distributor replacement best practices?

Bernie Benz b.benz at charter.net
Sat Apr 10 11:50:44 EDT 2004

> From: Dan Cordon <cord4530 at uidaho.edu>
> Date: Sat, 10 Apr 2004 08:10:21 -0700
> To: Bernie Benz <b.benz at charter.net>
> Cc: 200q20V mailing list <200q20v at audifans.com>
> Subject: Re: distributor replacement best practices?
> Bernie Benz wrote:
>>> From: Dan Cordon <cord4530 at uidaho.edu>
>>> When putting my distributor back in, I found it very sensitive to
>>> position. Even if you line things up just how they were, there's a
>>> chance you'll have to make very slight adjustments to the distributor
>>> rotation to get it to run again. I rotated mine probably 1° at a time,
>>> until it started, then I locked it down there. However, mine has very
>>> temporarily stumbled maybe 6 times since then, so I should rotate it
>>> another degree or so. Actually, I should probably do the timing belt and
>>> chain.....
>> This is not the right way to do it Dan, you didn't really follow
>> instructions.  If not set right on, you may have limited boost or
>> inconsistent boost, even if it starts and runs.
>> Bernie
> Actually, I followed directions a few times. In each case I couldn't get
> any spark. I very carefully found TDC on the compression stroke, but w/o
> having the special tool from audi, phasing the distributor was still
> just getting in the very near ball park. I think I was about 2° out.
Are you talking arc seconds or inches?  I believe that no one, even Audi
wrenches, ever uses the dist. alignment tool.  I've never heard of anyone
not being able to align the two distributor marks by eye sufficient to be

> Boost and performance have been fine. What I've noticed happening a few
> times (~6) in the last several thousand miles is while driving, it feels
> like the ignition turns off for one engine revolution. Happened twice
> with cruise control on going down the freeway and it barely feels like a
> hicup. I'm hypothesising that my initial setups were closer to 3° off
> from the real correct location, so when I get a chance I'll try to move
> it ever so lightly and see if that fixes it.
> I also believe that slop in my system may be partially at fault, though
> it seems odd when it happens at steady state...and I've never gotten a
> code to come up.
> -- 
> Dan Cordon
> Mechanical Engineer - Engine Research Facility
> University of Idaho

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