Volkswagen Golf/Jetta 2 manual

Valve clearance check (Every 10 000 miles (15 000 km) or 12 months)
Routine maintenance and servicing / Valve clearance check (Every 10 000 miles (15 000 km) or 12 months)


1.05 and 1.3 litre engines 1 Run the engine up to its normal operating temperature. Stop the engine and remove the valve cover.

2 Turn the engine until both cam peaks for No 1 cylinder are pointing upwards.

3 Insert a feeler blade of the correct thickness (specified УWarmФ clearance) between the cam and cam follower. If the blade is not a firm sliding fit, proceed as follows: 4 Turn the adjustable ball-stud using an Allen key (see illustration). The valves from the timing belt end of the engine are in the following order:
Inlet - Exhaust - Inlet - Exhaust - Inlet - Exhaust - Inlet - Exhaust

12.4 Adjusting a valve clearance - 1.05 and 1.3 litre
12.4 Adjusting a valve clearance - 1.05 and 1.3 litre

5 Repeat the procedure given in paragraphs 2 and 3 for the remaining valves. If the engine is rotated in its normal direction, adjust the valves of No 3 cylinder followed by No 4 cylinder and No 2 cylinder.

6 Refit the valve cover, together with a new gasket.

1.6 and 1.8 litre 8 valve engines Note: Ideally VW tools 2078 and 10.208 should be used to remove the valve shims, but alternatives can be used (see Tool Tip) Note: The following procedure applies only to engines fitted with shim bucket tappets - that is, those manufactured before August, 1985 7 Run the engine up to its normal operating temperature. Stop the engine and remove the valve cover.

8 Check each valve clearance in turn by rotating the engine so that the valve to be checked has the cam lobe facing upwards. In this position, the valve in question is fully closed and a feeler blade inserted between the heel of the cam lobe and the valve tappet shim within the tappet bucket will give the clearance present (see illustration).

12.8 Checking a valve clearance - 1.6 and 1.8 litre
12.8 Checking a valve clearance - 1.6 and 1.8 litre

9 The engine will turn over more easily if the spark plugs are removed. Do not rotate the engine by turning the camshaft sprocket as this will stretch the timing belt. Use the alternator drivebelt (V-belt) or jack up one front wheel and with the engine in gear rotate the roadwheel. Do not turn the engine with any of the shims removed, otherwise the camshaft may foul the rim at the top of the bucket.

10 Repeat this measurement for all valves in turn and then compare the measurements with those specified (УWarmФ clearance).

11 Make a table of the actual clearances and then calculate the error from those specified.

Suppose on No 1 exhaust valve, the measured clearance is 0.15 mm. It is 0.3 mm too small so it must be adjusted and a shim 0.3 mm thinner fitted instead of the present one. As the shims are in steps of 0.05 mm variation, the required shim can be selected once the size of the shim at present installed is known. If you have dismantled and reassembled the head, then you know the size etched on the back of the shim but if you do not, then the shim must be removed to find out.

12 With the cam turned to give maximum clearance, the tappet is pushed down against the valve springs while the shim is levered out and removed by the VW tool or a screwdriver.

Be careful, because if the spanner slips when the shim is halfway out, the shim will fly out sharply (see illustration).

12.12 Removing a tappet bucket shim - 1.6 and 1.8 litre
12.12 Removing a tappet bucket shim - 1.6 and 1.8 litre

13 Once all the shim sizes are known, a table may be constructed and the sizes of the new shims required may be calculated. Going back to the example, if the present shim is marked 3.60 then one marked 3.30 is required. Bucket shims are available in 26 different thicknesses which increase in increments of 0.05 mm, from 3.00 mm to 4.25 mm.

14 As it is unlikely that you will have the required shims readily available, it will be necessary to wait until they have been obtained before the tappets can be adjusted.

15 When inserting the shims, the thickness etching faces should be facing downwards.

16 Once the correct clearances have been achieved, refit the spark plugs and the valve cover.


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