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I have a 2000 Golf TDI and am having problems with the turbo. Decided to replace the actuator and am having trouble with, embarrassed to say, removing the circlip holding the actuator rod to the lever.
 

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Don't worry, it's a pain to get off. However, I would test the actuator to make sure it holds vacuum, moves smoothly, and in the correct range before replacing it.

You could try looping a fishing line through the tiny holes to pull it off but that would probably be as difficult as trying to remove it. Try sticking a screwdriver in the space and twisting to pop teh clip off.
 
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