2005 (aka 2005.5) 2006 VW Jetta TDI timing belt replacement (1.9L BRM engine)

This DIY shows how to remove and install a new timing belt on a 2005 or 2006 VW Jetta TDI with cost of belt replacement parts

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difficulty level: 3/5

The article is divided into two parts: part 1 which shows how to remove the timing belt, and timing belt part 2 which shows installation of the timing belt and final checks.  The factory service manual says that the timing belt should be inspected at 80,000 miles and changed before every 100,000 miles.  For unknown reasons, VW's USA website lowered the timing belt replacement to 80,000 miles for 2006 VW Jetta TDI 1.9L (I assume this also includes the 2005.5 model year Jetta TDI).  Also review 1000q: BRM water pump removal.  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, improper installation of the timing belt can cause severe engine damage so take all precautions listed in the factory service manual.

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 Bentley service manual is about $80 and doesn't even mention most of the tips here. This page has color photos, more detail, and videos. I know it will save you some money even if you're just reading this to know what to ask the mechanic. Thanks in advance!

Note about the VW TDI engine
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 wrench 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 cannot be substituted.

If you are not familiar with the engine bay, label each plug or wire with a piece of tape and marker, not pencil.  It will make reinstallation much easier, 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 VW TDI mechanic!

Timing belts cannot be visually inspected for anything other than obvious major wear.  A visual inspection 20,000 miles before timing belt replacement should show any obvious major wear.  They look fine until a tooth breaks off and the sprockets slip, causing engine damage.  TDI belts normally don't fail by suddenly snapping in half.  I strongly suggest changing the timing belt, idler roller pulley, water pump, and tensioner at or before 100,000 miles.  This is the factory recommended change interval for the BRM engine.  Change all of them because even if the new belt will last the next 100,000 miles, the other components won't.

Major differences with earlier TDI engines:  All pumpe duse engines (North American market) use computer controlled injection timing adjustments.  You can't use a ross tech VCDS computer cable and diagnostic software to fine tune the injection timing.  The hard to reach motor mount horizontal bolt now has an access hole.  The crankshaft pulley bolts are 10mm triple square.  Almost all tensioners will need an allen wrench instead of the 2 pin spanner wrench.  There is no need to remove the valve cover and there's more room under the hood.   If you have experience with ALH engine timing belts, this will be much easier.

Before doing the timing belt, check your TDI engine for camshaft wear.  If you have wear, I suggest fixing it before doing the timing belt so that you don't have to redo the belt later.

Differences between these tips and the service manual
I found that there are some differences between what is shown in the service manual and what may be on your car.  The motor mount type shown in the manual may be different.  You may not have a lower charge air duct between the intercooler and turbocharger.  You don't have to remove the accordion hose coming off the air filter box.  Installing the belt on the water pump last is difficult because the belt will be tight, these tips suggest a different method.  There is also an access hole for the horizontal motor mount bolts which isn't mentioned in the service manual.  

Tools and Parts list for 2006 VW Jetta TDI timing belt replacement

 (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 kitMetalManparts kit  The different kits may contain slightly different parts.  Because VW contracts many components to a third party, many 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.  You only need 3 liters of coolant or 1 gallon and an equal amount of distilled water for the timing belt job and to account for any spilled coolant. (Do not use generic green coolant, see 1000q: coolant flush for more details) ,dieselgeek (1.5 liter size, VW #ZVW 237 G12) ,available from kermatdi 1.5L size

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.

Get a metal impeller water pump.  Avoid the plastic impeller water pump since they sometimes fail and spin on the shaft.  This will cause coolant overheating.

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 boxes)
timing belt VW# 038 109 119p - autohaus AZ, mjm autohaus
timing belt tensioner VW# 038 109 243m
idler roller/pulley VW# 038 109 244j
water pump VW# 045 121 011h (I suggest a metal impeller pump)
serpentine alternator/AC belt VW# 03G 903 137b autohaus AZ

Always replace bolts
13mm motor mount bolts (quantity: 2, please see note in part 2) VW# n 019 502 13
16mm motor mount bolt w/out stud (quantity: 1) VW# n 905 969 06 
16mm motor mount bolt w/stud for fuel filter bracket (quantity: 1) VW# n 910 296 01 
18mm motor mount bolts (quantity: 2) VW# n 105 524 01 

Although the Bentley service manual doesn't list the tensioner nut as always replace (and completely omits the idler roller nut), many timing belt kits include them and the torque spec on the 15mm bolt includes a final turn which suggests it might be single use only.  I use a light touch of blue medium strength Permatex locktite on them as insurance.  According to the Permatex blue locktite data sheet, you do not need to adjust torque values.
15mm tensioner nut VW# 038 109 454a 
13mm idler roller/pulley nut VW# n 015 083 15

VW timing belt tools:
These tools are available as a kit from metalnerd and are distributed by dieselgeek for metalnerd.  They are also available for rental from MMparts.  measured dimensions are approximate only!

I also rent the tools as a courtesy service, see this page for details: myturbodiesel tool rental

crankshaft lock VW# T10100 (some early build 2005.5 might use VW# T10050, see notes below), from assenmacher

serpentine belt tensioner lock VW# T10060 (optional but very helpful, also available from samstag tools)


camshaft pin VW# 3359

timing belt tensioner pin VW# T10115  (pin with the triangle handle. Most tensioners include one in the box, so separate purchase not suggested)

Regular tools:
10, 13, 16, 17, 18 mm sockets/wrenches.  16mm deep socket.
Torx bits/wrenches
torque wrench
regular pliers and spring hose clamp pliers (pictured below right, these are optional and are the remote operated type)
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

Optional tools:
Ross tech VCDS cable.

2005 2006 VW Jetta TDI timing belt removal procedure - part 1 

If you wish to use a service cover, do so now.  I tape an old clean towel to the fender to prevent scratches.  If you have a belt buckle, jeans button, or watch, it can put scratches into the paint.  Also make sure you don't have loose necklaces, hair, sleeves, etc., when working on your car, consult your factory service manual for all cautions, always wear eye protection, see the TOS for the full legal disclaimer, etc..

Loosen the passenger side (right side) lug nuts.  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.

Remove the passenger side wheel's lug nuts and remove the wheel.

Remove the 2 piece plastic engine cover.  It just pulls straight off.  I suggest using compressed air to clean the engine bay - you'll be under the car and you don't want dirt falling into your eyes.

Remove the intercooler - intake piping.  Instead of removing all the clamps, I suggest removing the 2 spring clips at indicated by the arrows below.  Separate the small fuel/coolant hoses crossing over the piping.  Also remove the screw on the bracket near the middle.  I tape over the hoses because it's more visible and because paper towels tend to get stuffed down into the piping.  If there is excess oil tape won't stick well so wipe it clean first.  If you find the upstream connection (at the intake manifold) keeps popping off you can buy an aftermarket clamp from kermatdi.  

The Bentley service manual says to remove the plastic accordion-like hose coming off the intake air box.  I would not remove it since it's on the other side of the engine and you don't go anywhere near it unless you want to use the factory lift point (explained in further detail below).

Remove the serpentine belt by putting a 17mm open wrench on the serpentine belt tensioner knob and turning towards the front of the car.

Insert pin T10060 through the hole on the knob and into the tensioner housing to hold the tensioner in the loosened position.

Now remove the serpentine belt tensioner (2x 13mm bolts).  I found that using the left hand with a ratchet head wrench is an easy way to remove the lower bolt.  If you locked the tensioner with a pin there's more access to the lower bolt.  Here you can see the two holes for the pin lock.


Bend the flexible neck of the windshield washer fluid reservoir to the side by removing its 1x 10mm bolt.


Unplug the coolant level sensor on the coolant reservoir.  Check for coolant migration, see 1000q: coolant migration for more details.  Remove the coolant tank (2x torx screws, yellow arrows below) and it's upper and lower hoses.  Also unclip the wire loom and set aside.  Before doing this, I like to drain the coolant to minimize the mess.  I suggest removing the hose at the oil cooler and applying compressed air to the upper coolant reservoir hose.  See 1000q: water pump replacement for detailed pictures.  

Underneath the car:  Remove the lower plastic belly shield/splash pan and right lower wheel well liner.  They are held in place with 8 T25 torx screws indicated by the yellow arrows below.  The rear are 3x T30 torx screws (white arrows).

Remove the front lower wheel well liner (white screws below, a few on the bottom aren't visibile). The yellow arrows below are for the upper wheel well liner. You don't have to remove all of the torx screws, just remove enough to bend the front portion to get access to the motor mount bolt pictured below.  This access hole is not mentioned in the factory service manual.  DO NOT REMOVE the bolt until after the engine is supported.

Optional: remove the entire wheel well liner to get more clearance.  While you are there, clean out the dirt collected behind the wheel well cover.  Water from the windshield drains into that area and all the dirt will settle in there and can cause rust.  The lower turbo piping shown in the Bentley manual is another mistake in their book.

Remove the crankshaft pulley/harmonic balancer pulley/serpentine belt pulley (4x 10mm triple square bolts).  One of these 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 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.  

Remove the middle and lower timing belt cover (5x 10mm bolts).  Note how the middle piece overlaps the lower piece.  Above the car: remove the upper timing belt cover (2 spring clips).

You can now see the timing belt.  (This picture was taken after motor mount removal for clarity).  Set the engine to top dead center (TDC).  The engine is at TDC if the crankshaft lock and camshaft sprocket pin fit correctly.  This is detailed in the next few steps.  If manual, put the transmission in neutral or else it will hold the engine.  You chocked the wheels and put the parking brake on so it won't roll away.

Test fit the crankshaft lock and camshaft pin for TDC.  The service manual says to remove the motor mount first but I prefer to turn over the engine clockwise to insert the crankshaft lock and camshaft pin now because the engine is more stable before removing the motor mount.  The crankshaft lock will only have the arrow correct and fit at TDC.  The camshaft pin goes through the sprocket, through the camshaft hub, and into a hole on the cylinder head.  This is detailed below.

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 (about 1/4 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 interlocking 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.  The teeth must match up.  Also note the raised bump for crankshaft pulley-crankshaft sprocket alignment.  The peg on the lock must fit into the hole on the front flange (the metal part behind the sprocket).

NOTE:  According to the service manual, there may be a few very early production crankshaft sprockets that use VW tool# T10050.  All 2005.5-2006 Jetta TDI should use VW tool# T10100.  T10100 has the arrow at the 1 o'clock position between bolt holes and has a slightly oval sprocket.  T10050 has the mark at the 12 o'clock position inline with a bolt hole and has a round sprocket. NOTE: The old metalnerd T10100 equivalent with the silver knob handle is shown. The VW T10100 has a black plastic handle which is not removable. Only T10050 has a removable handle.

If you have the metalnerd tool the pin slides into the hole once the included bolts attach the tool to the crankshaft sprocket.  The pin-tool fit is tight so you may have to use a drop of oil on the pin shaft when inserting it. Don't use other bolts because their bolts may be too long! If the bolts are too long, they can pass through the sprocket and damage the front crankshaft seal on the other side! When placing the tool, make sure the small bump on the sprocket is placed over one of the holes on the tool.

Insert the locking pin 3359 into the camshaft sprocket.  It should go in all the way.  It goes through the sprocket, through the hub that the sprocket mounts onto, and into the hole on the cylinder head.  Verify with a mirror that you see the cylinder head hole bracketed through the slot.  Make sure that the pin is engaged into the hole!  

Here is a closeup of the hole on the cylinder head on left, with the sprocket removed, and the pulley removed.  The hub (pulley) should not be removed during this procedure, the pic is for illustration only.  The pin goes through the sprocket, through the hub, and into the hole on the cylinder head to lock the camshaft at TDC.   Make sure the pin doesn't go into the empty air space way below the hole.  (If you've triple checked the hole position with a mirror and see that the pin won't go in because it's 1 or 2 degrees off, that's OK.  Any more than a few degrees and something is wrong.  Once you remove the timing belt from the sprocket, use the center 18mm bolt to wiggle the camshaft hub slightly to get the pin in.)

The camshaft toothed window should be on the upper half of the sprocket (green check mark on left picture).  If the pin only goes in halfway then it's not in the hole or at TDC.  If the toothed window is in the lower half of the sprocket (red x on right), turn the crankshaft 1 full revolution to get it correct. While you could also turn the engine over at the camshaft sprocket using those holes in the sprocket, this is not recommended. Despite having more teeth engaging the timing belt, it pulls on the tensioner side of the belt instead of the water pump side of the belt. This stresses the tensioner so don't turn it over there unless you're about to discarding the tensioner anyways.

The Bentley service manual mentions a "mark on the rear timing belt cover" but it's blocked by the belt.  There is another mark "4Z" stamped into the rear cover which roughly lines up with the camshaft sensor tabs.  These marks are highlighted in yellow below (NOTE: the picture below is from a Passat TDI engine. It's not possible to get a clear picture of this on a Jetta with the engine in the car. The only difference on your Jetta is that the lower-right tab is wide instead of both being narrow, and the lower tab is wide instead of narrow. It's otherwise the same.)  You can ignore these highlighted marks because they're there to help locate the rough position of the pin hole. The toothed window is a much more visible guide and the camshaft pin is the final say in correct cam position.

Set aside the fuel filter (pull up on the filter housing) and remove the fuel filter bracket (2x 10mm bolts, 1x 10mm nut).  Some housings are a little different - if yours doesn't have the tabs for removing it, just unbolt the bracket and set aside.

You must support the engine before removing the motor mount.  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".

You can also make your own out of some sturdy wood and chains. Just remember that if you drill into the wood it is weakened. 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.  The passenger side lift point is in front of the engine above the alternator (green highlight below) and the driver's side lift point is above the turbo (next few pictures).  If you remove the bolt highlighted in red below you can put a chain/shackle through it as well.  

The official driver's side lift point is behind the vacuum pump.  To get to the driver's side lift point, remove the turbo intake hose, crankcase vent heater plug, and breather hose (green arrow in the next pic).  You need a remote operated hose clamp pliers to get to the lower clamp due to clearance.  Because of the hassle, you should be OK to use the pass side lift point to support the weight of the engine + another backup.

The official lift point is highlighted in green below.  Because I was using the support bar as the additional method of supporting the car I just used the passenger side lift as shown above.

I used a block of wood on the oil pan and a hydraulic floor jack as the primary method of supporting the engine and the engine support bar as an additional backup.  Why use a backup?  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.  Never put the jack directly on an oil pan, especially because the oil pan is aluminum.  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" 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, they are for installation.  Loosen all the bigger bolts before removing them to help hold the mount steady while you loosen the other bolts.  Note the alignment of the mount and bolt holes.  You can put a dab of paint on the 18mm bolts-mount joint to index the bolt position to the motor mount.  Once you remove the bolts you can see the marks from the old bolt heads too.  Basically, the upper part of the mount has oval holes for the 18mm bolts so that the engine can be aligned relative to the mount.  More details on this in part 2- installation.

Now remove the 3x 16mm mount-block horizontal bolts.  Remove the upper-right longer bolt from above.  The lower shorter bolt can be removed from below.  The middle longer bolt can be removed through the access hole pictured earlier.  You should be able to access it without removing the entire plastic wheel well liner.  Remove the mount-block mount.  If you can't get it out, just work around it.

The timing belt is now ready for removal.  Loosen the (3x 13mm) camshaft sprocket bolts (pictured earlier).  You may notice that the sprocket has oval holes around the bolt.  The oval holes let the sprocket move independently of the hub/ camshaft within the range of the holes.  The bolts are threaded into the sprocket hub. and do not move with the sprocket unless they are tightened.  The best position for the hole in the toothed window is in the middle.  This indicates that the bolts are in the middle of their range.

Loosen the (1x 15mm) timing belt tensioner nut.  Insert a 6mm allen wrench in the tensioner and turn counter-clockwise until you can fit VW tool# T10115, the triangle handle pin, in its hole.  Then turn clockwise until it hits the pin and further until it hits the stop. This should give you a little bit more slack so you don't need to remove the camshaft sprocket when removing the belt. If you can't figure it out, you'll be discarding the tensioner anyways so just get the belt off as instructed in the next few steps..

If you have the old style tensioner that uses only a spanner wrench, use a 2 pin spanner wrench to turn the tensioner counterclockwise to loosen.  The new one should have the allen wrench hole.  I do not believe there is a difference in using the spanner wrench or allen wrench since they are both part of the same piece of metal and the spring/pointer is what determines belt tension.

Remove the timing belt.  The factory service manual suggests removing the belt starting at the water pump.  I found it much easier to first remove the 13mm nut holding the idler pulley and remove the pulley.  Then remove the 15mm tensioner nut or the 3x 13mm camshaft sprocket bolts.  (Removing the pin won't cause the camshaft to move if it's not connected to anything via the timing belt, assuming you don't rotate it).  Now slip off the tensioner and camshaft sprocket at the same time.  This will give you plenty of play to get the belt off.  After the belt is off, replace the camshaft sprocket and make sure pin 3359 still locks the camshaft sprocket and the hub underneath.  If it did move, use the center bolt to adjust the hub's position.

If you want to leave the 3x 13mm camshaft sprocket bolts on and leave the camshaft sprocket on, you can do that too, I've just found it easier to get the belt on with removing the camshaft sprocket and the bolts are already loose anyways.

Now remove the lower roller/idler pulley (1x 13mm nut) and the water pump, see 1000q: BRM water pump removal.  End of part 1- removal.  

For timing belt installation, see BRM timing belt part 2.  The rest of the detailed installation procedure, pictures, and checks are in the premium content forum, please join our forum and upgrade to a premium account for $2 to view. Here is how to upgrade: http://www.myturbodiesel.com/account/upgrades, thank you for your support!

Are there broken pictures or bad links?  Do you have any questions about the DIY timing belt procedure on your 2005.5 or 2006 Jetta TDI BRM engine?  Please ask in the myturbodiesel.com forums.