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Instructions for TDI 1.9-Liter Timing Marks

by Floyd Drake III

Diesel engines are timed slightly differently than gasoline engines. Not only are the timing marks found in different locations, they are also used to time the fuel-injector pump. Volkswagen's TDI engine is a turbo direct injection four-cylinder engine and has been used by Volkswagen for over 25 years on a variety of models, both front- and rear-wheel drive. The timing marks on the Volkswagen TDI 1.9-liter diesel indicate when the engine is at top-dead-center, or TDC. TDC is when the No. 1 piston is completing its compression stroke, which is the measure by which the engine is timed.

Step 1

Open and secure the hood. Look down at the back of the engine, where the transmission mounts to the engine. This is either facing the windshield (on rear-wheel drive VWs) or on the driver's side (on front-wheel drive vehicles). At the point where the transmission mounts to the engine is an opening, allowing you to see either the torque converter on automatic transmissions or the flywheel on manual transmissions. Shine the flashlight down to locate the opening. Depending on the particular year and model, remove any obstructions with the socket wrench and sockets, using the extension as needed.

Step 2

Put the Volkswagen in neutral and have a helper crank the engine over using a breaker bar with a 19mm-long socket. Place the socket on the center bolt of the crankshaft pulley (the lowest pulley), located between the engine and the radiator. Have your helper slowly turn the engine clockwise.

Look carefully into the opening for the timing mark to appear as the engine is cranked. On manual transmissions, the flywheel teeth are visible, and when the mark appears, it must be in the center, aligning with the "V." On automatics, the smooth surface of the torque converter is visible, and the mark must align with the left-most edge of the opening.

Items you will need

  • 3/4-inch drive socket wrench
  • 3/4-inch drive socket set
  • 3 1/2-inch socket extension
  • Long-handled 3/4-inch drive breaker bar
  • 19-millimeter deep socket
  • Flashlight

About the Author

A native of New Haven, Conn., Floyd Drake III began writing in 1984. His work has appeared in the "New Haven Register," Medford's "Mail-Tribune" and the "Ashland Daily Tidings." Drake studied journalism at Southern Connecticut State University. After working as a reporter in Oregon, he is now based back home in New Haven.

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