How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask GM-Frank Your Own Question
GM-Frank, ASE Master Certified
Category: Car
Satisfied Customers: 431
Experience:  37 Years Automotive Diagnosis & Repair. Experience with all makes and models..
Type Your Car Question Here...
GM-Frank is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

1996 volkswagen golf: It has the 2.0 liter engine..timing marks

This answer was rated:

I have a 1996 volkswagen golf. It has the 2.0 liter engine and a 5 speed transmission. My question is: If you are not sure if the engine is timed correctly?? How do you set the timing marks so that you are sure that the engine is timed right? Previous history! I just got it back from a certified repair shop. It wouldn''t start when I took it to them. They set the timing and said that it was fixed? I ran great when I left. I drove it about 20 miles when it started the original issue again. It started missing and after it was shut off it would not start? The OBD says code 0341 which is the camshaft sensor? This car does not have a camshaft sensor? I replaced the distributor to cover the Hall''s Effect sensor? Anyway, why I want to know the timing settings is: That according to the manual the camshaft is off 7 teeth, the distributor is a quarter turn off with the 0 XXXXX XXXXXned up on the flywheel? (This is how it came back from the shop?) Let me know. Thanks



I'll be happy to provide you with the information I have here.

Caution: Incorrect removal or installation of the timing belt can result in damage to internal engine components.

Timing Component Alignment Marks


Check that the "OT" mark on camshaft sprocket aligns with "OT" mark on rear cover.



Check that the crankshaft is at TDC.




Check that the distributor is pointing to #1 cylinder.

CAUTION! DO NOT turn camshaft with timing belt removed! If pistons are at Top Dead Center (TDC) there is a danger of damaging valves and piston crowns.

Also mentioned with engine out mark on balancer.


I hope this is the information you are looking for.



Customer: replied 8 years ago.
OK you showed me what I need to know. Same as the manual, and I think I got the same pictures from the library computer. I was correct with the settings of the timing belt.

Right now they are not at these positions? They were set by ASE mechanics? So, I am a little confused right now?

How do I set the camshaft if it is not where it is supposed to be? I don't want to damage the engine?   As I said before, the camshaft is off 7 teeth, the distributor is a quarter of a turn off when the mark on the transmission is lined up with the zero on the flywheel. This is what is holding me up from resetting the marks?

Let me know if this is over the original amount.
I am not sure if I need to accept this or wait for you reply to this. Or resubmit?



You are free to click the "ACCEPT" button at any time, and if you are so enclined, you may offer an additioal bonus after that, if you feel that one of the experts has gone the extra mile to help you with their answer.

We are not compensated in any way until you have actually clicked the "accept" button.

As for actually making the change to bring everyting back to where is should be, you will want to be sure the crankshaft is set and and pointing exactly to the mark.

This should place the number 1 piston to Top Dead Center of the Compression Stroke. At this time, you would begin to verify that the Rotor is pointing to the number one tower and be sure that the plug wire on the cap is leading to number one cylinder.

If things are out of sink, then you'll need to get the crank and cam back into alignment then and verify distributor alignment..

If not able to align markings:

  • Loosen belt tensioner and take toothed drive belt off camshaft sprocket


  • Turn intermediate shaft sprocket with toothed drive belt in direction shown (arrow), until rotor arm aligns with markings for no.1 cylinder on distributor housing (toothed drive belt slides over crankshaft sprocket).
  • graphic

    Mark on distributor must align with mark on rotor arm or camshaft position sensor cover.

    • Place toothed drive belt on belt tensioner and camshaft sprocket.

    Note: For easier installation of the toothed drive belt; loosen belt tensioner lock nut only approx. one thread.

    This is how you verify the belt tension is correct. When adjusted too tight they can be very noisy and fail rapidly. Too loose and they can jump time.


    • To tighten toothed drive belt, turn tensioner with pin wrench (e.g. Matra Vi 59) in direction shown (arrow). Drive belt is correctly tensioned if it can be turned 90° with the thumb and forefinger halfway between camshaft and intermediate shaft sprockets.
    • Tighten tensioner lock nut. Tightening torque: 45 Nm (33 ft lb)
    • Rotate crankshaft two full turns and check adjustment.
    • Check distributor housing and rotor arm markings.
    • Install upper toothed belt protective cover.
    • Before installing, clean distributor cap and check for cracks and signs of carbon tracking, replace if necessary.

    As you can see by the last steps above, it is entirely possible that the belt and tensioner were not properly adjusted, and the cam/crank did not stay in their correct relationship with each other.

    Be sure to be careful when moving the cam back into time with the crank so that you don't have valves come into contact with a piston. Don't be afraid to pull the spark plugs and look down in the cylinder and move the pistons down a bit while you move the cam where you need it to be, and then move the crank back to TDC. Then reinstall the belt, and verify the dist. rotor is pointing at number one cylinder TDC compression stroke.

    I hope this information is what you need


    GM-Frank and 6 other Car Specialists are ready to help you