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Setting the Engine at Top Dead Center
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Setting the Engine at Top Dead Center

Steve Vernon

Time:

1 hour1 hr

Tab:

$0

Talent:

**

Tools:

T30 Torx, 19mm twelve point socket and driver, 6mm Allen

Applicable Models:

VW GTI (2006-09)

Hot Tip:

Mark the direction of the belt if you remove it.

Performance Gain:

Allows for other work to be preformed on engine

Complementary Modification:

Replace the timing belt

There are several jobs on your car that you need to set the engine at Top Dead Center or TDC. This article will show you how to set TDC for the head by using the crank and timing belt. The crank and head are connected by the timing belt. If you are replacing the timing belt you will be removing the timing belt cover as well as the motor mount to set both the crank and head at TDC separately. This article assumes the engine is running the belt is attached and the head and crank are in proper position to each other.

If you do not have an after market air induction system you will need to remove the engine cover.
Figure 1

If you do not have an after market air induction system you will need to remove the engine cover. Please see our article on engine cover removal for additional assistance.

The timing belt sprocket has a notch in it that correlates to when the cam is at TDC for cylinder number 1.
Figure 2

The timing belt sprocket has a notch in it that correlates to when the cam is at TDC for cylinder number 1. You must remove the timing belt guard to see the belt and sprocket. Begin by removing the two T30 Torx screws on the top of the guard on the opposite end of the cylinder head from the pump (red arrows).

The guard is a tight fit so use care not to break it when removing it.
Figure 3

The guard is a tight fit so use care not to break it when removing it. With the guard off (red arrow) you can see the belt and sprocket (yellow arrow).

You need to turn the engine until the notch in the sprocket (red arrow) with the mark on the head (yellow arrow).
Figure 4

You need to turn the engine until the notch in the sprocket (red arrow) with the mark on the head (yellow arrow). Note; someone had marked our sprocket in two places with white but you will be able to see the notch in the sprocket (red arrow).

You can turn the engine over in a clockwise direction by using a 19mm twelve point socket on the nut on the crankshaft (red arrow).
Figure 5

You can turn the engine over in a clockwise direction by using a 19mm twelve point socket on the nut on the crankshaft (red arrow).

If you want to make a witness mark for the crank you will need to remove the crankshaft pulley.
Figure 6

If you want to make a witness mark for the crank you will need to remove the crankshaft pulley. Hold the center bolt with a 19mm socket (red arrow) while removing the six 6mm Allen bolts from the pulley (yellow arrow).

The crank pulley has a locating pin opening (red arrow) that correlates with the pin on the crank (yellow arrow) so you can only install it in one position.
Figure 7

The crank pulley has a locating pin opening (red arrow) that correlates with the pin on the crank (yellow arrow) so you can only install it in one position.

This photo illustrates old witness marks from a previous job (red arrows).
Figure 8

This photo illustrates old witness marks from a previous job (red arrows).

If you are interested in putting witness marks on the crank pulley a good idea is mark across both the pulley and crank on both sides.
Figure 9

If you are interested in putting witness marks on the crank pulley a good idea is mark across both the pulley and crank on both sides. This is not necessary to do for most jobs that do not involve removing the timing belt and for jobs that involve removing the timing belt you will make a witness mark after you remove the cover. This is covered separately in those articles.

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Page last updated: Thu 4/27/2017 02:37:21 AM