Volkswagen Air Cooled 1949-1969 Repair Guide

Breaker Points



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Fig. Fig. 1 Exploded view of a common Bosch distributor used on many Volkswagen models

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Fig. Fig. 2 Exploded view of typical breaker points and condenser mounting used in Volkswagen distributors

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Fig. Fig. 3 Use a screwdriver to move the breaker points in or out while measuring the gap with a feeler gauge

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Fig. Fig. 4 Ensure that the surfaces of the breaker point contact faces are properly aligned to avoid premature wear

The breaker points are the heart of the Volkswagen ignition system, and must be given their share of attention. All Volkswagens ever made require a breaker point gap of 0.016 in. (COLD) and a dwell angle of 50 degrees. It is best if the engine is cold from sitting overnight or for several hours. If you are not able to rest your hand comfortably on any part of the engine, it is too warm to set the breaker point gap and the ignition timing. In adjusting the contact points, the following steps are taken:

  1. Remove the distributor cap and rotor.
  3. Turn the engine by hand until the fiber block on the movable breaker point rests on a high point of the cam lobe.
  5. With a screwdriver, loosen the locking screw of the stationary breaker points.
  7. Manipulate the stationary point plate so that the clearance between the points is 0.016 in.
  9. Tighten the locking screw of the stationary point.
  11. Recheck the point gap, correct if it has changed from Step 4 due to the tightening of the locking screw.

When replacing points, the same steps are followed, as with adjusting except that in between Steps 3 and 4, the old points are taken out and the new points inserted. Points should be replaced when they have been badly burned or have been in use so long that correct adjustment is no longer possible. When checking the gap of points which have been in use for some time, it is advisable to use a round gauge rather than a flat feeler gauge. In the case of points that have a peak in one point and a valley in the other, the flat-type gauge will result in a reading which is smaller than the actual gap between the two points.