Volkswagen Front Wheel Drive 1974-1989 Repair Guide

Parts Replacement

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DISTRIBUTOR CAP



See Figure 1

  1. Disconnect the negative battery cable.
  2.  
  3. Disconnect the high tension wire which runs between the distributor and the ignition coil.
  4.  
  5. If equipped, remove the metal static shield which is fitted around the distributor cap. Remove the shield by twisting it and pulling it upward and over the cap. It may be necessary to disconnect a ground strap and suppressor lead on some models.
  6.  



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 1: On some models it will be necessary to remove the static shield-but first remember to disconnect any ground straps or suppressor leads

  1. Match the position of the new cap with the old cap. Unplug the ignition wires (one at a time) from the old cap and plug them into the new cap.
  2.  
  3. The distributor cap is held down by two spring clips. Insert a screwdriver under their ends and release them. Lift off the cap.
  4.  

To install:
  1. Position the new cap onto the distributor and engage the spring clips.
  2.  
  3. If equipped, install the metal static shield. Connect the ignition coil wire to the cap.
  4.  
  5. Connect the negative battery cable.
  6.  

ROTOR



  1. Remove the distributor cap.
  2.  
  3. Pull the rotor off the distributor shaft.
  4.  

To install:
  1. Slide the new rotor onto the shaft.
  2.  
  3. Install the distributor cap.
  4.  

BREAKER POINTS AND CONDENSER



See Figures 2, 3 and 4

  1. Disconnect the negative battery cable.
  2.  
  3. Make sure the ignition switch is in the OFF position.
  4.  
  5. Disconnect the high tension wire which runs between the distributor and the ignition coil.
  6.  
  7. If equipped, remove the metal static shield which is fitted around the distributor cap. Remove the shield by twisting it and pulling it upward and over the cap.
  8.  
  9. The distributor cap is retained by two spring clips. Insert a screwdriver under their ends and release them. Lift off the cap with the spark plug wires attached. Wipe the inside of the cap clean with a rag and check for burned contacts, cracks or carbon tracks. Carbon tracks are dark lines running from one terminal to another. They cannot be removed, so replace the cap if it has any tracks.
  10.  
  11. Remove the rotor from the distributor shaft by pulling it straight up. Examine the condition of the rotor, if it is cracked or if the metal tip is excessively worn or burned, it should be replaced. If not, clean the tip with a clean cloth.
  12.  

Do not file the contact tip on the rotor.

  1. Remove the dust shield, then loosen the screws securing the points (if possible, use a magnetic screwdriver for removal to avoid losing a screw down into the distributor). Slide the point wire connector off of its terminal and remove the point set.
  2.  
  3. The condenser is located on the outside of the distributor body. Pull the wire connector coming from the suppressor off of the condenser terminal. Remove the screw that secures the condenser assembly to the distributor, then remove the assembly.
  4.  

To install:
  1. Before installing the new points and condenser, place a small dab of high-temperature grease on the distributor shaft, then smear it evenly around the cam. Install the new points and condenser. Tighten the condenser mounting screw but leave the points screws loose.
  2.  



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 2: Lubricate at (1) with a drop of clean engine oil and at (2) with a dab of high-temperature grease

  1. Make sure that the faces of the points meet squarely. If not, the fixed mount can be bent slightly with a little force and a pair of needle nose pliers. Do not bend the movable contact.
  2.  



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 3: The points must be correctly aligned

  1. The point gap must be adjusted next. The gap is adjusted with the rubbing block of the points resting on one of the high spots of the distributor cam. To get it there, rotate the engine clockwise with a wrench on the crankshaft pulley bolt.
  2.  
  3. Insert a 0.017 in. (0.43mm) flat feeler gauge between the points. A slight drag should be felt. If no drag can be felt, or if the gauge can't be inserted at all, insert a screwdriver into the notch provided for adjustment and use it to open or close the gap between the points until it is correct.
  4.  



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 4: Adjusting the point gap

  1. When you feel the gap is set, tighten the points screws and recheck the gap. Sometimes it takes three or four times to get it corrected, so don't feel frustrated if they seem to move around on you a little. It's not easy to feel the correct gap either. To check yourself, use gauges 0.002 in. (0.05mm) larger and smaller than the 0.016 in. (0.40mm) specification as a test. If the points are spread slightly by a 0.018 in. (0.45mm) gauge, but not touched at all by a 0.014 in. (0.35mm) gauge, the testing should be right.
  2.  
  3. After all the adjustments are complete, pull a clean piece of tissue or a piece of white paper between the contacts to clear away any bits of grit.
  4.  
  5. Install the dust cover, the rotor and the distributor cap. Snap on the spring clips, then install the static shield. If you have a dwell meter (using one is recommended for a finer adjustment), your next step should be to set the dwell. Otherwise, go on to set the ignition timing.
  6.  

IGNITION COIL



  1. Label and unplug the wires from the coil.
  2.  
  3. On some models, the coil is secured in a clamp. If so, loosen the screw, then slide the coil out from the clamp. Install the new coil, then tighten the screw until snug.
  4.  
  5. On other models, the coil is secured by bolts. On these models, remove the bolts, then replace the coil. Tighten the bolts until snug.
  6.  
  7. Connect the wires to the coil.
  8.  

RESISTOR WIRE



  1. Cut a new length of resistor wire to 50 15 / 16 in. (128cm). You must use resistor wire or ignition system damage could result.
  2.  
  3. Remove the bad resistor wire from multi-connector C at the fuse/relay panel.
  4.  
  5. Install the new resistor wire using terminal kit 000 097 002, available at your local VW dealer.
  6.  
  7. Route the new wire and connect it to the terminals.
  8.  

 
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