Finding top dead center is a critical procedure for many facets of building and hot rodding an engine. Being able to be 100% sure that things are assembled correctly and that valve timing is set exactly where you want it. If you are going to degree in your camshaft this is a truly mission critical process.
The good news is that it isn’t the toughest thing in the world to do and this story from COMP Cams walks you thought it in a couple of easy steps. If you do not have a degree wheel or a piston stop chances are you have a buddy you can borrow one from but they are important pieces for the job. There are also places online where you can print the pattern for a degree wheel which can then be affixed to some card stock or other stiff backing to save you a couple of bucks.
The bottom line here is that while you can “line up the dots” as millions of others have done and continue to do with their cam installations, there’s nothing wrong with going the extra mile to make sure your engine is assembled with a high degree of precision and accuracy. Hey, those couple of degrees of advance or retard you are looking for in the cam install may be the difference between winning or losing or maybe making the power you want or falling a little short.