I'm fixing my father-in-law car, Jetta 2013 S 2.0, and I'm in hurry since I need to fix before he come back on Dec 29th. I really appreciate for everybody input.

The car has bad camshaft position sensor, which is inconveniently located behind the camshaft pulley. I had to take off the toothed belt. Per factory manual, to put back the toothed belt correctly, I need to "set crankshaft to TDC of No.1 cylinder by turning it in the direction of engine rotation." But I'm stuck finding the window for TDC mark. I looked for many Youtube videos, but I still cannot locate the window to set crankshaft to TDC. I moved camshaft independently already, so I need to find the window to make sure crankshaft is in correct position. The factory manual shows just the mark, but doesn't tell me where is the window located. I found 2 windows under the engine as the picture, but I don't think they are the correct one since it doesn't look like the figure in the manual and there are 2 gears shown. They moves when I move the crankshaft pulley though.

enter image description hereenter image description here

  • Welcome to Motor Vehicle Maintenance & Repair! Commented Dec 27, 2017 at 3:02

2 Answers 2


I watched this video of a guy doing a timing belt replacement. It states it covers the 2.0L from 2011-2016 MK6 Jetta. It shows there being marks on the cam sprocket which aligns with a mark on the backing piece just behind the sprocket. This, I believe, is what yours should look like. There's also a mark on the crankshaft sprocket which aligns with a mark on the block. Here's an image of what I'm talking about:

enter image description here

NOTE: The white marks have been added by the person doing the video.

As long as you have the top marks aligned prior to removing the timing belt, you should be golden. Ensure both the top and bottom timing marks align prior to reassembly or you'll have catastrophic issues with the engine.


Your bottom sprocket should align like the following image. Not which tooth he has marked (directly off the hole) and the relationship of the pin which locates the crankshaft pulley (when installed). It's at the 4 O'Clock position (red arrow).

enter image description here

Now look at where the tooth he has marked is in relationship to the casting on the block in this image:

enter image description here

The casting mark falls directly between the marked tooth and the tooth to the left of it.

I don't know for sure which window the timing mark should appear in at the back of the engine (at the flywheel). If you align the sprockets as I've pointed out to you, you should not have an issue. Just double check all of the alignment once you have the belt back on to ensure everything lines back up. Also, once the belt is on, use a socket and wrench and rotate the engine 720° (two full crankshaft turns, which is one full camshaft turn), then double check everything.

  • @Hiro - I'm at work, so cannot see your image. Hopefully I'm showing you what you're seeing. If not, I'll have to correct things tomorrow. Commented Dec 27, 2017 at 4:40
  • If the camshafts have direct belt drive, the crankshaft does two revolutions per camshaft wheel revolution. So having the markings match isn't enough to avoid catastrophic failure. Be careful.
    – Janka
    Commented Dec 27, 2017 at 4:48
  • 1
    @Janka - Not sure what you're getting at? If the engine is properly timed to begin with and the camshaft marks are aligned, the crankshaft marks will automatically be aligned. It can be no other way. If the crankshaft is aligned, the camshaft can be in any of two different positions, one 180degrees opposed. If the camshaft is aligned, you can be assured the engine is at TDC on the #1 cylinder. All bets are off if the engine comes out of time for any reason (slipped belt, broken belt, etc). Commented Dec 27, 2017 at 5:20
  • It's about not knowing whether you are in the 0°-360° or 360°-720° range of the crankshaft. But you are right, this doesn't count if the OP has only moved the camshaft.
    – Janka
    Commented Dec 27, 2017 at 5:46
  • @Janka - What you are suggesting makes no sense WRT your previous statement of catastrophic failure. If the cam is aligned to the mark correctly, the crank can be at either 0° or at 360° and everything is golden. Why is that? The #1 piston will be at TDC in either case. If both the cam and crank are pointing to their respective marks, there is no worry. This doesn't mean you want to indiscriminately spin the crank or cam with the belt off, as this will cause issues. It means if all is aligned and the belt is on, you should be good to go. Commented Dec 27, 2017 at 7:20

Those answers don't seem to get to the point. I am literally changing my timing belt so I will tell you the process as you are requesting it. Note, this assumes you removed your timing belt and have lost your original position of the cam and crank.

The cam is the gear on the top of your engine. The crank is the gear behind the passenger tire.

The giant black pulley cover thing you see that has the serpentine belt on it is your harmonic balance.

This uses a 6mm alan for the 4 round bolts but careful they strip easy. If its strips use a propane torch and take a strong hammer and pound a torx bit (slighter larger than the hole) into the alan hole and unscrew it after you torched the hell out of the bolt. It will be hot so watch out. You can measure the bolt and find a replacement pretty easily.

Take off your harmonic balance and you will see the crankshaft gear. The picture above shows marking on the crank that you won't have and definitely don't align your gears off of someone's pictures that's ridiculous.

The cam pulley on the top of the engine will have a mark on the pulley its self and on the engine. Mark these with some white paint or use a paint marker from Walmart so its easier to see. Once you have these lined up attach your pulley holder (rent this from oreilys ask for a cam holder) mine was 130$ to rent and I get that back when I return it.

That will have little clamps that will hold your pulley in place. You will need it to remove the pulley and replace the seals if you're doing that. I am so I included that step.

Now the window your mentioning is pretty much in the same general area on all VW's from 01-now. It's on your bell housing. Its not easy to find because most of the people on you tube have poor camera skills. I hope to fix this in the future with more time by doing a video of a start to finish.

Window location: Find your coil pack. It will be to the left of the power steering (i have a 04 VW new beetle with the Mexican 2.0 "BEV") under your coil pack to the right of it once you remove it (mark your spark plugs and your coil connection spots so you can re-attach them easy). You may have a negative battery ground cable that needs to be removed. It's a 10 mm. The coil uses a 5mm I believe or a 6, I can't remember.

Then you will see the window and the circle hole that may or may not have a plug covering it. Mind didnt. Ignore that hole. Spin your crank until you see this circle with a line through it kinda like this -0- it will be etched in the metal. This is one of your TDC's. Yes there are two. Your crank has a 180-degree offset because of the compression and exhaust stroke.

To find whether your on point or off by 180 degrees. Put your finger or something in the piston one location. Furthest left for most but google your engine to make sure. When you fee the gust of air or pressure your on the compression stroke. Now make sure that symbol is rotated to the bottom of the window (or more accurately the edge of the window closest to the bumper and NOT the firewall.) The symbol is not TDC in the middle of the window it needs to be at the point where it's about to disappear from sight.

Now make sure your cam is still at its position as mentioned before. Now you are timed. You will need to attach your belt and make sure you hook up all your connectors. It's easy to miss a cable or wire and think your car is not running but you forgot to connect something.

Also, do a spin test on your crank with he belt on to make sure your marks return when rotated. Do not use the belt as a marking point. The belt will never re-align because it's not designed to. It takes upwards of 50 rotations for your belt to hit the same tooth so just forget about the belt being aligned because it doesn't matter. All the markings will be made on metal, not on the rubber belt.

Changing the seals, the pump is its own task but if you can get your car timed you should be able to do these tasks with some ease. And yes you have to remove your passenger engine mount to get the belt out. If you don't know the difference between your serpentine belt and the timing belt then don't change this yourself as you do not have the experience to prevent your piston from smashing your valves. If its a dual overhead cam (two pulleys) like on dodge neons then just make sure both cams are aligned.

Also, keep in mind there are two sensors. A cam and crank sensor. Two different codes are thrown on your OBD. Make sure you match the codes because a crank sensor is easy to change and it's next to the oil filter base. One 5mm alan takes it's off.

The cam sensor sucks and yes your right you have to bet into the pulley and thus you should change your pump and belt while your in there so you don't have to do this job again for a while.

Both sensors are cheap but change your crank sensor first and see if it fixes your issues. DO NOT DO NOT DO NOT DO NOT attempt to run your engine if the timing is off. You will bend your valves and possibly damage your rocker arms and will have to remove your heads and do a valve replacement and that's fun not fun job.

The goof that worked on the beetle I bought before I had purchased it tried to do the work himself and lost the timing. Normally I wouldn't mess with the gears and make sure they stay in place during a change out but that's a perfect world. You need to learn how to fix issues when you at the starting point and not when everything is perfect. you'll become a better mechanic that way.

Hope this helps.

  • perfectly explained don’t even need a video to understand I knew there was no way in hell to just line up the crankshaft without knowing what stroke to have it at or you would completely screw up any motor if not placing it on the compression stroke even if his marks were lined up correctly does now tell weather or not it’s on the correct stroke Commented May 8, 2023 at 16:51

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .