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Pelican Technical Article:

Replacing Timing Belt

Steve Vernon

Time:

8 hours8 hrs

Tab:

$30

Talent:

*****

Tools:

Complete socket and wrench set, 19mm 12point, 6mm Allen socket, Flathead and Philips screwdriver

Applicable Models:

VW Golf GTI (2000)
VW Golf GTI 1.8T (2002-05)
VW Golf GTI 20th Anniversary (2003)
VW Golf GTI 337 (2002)
VW Golf GTI GLS (2001)

Parts Required:

New timing belt, transmission mount bolts

Hot Tip:

Patience

Performance Gain:

Wont leave you stranded at the side of the road

Complementary Modification:

New V-belt

Volkswagen recommends changing your timing belt every 100,000 miles. The timing belt connects the engines crankshaft with the camshaft. While there are very specific procedures you need to perform to eliminate the possibility of damaging the engine it is still a DIY project if you take your time and pay attention to the details. Note if you do not follow the specific details and line up the crank to cam sprockets correctly you can do terminal damage to the engine so just take your time and double check everything as you go.

Note: The hardware mounting bolts for the engine mounts are stretch bolts and single use only. Always replace them.

To perform this job you will need to first remove the V-belt and tensioner. Please see our article on removing your V-belt and tensioner to perform this work.

While it is possible to replace the timing belt without removing all the lines on the top of the engine I did so I could get pictures. I would recommend removing the lines to give you more room to work and a chance to see what you are doing. If you decide to go this route first begin by labeling all the fuel lines, coolant lines and EVAP lines that are in your way and then remove them. They are just a series of hoses clamps and push pull connectors for the fuel lines.

Remove the upper belt cover. There are two snap clips that you pop out with finger pressure or a flat head screwdriver.

Next remove the lower belt cover. It is impossible to get a picture of it in the car so I am showing it out of the car. There are three 10mm bolts holding it in place. Remove these and remove the cover from underneath the car.

You are going to remove the belt so you must set the engine at top dead center.

Rotate the engine until the cam chain sprocket is lined up with the witness mark on the sprocket and the head.

Once this is lined up make sure the crank witness mark is lined up with the witness mark on the block. You will need to look down from above to see this.

Working from under the car in the right front wheel well, remove the three hose clamps and one 10mm nut that connect the air duct between the turbocharger and intercooler.

This gives you access to the vibration dampener.

You are going to remove the four 6mm Allen bolts that hold the dampener to the crank. Use a 19mm 12 point to hold the crank in position and remove the bolts. The dampener has a keyway in it that will line up with the other bolt holes and is used to mark the placement of TDC. If you think the crank moved while you where removing the 4 bolts reinstall one bolt and make sure you are still lined up at TDC. You want to do this because you are going to mark the crank sprocket behind the lower cover plate at TDC so you can check without having to put everything back on.

Remove the vibration dampener.

Remove the two 10mm bolts holding the lower crank cover.

After making sure the crank is still at TDC make a witness mark on the crank sprocket that lines up with a mark or bolt hole on the case. This will save you time when putting the new belt on as you will not need to put the dampener back on to set TDC up.

You have to remove the right side engine mount to change the belt. You will need to support the engine from underneath if you do not have a very expensive factory engine support. Use a piece of wood approximately the same size as the oil pan and support the engine on the jack. You are not trying to lift the motor just support it. If you can fit a jack stand under the motor this is also a good idea in case the jack fails, this is especially important if you are going to be doing this work over several days.

You will need to first remove the overflow reservoir and power steering reservoir from their mounts to get access to the engine mount.

Remove the coolant reservoir by disconnecting the electrical connection and removing the two Philips head screws.

Remove the plastic connection and then the 10mm blot holding the power steering reservoir in place.

Remove the two 19mm bolts from the front side of the mount. If the bolts are binding or not coming off easily then you may need to raise the engine a little more.

Remove the 13mm bolt and two 16mm bolts on the mount under the steering fluid reservoir.

Remove the body side mount from the engine bay.

Use a 16mm socket and remove the three bolts that attach the mount to the engine. You can get access to two from the top of the engine and one from the lower wheel well.

You now have fairly good access to the timing belt tensioner. If you have not bought the tensioner removal kit you will need a 5x55mm threaded stud and a nut and small washer to fit it. Begin by screwing the threaded portion of the stud into the tensioner mount on the engine block. There is a small threaded hole in the mount that the stud will thread into. Next install the washer and nut on the stud so that they are between the cut out in the tensioner lever/bar. Use an 8mm wrench and screw the nut and washer down, compressing the tensioner piston until you compress the tensioner to the point you can slip the belt off.

Installation is the reverse of removal.

If you end up getting confused about TDC or want to double check the crank against the cam there is a viewing port on the bell housing. Remove the plug and you can see a small marker that the notch in the flywheel will line up to if the crankshaft is at TDC.

When installing the new belt place it on the cam sprocket first with the sprocket set at TDC. It is a good idea to zip tie the belt in place on the sprocket while installing the belt on the crank sprocket. Take your time here as the belt must be installed with both the crank and cam sprockets lined up at TDC or you can cause severe damage to the motor when you attempt to start the car.

While it is possible to replace the timing belt without removing all the lines (red arrows) on the top of the engine I did so I could getPictures.
Figure 1

While it is possible to replace the timing belt without removing all the lines (red arrows) on the top of the engine I did so I could getPictures. I would recommend removing the lines to give you more room to work and a chance to see what you are doing. If you decide to go this route first begin by labeling all the fuel lines, coolant lines and EVAP lines that are in your way and then remove them. They are just a series of hoses clamps and push pull connectors for the fuel lines.

Remove the upper belt cover.
Figure 2

Remove the upper belt cover. There are two snap clips (yellow arrows) that you pop out with finger pressure or a flat head screwdriver.

Next remove the lower belt cover.
Figure 3

Next remove the lower belt cover. It is impossible to get aPicture of it in the car so I am showing it out of the car. There are three 10mm bolts Bolt holes shown by red arrows holding it in place. Remove these and remove the cover from underneath the car.

You are going to remove the belt so you must set the engine at top dead center.
Figure 4

You are going to remove the belt so you must set the engine at top dead center. Rotate the engine until the cam chain sprocket is lined up with the witness mark on the sprocket and the head (red arrows).

Rotate the engine until the cam chain sprocket is lined up with the witness mark on the sprocket and the head.
Figure 5

Rotate the engine until the cam chain sprocket is lined up with the witness mark on the sprocket and the head. Once this is lined up make sure the crank witness mark is lined up with the witness mark on the block (red arrow). You will need to look down from above to see this.

Working from under the car in the right front wheel well, remove the three hose clamps (red arrows) and one 10mm nut (yellow arrow) that connect the air duct between the turbocharger and intercooler.
Figure 6

Working from under the car in the right front wheel well, remove the three hose clamps (red arrows) and one 10mm nut (yellow arrow) that connect the air duct between the turbocharger and intercooler.

This gives you access to the vibration dampener (red arrow).
Figure 7

This gives you access to the vibration dampener (red arrow).

You are going to remove the four 6mm Allen bolts that hold the dampener to the crank.
Figure 8

You are going to remove the four 6mm Allen bolts that hold the dampener to the crank. Use a 19mm 12 point (red arrow) to hold the crank in position and remove the bolts with a 6mm socket (yellow arrow). The dampener has a keyway in it that will line up with the other bolt holes and is used to mark the placement of TDC. If you think the crank moved while you where removing the 4 bolts reinstall one bolt and make sure you are still lined up at TDC. You want to do this because you are going to mark the crank sprocket behind the lower cover plate at TDC so you can check without having to put everything back on.

Remove the vibration dampener (red arrow).
Figure 9

Remove the vibration dampener (red arrow).

Remove the two 10mm bolts (red arrows) holding the lower crank cover.
Figure 10

Remove the two 10mm bolts (red arrows) holding the lower crank cover.

After making sure the crank is still at TDC make a witness mark on the crank sprocket that lines up with a mark or bolt hole on the case (red arrows).
Figure 11

After making sure the crank is still at TDC make a witness mark on the crank sprocket that lines up with a mark or bolt hole on the case (red arrows). This will save you time when putting the new belt on as you will not need to put the dampener back on to set TDC up.

You have to remove the right side engine mount to change the belt.
Figure 12

You have to remove the right side engine mount to change the belt. You will need to support the engine from underneath if you do not have a very expensive factory engine support. Use a piece of wood approximately the same size as the oil pan and support the engine on the jack. You are not trying to lift the motor just support it. If you can fit a jack stand under the motor this is also a good idea in case the jack fails, this is especially important if you are going to be doing this work over several days.

Remove the coolant reservoir by disconnecting the electrical connection (yellow arrow) and removing the two Philips head screws (red arrows).
Figure 13

Remove the coolant reservoir by disconnecting the electrical connection (yellow arrow) and removing the two Philips head screws (red arrows).

Remove the plastic connection and then the 10mm blot (red arrow) holding the power steering reservoir in place.
Figure 14

Remove the plastic connection and then the 10mm blot (red arrow) holding the power steering reservoir in place.

Remove the two 19mm bolts (red arrows) from the front side of the mount.
Figure 15

Remove the two 19mm bolts (red arrows) from the front side of the mount. If the bolts are binding or not coming off easily then you may need to raise the engine a little more.

Remove the 13mm bolt (yellow arrow) and two 16mm bolts (red arrows) on the mount under the steering fluid reservoir.
Figure 16

Remove the 13mm bolt (yellow arrow) and two 16mm bolts (red arrows) on the mount under the steering fluid reservoir.

Remove the body side mount from the engine bay.
Figure 17

Remove the body side mount from the engine bay.

Use a 16mm socket and remove the three bolts (red arrows, two shown) that attach the mount to the engine.
Figure 18

Use a 16mm socket and remove the three bolts (red arrows, two shown) that attach the mount to the engine. You can get access to two from the top of the engine and one from the lower wheel well.

You now have fairly good access to the timing belt tensioner.
Figure 19

You now have fairly good access to the timing belt tensioner. If you have not bought the tensioner removal kit you will need a 5x55mm threaded stud and a nut and small washer to fit it. Begin by screwing the threaded portion of the stud into the tensioner mount on the engine block. There is a small threaded hole in the mount that the stud will thread into (yellow arrow). Next install the washer and nut on the stud so that they are between the cut out in the tensioner lever/bar (red arrow). Use an 8mm wrench and screw the nut and washer down, compressing the tensioner piston until you compress the tensioner to the point you can slip the belt off.

If you end up getting confused about TDC or want to double check the crank against the cam there is a viewing port on the bell housing.
Figure 20

If you end up getting confused about TDC or want to double check the crank against the cam there is a viewing port on the bell housing. Remove the plug and you can see a small marker (red arrow) that the notch in the fly wheel will line up to if the crankshaft is at TDC.

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Comments and Suggestions:
Manxman Comments: I note that you do not recommend changing the water pump at the same time, in the UK this is always done when the cam belt is replaced! Please do not take offense at this comment.
May 27, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: i agree. It's a good idea to replace the water pump. We appreciate your feedback - no offense ever. - Nick at Pelican Parts  

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Page last updated: Fri 12/9/2016 02:34:37 AM