SEAL REPLACEMENT 16V engine
Do you have oil coming out of the distributor landing on the
transmission. Does your distributor cap get really oily on the
inside.................then you need to replace that tiny oil seal
inside of the distributor body. This requires you to disassemble
the distributor. Sounds like fun doesn't it.
On a Scale of 1-5 this rates about a 2 and this is how I did mine. Below you will see the part numbers on the distributors that I have.
VW 027-905-205P (Bosch 0 237 521 010) Z 415 Early 16V 1.8 engines for the GLIs
VW 051-905-205B (Bosch 0 237 521 046) Z 415 Late 16V 2.0 engines for the Passat
Remove distributor cap, set engine to TDC #1 firing position
( YOU COULD OMIT THIS STEP SINCE THE DISTRIBUTOR ONLY FITS IN THE
ENGINE ONE WAY)
Mark body of distributor to the engine so you can reinstall it in the
Loosen the two bolts evenly, then remove the bolts and then the
distributor. OIL WILL COME OUT OF THE CYLINDER HEAD so some
cloths or paper towels to catch this mess is advised!
You can clean the distributor if it is really dirty and oily. Hey
that is why we are doing this anyway. <g>
Remove spring clip going around distributor drive.
(NOTE POSITION OF NON SYMMETRICAL DRIVE IN RELATIONSHIP TO THE
DISTRIBUTOR ROTOR TIP) You really don't want to have to remove
that pin twice if you can help it.
If you can see in this picture, the two tits only allow you to install
inside of the engine onto a matching groove on the rear camshaft only
Remove pin by driving it out with a punch and supporting the other end
of the drive with a small socket. That socket has to be small
enough to fit in the recess of the distributor body but be wide &
deep enough to accept the pin.
I tapped on the pin enough to drive it somewhat out of the other
side. Then I set up a breaker bar with a deep socket to hold the
punch steady. Then I inverted the distributor and placed the hole
over the punch and hit the socket with the hammer. It came out
without any damage.
I recently built a VW Distributor Pin Support Tool (VWDP-ST01) to help
with the pin removal. It is just a small angled piece of metal
that has a groove cut out and a rounded out part for the distributor
drive to fit on. Some spare metal and a air muffler cutter does
I supported the
distributor body with some heavy foam and started the hardest part of
With a hammer and a punch, use one with a smaller diameter than the pin
please, you can hammer out that pin.
better tool would have been a press set up to remove and install it but
that would take too
much time or effort to make right now.
Carefully remove drive and the three lower washers noting their
positions (drive, small metal washer, fiber washer, large metal washer,
distributor body, seal, seal retainer/cover, washer and shaft)
There are also two bushings inside of the distributor body but you
probably won't need to mess with them. ;-)
Remove any burrs from
the shaft BEFORE removing it through those
bushings. You don't want it to damage the bushings any.
NOTE: I took apart 3
distributors and found different numbers of
washers in each one.
The first picture (027 Distributor) shows the drive, metal washer,
fiber washer, larger metal washer, body, seal, cover, metal washer and
The second picture (Passat 051 Distributor) shows the shaft, metal
fiber washer, body with seal and cover installed, large metal washer,
fiber washer, metal washer and drive.
The last distributor (027 Distributor) I took apart had two extra
washers near the drive and I will conclude that they are shims to
So the first distributor that was missing the fiber washer at the cover
had play, the second has none and the third I did not check it for play
before I took it apart for parts.
When the shaft is removed you will find another washer, or two, at the
top so don't lose it/them.
Carefully, if you can, remove the metal retainer above the seal.
This is locked to the body and will probably bend when you pry it
off. It is soft metal so you should be able to flatten it back
out after you remove it. I carefully used a small screwdriver to
pry up the inside edge.
It bent evenly, became convex but popped off without too much
Carefully remove the brittle seal without scratching the bushings or
the distributor body. I pried it up with a screwdriver and it
came out easily.
Now it is time to clean everything up and if you have left the Hall
Sensor attached be careful what you use to clean the distributor body
You could easily replace the Hall Sensor since it is only held on by 3
screws but that would negate this inexpensive fix. I did notice
that the wires on the Passat's Hall Sensor were thicker than on the 027
distributors. Maybe that is due to the oil that was
I recommend purchasing a couple of seals before you start on this
project. The original seal size is metric and is 12.5 -- 19 -- 5
and rated for oil.
I have read that it is an uncommon size but I was able to find it
online. The only problem was that the company wanted me to place
an $80 order minimum and they would charge too much for just a few
seals. I called around and found that Napa could order some 12 --
19 -- 5 seals (Chicago Rawhide # 4207) for me plus special order
fees. I kept calling and found a local place that had them in
stock for a few dollars each. I picked up six seals.
After cleaning up the distributor, install the seal. I used a
Harbor Freight bushing driver to install the seal. I made sure
the driver was a littler wider than the seal so it would be installed
evenly and squarely. The second picture shows the seal and the
driver that is a tad larger.
Then align the outer edge grooves with those in the distributor body
and install the retainer/cover using a driver that is just a tad
smaller than the cover's outer edges. Make sure that it is
squarely seated and flat again which probably locks the cover to the
body. I believe the bushing driver helps to restore the cover to
it's flat shape.
Don't forget to reinstall the Hall Sensor if you had removed it.
MAKE SURE THAT ALL THE
WIRES ARE UNDER THE PLASTIC COVER OR THEY MIGHT
BE DAMAGED WHEN THE SHAFT IS REVOLVING
I used white lithium grease to pack the inside of the distributor and
also lightly lubed the shaft and all washers. I found a broken
upper fiber washer on the Passat distributor so check all
washers. You can see the metal washer sitting in the crack of the
fiber washer. I disassembled my third distributor for parts.
Also you will see a groove on the shaft created by the old seal.
I did nothing to this groove hoping it would not create or perpetuate a
Install that metal washer and fiber washer on the shaft and insert
shaft into the distributor body. You will find it a little
resistant due to the new smaller seal.
Make sure the shaft revolves freely and evenly but again that seal will
make it slightly resistant to revolve also.
Install the lower 3 washers in the proper order and now you are ready
to align the drive and insert that pin. Ah now the fun
I started the pin with my fingers followed by several squeezes with
some Vise Grip pliers until the pin is pushed close to the edge of the
YOU TRY TO FINISH THE INSTALLATION OF THE PIN WITH THE
PLIERS YOU MIGHT CRUSH/DESTROY THE DRIVE.
This picture shows the drive aligned with the rotor tip.
(An old trick is to freeze the inner piece and warm up the outer piece
before attempting to reinstall) This should shrink the inner
piece and enlarge the outer piece.
I then set the drive on my VWDP-ST01, body on that stiff foam, and used
the punch and hammer to tap it down so it was below the surface of the
drive at all times. THIS IS IMPORTANT SO THAT
THE DRIVE CAN MOVE
OR SLIDE TOUCHING EITHER SIDE OF THE SHAFT WITHOUT THE PIN BINDING IT
Reinstall the spring clip and you are done with the seal
Now lightly oil the outer O ring and outer surface. Install the
distributor back in the cylinder head.
Lightly tighten down the bolts, install the cap, time the engine
correctly and the torque the bolts down and you are done.
This whole job can be done without having to remove the distributor
rotor since if the rotor is installed correctly you need to crush it to
get it off the shaft and then you would require a new rotor.
Which might not be a bad idea if the oil has affected the cap and
Time will tell if you fixed it to last or not. :-)
What fun huh!
I gained information from a couple of other sites.
I found 12.5-19-5 seals from a couple on online sources but one
required a minimum order of $80 and was going to charge me around $12
The 12-19-5 seals can be obtained from a Napa store (Chicago Rawhide
Seal #4702) for around $4.00,
but it will probably be a special order which has some
extra charges attached.
I bought mine locally in Chicago from BDI for under $3 a piece
and picked them up at their warehouse in Justice, IL.
OIL SEAL TCM 12X19X5TC (7 50888 02253 4)
or go to http://www.dichtomatik.us/Interchange/
and enter 4702 (Chicago Rawhide Seal #)
I bought a total of 6 seals to redo 3 distributors and to have some
spares just in case.
Created Nov. 20, 2004
Pictures taken with my Kodak DC-3200 digital camera. Sorry the
pictures just aren't the greatest. I hopefully will correct this
in the first of next year.