VW Type 1,2 or 3 Valve Adjustment Procedure

If your VW engine needs a valve adjustment, use this procedure to make sure your get it done right.

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.

Position the vehicle in such a way where you can access the valve covers/cylinder heads, placing the vehicle on jack stands if necessary.

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 the 30MM crank pulley bolt with a large adjustable wrench until the rotor is pointing towards (near) the small notch on the distributor.

Then line the large notch on the stock 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. This needs to be as exactly lined up as possible to the seam in the engine block.

Step 3: Remove Valve Cover

Remove the valve cover on the #1/2 cylinder head (the right side of the car) by either popping off the valve cover bale with a flat blade screw driver or unbolting them if you have after-market valve covers.

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. This applies to the factory aluminum pushrods only. If using aftermarket Chromoly pushrods, the adjustment is "zero lash" That means the push-rod can spin freely but the rocker has no play.

If you didn't build the engine and you're not sure if stock or chromoly pushrods were used look at the color of the rods. Silver means they are probably aluminum, black means they are probably chromoly. If nothing else, grab a magnet.

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" (with aluminum pushrods, .000 if Chromoly) 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.

Using the 30MM socket or adjustable wrench, spin the engine 180 degrees and repeat the process on the next cylinder, following the firing order- 1-4-3-2, meaning cylinder 4 is next and so on.

Step 5: Replace Valve Covers

Install new valve cover gaskets in to the valve covers, lubricating the seals with a light coat of engine oil. Place valve cover back in to position, and re-clamp the bale, you’re ready to roll!