built-in with the body. Not everyone will need those fancy features. If you are okay with basic features then why not save some bucks!
Don’t forget to check the brightness of the flash. If it is dim then you will barely see it in the daylight. RPM range is also important. But you don’t have to worry about that because almost all the timing lights support at least 10,000 RPM.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Do you need a timing light?
If you want the best out of your engine you have to use a timing light. It will help you to find the timing of the engine spark firing. If it’s not up to the mark then you can adjust it on your own so that it runs on peak power and efficiency.
Q. What timing light works with MSD?
It’s challenging to provide a general answer whether the timing light will support the MSD ignition system or not. Nowadays, all the modern timing lights come with support for multiple spark discharge. But it’s better to go for non-adjustable and analog timing lights to be on the safer side.
Q. How does digital timing light work?
The principle is similar for both analog and digital timing light. Just the only difference is that the digital timing light has an LCD to show the reading. This is much easier than an analog timing light to configure and use. Besides, you will find some buttons instead of the dial knob to adjust things.
Q. What happens if the ignition timing is too advanced?
Ignition timing too advanced means it will spark too early. In that case, the fuel and air mixture in the combustion chamber will be earlier than required. It will generate more heat from the combustion cycle and your engine will overheat. Ultimately it will take a toll on your engine performance.
The list in the review section is made based on my extensive research and preference. Since all of them are good enough it’s difficult to come to a verdict. As you already know much about the properties of an ideal timing light, I hope you can pick the best one from the list that will suit your car.