The article is divided into two parts: part 1 which shows how to remove the timing belt and part 2 which shows installation and final checks. The factory service manual says that the timing belt should be replaced every 120,000 miles. The CJAA engine is shown but the CBEA engine belt replacement procedure is identical. The CBEA engine is found in 2009 VW Jetta and Sportwagen TDI and 2010-2013 Audi A3 TDI. All others use the CJAA engine.
Disclaimer - this article is revised and updated to include the most current information but is not a substitute for the factory service manual! See the TOS Agreement for the full legal disclaimer. Although a timing belt job can successfully be done with basic tools plus the timing belt tools and basic mechanical experience, faulty installation of the timing belt can cause severe engine damage so take all precautions listed in your factory service manual. Difficulty is rated 3/5 and it will take the average person 1 day to finish. A mechanic experienced with this exact engine and with air tools/lift should be done in ~3-4 hours.
If you find the tips on this page helpful, please use the donation button at the top so that I can continue to keep publishing great articles. The service manual is about $80 and doesn't even mention most of the tips here. This page has color photos, more detail, and videos. Even if you're just reading this to know what to ask the mechanic, I'm sure you'll find this page very helpful. The demo engine was partially paid for with site donations and your donation will go into the site! Thank you in advance!
If you've never done a TDI engine, the main difference is that you must buy/rent/borrow the timing belt tools. You can use a large adjustable 2 pin spanner to turn the camshaft sprocket and the camshaft sprocket pin can be substituted with any pin of equivalent diameter and length. However, the crankshaft lock is a finely machined fit and is required to set the timing with precision. My universal sprocket bar couldn't fit the high pressure fuel pump sprocket because the bolt heads were in the way so I used an aftermarket sprocket counterhold bar.
If you're not familiar with the engine bay, label each plug or wire with a piece of tape and marker. It can serve as a visual check that you put everything back and is a handy reminder, especially if you are doing other maintenance items over more than 1 day. See 1000q: tips for the mechanic for more handy tips. Please read all of the instructions in the factory service manual thoroughly and the tips here before attempting the timing belt replacement. If any pictures are not showing up or you have any questions, please comment at the forums: myturbodiesel.com forums. If you are not comfortable that you can successfully do this job after reading the instructions in your factory service manual and the tips on this page, take it to an experienced TDI mechanic!
Timing belts cannot be visually inspected for anything other than obvious major wear. A visual inspection can only show any obvious major wear immediately before failure. Timing belts look fine until a tooth breaks off and engine timing is lost and engine damage results. I strongly suggest changing the timing belt, idler roller pulley, water pump, and tensioner at or before 120,000 miles, the factory recommended service interval. Make sure to change all these components because even if the new belt could last the next 120,000 miles, the other components won't.
(click links to compare current prices and kit components, shipping, tax, etc. )
Timing belt kit (recommended) - click the links to see the current prices for the timing belt kits from Dieselgeek kit, MetalManparts kit The different kits may contain slightly different parts. Because VW contracts many components to a third party, most of the linked generic parts are made by the same supplier as genuine VW parts and are the exact same part. The kits above may vary in exactly what parts are included. Below are the individual components.
Also get some G12 coolant to replace lost coolant. (Do not use generic green coolant) ,dieselgeek (1.5 liter size, VW #ZVW 237 G12) ,available from kermatdi 1.5L size Total coolant capacity is just over 8L so you'll need 3 liters or 1 gallon of coolant concentrate when replacing the timing belt. If you wish to do a total system flush you'll need over 4 liters. The coolant is diluted 50/50 with distilled water.
CAUTION - generic parts available on ebay or other online sellers may be of questionable origin. The above linked sites are all well known and experienced TDI vendors.
CAUTION - I would not buy the or any other of this seller's copycat sites' timing belt kits or tools. They're probably low quality copycat parts! It's not worth saving $75 when it can result in thousands in engine damage! I also had a bad experience with this seller so never again.
Individual parts list for timing belt (I recommend a kit - generic
parts linked here are suppliers to VW so the parts are the same, just not in VW
timing belt VW# 03L 109 119 d
timing belt tensioner VW# 03L 109 243 e
large roller VW# 03g 109 244
upper roller VW# 03L 109 244 c
lower roller VW# 038 109 244j
water pump VW# 03L 121 011 b (I suggest a metal impeller pump)
serpentine alternator/AC belt VW# 03L 903 137 e
Always replace bolts
HPFP sprocket bolts (quantity 3) VW# n 911 803 01
camshaft bolt (quantity 3) VW# n 107 158 01
15mm tensioner nut (quantity 1) VW# 038 109 454 a
16mm large roller bolt (quantity 1) VW# n 106 999 01 (manual doesn't list this as required but I suggest replacing it)
10mm triple square crankshaft pulley bolts (quantity 4) VW# n 910 488 02
13mm vertical motor mount bolts (quantity: 2, please see note in part 2) VW# n 019 502 13
16mm vertical motor mount bolt w/out stud (quantity: 1) VW# n 905 969 06
16mm vertical motor mount bolt w/stud for fuel filter bracket (quantity: 1) VW# 910 296 02
18mm vertical motor mount bolts (quantity: 2) VW# n 105 524 02
16mm horizontal motor mount bolt, marked 1 in picture of mount at bottom of page (quantity 1, 115mm long, internal torx head) VW# n 106 833 01
16mm horizontal motor mount bolt, marked 2 in picture (quantity 1, 90mm long, threaded head) VW# n 911 916 01
16mm horizontal motor mount bolt, marked 3 picture (quantity 1, 75mm long, internal torx head) VW# n 106 802 03
13mm upper roller bolt (quantity 1) VW# n 101 281 10
13mm idler roller/pulley nut (quantity 1) VW# n 015 083 15
10mm water pump bolts (quantity 3) VW# n 909 450 02
VW timing belt tools:
These tools are available as a kit from metalnerd and are distributed by dieselgeek for metalnerd. I also rent the tools as a courtesy service, see this page for details: myturbodiesel tool rental. NOTE: timing belt tensioner pin VW# T10115 is not shown. Most new tensioners include one in the box or will use a 5mm allen wrench. The service manual calls for T10265 but T10115 is the same thing with a triangle handle instead of the long handle. NOTE: my universal counterhold tool will fit the camshaft sprocket but won't fit the HPFP sprocket because the bolt heads are too close. Therefore, the metalnerd tool is shown. Make sure to unscrew the HPFP sprocket adapter tips before using it on the camshaft! Only lightly tighten the adapter tips or else it can damage the ends! I suggest hand threading them in to reduce the risk of cross threading the adapter tips.
sprocket counterhold tool
crankshaft lock VW# T10050 (metalnerd style on left WARNING: There was a recent batch of VW tools tool 10050 which had the pointer arrow in the wrong spot to the right of the peg. It should be to the left of the peg. See this post in the forum for more details.
camshaft and HPFP pin VW# 3359 (2 required, either style works)
serpentine belt tensioner lock VW# T10060a (optional but very helpful)
10, 13, 15, 16, 18 mm sockets/wrenches. 16mm deep socket. 12 point 19mm socket or wrench
T25, T30 Torx bits/sockets
regular pliers and spring hose clamp pliers (pictured below, these are optional and are remotley operated)
wheel chocks/blocks of wood, floor car jacks, jack stands
10mm triple square bit for the harmonic balancer pulley/crankshaft pulley bolts (not a torx)
Note - triple square bits may also be called 12 point, XZN, or "serrated wrench" for 12 point metric socket head screws. You can find them at Autozone or NAPA. The Napa part numbers are: 8mm - SER2304 - $4.99, 10mm - SER2305 - $5.49, 12mm - SER2306 - $5.99 (if you want to buy a set)
The timing belt service should be done on a cool engine to set the tensioner because the tension adjusts according to temperature. Tape a service cover (an old towel works fine) to the fender to prevent scratches. If you wear a belt, jeans with metal rivets, or a watch, these can damage the paint. Secure any long hair, loose necklaces, or sleeves so they don't get caught in the engine. Always wear eye protection. Consult your factory service manual and see the TOS for the full legal disclaimer, etc.. After removing any screws or bolts, I suggest putting them back loosely so they won't get lost and so you remember where they go.
Remove the plastic engine cover by pulling-wiggling up at each corner. 4 ball-socket snaps hold it to the engine. Use some compressed air to blow out any loose dirt and sand around the engine. This will help prevent dirt from falling into your eyes and keep the new components clean.
Loosen the windshield washer fluid reservoir neck (1x 10mm bolt) so it can move around. Also refer to the following picture for the next few steps.
Disconnect the exhaust sensor, aux electric fuel pump, and coolant level sensor plugs and set them aside. VW plugs have a small lock tab which must be pressed back before pulling the plug. Sometimes you have to press the plug in very slightly before pulling it out if the lock tab is sticking.
Loosen the T30 bolt holding the exhaust sensor bracket and slide it back to release. Set aside the bracket and sensor to the rear. Again, I suggest loosely threading the bolt back so it won't get lost. In the picture below, two of the plugs and the bracket have been removed.
Drain the coolant system by removing the lower radiator hose.
Then release the spring clamp on the upper hose and remove it. If it's stuck, twist the hose to break the seal before pulling it to prevent tearing the hose. Optional: once the lower rad hose is removed, apply low pressure compressed air (like 5 psi) to the hose while plugging the reservoir port to help empty out the coolant system. A total flush is not needed unless the system is contaminated. Loosen the 2x T25 screws holding the reservoir and set it aside over the engine once you have clearance. You can also remove the hoses if you wish. It's possible to lay the reservoir on top of the engine once you've done the next few steps (without draining the coolant or disconnecting the hoses) but you have to replace the water pump during this service and now is a good time to refill the system with fresh coolant. 120,000 miles is a good time to change VW's "lifetime" coolant.
I suggest emptying the coolant into a clean bucket so that if you're short coolant you can top it off with old coolant. VW suggests a 50/50 mix (boils at 108C (226F)) but you could go as low as 40/60 coolant/water if you're in a warm climate since it'll still provide freeze protection down to -25C (-13F). (Under no circumstances should the coolant ever get close to freezing or the engine may be damaged!)
Loosen the fuel filter canister (remove center 10mm bolt and right 10mm nut (dashed line below, not visible) but only loosen the left 10mm bolt because the tab is open and it can slide out) and lay it over the engine. A stick magnet is very helpful in removing and installing these fasteners.
Some of the fuel lines are loosely held by plastic clamps, pull them out for clearance. Also pull off the single hose and plastic bracket clipped to the side of the housing.
Remove the aux electric fuel pump and bracket. First remove the 2x 10mm bolts holding the bracket top (blue arrows below). Then use a pick to press the button in the center of the plastic clip through the hole to release the lock and pull the clip up (black arrows below). You now have clearance to remove the 2x 10mm triple square (12 point) bolts holding the bracket. The reason you have to remove the plastic clip is because one of the 12 point bolts is underneath the plastic clip (visible below the arrow).
NOTE: The service manual says to disconnect the fuel lines in the next step. They're right in front of the timing belt so removal will give you much more clearance. However, if you open the fuel system you MUST flush air out of the fuel lines by running the pumps without the engine running. If you do not have VCDS, I recommend not disconnecting them and just working around them. If you leave them alone, you must carefully study this procedure and make sure the fuel lines don't get stressed or snagged in the timing belt path. Some things are moved while you're underneath the car so have an observer watch the lines above the car.
Wipe off any dirt around the fuel line connectors and gently pull/wiggle the fuel line connectors up-down to get familiar with how they feel when they're connected properly. There should be a tiny amount of vertical play and no fuel leaks. I've often noticed a very tiny bit of seepage at the connector as evidenced by the dirt sticking to it. This is considered normal but any more may be considered a leak. Disconnect the fuel lines by firmly pressing BOTH buttons on the sides of the connector in while pulling the connector up. Your fingers won't fit so use a large pick on both sides at the same time. The black line with the black clamp is the supply line. The blue line with the blue clamp is the return line. Wrap clean rags around the ends of the open fuel lines and tape them in place. Try to keep the fuel hose ends pointing up and elevated.
Place the coolant tank/aux pump/fuel filter canister over the engine and out of the way. It should look something like this (I hadn't yet drained the coolant). You now have clearance to remove the plastic upper timing belt cover (3 metal clips - middle one stays on cover). Note how the tabs on the bottom sit and the upper part hangs over the rear timing belt cover by the camshaft sprocket.
Loosen the passenger side (right side) lug nuts. Then raise the car, chock the rear wheels, rest the car securely on jack stands, and make sure the car is safe and secure before doing anything else. I use 2 sets of jackstands, minimum - one at the factory jack points to carry the weight of the car and another almost touching the front subframe as a backup. Also see 1000q: wood blocks for another idea of supporting the car. It won't work on the passenger side since you have to remove the wheel but if you only have 1 set of jackstands you can use the pair on the passenger side.
Remove the passenger side wheel's lug nuts and remove the wheel for clearance in a later step. If you have a wheel hanger in the trunk tool kit (the black plastic rod with threads on one end), use it to support the wheel during removal after a lug is removed.
Remove the black plastic splash shield underneath the car. The Jetta/Golf/Sportwagen has 9x T25 screws (yellow arrows) and 3x T30 (white arrows) on the subframe. The T30 may have medium threadlocker on them so make sure to firmly press your torx wrench into them to avoid stripping their heads. I am told
that the Audi A3 may use a T15 torx screw at the front and T20 torx screws along the sides.
Remove the serpentine belt by putting a 16mm wrench on the serpentine
belt tensioner knob and
turning clockwise. This will release the tension on the belt. Be careful to not insert your fingers into the belt path in case the tensioner slips. Insert VW tool T1006a or an equivalent pin through the hole shown and into the tensioner body to hold the tensioner in the loosened positon. Thumbnail below, click to enlarge.
Remove the lower-front wheel well liner by removing the white screws shown right. There's 2 more that attach it to the bumper and there may be only 1 vs. 2 at the lower-front depending on your model. Once removed, it looks like this.
Then remove the yellow torx screws shown right. You just need to bend the plastic back far enough to get access to the motor mount bolt on the other side shown below. This access hole isn't mentioned in the factory service manual. DO NOT REMOVE IT until you've securely supported the engine.
Optional: remove the entire wheel well liner by removing the rest of the screws. This will let you clean out the dirt that is building up behind the liner at the rear edge. The windshield drains into that area and a surprising amount of dirt can build up and cause corrosion there.
Remove the crankshaft pulley/harmonic balancer pulley/serpentine belt pulley (4x 10mm triple square bolts). One of the 10mm triple square bolts is circled in the above picture. Caution: do not remove the 19mm 12 point center crankshaft sprocket bolt! To counterhold the 4x 10mm bolts, I suggest having a helper put the manual transmission in gear and step on the brakes. This will prevent the pulley from turning and it's easier than using 2 tools in a limited space. You can also use a 19mm 12 point socket on the center crankshaft bolt to counterhold. As long as you don't apply great force to the center bolt, it will not damage the center bolt or crankshaft.
Use the 19mm 12 point crankshaft bolt to rotate the engine until right before top dead center (TDC). It should look like below (engine was out of the car for illustration). The green arrow points to the dash mark on the crankshaft sprocket. The locating bump for the crank pulley is on the lower left quadrant. There's also a small notch on the crank pulley (upper right) that can be used if you need a quick reference before taking the pulley off or for other jobs. It's not very visible and could be confused with other marks so use with caution. If it's not turning over make sure the transmission is in neutral gear. The tires should be chocked or the car should be securely supported so it's not going to roll away. Make sure nothing on top of the engine is jamming the belt.
Remove the middle and lower timing belt cover (5x 10mm bolts white arrows in above pic). The middle cover lays over the lower cover so loosen it first.
The service manual says to remove the motor mount before setting the engine to TDC but I prefer to remove the mount afterwards because the engine is more stable while mounted. If the camshaft looks like the one on the right, turn the crankshaft sprocket another 360 degrees. The crank sprocket rotates twice every camshaft rotation.
Manually rotate the crankshaft sprocket clockwise while gently sliding the crankshaft lock T10050 forwards. Once you hit TDC, the pin on the back of the crank lock will go into the hole on the front flange. The arrow on the tool will point at the dash mark on the crankshaft sprocket. The reason why you must turn the engine clockwise is because there's a little
play in the belt system. Although it seems tight, the service manual says
that it's not reliable to set the crankshaft lock against the running direction.
If you pass the mark and the sprocket moves too far, turn the engine
counterclockwise at least far enough for any belt slack to be removed (at least 1/8 turn) and try again in the clockwise direction. When inserting the crankshaft lock, don't push it down onto the crankshaft
sprocket teeth, slide the teeth of the tool into the teeth of the
crankshaft sprocket. In other words, don't push it down towards the
ground, slide it in towards the engine. NOTE: the picture below-left shows a CJAA front seal carrier. The CBEA front seal carrier around the index hole protrudes out so T10050 will hang over the sprocket face like the picture below-right (similar engine shown).
WARNING: There were a few defective VW T10050 which had the arrow to the right of the hole. The arrow should be just to the left of the hole and should look exactly like the picture below. Note how the crankshaft sprocket dash is above one of the bolt holes, the pointer on the tool is directly above it, and to the left of the locating pin hole. See this post in the forum for more details.
If you're using a T10050 equivalent, note the bump on the sprocket and screw in the included allen head bolts. CAUTION: only use the short bolts provided. If the bolts are too long they can go through the sprocket and damage the crankshaft oil seal. DO NOT overtighten the bolts, just lightly snug them up with a wrench so that the tool is sitting flat on the sprocket face. Insert the pin right before it's ready to go into the locating hole on the flange. While turning the engine clockwise, gently press on the pin until you're at TDC and it slides forward into the hole. Make sure the pin isn't getting stuck on the metal before the hole and preventing you from turning the engine over - this can damage the aluminum flange or tool! After it goes in, double check that the pin is in the hole.
The T10050 equivalent has 4 holes on the semi circle. 2 have threads and are used for storing the bolts that come with the tool as shown below. When using the tool, unscrew the bolts and put them in the 2 holes without threads. The bolts pass through the tool and screw into the crank sprocket as shown earlier.
If possible, insert camshaft pin 3359. It goes through the sprocket, through the camshaft hub, and into a hole in the cylinder head. This is shown below for illustration only - there is no need to remove the camshaft sprocket or hub. You need counterhold tool VW T10051 to remove the big 18mm center bolt so if you need to replace the camshaft seal, make sure to have T10051 in advance. The pulley is keyed so it'll only go on one way. Otherwise, don't loosen the big 18mm bolt. Do not use pin 3359 to counterhold the cam hub or damage may result! Make sure pin 3359 is not accidentally inserted in the empty space below the hole! Use a mirror to verify the hole. The other timing belt marks should help you verify its location.
If the pin won't go in but you've triple checked the hole positions with a mirror and see that they're only a degree off, just rotate the sprocket slightly after the timing belt is off and insert them then. The manual doesn't say to insert them now but this is one more layer of double checking that everything is right before taking the timing belt off. This article is written for every level so feel confident this check can thwart your hardest attempt to screw up the engine! (Just kidding, you can still mess it up so see the TOS Agreement for the full legal disclaimer).
Insert the other pin 3359 through the HPFP sprocket tab into the head as shown above (black knob style 3359). If it's a few degrees off and won't go in, it's completely acceptable as long as the tab is at least over the hole. Once the belt is off, wiggle the sprocket with a counterhold tool or a screwdriver wedged against the bolt heads until the pin goes in. It may be off more than the camshaft hole because according to the factory service manual, a small deviation here is OK because of how the HPFP works. On a common rail engine, fuel injection timing is no longer determined by the timing belt, unlike older TDI engines
With both pins inserted, it should look like this:
When inserted properly, the pins will stick out about 1cm out of the sprocket face. The 3359 in the HPFP has a small hole visible below. (Both styles 3359 shown).
Remove the sound absorber sheet around the oil pan (plastic torx bolts).
You could loosen the tensioner and remove the belt without removing the motor mount but since you have to change the tensioner, the motor mount must come off. DO NOT remove the motor mount until the engine is supported because the mount is holding the engine up. The
factory service manual says to use a support from above. I found that my
engine support bar wouldn't fit without an extension because there was no space
on the fender for it. You can use this style of engine support if you have
an extension arm to move the support hook/chain towards the front of the car about 5". (older engine shown but correct body style)
You can also make your own out of some sturdy wood and chains. Just remember that if you drill into the wood the holes weaken the wood. If you want to drill the main beam, using two beams is suggested. Make sure to always have a backup!
Put shackles or large+thick bolt/nut through chains and securely hang them by the lift points. Lift point 1 is by an engine cover snap. Lift point 2 is also by an engine cover snap. Lift point 3 is by the accordion air intake hose. Release the spring clamp and pull the hose off to expose the rear lift point.
The motor mount that has to be removed is by point 1 so at a minimum, support the engine at point 1.
All 3 lift points would be safest although point 1 and 3 are enough to keep the engine balanced.
Below is a thumbnail closeup of these lift points, click to enlarge.
Because my support bar can only reach point 1, I use a jack from below as a supplimental support. Never use a jack directly on the aluminum oil pan and never use it as the primary method of supporting the engine. Hydraulic jacks are for raising, not
holding, and can suddenly fail. Never put yourself in a position where you could be injured if a hydraulic
jack fails. You can also cut
a small groove in the top of the wood to hold the oil pan securely.
Raise the engine slightly to get the engine's weight off the motor mount bolts. This helps prevent stripping the aluminum motor mount threads. I suggest a neutral position on the mount. If you lift the engine about 1/5", or until you see it move up slightly, the mount will be about neutral.
Remove the motor mount alignment plate (2x 13mm bolts), (2x 16mm) fender-mount bolts, and the (2x 18mm)
mount-mount bolts. Ignore the torque specs, those are for
Crack loose all the bolts before removing them to help hold the mount steady
while you loosen the other bolts. Note the alignment of the mount and the 18mm bolts. The 18mm bolts are in oval holes that need to be aligned or else the engine will be crooked during installation. Put a dab of paint around their heads to mark how they sit in relation to the mount. Once you remove the bolts you should also be able to see some marks or dirt around the old bolt heads. More details on this in part 2- installation.
Now remove the 3x 16mm mount-block horizontal bolts. Remove bolt 3 from above and bolt 2 from below. Bolt 1 can be removed through the access hole shown earlier. You should be able to access it without removing the entire plastic wheel well liner. You'll have to raise and lower the engine to get access to these bolts. Remove the mount-block mount.
you can't get it out, just work around it. Tap it upside down on the ground to shake out any loose aluminum thread shavings and inspect the threads for any previous damage. Ignore the numbers, those are the tightening sequence. NOTE: if the mount becomes damaged it's possible to replace it with the older style mount. The hole for that mount uses the hole by the water pump but has to go through the timing belt cover.
Use a counterhold bar to prevent the camshaft sprocket from rotating while you loosen the 3x 13mm camshaft sprocket bolts. Use a smaller counterhold bar to hold the HPFP sprocket while you loosen its 3x 10mm 12pt bolts. You may notice the sprockets rotate a little bit - this is normal. While you could loosen the sprockets without counterholding them, it's good practice to do so for a few reasons: the timing belt teeth shouldn't be used this way, if you don't counterhold at the sprocket, T10050 counterholds against the aluminum flange, and because it doesn't stress the old tensioner. If you have any intention of reusing the belt or tensioner and are just replacing the belt not as routine service, definitely counterhold. You must counterhold when tightening those bolts so this serves as your reminder.
Loosen the 15mm tensioner nut and use a 6mm allen wrench to rotate the tensioner counter-clockwise until you gently reach the full loose limit. Insert the triangle pin t10015 or long handle T10265 (different handle but same basic pin) or a 5mm allen wrench into the tensioner, depending on your style of tensioner. Refer to the video in part 2 for details on this. Rotate clockwise until you hit another stop. The pointer arrow will move to the right, past the gap. Lightly snug up the 15mm nut so that the tensioner can't move. Remove the 13mm nut holding the lower roller. This gives plenty of slack on the timing belt for removal.
Remove the belt. Remove the 13mm bolt holding the upper roller and 16mm bolt holding the large roller. Remove the tensioner.
If you couldn't get the 3359 pins in earlier, insert them now. You should only have to rotate the cam or HPFP sprockets a few degrees and the pin holes should have been clearly visible. Again, if it doesn't look like the earlier pictures, STOP and seek professional advice because something is wrong.
End of part 1- removal.
For timing belt installation, see CJAA/CBEA timing belt part 2. The rest of the detailed installation procedure, pictures, and checks are in the premium content forum, please join our Audi and VW TDI forum and upgrade to a premium account for $2 to view! Here is how to upgrade your account: http://www.myturbodiesel.com/account/upgrades
Are there broken pictures or bad links? Do you have any questions about the DIY timing belt procedure on your TDI 2.0L CJAA or CBEA engine? Please ask in the myturbodiesel.com forums.