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VW Type 1,2 or 3 Valve Adjustment Procedure
Step 1: Get the car in position
It is critical that your valves are 100% cold when you begin the Valve Adjustment Procedure. Do not start the car and move it to the location where you will be working on it just before you plan to begin. Either park the car there the evening before or push the car to where you will be working on it.
Block the front wheels and make sure the transmission is in neutral. Jack up the rear of the car, unless your car is lifted or a Baja, or you are really small and can easily fit under the rear car to access the valve cover.
Use jack stands to support the rear of the car if you are jacking up the car.
Step 2: Locate cylinder #1
Pull off the distributor cap and locate the small notch on the rim. This notch indicates cylinder #1. Rotate the engine by either turning the generator or alternator pulley with a 19mm wrench or by turning the crank pulley with a large adjustable wrench until the rotor is pointing towards the small notch on the distributor. Then and most importantly line the large notch on the crank pulley or the markings on your degreed pulley up with the centerline of the case. This is top dead center (TDC) for cylinder #1.
Step 3: Remove Valve Cover
Remove the valve cover on the #1/2 cylinder head (the right side of the car) by either popping of the valve cover bale with a flat blade screw driver or unbolting them if you have after-market valve covers.
(During our valve discovered the #1 and #4 intake push rods had popped out of the rocker assembly so we pulled the rocker assemblies on both heads. This is NOT typically necessary as your push rods should be in place. While we had the rocker assemblies off we installed chromoly pushrods which do not expand as much as the factory aluminium rods. Because of this, the valve adjustment with chromoly pushrods is set to "zero lash" That means the push-rod can spin freely but the rocker has no play. Whenever installing new engine components MAKE SURE THEY ARE CLEAN of any metal shavings, cosmoline, packing oil, etc. We used brake cleaner to clean the new push rod tubes inside and out before installing them.)
Step 4: Begin first valve adjustment
The industry standard for the VW valve adjustment today is .006" with a feeler gauge between the valve stem and the rocker adjustment screw.
The #1 cylinder is the front cylinder on the passenger side. We start the valve adjustment there first.
With a 13mm wrench (for most models) and a flat blade screw driver, hold the adjustment screw and loosen the nut. With the nut loose, make sure the nut spins freely from the screw. Set the valve adjustment with a feeler gauge between the adjuster screw and the top of the valve stem. Use a .006" gauge and screw in the screw until the rocker no longer moves. The feeler gauge should move freely between the screw and the valve.
Both the intake and the exhaust valves are set at the same .006". It does not matter which valve you adjust first.