VW Passat & Audi A4 1990-2000

Ignition Timing


Checking and adjusting the ignition timing are not a part of a normal maintenance schedule. The 2.0L Passat engines are the only engines covered in this guide that use distributors. Because the ignition system is controlled by the Engine Control Module (ECM) the only adjustment possible is the base ignition timing on the 2.0L 9A (16 valve) engine, which only needs to be set if the distributor, removed, disturbed or the timing belt replaced.

To set the base ignition timing on the 2.0L 9A engine:

  1. Start the engine and allow it to reach normal operating temperature. The engine cooling fan should cycle at least one time with the air conditioner turned off.
  3. Turn the engine OFF .
  5. Locate the timing access hole on the top of the transmission bell housing, and if installed, remove the protective cover.
  7. Loosen the distributor mounting fasteners just enough to allow the distributor to move.
  9. Connect an ignition timing light following the tool manufacturer's directions.
  11. Start the engine and check the ignition timing at idle. Note: The engine idle speed is not adjustable and is controlled by the ECM. If the engine idle is not within specification, trouble shoot the cause and repair as necessary. The timing should be 5-7° Before Top Dead Center (BTDC).
  13. Adjust the timing as necessary.
  15. Turn the engine OFF .
  17. Tighten the distributor mounting fasteners to 88.5 inch lbs. (10 Nm).
  19. Recheck the ignition timing and if necessary, adjust to specification.

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Fig. Ignition timing marks on the 2.0L 9A engine