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Can't see timing mark and can't move distributor. Any advice?


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Car is a '93 Cabby 1.8.

I wanted to check the timing but when I connected my timing light (to cylinder 1) and opened the little peep-hole in the crank case I could not see the little triangle wedge shape that indicates top-dead-center. I could see a vertical line, but feel that this might have been a join, not a mark. Do all Mk1s use the triangular wedge shape as a timing marker?

Also, try as I might I could not get the distributor to budge. I loosened the bolt at the base of the distributor but it just would not turn ether direction, even with giving it little taps with a hammer.

Would anyone know what I could do to set the timing more easily?


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Well actually 0tdc was marked by a stamped (0) on the pressure plate, and the Diamond cut was 6BTDC.

The problem is that some makers of replacement Pressure plated neglected to mark them.

To validate the timing:
Remove the plastic cap, and the collar of the holder so you can see the entire finger, and any marks on the Pressure plate.

Rotate the Crank until you see either the hash (diamond cut) or the (0) mark.

Once that is aligned, then the dimple on the back side of the cam should be even to the valve cover tin, not the rebar.  On Digifants the upper timing cover removed your 0|T mark on the front of the Cam should align with the 0 arrow on it. Digifants also have the Dimple on the back side but because of the rear timing cover plastic you can't see it clearly.

Take the dizzy cap, rotor and shield off and replace the rotor, your rotor should be in the middle of the stamped hash on the frame of the diz usually at the 12-1:30 position, and that should be where the number 1 plug it.

Do not worry about timing marks on Pulleys, they can be off and if the above marks are where they should be you are going to be ok.  If you have to move the Dizzy a bit, loosen the clamping bolt and keeper and move it one way or the other…  I have had the 0-ring on the dizzy become glued to the block preventing the Diz from rotating, to remedy that I sprayed the base with PB-Blaster and let it work for 30-40 minutes, Then Carefully using a Long Straight Slot Screwdriver, and a small hammer I shocked the BASE (BASE ONLY that IS FLAT AGAINST THE BLOCK)…USUALLY 1-4 SMACKS ARE REQUIRED TO BREAK THE GOO SEAL. You won't have to replace the o-ring….just jar it loose.  If you ever have to replace the o-ring Coat the ring groove and the inside of the diz hole on the block with Never-seize….you will never have to worry about the thing gooing itself again. has good pictures of what I am talking about here.

Now that you have the car in Base time, the Digifants are easier timed using a DVOM as only one person is needed, and you don't have to start the car
unplug the blue CTS sensor, Rev the car above 3000rpm 3 times and hold it at 2250 rpm to set or check the time….

You just carefully remove the boot cover off the hall sender connection insert a DVOM meter probe into the Green/White wire hole, and ground the other lead. Ignition Key in the run not start position.  You rotate the Dizzy to see the Rise of the sender from 0-11V… Once you are close you will hear the fuel pumps run…. fine tune it, lock it down and you are done.

Read more about it on Method 2 on the pdf I mentioned or:
Static Ignition Timing on VW A1 and A2 DigiFant Engines.

Last edit: by Briano1234

What do Divorces, Great Coffee, and Car Electrics all have in common?

They all start with GOOD Grounds.

Where are my DIY Links?


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Thanks Briano! This info is much appreciated!


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To try and move the dissy, clean out any dirt etc around the base and start soaking it with Plus gas or similar for a couple of days.
Try gripping the shaft of the dissy with some mole grips and wiggle to see if you can get any movement…

1988 Mk1 Golf GTi Cabriolet 1.8cc DX, K-jet. Daily drive. 300,000 miles and counting
1978 Mk1 Scirocco GLS 1.6cc FR, Webber carb. Weekend toy.
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