Installing the Distributor Correctly


I have a 1974 2002tii- When I bought the car, someone had a dist from 76 auto in it. so bought a used 008 and a 013, the 008 got it timed and does good, then tried the 013. Cannot get the 1,2,3 of getting it started/timed. The points are backwards, but not sure where the notch on the dist needs to face or the rotor and plug wires. Looked through Chiltons manual, but something is not right. If I put the notch and rotor facing #1 plug, then the vacum is almost over the valve cover. Any help or pics would be appreciated.


The 008 distributor you found works well, just plug the vacuum line on your air box that used to feed the vacuum retard of what the 013 distributor used originally on the 74tii only. The 72 and 73 model Tii’s did not have that ability – and only the USA cars had the vacuum retard in 1974.

Finding TDC

The secret to getting top dead center is as follows.

  1. Place the car on a flat location to work on it, and have it totally cool.
  2. Remove the valve cover
  3. Look for the location of the top dead center mark on the cam shaft where it meets the timing chain sprocket. The photo is located here on what that looks like.

  4. Assuming you can’t see top dead center on the cam yet, and with the ignition turned off, grab hold of the fan and turn it while placing pressure on the belt and turn the engine over by hand until you can line it up as shown in the photo above.
  5. Once the engine is at top dead center, the next is getting the firing order lined up on the distributor. From a spark plug wiring setup, this is how I did it:

    Spark Plug Wiring - The Firing Order
  6. Move the distributor so that the notch indicating TDC (a groove on top of the distributor housing edge) line up with where the plug wire for cylinder #1 align.
  7. Next rotate the distributor shaft to where the rotor points directly at the notch.
  8. Back the distributor off approximately one quarter turn counter clock wise and then insert it into the distributor hole on the head, wiggling it left or right so the distributor syncs up with the cam gear itself so that when the distributor is fully pushed down into the head, the rotor points directly at the #1 plug and TDC notch at the same time.
  9. Snug up the 10mm nut that holds the distributor in place.
  10. Put the distributor cap back on and reinstall the valve cover.
  11. Attempt to start the engine as you would normally. It should start up and be ready to time properly once the engine is warm.

Last update: 2008-02-22 14:18
Author: Keith Kreeger

Bosch replacement distributor for Tii

Owner Jim Gerock writes to us:

I’ve had trouble trying to find a replacement Bosch distributor (even the ID48X) for my 73. The ID48X is highly recommended in many articles.

Jim follows up:

After ordering one on-line from (2) companies, I received follow-up e-mails saying they are no longer available. I’m waiting for a new one from a 3rd company (who indicated they had (2) in stock) and I’ll provide an update after I receive it. I even called a Bosch Customer service number today. The helpful rep. I spoke with said the production of these distributors stopped several years ago. Tune-up parts are still easily available.

You can still purchase the bearings and some small parts thru Maximillian in MD to keep your original one going. The Bosch “009” for the air cooled VW is similiar – but it went out of production years ago.
After further investigation, I have received a new Bosch distributor ordered from Pelican Parts in CA. They only had (2) in stock! Pelican # 12-11-1-271-726 @ $ 404.75 There was a large white Bosch sticker on the cap: 0 986 237 020-090 with an arrow pointing from # 0 231 188 002.

Here are the part numbers from the actual unit:

Stamped on housing: #    0231 188 002  JFD4
Cap #                    1235 522 056
Rev. limiting rotor #    1234 332 208 6600
Dust cover #             1230500 147

The distributor came complete except for the O-ring for the shaft. I installed it and the car started and ran perfect (after setting the timing). I didn’t even check the points gap (yet)! The numbers stamped on the housing matched my original 73tii distributor – but do not match the distributor numbers listed in the back of the K-F fuel injection manual.

I hope this information is helpful to others. Jim Gerock

Tii Distributor Curves

This information is not well documented. This is normally used to either compare a potentially malfunctioning distributor, or to have a new one curved to match this profile. When you buy a new distributor today, such as the Bosch “002” unit to replace a defective 008 or 013 unit originally installed in the Tii engines, this curve is not present.

Tii Distributor Curves

Click to enlarge the graph

The following graph was created by Dave Redzus of Precision Auto Research for the Tii Newsletter in the 1980’s.

If you want your car’s distributor to perform exactly to OEM specifications, have a qualified technician perform this work.  We recommend Precision Auto Research in the USA for this type of work. They have been doing it for many years.

Last update: 2006-12-07 22:54
Author: tiiregister

The following graph was created by Dave Redzus of Precision Auto Research for the Tii Newsletter in the 1980’s.