Volkswagen Golf/Jetta/Cabriole 1990-1999

Adjustments

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FOX ONLY



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. On Digifant-equipped engines, the ignition timing is controlled by the ECM. The procedure listed for Digifant-equipped engines is only for establishing a "base" setting on which the computer retards and advances the timing, based on engine inputs from the engine's sensors.

CIS and CIS-E (Fox Only)
  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 manufacturer's instructions.
  6.  
  7. Attach a timing light to the engine according to the manufacturer's instructions.
  8.  
  9. Switch all electrical accessories to the OFF position.
  10.  
  11. Start the engine, and verify the idle speed is within specifications.
  12.  


NOTE
If the idle speed is not within specifications, 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 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 hold-down bolt. Loosen the bolt enough to allow the distributor 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. It may be necessary to adjust the idle speed once the timing marks are aligned.
  4.  
  5. Turn the engine OFF and tighten the distributor hold-down 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.  

Digifant I and II (Fox only)

NOTE
On vehicles equipped with Digifant I, this procedure will generate a fault code, which is caused by disconnecting the coolant temperature sensor. Refer to for information.

  1. Remove the plastic plug from the timing check hole with a 27mm Allen® wrench. A 27mm bolt can be used, in conjunction with a 27mm socket to substitute for the Allen® wrench. Although the plug has a cap, the entire plug must be removed to view the timing marks on the flywheel.
  2.  
  3. Connect a timing light to the engine according to the manufacturer's specifications. Make sure the wires do not contact any rotating parts (pulleys, radiator fan, etc.).
  4.  
  5. Start the engine, and allow it to reach operating temperature. The engine is at operating temperature when the radiator cooling fan has cycled once.
  6.  
  7. Raise the idle speed to 2200 rpm, and let it settle to idle. Perform this at least four times. This clears the ECM's memory and allows the high-idle and hot start function to be bypassed.
  8.  
  9. Disconnect the coolant temperature sensor on the cylinder head. Of the two sensors on the coolant pipe, the coolant temperature sensor is mounted underneath, and usually has a blue connector.
  10.  
  11. Raise the engine speed to 2000-2500 rpm, and aim the timing light at the flywheel. The pointer in the timing check hole should point to the timing mark on the flywheel.
  12.  


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

  1. If the timing is within specifications, turn the engine OFF and reconnect the coolant temperature sensor. Remove the timing light.
  2.  
  3. If the timing mark is not within specifications, loosen the distributor hold-down bolt. Loosen the bolt enough to allow the distributor with moderate hand force. If the bolt(s) are too loose, the distributor may spin when the engine is operating, which can cause an extreme variation in ignition timing, possibly stalling the engine.
  4.  
  5. with the engine speed between 2500-2500 rpm, and turn the distributor until the timing marks align.
  6.  
  7. Turn the engine OFF and tighten the distributor hold-down bolt. Make sure the timing was not changed when the distributor hold-down bolt was tightened.
  8.  
  9. Reconnect the coolant temperature sensor, and disconnect the timing light. If equipped, install the timing check hole plug.
  10.  
  11. Start the engine, accelerating to 3000 rpm at least three times. Verify that the idle speed is within specifications. Refer to the appropriate procedures in this section and for more information.
  12.  

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, as it is controlled by the ECM. The procedure listed is only for establishing a "base" setting, so the ECM can control the timing within preset parameters.

CIS-Motronic And Mono-Motronic



  1. On vehicles with a manual transaxle, remove the plastic plug from the timing check hole with a 27mm Allen® wrench. A 27mm bolt can be used, in conjunction with a 27mm socket to substitute for the Allen® wrench. Although the plug has a cap, the entire plug must be removed to view the ignition timing marks on the flywheel.
  2.  
  3. Connect a timing light to the engine according to the manufacturer's specifications. Typically, the timing light connects to the battery terminals, and the inductive pickup connects to the number one spark plug wire. Make sure the wires do not contact any rotating parts (pulleys, radiator fan, etc.).
  4.  
  5. Start the engine, and allow it to reach operating temperature. The engine is at operating temperature when the radiator cooling fan has cycled once.
  6.  


NOTE
When viewing the timing marks, the radiator fan (or any other electrical component) should not be in operation.

  1. 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 on the flywheel.
  2.  


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 hold-down bolt(s). Loosen the bolt(s) enough to allow the distributor with moderate hand force. If the bolt(s) are 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. It may be necessary to adjust the idle speed once the timing marks are aligned.
  4.  
  5. Turn the engine OFF and tighten the distributor hold-down bolt(s).
  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.  

Digifant I and II




NOTE
On vehicles equipped with Digifant I, this procedure will generate a fault code, which is caused by disconnecting the coolant temperature sensor. Refer to for information.

  1. Remove the plastic plug from the timing check hole with a 27mm Allen® wrench. A 27mm bolt can be used, in conjunction with a 27mm socket to substitute for the Allen® wrench. Although the plug has a cap, the entire plug must be removed to view the timing marks on the flywheel.
  2.  
  3. Connect a timing light to the engine according to the manufacturer's specifications. Make sure the wires do not contact any rotating parts (pulleys, radiator fan, etc.).
  4.  
  5. Start the engine, and allow it to reach operating temperature. The engine is at operating temperature when the radiator cooling fan has cycled once.
  6.  
  7. Raise the idle speed to 2200 rpm, and let it settle to idle. Perform this at least four times. This clears the ECM's memory and allows the high-idle and hot start function to be bypassed.
  8.  
  9. Disconnect the coolant temperature sensor on the cylinder head. Of the two sensors on the coolant pipe, the coolant temperature sensor is mounted closest to the cylinder head (the connector is typically blue).
  10.  
  11. Raise the engine speed to 2000-2500 rpm, and aim the timing light at the flywheel. The pointer in the timing check hole should point to the timing mark on the flywheel.
  12.  


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

  1. If the timing is within specifications, turn the engine OFF and reconnect the coolant temperature sensor. Remove the timing light.
  2.  
  3. If the timing mark is not within specifications, loosen the distributor hold-down bolt. Loosen the bolt enough to allow the distributor with moderate hand force. If the bolt(s) are too loose, the distributor may spin when the engine is operating, which can cause an extreme variation in ignition timing, possibly stalling the engine.
  4.  
  5. with the engine speed between 2500-2500 rpm, and turn the distributor until the timing marks align.
  6.  
  7. Turn the engine OFF and tighten the distributor hold-down bolt. Make sure the timing was not changed when the distributor hold-down bolt was tightened.
  8.  
  9. Reconnect the coolant temperature sensor, and disconnect the timing light. If equipped, install the timing check hole plug.
  10.  
  11. Start the engine, accelerating to 3000 rpm at least three times. Verify that the idle speed is within specifications. Refer to the appropriate procedures in this section and for more information.
  12.  

Motronic



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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