Aircooled VW owners have an assortment of options when choosing a distributor for their engine. If you only look on the surface it seems simple: The "obvious" choice is the Bosch 009, right? Not necessarily. Once you do a little research, you'll find a variety of stock units (including the SVDA unit), as well as the Bosch 009, 010, and 050 series, and finally the Mallory, MSD, and the age old Magneto. So which one is "best"?


Choosing the Right Distributor

The following pages features Volkswagen Distributors in OE Bosch Number order interchanged to the OE Volkswagen Number, it's subsequent replacement numbers, followed by the application(s) it was installed on. As an added feature, each application is link/cross-referenced to it's location on our main Ignition Application Page which features the necessary replacement parts, timing and other specifications.

Distributor Interchange Bosch To VW Number




Note: There are three things you must align when installing a distributor:


  • The drive shaft pulley TDC notch must align with the crankcase split,


  • The #1 piston must be at TDC, and


  • The rotor must point to the cylinder #1 notch on the rim of the distributor.



  1. Start by rotating the crank pulley so that the #1 piston is at top dead center (TDC). Check to make absolutely sure using our "pencil" test (eraser end into the sparkplug hole).


    Important Note: Since this is a four-stroke (cycle) engine, the crank has to turn TWICE to return cylinder #1 to TDC. For this reason, if you are relying solely on the TDC mark on the pulley, it is possible that the #3 piston is at TDC instead of #1. Thus the importance of the "pencil" test to verify.


  2. Position the distributor clamp exactly over the distributor shaft hole and tighten it snugly on the stud that protrudes from the crankcase.


  3. Before inserting the distributor, check to make sure that the smaller segment of the drive tang on the bottom on the bottom of the distributor is facing the crankshaft pulley. See the following illustration -


  1. Rotate the rotor so that the tabs at the base of the distributor shaft line up correctly with the slot in the distributor drive and push the distributor firmly into place.

    Note: It may be necessary to turn the rotor slightly to mesh the slot in the distributor shaft with the tab at the base of the distributor shaft.


  2. With the distributor properly installed (the tangs match), rotate the distributor body so that the #1 piston line (notch on the distributor rim) is lined up with the rotor.

    Note: The notch in the distributor rim that the rotor points to (with # 1 at TDC) should be at ~ 5 o'clock with a vacuum distributor, or to ~ 7 o'clock with the 009 distributor.


  3. Time the distributor (SVDA or 009) statically. (See our procedure for static timing.)

    Note: If you have electronic ignition installed in the distributor, it will not be possible to time the distributor statically.

    Cylinder #1 at TDC, the TDC notch on the crankcase pulley aligned with the split in the crankcase, and the rotor pointed directly at the #1 notch in the distributor rim will provide timing that is close enough to start the engine. Then, with the engine running, you should time the distributor with a stroboscopic timing light.


  4. Tighten the clamp around the distributor.