VR6 Distributor Cap & Rotor Replacement DIY Guide
I purchased my Corrado with 120K on the clock, and the distributor cap, rotor plugs, and wires were all close to new. I am about to turn 149K, so I figured it was time to update some parts! This is a very easy DIY, with the exception of removal of the rotor, which can be a PITA.
You'll want to remove the plastic trim above the distributor for easy access to the cap and rotor. The screws that mount the cover are 12 point 8mm (triple square); they are the same as the inner cv joint bolts. (Also used on Scirocco 16V wheel caps, so if you can find a 16V Scirocco wheel cap tool, you're set!)
Here is a picture of the tool I use, and the trim piece removed:
This next image shows the order of the plug wires on the distributor cap. There are numbers stamped inside the plastic grooves (on the intake manifold) for the spark plug wires.
Remove the plug wires from the distributor cap, taking care not to pull from the wire, but from the black rubber end. (If you are planning to replace the wires, you needn't be so careful.)
Unplug the metal ground strap behind the #5 spark plug wire.
Next, using a flat head screwdriver or pliers, remove the 2 metal spring clips that hold the cap to the distributor:
The cap should pop right off, revealing the rotor. There is a plastic dust cap that is sandwiched between the cap and distributor- it will flop loose. This is normal.
At this point, I broke off the outer part of the rotor. (that spins in contact with the underside of the cap) With that off, you can remove the dust cap. NOW you can crush/pull off the rotor without fear of damaging the dust cover.
Removing the rotor is the hardest part. You can't pry it off, because you could damage the shaft. You can't hit it with a hammer for the same reason. I used a large pair of channel lock pliers to crush the rotor plastic, and then gently wiggled it off the shaft.
This is my rotor after I was finished removing it! The yellow arrow points to the end of the rotor I broke off in order to remove the dust cover. The red arrows point to the main shaft of the rotor that I crushed to remove from the distributor shaft.
This is what it looks like with the rotor and dust cap removed. Note the small amount of black rotor plastic left in the groove in the side of the shaft.
Now to reinstall. Don't forget to place the dust cap on before pressing the new rotor back on the shaft! See the next image- there is a small tab on the dust cap that fits in the groove on the side of the distributor. (red arrow) On my dust cap, note that that "Made in Germany" was written on the dust cap on the side closest to the front of the car.
There may be a special glue for the rotor, but I used some all purpose "weatherstrip adhesive" that I had laying around. (The same 3M yellow 'gorilla snot' I used to hold the timing chain covers to the side of my engine- yellow arrow in next image.) Apply a thin layer of glue, and press the rotor on ths shaft, taking note that it slides completely in the groove. There is a notch inside the rotor; it is near impossible to install it incorrectly.
Next, double check that the dust cover is in place, and install the new cap. It can only be installed one way, due to the 2 spring clips and ground strap. You may need to use small pliers to pull the clips over the edge of the new cap, but I did it with my fingers. Note the metal ground strap in this image:
Install the plug wires in the correct order. If you forgot to make a note of this and you completely removed your wires for some reason, use this handy cylinder number guide:
All finished! See- it wasn't THAT bad!
I keed, I keed!! This was me doing timing chains March 2006.
Modified by andylyco at 10:44 AM 10-12-2007