Initial (start) timing

I need some help from some of you here on the forum. I need to know what initial timing you have your cars set at. I have recently done away with my coil on plug setup that I wanted. Seems I was getting some errant signals to the coils causing the engine to backfire up the injectors along with some other issues. This resulted in the starter breaking teeth off the ring gear. After several attempts to correct the problem, changing the harness, checking grounds, continuity checks over and over, and purchasing new coils, nothing seemed to correct it. So I have gone to a distributor setup that is controled by the original electronics through a MSD 6A amplifier to the distributor and out to the plugs.
The original timing was a mess from the builder where he tried to use some chevy parts(pulley and crank trigger), that would not match up to the 351 windsor and casued some of the problem. The crank trigger would not line up on the 50º mark that was required by the computer. So to compensate he changed the timing to 46º on crank(400rpm) and then converted to 20º on run(900rpm). His reasoning was that since the crank trigger was too close to TDC he added the time back into the reference of the computer. What I think was happening was, the peak spark was occuring before TDC and this caused the engine to try to turn backwards, which would put tremendous torque on the starter and it would break teeth. This was discovered by hapenstance after all the changes we had attempted. On resarching the distributor, on the MSD web site, I found a video on installing a distributor. They mentioned too much timing and the results, which is what I got. I changed to all Ford parts and all lined up as it should.
Now comes the tricky part. I need to know if my settings for initial timing is too high or too low or where it should be. All advance mechanisms are locked out of the disributor, and are controlled by the computer. Using the computer I had, the reference crank trigger is still 50º and is set there. The cam sensor which is in the MSD distributor is set at 50 + 20 per the computer. Once that is set, the timing on the crank, is set at 24º BTDC, and the rotor set to the #1 cylinder. Thuis has to be set correctly as it is in between the inital(start timing) of 12º and full advance of 32º. If the cap is not placed correctly the spark could jump to another cylinder(8 or 3) and be disasterous. Setting it this way is called "rotor phasing", accomplished by drilling a hole behind the #1 cylinder(top) and making sure it is truely on the #1 cylinder.
After doing all this I attempted startup. On first attempt there was one pop up the intake. On second attempt the car started up just as it should. I started the engine for a time or two the next day and allowed to come up to temperature. Two Saturdays ago I took the car out for a spin and only drove a couple of miles and back to home. Started up on first tic. On checking everything later, I noticed the clutch was a bit too heavy and realized I had left the balance spring off the fulcrum of the slave cylinder. This spring keeps the fulcrum set at the beginning of its movement(slave completely compressed) and keeps the pressure off the throwout bearing in the 930 trans. This was installed and as I cranked up the car to go to the first cruse in last Sunday, I ws greeted with the familiar sound(by now it is familiar) of the starter spinning with no contact in the teeth. Inspection showed once again a broken tooth.
I am not sure if the one pop was the culprit this time, as it has started up very well every time but the first turn over. So I will pull the trans "again" and replace the ring gear. This makes #6. This replacement will be the last time this is done. If it happens again I will tear it down and sell it all.
So my question to you all is, what is your initial timing set at. What is your start up timing. Mine is set at 12º@400rpm. Second setting is 20@900 idle, 22@1800 and 2º every 200 rpm to a max of 32.
Engine stats:
351 windsor bored 60 over and stroked to ?(can't remember right off the top of my head) to about 392ci. I believe. Notched flat top pistons and AFR 205 heads. TWM 8 port fuel injection MSD 8578 distributor and coil wound wires, FAST XFI and XIM electronics with the MSD 6A box and MSD HVC-2 coil(pn8253). Compression is measured at 150psi. Compression ratio unknown as I don't remember the stroke. This motor runs great once cranked.
Thanks for your help guys.


Bill,I noticed this post earlier but have not had time to reply...however here goes now

1. Your actual engine capacity is 398cu in ( in post #14 of your build thread you give specs as 4.060" bore, 3.850" stroke, 5.956" rod.
2. You mention the AFR 205 heads & discuss the valve to piston issues that occured , but dont mention what the chamber volume of your cylinder heads is, They could be 58cc,69cc or 72cc If they are any of the std AFR offerings.
3. My point here is as your pistons are flat tops with only valve clearance notches in that design & assuming that your engine builder was using normal performance specs for piston to head clearance etc that at best your compression ratio with the 72cc heads the comp ratio will be 10.5 to 1, if it has the 58cc or 69cc versions then your comp ratio will be far to high for pump gas..
4. Baseline igniton timing for a setup like yours would be around 12° initial with a further 10° ( dizzy) or 20° at the crank for a total of 32° at the crank all in by about 2500 crank rpm........... some of the timing figures you have been mentioning in your build thread dont make sense too me..... and the other thing which you have mentioned is rotor phaseing, yes real important.

Cannot help feeling that some of these points might be the root cause of all your problems, but also feel that you might be getting a 'rogue' spark signal fom somewhere within the electronics- wireing setup on the car!
The AFR 205 come in either 58 cc or 72 cc chambers so you have either 12.1 or 10.4.1 comp with your combo. 150 PSI at cranking is not that brilliant for the 10.4 and pathetic at 12 so nothing there to hinder starting.
We have built plenty of motors with Eight stack injection, TWM etc and they run best with something between 18 and 24 degrees initial advance.You should have no problems starting with these sort of numbers, even more.
Not really au fait with the Fast system but the Accel DFI that we use for choice has features like delayed injection at cranking, if you need it, so the motor is spinning before injection, timing at cranking speed, ie 200, and all sorts of stuff like that.
To be honest, though, with 150 cranking pressure you shouldn't need any of that.
Have re-read the build thread, first thing I would do would be to borescope the whole 8 cylinders and check both exh & inlet valve pockets for any sign of valve/piston contact, also inlet valve to bore @ the full lift ( Yes I know your engine man is supposed to have remedied that problem, just that with piston rock @ TDC on that short rod ratio & your hydraulic cam it might still be a bit short on valve/piston clearance, also possible your heads might have the 2.080" dia inlet valve option ).