How to Replace the Head Gasket in a VW VR6

Written by james marshall
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The VR6 family of engines is a series of six-cylinder engines that Volkswagen Group has manufactured since 1991. These engines appear in a variety of Volkswagen cars, such as the Volkswagen Golf, new Beetle and Passat. The VR6 engines have staggered cylinders within the cylinder block and only require one cylinder head for all six cylinders. The removal of the cylinder head from a VR6 engine requires you to replace its gasket.

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Things you need

  • Socket wrench set
  • White paint
  • 24mm wrench
  • Gasket scraper
  • Torque wrench
  • Special tool 3268

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  1. 1

    Disconnect the cables from the battery terminals with a socket wrench and remove the battery from the vehicle. Remove the air cleaner, mass air flow sensor and air inlet duct from the intake manifold.

  2. 2

    Open the cap on the radiator, and place a drain pan below the drain plug under the intake manifold. Open the drain plug with a socket wrench and allow the coolant to drain into the pan. Replace the drain plug.

  3. 3

    Remove the trim cover from the engine with a socket wrench. Disconnect the distributor cap from the vehicle with the ignition wires still attached. Detach the throttle cable from the intake manifold and disconnect the upper intake manifold from the engine block. Remove the fuel lines and electrical connectors from the fuel injectors. Detach the coolant hoses from the engine block with a socket wrench.

  4. 4

    Screw an 8 x 10mm bolt into the tensioner for the accessory drive belt to relieve the tension on the drive belt. Remove the drive belt from its pulleys and unscrew the bolt from the tensioner. Disconnect the alternator and the tensioner for the accessory drive belt.

  5. 5

    Remove the heat shield from both exhaust manifolds with a socket wrench and disconnect the exhaust manifolds from the engine. Disconnect the mounting bolt from the cover of the timing chain and remove the timing chain cover. Remove the cover from the cylinder head and turn the crankshaft clockwise to align its timing marks. Mark the timing chain with white paint to indicate its direction of rotation.

  6. 6

    Hold each camshaft in place with a 24mm wrench and disconnect the camshaft sprockets from the camshafts with a socket wrench. Remove the cylinder head bolts from the cylinder head and lift the cylinder head from the engine block.

  7. 7

    Remove the cylinder head gasket from the engine block. Clean any traces of the gasket from the cylinder head and engine block with a gasket scraper. Mount the new gasket onto the engine block with the word "TOP" facing up. Place the cylinder head over the dowels on the engine block.

  8. 8

    Fasten new mounting bolts to the cylinder head by hand. Tighten the bolts to 30 foot-pounds with a torque wrench on the first pass, then tighten them to 44 foot-pounds on the second pass. Tighten the bolts by 1/4 turn on the third pass, then tighten them an additional 1/4 turn on the fourth pass.

  9. 9

    Turn the crankshaft clockwise to align its timing marks again and lock the camshafts in place with special tool 3268. Mount the camshaft sprockets with the timing chain to the camshafts and fasten the mounting bolts for the sprockets with a 24mm wrench. Mount the distributor drive on the camshaft and tighten the mounting bolts for the camshaft sprockets to 74 foot-pounds.

  10. 10

    Connect the timing chain tensioner and the upper cover for the timing chain temporarily. Remove special tool 3268 from the camshafts and turn the crankshaft four complete turns clockwise. Tighten the mounting bolts for the upper timing chain cover to 82 inch-pounds with a torque wrench. Tighten the mounting bolt for the tensioner to 15 foot-pounds.

  11. 11

    Replace the cover for the cylinder head with a socket wrench. Install the intake manifold and exhaust manifolds to 18 foot-pounds with a torque wrench. Attach the drive belt for the alternator belt and adjust its tension with the belt tensioner. Connect the coolant hoses to the engine block. Install the electrical connectors and fuel lines for the fuel injectors.

  12. 12

    Install the upper intake manifold to the engine block with a socket wrench. Connect any electrical wiring and vacuum lines that you removed from the upper intake manifold. Attach the throttle cable and distributor cap assembly to the upper intake manifold. Replace the trim cover for the engine.

  13. 13

    Install the battery, and attach the cables to the battery with a socket wrench. Fill the radiator with coolant. Replace the oil and oil filter.

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