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    Thread: GUIDE: How to adjust your timing

    1. Member Black_cabbie's Avatar
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      10-29-2004 07:54 PM #1
      Many people wonder how to adjust both their camshaft and ignition timing.
      Its very easy. Just say..... Thanks Black_cabbie and here is 5 bux for you!
      So,
      Suppose everything is messed up or you are rebuilting your engine so I will start from scratch.
      The Camshaft pulley has 2 important marks on it. A little notch on the engine side and a OT mark on the other side.
      The flywheel. it has 2 marks. One notch showing the 6 degrees BTDC (Before Top Dead Center) and a little dot showing the TDC.
      The dizzy. It has a notch.
      Removing the spark plugs (if they are not out already) helps a lot.
      Turn the engine BY HAND until you get this mark in the flywheel.

      The little 0 mark in the center of the Hole in the gearbox. Thats the TDC mark. It means the No1 piston is in TDC position and both inlet and outlet valves are closed. maximum compression in the chamber.
      That means that the spark plug is supposed to fire when the piston is at that point.
      You might also have this type of flywheel.... it has only the 6 degrees BTDC mark.

      If you are not sure about the flywheel, insert a long screwdriver in No1 cylinder through the spark plug hole and check while slowly turning the engine if the scredriver is moving. That will give you an idea if the piston is at TDC.
      Go to the dizzy and check if it points to the little notch. If it doesn't you have to loosen the belt, get it off the camshaft pulley and turn the rotor by hand until it points to the notch. Put the belt back and make sure the rotor doesn't move.

      Now check the camshaft pulley marks.
      If you have a late Digifant engine you have a plastic cover which doesn't allow you to see any marks on one side of the pulley.
      So you have the OT mark which is supposed to allign with the mark on the plastic cover. This mark is in the top center of the plastic cover. There is also a little arrow pointing down. The mark on the pulley should be under this arrow. If its not you have to loose the belt again and turn the camshaft until the marks allign. Make sure you don't move the dizzy rotor! The angle is a bit funny.... I know. Its supposed to be right under the arrow.

      If you have an older CIS engine, you probably have the metal belt cover which exposed both sides of the crank pulley. You should be able to see this mark (Its a notch just like the previous photo, don't worry, the photo is borrowed) at that exact point.

      Thats another shot of the mark. It is supposed to be level with the belt cover and the valve cover (under the holdown bars).

      Tight the belt tensioner according to specs and make sure the belt is not too tight. You should be able to twist by hand 90 degrees. No more, no less.
      The cam timing is finished. You have adjusted everything to VW spec which is 0 advance for the camshaft.
      For the ignition timing you need a timing light to fine tune it. If you don't have one you can do it by "feeling" the engine.
      So, Suppose that everything is correct, all the marks are alligned and you have tuned the engine a couple of times BY HAND to see if anything interfears. Everything should be ok. Put the dizzy cap on and start the engine. Normally the engine should start immediately.
      Take your timing light (if you have one) and point it into the gearbox hole where the flywheel is. If you have a digifant motor, unplug the blue sensor (CTS sensor) and rev the engine 3 times over 3k to clear the ECU memory. Have someone hold the engine at 2250 rpm and observe the mark in the hole as the engine turns and the light flashes. The strobo light will flash only when No1 spark plug is fired which is when the piston it at the Top Dead Center, meaning the little notch on the flywheel should appear still.
      For CIS timing is at idle speed (850 rpms). Make sure that all the accesories are switched off.
      If it doesn't appear, loose the 13mm nut on the dizzy and slowly turn the whole dizzy while still keeping the revs at 2250. As you turn it you will probably hear the engine sound change. You will also "feel" the engine running rough or smooth. Normally as you get closer to the notch the engine should feel smoother, with no missfires and with higher more clean rpm. Turn the dizzy until you get the little notch in the center of the hole. Thats the 6 Degrees BTDC timing everybody has been talking about and you read it in all the manuals. Your engine is supposed to produce its peak power (if its standard).
      Once you are happy with the timing, tight the 13mm nut on the dizzy again and check one more. if everything is still ok, plug the CTS sensor back and rev it 3 times again over 3K. Let it idle and observe. Chances are your idle might need some adjusting to get it to arround 850/900 rpm.
      Thats it! You did it! You can now brag to your friends that you don't need a specialist to do it!


      Modified by Black_cabbie at 8:11 AM 5-9-2005
      Chip Tuning for a living @ www.microchips-tuning.com

    2. Member kamzcab86's Avatar
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      10-29-2004 08:07 PM #2
      Thanks Black_cabbie and here's for ya
      That's excellent! Did you add it to the FAQ sticky?
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    3. Member Black_cabbie's Avatar
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      10-29-2004 08:11 PM #3
      Not yet..... I want to get some more pics. Too bad I don't have my camera here with me right now. I could go down to the parking lot and get some.
      I got the pics in the tex and in some UK sites.
      And wth is that??????
      I only accept Paypal donations
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    4. Member kamzcab86's Avatar
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      10-29-2004 08:14 PM #4
      Oz money!
      And I just got an email from PayPal saying that I was ousted and not allowed to return so you'll have to accept my Aussie $5...
      (p.s. the email was a scam)
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    5. Member Black_cabbie's Avatar
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      10-29-2004 08:17 PM #5
      ousted???????? hahahahahaha thats one of the most funniest things I've ever heard!
      So, regarding the guide. Do you think I need to add something for CIS ignition timing? I have no idea if its the same/similar procedure.
      Chip Tuning for a living @ www.microchips-tuning.com

    6. Member kamzcab86's Avatar
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      10-29-2004 08:20 PM #6
      Yeah, it ended up being a scam 'cuz it said at the bottom: If you don't want your account to be terminated click the link and give us the info we want.
      A CIS guide would be awesome! I don't know the procedure myself; I know Bentley has some little blurb about it.
      Cabby-Info.com -- Your online guide to the VW Cabriolets
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    7. Member Black_cabbie's Avatar
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      10-29-2004 08:21 PM #7
      Quote, originally posted by kamzcab86 »
      A CIS guide would be awesome! I don't know the procedure myself; I know Bentley has some little blurb about it.

      Gather all the info missing from my guide and together we can make it a Digi/CIS guide!
      Chip Tuning for a living @ www.microchips-tuning.com

    8. Member kamzcab86's Avatar
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      10-29-2004 08:27 PM #8
      [IMG]http://**********************/smile/emthup.gif[/IMG]
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    9. 10-29-2004 10:39 PM #9
      Quote, originally posted by Black_cabbie »
      ousted???????? hahahahahaha thats one of the most funniest things I've ever heard!
      So, regarding the guide. Do you think I need to add something for CIS ignition timing? I have no idea if its the same/similar procedure.

      Actually, you have the CIS guide pretty close. The timing mark on the cam should actually be level with the top of the valve cover. The pic on the tranny hole showing dimple at TDC and groove at 6BTC are virtually perfect...but I have two rabbits and neither one has that cool pointer thingy in the hole. 1984 and 1981.
      On the later CIS (after my 1981!) you can pull the belts and timing covers and then put the crank pulley back on and the notch on the crank pulley will line up perfectly with the notch on the intermediate pulley with the crank pulley notch at 12:00.
      Also, on all of these, once you get the timing all set up at TDC here's a trick: Move the crank until your 6BTDC groove is lined up in the hole. Now move the dizzy until the rotor points at the line. That will get you much closer than the TDC before you start the car, and the car will be easier to start and will run better. You still need a light.
      The CIS should be timed at idle with all electrical loads off.
      My 1981 doesn't have the right kind of crank pulley, so not all CIS are equal.
      My 2 cents on the CIS!
      Thomas

    10. 10-29-2004 10:41 PM #10
      Great guide, George ... thanks, as always! I presume this procedure would be the same for a Digi I (CA-version) engine, right?
      A few n00b questions for you, then...
      Quote, originally posted by Black_cabbie »
      Go to the dizzy and check if it points to the little notch. If it doesn't you have to loosen the belt, get it off the camshaft pulley and turn the rotor by hand until it points to the notch. Put the belt back and make sure the rotor doesn't move.

      By "dizzy" you mean distributor, right? That's where I get lost - I didn't think that there was a belt connecting the camshaft pulley to the distributor?? So why does the camshaft/timing belt need to be loosened to adjust the rotor?
      Quote »
      If you have a late Digifant engine you have a plastic cover which doesn't allow you to see any marks on one side of the pulley. So you have the OT mark which is supposed to allign with the mark on the plastic cover. This mark is in the top center of the plastic cover. There is also a little arrow pointing down. The mark on the pulley should be under this arrow.

      Hmmmm...well, I have a late Digi engine, and _used_ to have the plastic cover and timing mark of which you speak - but after the ABA swap the shop modified a nice metal cover to fit there instead, so I think that plastic side cover is no more ... any alternatives to setting the camshaft properly, then? I thought there was a way to do this with the timing light as well?
      And finally, how does one turn the engine by hand ... long wrench on the crankshaft??
      --
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    11. Member Black_cabbie's Avatar
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      10-29-2004 10:52 PM #11
      Quote, originally posted by netarc »
      Great guide, George ... thanks, as always! I presume this procedure would be the same for a Digi I (CA-version) engine, right?
      A few n00b questions for you, then...

      By "dizzy" you mean distributor, right? That's where I get lost - I didn't think that there was a belt connecting the camshaft pulley to the distributor?? So why does the camshaft/timing belt need to be loosened to adjust the rotor?

      Hmmmm...well, I have a late Digi engine, and _used_ to have the plastic cover and timing mark of which you speak - but after the ABA swap the shop modified a nice metal cover to fit there instead, so I think that plastic side cover is no more ... any alternatives to setting the camshaft properly, then? I thought there was a way to do this with the timing light as well?
      And finally, how does one turn the engine by hand ... long wrench on the crankshaft??

      The basic cam timing should be the same.
      As for the ignition, I have no idea but I think its the same. Bentley mentions it but don't remember right now.
      The distributor... The intermediate shaft is what connects the cam belt with the dizzy and the oil pump.
      The ABA..... On one side of the pulley you have the OT and on the other side you have the little notch. make sure the notch is near the valve cover as in the photo.
      Yes, the long socket will work fine on the crankshaft.
      Chip Tuning for a living @ www.microchips-tuning.com

    12. 10-29-2004 10:56 PM #12
      Oh, forgot my last question - do I understand correctly then that w/this procedure, each spark plug is firing 6deg before TDC?

    13. 10-29-2004 11:00 PM #13
      Quote, originally posted by Black_cabbie »
      The ABA..... On one side of the pulley you have the OT and on the other side you have the little notch. make sure the notch is near the valve cover as in the photo.

      You mean in this picture? I see what looks like a dimple on the side of one of the teeth, just even with/above the valve cover ... is that what you're referring to?

    14. Member Black_cabbie's Avatar
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      10-29-2004 11:15 PM #14
      Yes, you are supposed to have a notch there.
      Chip Tuning for a living @ www.microchips-tuning.com

    15. 10-30-2004 08:47 PM #15
      Quote, originally posted by netarc »
      You mean in this picture? I see what looks like a dimple on the side of one of the teeth, just even with/above the valve cover ... is that what you're referring to?

      That picture actually does not show a CIS at TDC. The dimple will be exactly aligned with the top of the valve cover when the cam is at TDC. If you try to put the belt on with the dimple in the position shown it won't match up.
      Hey, Black Cabbie...I found my pointers now that I know where to look! Thanks for the awesome pics! That's the first time I've seen a really good pic of the timing hole!
      Do you want a pic of the timing notch for the 1981 cabbie? I just went and looked today and it's totally different from the one you've shown.
      Thanks!
      Thomas

    16. Member Black_cabbie's Avatar
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      10-30-2004 09:00 PM #16
      Quote, originally posted by Thomas_covenant »
      That picture actually does not show a CIS at TDC. The dimple will be exactly aligned with the top of the valve cover when the cam is at TDC. If you try to put the belt on with the dimple in the position shown it won't match up.
      Hey, Black Cabbie...I found my pointers now that I know where to look! Thanks for the awesome pics! That's the first time I've seen a really good pic of the timing hole!
      Do you want a pic of the timing notch for the 1981 cabbie? I just went and looked today and it's totally different from the one you've shown.
      Thanks!
      Thomas

      Sure! The more the better! I have been receiving PMs from CIS users asking me about this. Email: maxkoutsis at hotmail.com
      Chip Tuning for a living @ www.microchips-tuning.com

    17. 10-31-2004 03:08 PM #17
      Cool. I'll try to get one today. The one you showed (groove at 6 degrees before the dimple) is correct for my 1984. But the older ones it's way different. Well, you'll see. I'll get a pic and try to post it today!
      FWIW I bought a new lower timing cover on my 1984. It turns out that there's an arrow on it that points right to the crank TDC notch. (There wasn't one on the old lower cover). I'll try to get pics of that as well. Makes it a lot easier to TDC the crank because you can do it while you're turning the crank instead of having to lay across the engine to look in the hole while turning the crank!
      Thomas

    18. 10-31-2004 07:15 PM #18
      OK. Here is the first pic. Came out really nice, if I do say so myself (and, of course, I do!). It's the pic of my 1981 'vert's 6BTDC timing mark. It's way different than the on on my '84 (which is the one you've shown).

      Hope I did this right!
      Thomas

    19. Member Black_cabbie's Avatar
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      10-31-2004 07:16 PM #19
      So, How do you adjust the static timing on the Cis? Which mark do you use?
      I have people asking me this through PMs
      Chip Tuning for a living @ www.microchips-tuning.com

    20. 10-31-2004 07:20 PM #20
      OK. Here's what the cam dimple should look like at TDC. Notice that my valve cover has the little hold-down bars. The dimple should be sitting right at the level of the actual valve cover, not the top of the hold-down bars, though if you just get it close you can get the belt to go into all the teeth and after you crank the cam through one full turn it'll all straighten itself out. If you look just to the left of the dimple (I used white-out on it) you'll see the top of the inside timing cover. You can also use that, as it's exactly the same height at the top of the valve cover. When I'm doing mine I just put a ruler across the inner timing cover and turn the engine until the dimple lines up.
      Thomas

    21. Member Moljinar's Avatar
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      11-01-2004 09:24 AM #21
      For the sake of those not following this well, T.C. means not the top of the valve cover but the top of the valve cover gasket flange (where the bolt is).

    22. Member Black_cabbie's Avatar
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      11-01-2004 09:35 AM #22
      Quote, originally posted by Moljinar »
      For the sake of those not following this well, T.C. means not the top of the valve cover but the top of the valve cover gasket flange (where the bolt is).

      Update...
      anything else?
      Chip Tuning for a living @ www.microchips-tuning.com

    23. 11-01-2004 10:37 AM #23
      You are a good man blacky...haha thanks! [IMG]http://**********************/smile/emthup.gif[/IMG]

    24. Member Black_cabbie's Avatar
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      11-01-2004 11:21 AM #24
      Quote, originally posted by ciTy_goLf »
      You are a good man blacky...haha thanks! [IMG]http://**********************/smile/emthup.gif[/IMG]

      You should check your since you have idle problems.
      Chip Tuning for a living @ www.microchips-tuning.com

    25. Member Moljinar's Avatar
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      11-01-2004 02:44 PM #25
      Quote, originally posted by Black_cabbie »
      Update...
      anything else?

      Well, I might mention that aligning the flywheel up with the pointer gives you the position of TDC for cylinder 1 AND cylinder 4!!! So merely lining up the pointer does not guarantee that the distributor is ready to fire on cyl. #1. It's as likely to be eady to fire on #4. Merely spin the crank around again and you should be ready to fire #1.

    26. Member Black_cabbie's Avatar
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      11-01-2004 02:55 PM #26
      I can't really follow what you are saying about spinning the crank on more time.
      Get the mark on the flywheel and then see if the distributor points at the notch. If not loose the belt and turn the distributor rotor by hand until it points to the notch.
      Chip Tuning for a living @ www.microchips-tuning.com

    27. Member Moljinar's Avatar
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      11-01-2004 03:35 PM #27
      Quote, originally posted by Black_cabbie »
      I can't really follow what you are saying about spinning the crank on more time.
      Get the mark on the flywheel and then see if the distributor points at the notch. If not loose the belt and turn the distributor rotor by hand until it points to the notch.

      Yikes!!! Don't do that.
      The crank and the distributor and the camshaft do not all turn at the same rate. It takes 4 turns of the crank to make the distributor turnaround once. So if the crank and the distributor don't line up on #1 then you're trying to fire a differnt cylinder. Simply rotate the crank again until the distributor is "close" to #1 (remember if your timing is set correctly it won't be set to be dead on at #1 but advanced a bit from there.)
      Changing your belt to make things match is a last resort effort and can also mess up your cam timing. Leave the darn belt alone until its the only way you can get things lined up.

    28. Member Black_cabbie's Avatar
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      11-01-2004 03:49 PM #28
      Quote, originally posted by Moljinar »
      Yikes!!! Don't do that.
      The crank and the distributor and the camshaft do not all turn at the same rate. It takes 4 turns of the crank to make the distributor turnaround once. So if the crank and the distributor don't line up on #1 then you're trying to fire a differnt cylinder. Simply rotate the crank again until the distributor is "close" to #1 (remember if your timing is set correctly it won't be set to be dead on at #1 but advanced a bit from there.)
      Changing your belt to make things match is a last resort effort and can also mess up your cam timing. Leave the darn belt alone until its the only way you can get things lined up.

      You don't understand. I am talking about the cam timing. If the marks don't line up, it means the engine will never work correct.
      Make sure the marks allign as I mentioned in the guide and then worry about the ignition timing.
      Chip Tuning for a living @ www.microchips-tuning.com

    29. Member Moljinar's Avatar
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      11-01-2004 04:28 PM #29
      If you're setting everything from scratch that's fine.
      My comments are directed more to those that decided to check their timing some afternoon and are more likely to make things worse

    30. 11-01-2004 05:17 PM #30
      Quote, originally posted by Moljinar »
      Yikes!!! Don't do that.
      The crank and the distributor and the camshaft do not all turn at the same rate. It takes 4 turns of the crank to make the distributor turnaround once. So if the crank and the distributor don't line up on #1 then you're trying to fire a differnt cylinder. Simply rotate the crank again until the distributor is "close" to #1 (remember if your timing is set correctly it won't be set to be dead on at #1 but advanced a bit from there.)

      NO!!!! It takes 2 crank rotations for 1 cam rotation. 4 strokes (2 up and 2 down) per cam rotation is 2 crank rotations. Remember, 2 pistons move together, 1-4 and 2-3. When 1 and 4 are at TDC one is firing and one is finishing exhaust stroke.
      But you are right about this: NEVER move only one of the sprockets! If you are going to time you MUST time them all!
      Thomas

    31. 11-02-2004 01:47 PM #31
      Quote, originally posted by Thomas_covenant »
      But you are right about this: NEVER move only one of the sprockets! If you are going to time you MUST time them all!
      Thomas

      Sheesh ... is it just me?!? I'm more lost then ever now

    32. Member Moljinar's Avatar
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      11-02-2004 02:49 PM #32
      Quote, originally posted by Thomas_covenant »
      NO!!!! It takes 2 crank rotations for 1 cam rotation. 4 strokes (2 up and 2 down) per cam rotation is 2 crank rotations. Remember, 2 pistons move together, 1-4 and 2-3. When 1 and 4 are at TDC one is firing and one is finishing exhaust stroke.
      But you are right about this: NEVER move only one of the sprockets! If you are going to time you MUST time them all!
      Thomas

      True, but I was talking about he distributor which turns once for every 4 revs of the flywheel. (4 strokes to fire = 4 stroke engine)
      And NETARC... take a deep breath and remember,
      Line up the flywheel pointer, check the distributor for firing on #1 (if not then rotate the crank a full rev until it is.), then verify the cam pulley mark is lined up. If all these things are good then you're timed! If not then set them until they are.

    33. Member Black_cabbie's Avatar
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      11-02-2004 02:56 PM #33
      Quote, originally posted by Moljinar »
      Line up the flywheel pointer, check the distributor for firing on #1 (if not then rotate the crank a full rev until it is.), then verify the cam pulley mark is lined up. If all these things are good then you're timed! If not then set them until they are.

      if you rotate the crank one more turn the rotor will point to the same position again. I don't understand how the position of the distributor changes with one crank turn. If the flywheel is at TDC, the rotor should always point at the notch, nomatter what! Whats going to change if you crank it one more time?
      Chip Tuning for a living @ www.microchips-tuning.com

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      11-02-2004 03:07 PM #34
      Good lord, I think my brain's now fried....
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      Q7 4.2 V8 , Smart 451 Turbo
      11-02-2004 03:10 PM #35
      Quote, originally posted by kamzcab86 »
      Good lord, I think my brain's now fried....

      Wait, wait.... we haven't started the ignition timing debate yet!!!!
      Chip Tuning for a living @ www.microchips-tuning.com

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