[Vwdiesel] Injection Pump Timing: my adventure

jon jon at kenneke.com
Fri Feb 25 20:07:26 EST 2005

Today, I decided to check and correct the injection pump timing on my 1983 
diesel Vanagon with an Overland 1.9NA.

I know the timing was off, since it was loud, and previously measured the 
timing at 1.27 mm (It should be around .88).

So, after incorrectly making the conversion from metric to SAE, and back, 
I finally got it right. I can see how NASA screwed up on this conversion! 
And, I was one of the few American kids that was part of the big metric 
push in the mid 1970s.

See, my dial guage measure in inches, not millimeters. I wish it was 
metric, but what the heck, it was cheap.

Well, somehow I figured (incorrectly) that the timing should be .023 
inches. Glad I double checked: It should be near .035 (I set for .9 

And, then there was confusion as to what "zero" meant. Was it the first 
zero, the the last zero. Well, zero means zero. If the measurement 
increases, you are good. If it decreases, you have the wrong zero. And, 
make sure you read Bentley on the counterclockwise/clockwise part. Very 

Also, I could not get the pump to budge a bit with just the two top bolts, 
and the rear bolt loosened. I had the loosen the bottom bolt (which 
involved removing the timing belt cover). On a vanagon, you have to remove 
the coolant overflow tank to get access to the bottom bolt. Not as 
difficult as I had thought.

So, when I pulled the timing belt cover off, I noticed the belt had been 
rubbing in a place or two. Not much, but enough to remove paint. The 
$#%$#%@%$#@ garage that I had put in the 1.9NA fashioned a timing belt 
cover. Evidentally, they did not check clearances. Grrr. 

I pulled out my Dremel tool with grinding wheel and fixed that problem. I 
do need to replace the timing belt soon, now. I've got about 10,000 miles 
on the engine/belt. I need to order the correct belt before replacement.

Final word is all is well: Van runs much quieter, and I am happy(ish).

Timing is not difficult, if you have the right tools.

Next up is replacing the timing belt, which looks to be not so hard. 

(I purchased the following tools on ebay, so didn't spend a fortune: dial 
guage, adapter, i pump stop pin, and cam lock)


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