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Pelican Technical Article:

Replacing Timing Belt Tensioner

Steve Vernon

Time:

8 hours8 hrs

Tab:

$80 to $200

Talent:

*****

Tools:

T30, T25 Torx, 18mm, 16mm, 13mm, 12mm, 10mm, 8mm wrench and socket, extensions, universal joint, flathead screwdriver, pliers

Applicable Models:

VW GTI (2006-09)

Parts Required:

New timing belt tensioner.

Hot Tip:

Patience

Performance Gain:

Don't grenade your motor

Complementary Modification:

New timing belt

Volkswagen recommends changing your timing belt every 100,000 miles. While you have the belt off you should really consider changing out the tensioner as well. Even if the tensioner is not giving you trouble there is a tremendous amount of work to get to this point and replacing the tensioner may just be cheap insurance. 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.

You will need to begin by safely jacking up and supporting the vehicle. Please see our article on safely lifting and supporting your vehicle for further assistance.

Note: there will be several pieces and components missing in the photographs that you will not need to remove. These pieces have been removed for photographic purposes only. You only need to remove what is described in each step. All engine mount bolts are single use only and must be replaced after each use.

This project picks up with everything you need to move or remove to get at the timing belt already done. Please see our article on timing belt replacement for assistance to get to this point.

With everything removed you can now have access to all the components on the front of the motor: the cam sprocket (purple arrow), belt tensioner (red arrow), rollers (yellow arrows), crank sprocket (blue arrow) and the coolant pump (green arrow).
Figure 1

With everything removed you can now have access to all the components on the front of the motor: the cam sprocket (purple arrow), belt tensioner (red arrow), rollers (yellow arrows), crank sprocket (blue arrow) and the coolant pump (green arrow).

To remove the belt you need to loosen the 13mm nut (red arrow) on the tensioner and then using an 8mm Allen turn the tensioner counter-clockwise until all tension is off the belt.
Figure 2

To remove the belt you need to loosen the 13mm nut (red arrow) on the tensioner and then using an 8mm Allen turn the tensioner counter-clockwise until all tension is off the belt.

Slip the belt off the coolant pump first (red arrow).
Figure 3

Slip the belt off the coolant pump first (red arrow).

With the belt off the coolant pump you can remove it from the rest of the pulleys and remove it from the engine (red arrow).
Figure 4

With the belt off the coolant pump you can remove it from the rest of the pulleys and remove it from the engine (red arrow).

This photo illustrates the tensioner (red arrow) and the two rollers (yellow arrows).
Figure 5

This photo illustrates the tensioner (red arrow) and the two rollers (yellow arrows). The rollers are different and can not be mixed.

Remove the 13mm nut and pull the tensioner (red arrow) off of the stud (yellow arrow).
Figure 6

Remove the 13mm nut and pull the tensioner (red arrow) off of the stud (yellow arrow).

Next remove and replace the two rollers.
Figure 7

Next remove and replace the two rollers. The upper roller is brown and uses a 13mm bolt (yellow arrow) while the lower roller has a black bushing and uses a 12mm bolt (red arrow). The post that the tensioner mounts too is installed in a section that is pressed into the head (green arrow).

This photo illustrates the two new rollers.
Figure 8

This photo illustrates the two new rollers. The black bushing roller uses a 12mm nut (red arrow) and the brown bushing uses a 13mm bolt (yellow arrow). The bolt for the black bushing roller will not fit the brown bushing roller.

Installation is the reverse of removal.
Figure 9

Installation is the reverse of removal. Always put the belt on the crankshaft pulley last. With the new belt on turn the tensioner with an 8mm Allen in the direction of the arrow (red arrow, clock wise) until the notch aligns with the tab (green arrows) then tighten down the 13mm nut. Use a 19mm 12 point socket and turn the engine two complete rotations by hand. The witness marks on the cam sprocket, head and marks you made should all line up. If everything does not line up at TDC remove the belt and try again until you get it right. You are not finished the job until you can turn the motor by hand two rotations and everything lines up. Failure to get this right can lead to catastrophic damage to the motor when you start it up. Installation of everything else is the reverse of removal.

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Page last updated: Fri 12/9/2016 02:36:52 AM