how to set engine timing


Asked by Neeresh Jun 04, 2008 at 07:46 AM about the 1981 Volkswagen Jetta

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

I did an engine overhaul on the car. Its running fine but i cant get the timing right. At around 100km/hr it starts to ping. I cant get pass that speed. Also as it warms up the engine idle increases. Its a 1300 motor.

2 Answers


Get a Haynes manual for this.

Nick Fuentes

I agree, get a manual. Be sure that when you set the idle and the timing that the motor well warmed up. First while the engine is cold, be sure the valves and the points (if you have them) are adjusted properly. Be sure the spark plugs are correctly gapped and tightened in the head and that all the plug wires are properly seated. Be sure all vacuum hoses are correctly in place and that the hoses are in good shape and not cracked. Be sure all the fuel injection electrical connections are hooked up correctly. Warm it up by driving around the block a few times then set the idle and then the timing. When you get the manual you'll see that there's a figure to set the timing while the engine is at idle, do that first, then you'll notice that there will be a setting at somewhere around 3000-4000 rpm. Get that set using the instructions in the manual and you should be fine. If you're not, start looking at things logically - do you have the correct amount of air, fuel and spark for the motor to run? Troubleshoot from there. Haynes makes a good manual, but if you can find an official VW repair manual or a Bentley - they are the most helpful. I believe that John Muir makes an idiot book for your car, but like I said go for the Bentley or VW manual. Good Luck! Nick

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