Volkswagen Front Wheel Drive 1974-1989 Repair Guide

Air Cleaner


A restrictive, dirty air cleaner filter will cause a reduction in fuel economy and performance and an increase in emissions. The air filter should be replaced according to the maintenance interval chart in this Section, or more often in dusty conditions.

On gasoline engines with CIS or CIS-E fuel injection, the air cleaner is mounted directly under the fuel distributor/airflow sensor assembly. When changing the filter on these engines, the lower portion of the air cleaner housing stays in place and the distributor/sensor assembly is lifted up away from the housing. It is not necessary to disconnect any fuel lines or wires.

On diesel engines, the air cleaner housing is mounted directly to the intake manifold for noise control and ease of maintenance.


See Figures 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5

Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 1: Common type air cleaner and filter found on carbureted engines

  1. On models with CIS or CIS-E fuel injection, loosen the hose clamps to remove the rubber boot from the top of the airflow sensor.
  3. On Digifant engines, loosen the clamp and remove the air duct from the air filter housing.
  5. Unsnap the cover retaining clips, starting with the hardest ones to reach. The last clip released will be difficult to unsnap, so it should be the easiest to reach.
  7. Lift the cover off and remove the air filter element. On CIS and CIS-E engines, lift the fuel distributor/airflow sensor assembly enough to remove the filter element.

Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 2: The diesel air filter is mounted directly on the intake manifold