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This is a mk3 passat specific writeup - cold chirping noises on other cars is probably something else.

http://www.myturbodiesel.com/1000q_how_to/a3b4/passatchrip.htm

Basically, remove the harmonic balancer, replace. The old design wears out and makes it sound like a bird is panicking under the hood. Although the tensioning spring is suspect and could be contributing to the issue, the real problem is the pulley. Replace with a new tensioning spring, details in the writeup.
 
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Does it apply just to the passat or the jetta too? I would think they might use the same part number.
 

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Whoops , brain fart! I will check the part numbers because I see no reason why this issue wouldn't affect jettas if the part numbers are the same.
 

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Yep, I checked and they are the same replacement part number.

For some reason, I haven't seen a lot of complaints about this problem on jettas, and don't know if they used the same part number on the original engines. In any case they have the same replacement part number.
 
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Yep, if you replace the tensioner, it fixes it until next season when it will appear again. You have to replace both the tensioning spring and the pulley.
 

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Much better! 1 bolt stripped even though I hammered it in :( No more pedaling the gas to avoid the chirp chirp
 

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Warning: double posting.
I posted in the comments section before seeing this thread.
The cap I got when I ordered "Protective Cap #028 145 291 A (optional)" is too big for the tensioner pulley and appears to be the one for the alternator pulley. Is that the correct number or did I copy a digit wrong?
 
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