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Pelican Technical Article:

Camshaft Removal

Jared Fenton

Time:

4 hours4 hrs

Tab:

$0 to $450

Talent:

*****

Tools:

13mm & 18mm sockets, strap wrench, torque wrench

Applicable Models:

Jetta MkIV 2.0L (1998-05)

Parts Required:

Camshaft

Hot Tip:

Make sure the engine is not at TDC on cylinder 1 when removing the camshaft bearing caps

Performance Gain:

Better performance

Complementary Modification:

Change timing belt

The camshaft is used to control the opening and closing of the valves. This is done with a series of eccentric lobes that ride along the lifters. As the camshaft rotates, the lobes press the lifters down, opening the valves. Once the high point of the lobe is off the lifter, the valve springs close the valves. Over time, the lobes can wear due to contaminated oil, resulting in decreased performance over time.

In this article, I'll go over the steps involved with removing the camshaft from the cylinder head. Replacement is generally easy, but you do need to know a few things before beginning.

Keep in mind that a few items need to come off the engine before you can remove the camshaft. This includes the timing belt, the upper intake manifold and the valve cover. It's also important that you understand the timing marks on the engine. See our articles on Timing Belt Replacement, Upper Intake Manifold Removal and Valve Cover Gasket Replacement for more information.

The first step in replacing the camshaft is to remove the camshaft timing gear.
Figure 1

The first step in replacing the camshaft is to remove the camshaft timing gear. VW makes a special tool (VW part number 3415) to hold the timing gear stationary while you loosen and remove the 18mm retaining bolt (green arrow). I found that you can also hold the gear in place with a stout strap wrench as shown here. Once the bolt is removed, pull the timing gear off the end of the camshaft. When re-installing the gear, torque the bolt to 100Nm (73 ft/lbs.).

Once the valve cover is removed, pull the plastic shield (green arrow) up and off the camshaft assembly.
Figure 2

Once the valve cover is removed, pull the plastic shield (green arrow) up and off the camshaft assembly. It just sits on the cam, so you can pull it straight out.

It's a good idea to take some White Out and mark each camshaft bearing cap with numbers as shown in the picture.
Figure 3

It's a good idea to take some White Out and mark each camshaft bearing cap with numbers as shown in the picture. This prevents you from mixing them up when reinstalling them. The camshaft bearing caps hold the camshaft in place. You'll also want to rotate the engine so that the TDC timing mark for cylinder number 1 is slightly off. This prevents the valves from touching the pistons when you remove the cam. The camshaft bearing caps are held in place with ten 13mm nuts (green arrows) as shown here. You'll want to remove them by loosening each bolt a small increment at a time to relieve the tension on the camshaft lobes from the valve springs. Work in a crisscross pattern, starting from one side, then the other until the tension is completely removed from the bearing caps.

This picture shows what you'll see if you're removing the caps right.
Figure 4

This picture shows what you'll see if you're removing the caps right. Notice the gap (green arrow) that appears as you remove tension. Just keep at it until all the tension is relieved. When reinstalling the bearing caps, lubricate the underside with fresh engine oil and re-install the nuts in the same order as removal, gradually tightening each cap downward. Once the caps are installed fully, torque each nut to 20Nm (15 ft/lbs.).

At the front of the cylinder head, pull the bearing cap (purple arrow) off and pop the camshaft seal (green arrow) off the camshaft.
Figure 5

At the front of the cylinder head, pull the bearing cap (purple arrow) off and pop the camshaft seal (green arrow) off the camshaft. When fitting the new camshaft seal, press it on to the camshaft and make sure it seals correctly when re-installing the bearing cap.

Now carefully lift the camshaft out of the cylinder head by the ends (green arrows).
Figure 6

Now carefully lift the camshaft out of the cylinder head by the ends (green arrows). When installing the camshaft, make sure the lobes on cylinder number 1 are pointed upwards.

Shown here is the cylinder head with the camshaft removed.
Figure 7

Shown here is the cylinder head with the camshaft removed. If you are removing the lifters, simply pull up on them (green arrows) to remove them from the head. This may or may not be easy depending on how worn they are. Make sure that you make a note of which lifter goes where if you are re-using them. Also be sure to lubricate the lifter faces and camshaft bearings with fresh oil prior to installing the cam.

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