VW Passat & Audi A4 1990-2000

Adjustments

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Unless the timing belt has been changed, or the distributor has been removed from the engine, it is not necessary to adjust the ignition timing. The base ignition timing can be set on the 2.0L 9A engine, however, no adjustment is possible on the 2.0L ABA engine as the distributor base is pinned between the hold down bolt with two dowels. On both engines, the ignition timing advance is controlled by the Engine Control Module (ECM) and adapts based on feedback from the Knock (KS) Sensors. The following procedure for the 2.0L 9A engine is only for establishing the "base" setting upon on which the ECM retards or advances the timing, based on the ECM's input sensors.

2.0L 9A engine
  1. Start the engine and allow it to reach operating temperature. The engine is at operating temperature when the cooling fan on the radiator has cycled once.
  2.  
  3. Turn the engine OFF .
  4.  
  5. If the vehicle is not equipped with a tachometer, attach one to the engine according to the tool manufacturer's instructions.
  6.  
  7. Attach a timing light to the engine according to the tool manufacturer's instructions.
  8.  
  9. Switch all electrical accessories to the OFF position.
  10.  
  11. If installed, remove the access plug in the top of the transaxle bell housing.
  12.  
  13. Start the engine, and verify the idle speed is within specifications.
  14.  


NOTE
If the idle speed is not within specifications, the engine warm and the idle switch OK, the timing cannot be accurately adjusted.

  1. Aim the timing light at the check hole on the transaxle bell housing.
  2.  
  3. With the engine at idle, aim the timing light at the flywheel. The pointer in the timing check hole should point to the timing mark (6° BTDC) on the flywheel.
  4.  


NOTE
Do NOT confuse the "0" mark with the ignition timing mark. The "0" mark indicates Top Dead Center (TDC).

  1. If the timing mark is not within specifications, turn the engine OFF and loosen the distributor holddown bolt. Loosen the distributor bolt enough to allow the distributor to move with moderate hand force. If the bolt is too loose, the distributor may spin when the engine is operating, which can cause an extreme variation in ignition timing, possibly stalling the engine.
  2.  
  3. Start the engine, and turn the distributor until the timing marks align.
  4.  
  5. Turn the engine OFF and tighten the distributor holddown bolt.
  6.  
  7. Confirm the timing is correct by starting the engine again, and checking the timing marks.
  8.  
  9. Remove the timing light, and install the timing check hole plug, if equipped.
  10.  

2.0L ABA engines

The ignition timing on all 1993-99 Motronic-equipped engines (ABA) is controlled by the ECM and is not adjustable. There are locating pins on the distributor base to ensure the distributor is installed in its proper location, so a "base" adjustment is not necessary.

 
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