Vale Adjustment Question

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    I did my first adjustment and messed it up.  I let it cool and readjusted. Sounded good and ran good. For practice did another adjustment as I realised my TDC was off.  I had used a mark on the crankcase pully with the crack in the crankcase – which put the rotor past the notch in the distributor for valve 1

    now I turned the engine until the roter was at the notch,set valves 1, turned it 180, did 2 and then turning for 3 and 4.  Now it has a lot of clatter–not running badly just sounds not right  but it is not running hot.  set at .06

    Is it possible the notch in the distributor for 1 is off?  A notch in the crancase pully matching up the the crack in the crankcase was where I was for the bettering sounding adjustment.   Sorry but this is all new to me.



    Do you have the book How To Keep your VW Alive”? The Step by Step Guide for the Complete Idiot?  It’s not for Idiots, it written to explain simple procedures plainly.



    Thank you, yes I have the book.  I did not use it the first time when I messed up the adjustment – used directions off net.  Now using the book. Dont know if I should just get used to the sound.

    Peter C. King


    Keep in mind that your ignition fires before TDC. Use the mechanical notch on the pulley. The latest edition of “VW for the Compleat Idiot” contains a 2 page section showing the reader which notches to use on which pulley by year.

    You can reverse engineer the notch. Set the pulley where you think TDC for #1 is. Then wiggle the rocker arms. You should do that anyway to push any oil out of the space. That can change the drag when you measure the gap. But you aren’t doing that now. Now move the pulley one way and wiggle the rocker arms again. If one valve feels tighter you are going the wrong way. Now go the other way. Better? Tight? Go back to the middle. By moving a few degrees at a time you will find the position where both valves have max lash. That’s the low point on the cam and TDC for the cylinder. A notch should like up with the crankcase crack.

    Look at the pulley. Does the notch make sense? If so, don’t adjust anything yet. Rotate the engine to the next cylinder and see if you have max lash there too.

    Once you have determined which notch to use, you can adjust your valves. You will find that the setting will change slightly when you tighten the set collar. Compensate for it in your setting.

    You will learn how tight to set your valves with time. In 1971 VW changed their specs to .004 in response to complaints about valve noise in comparison to the hydraulic valve Japanese imports that were flodding the market. That was quiet but it was the absolute minimum you could use. A smidgeon tighter and you were in for a valve job. They returned to .006 almost immediately. I tended to set a tight .006. It clattered at startup but settled down to a purr once it was warm. I knew that the valves were OK by the sound.  

    Buy the Muir Book. We were all Idiots about aircooled VWs until we read it.



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