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I recently had issues with my 98 jetta tdi going into limp mode ALL the time. Then suddenly the timing belt slipped. Two questions to senior members: 1) Could a faulty timing belt tensioner lead to limp mode problems, and 2) How likely is it that with only one cracked lifter, I contained engine damage to the area of the cylinder head by shutting the motor down immediately? There doesn't seem to be any more with any visible damage, but one was completely shattered. How screwed am I??
 

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Tensioner: no unless the timing was already way off.

You probably have more than 1 valve damaged and even shutting the motor down immediately is useless, it spins thousands of rpm, by the time it's shut down the damage is already done. If you don't have a pro rebuild the head, remove all valves and inspect them. There' s a mk4 head removal article which you can use as a basic guide, if you want to make a mk3 specific head removal pictorial article go for it, it will also qualify for the writeup contest.
 
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