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    Thread: DIY - Replacing timing chains, tensioners and guides on a 12v VR6

    1. Member BornBlue82's Avatar
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      06-17-2012 09:17 AM #596
      I am having the same thought as you did. However, I currently don't have a shop and my car is sitting on grass. I removed the valve cover and the upper timing chain cover and noticed the guide rail was broken at the middle bolt. Instead of just seeing the bolt head I seen the bolt and spacer. Somehow it broke off around the bolt. I am assuming that the piece that broke off is somewhere wedge next to the chain making that noise. I am going to remove the oil pan to see if I can see anything. My intentions are to replace everything down the road, to include the clutch, flywheel, etc. I just purchased the car for 700 dollars and it has been sitting for a few years. Again, thanks for all the advice.

    2. Member BornBlue82's Avatar
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      06-17-2012 10:39 AM #597
      Also is it possible to upgrade the tensioner bolt to the new style without replacing the tensioner guide? Meaning, would the old guide be compatable with the new tensioner bolt?

    3. 07-11-2012 04:16 PM #598
      Thanks for this DIY. Very helpful as I had to replace my guides at just 78,000 miles. Just wanted to note that anyone doing this might consider dropping the oil pan to check for chunks of plastic the break off. I did, and found that my guides had broken to pieces, but then those pieces were ground into smaller bits of plastic and dropped into the oil pan. The oil pickup screen was just filled with this stuff - a pair of tweezers helped me clear that out. I'm posting pics for reference. Trust me - it's worth the extra effort to look if your guides/tensioners have broken to pieces.



    4. 07-11-2012 04:20 PM #599
      Also, the upper guide was so far gone that the upper chain was riding on the pin that the guide rests on. Take a look at these pics showing how the chain wore most of the way through. I had to replace the pin too. I never did check the price at the VW dealership, but it was about $30 from ecstuning.com.




    5. Junior Member Niknaks's Avatar
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      07-12-2012 02:10 PM #600
      Quote Originally Posted by wmcraft View Post
      Also, the upper guide was so far gone that the upper chain was riding on the pin that the guide rests on. Take a look at these pics showing how the chain wore most of the way through. I had to replace the pin too. I never did check the price at the VW dealership, but it was about $30 from ecstuning.com.



      Nice pics. Thanks for the share.

    6. Member BornBlue82's Avatar
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      07-13-2012 05:41 AM #601
      Quote Originally Posted by wmcraft View Post
      Also, the upper guide was so far gone that the upper chain was riding on the pin that the guide rests on. Take a look at these pics showing how the chain wore most of the way through. I had to replace the pin too. I never did check the price at the VW dealership, but it was about $30 from ecstuning.com.



      Wow!! You might want to go ahead and replace your chains. Atleast the top, but since your tearing it all apart, you might want to do that. Definetly the top since it was eating through the guide bolt. Metal on metal, not a good combo. Just my 2cents.

    7. Member V-dubbulyuh's Avatar
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      07-13-2012 06:57 AM #602
      Quote Originally Posted by BornBlue82 View Post
      Also is it possible to upgrade the tensioner bolt to the new style without replacing the tensioner guide? Meaning, would the old guide be compatable with the new tensioner bolt?
      No, you want to upgrade both the upper rail/guide and the hydraulic tensioner simulatenously. I want to say the point of contact on the reverse side of the upper rail is slightly different (I have not looked at one of the older rails in a while).

      Quote Originally Posted by BornBlue82 View Post
      Wow!! You might want to go ahead and replace your chains.
      Hopefully all of the guys that have had any evidence of chafing are doing this anyway. Beyond the chafing issue there is usually stretching associated with the chains themselves so though tedious it is a good idea to replace them, period.
      "OP sounds like a MKIV guy"

    8. 07-13-2012 10:16 AM #603
      Quote Originally Posted by V-dubbulyuh View Post
      Hopefully all of the guys that have had any evidence of chafing are doing this anyway. Beyond the chafing issue there is usually stretching associated with the chains themselves so though tedious it is a good idea to replace them, period.
      Yeah, there's no way I could trust any of the timing parts after this. Hence why I also pulled the oil pan to check things there. The guides, tensioner, tensioner rails, chains, guide pin, rear crackshaft seal, tranny front pump seal, thermostat housing/crackpipe, and starter are all getting done. Hoping to have it all put back together this weekend if I can squeeze in the time in the garage.

    9. Member 91RedWagen's Avatar
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      07-16-2012 01:38 PM #604
      I have an issue. When I lined up the notches on the crank pulley/block, I was not able to properly slide the locking tools in place. In order for me to slide them in correctly with the proper amount of gap, I had to turn the notch on the pulley about a half inch past where the notch is on the block.

      Is this ok as long as the cams are lined up correctly?

    10. Member V-dubbulyuh's Avatar
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      07-16-2012 03:23 PM #605
      ^ Did you try rotating the crank a further 360 deg to see if the cams come in closer to alignment? You really want to set the crank at its reference point (and not move it thereafter) and rotate the cams either direction such that the cam tool slots in.
      "OP sounds like a MKIV guy"

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      09-06-2012 06:27 PM #606
      This is a fantastic wright up!! It has helped a bunch but I have a question. If I need to adjust the timing not replace anything. which steps do I follow and such? Do I have to drop the tranny?

      Thank you in advance.

    12. Member James 93SLC's Avatar
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      09-06-2012 09:58 PM #607
      Quote Originally Posted by Gtivolksswaggin View Post
      If I need to adjust the timing not replace anything. which steps do I follow and such? Do I have to drop the tranny?

      Thank you in advance.
      There is no "adjusting" the timing on a VR6. It's set when the chains are installed and the ECU then does all the work.

      At one time you could get some aftermarket adjustable cam gears that would allow the timing to be played with, but I've not seen them in a long time.

    13. Member ventovr's Avatar
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      09-06-2012 10:25 PM #608
      Will the timing get screwed up if the engine is turned with no tensioner bolt in?

      I will be replacing the entire chain.
      Last edited by ventovr; 09-06-2012 at 10:42 PM.

    14. Member James 93SLC's Avatar
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      09-06-2012 10:34 PM #609
      Quote Originally Posted by ventovr View Post
      Will the timing get screwed up if the engine is turned with no tensioner bolt in?
      Yes there is a good chance that the chain could jump on the sprockets if the tensioner isn't installed

    15. Member ventovr's Avatar
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      09-06-2012 10:44 PM #610
      what if it only got turned a 1/4 turn and i know it didn't jump a tooth

    16. Member James 93SLC's Avatar
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      09-06-2012 11:25 PM #611
      Quote Originally Posted by ventovr View Post
      what if it only got turned a 1/4 turn and i know it didn't jump a tooth
      Probably fine then

    17. Member ventovr's Avatar
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      09-07-2012 12:33 PM #612
      Thanks, I got it to TDC and the notches on the cams are lined up.

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      09-17-2012 07:16 PM #613
      I bought the kit from MJMAutohaus.com to do this DIY and then a tree fell on my car. If anyone wants to buy the kit from me I'm selling it for $150 shipped. The link is the part I bought at MJMAutohaus:

      http://www.mjmautohaus.com/catalog/p...roducts_id=955

      message me here or email me at punkenny@gmail.com for more info.

    19. Member vwuberalles2003's Avatar
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      09-21-2012 08:54 PM #614
      Mad props to Gary! this walk-through clearly illustrates one of the toughest jobs in vw engine land, especially since the design of the VR is so unique! One thing that does deserve mention though; when setting up the cams, its easy to be fooled by the cam slots, so what i did was keep an eye on the lobes of the cam, specifically on Number 1 cylinder. Good stuff!
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    20. 09-23-2012 03:21 AM #615
      I doubt you still read these but thank you for a great writeup. I finally worked up the courage and found time to do this on a 2000 Jetta VR6 with 94,150 miles. Had to do it while the weather is still good b/c I don't have a garage and my driveway is on an angle so putting it on ramps it was pretty level.

      It's convenient to take care of other items along the way:

      - bleed clutch (seems a bit smoother after maybe 12 years of no change)
      - fix leaky secondary water pump, clean, reseal
      - unmount, clean, repack gears on starter (No more starter grind after 12 years, yay! )
      - new plugs (at 60,000 about 5 years ago a mechanic put in Platinum plugs but the car seems MUCH better with the BKR5EKU Copper Plugs. He must have torqued them to 60 lbs. They were really in tight, I am glad the threads weren't damaged (at least I think they weren't damaged).
      - cleaned the battery tray with baking soda - it was gross
      - remove, spray MAF sensor (anyone know when they should be replaced even if there is no CEL?)
      - cleaned the gunk off the intake manifold

      The only thing I didn't do, and perhaps should have, was to change the thermostat which is three years old, and JBWeld the coil pack which I had already done a few weeks ago (though mine wasn't very cracked and it's original).

      I got a little stuck getting off the intake manifold where there's a little cable that needs to be detached... I finally found that I had to push down a little black clip on the front right of the manifold that I wanted to treat gingerly so as to not break it.

      I only replaced the upper chain guide rail and the upper tensioner plug (newer style, looked fine). The upper chain guide rail had surprisingly only very minor wear towards the top. The top tensioner had hardly any wear on it whatsoever, just enough to see where the chains passed regularly. I wonder if using synthetic made for less wear on the timing system. Things looked pretty good.



      Putting everything back together I was pretty paranoid, put blue Lok-tite on the short upper guide rail bolt, got nervous, took it all apart again (the Lok-tite was already working, but I wanted to be sure) and then back together again.




      Used some Reinzosil around all the mating surfaces, and it was a little hard to get the 6mm hex screws mounted vertically to join the upper and lower timing cover surfaces. At this point it was probably 11 p.m., the temperature was headed into the 50s and I was working in my driveway in shorts and a t-shirt, LED lantern and a flashlight in hand. My bride came out and held the flashlight until about 1 a.m. as I reassembled what I could. Everything was cleaned up and test driven by 2:30 a.m. This morning I had to get up and drive into Manhattan for a meeting at 10 a.m. which didn't leave a lot of time for sleep!

      One unnerving moment was removing the old upper guide rail (which really involved some coaxing since it wasn't broken) and the bushing around the short bolt fell out and into the engine.

      Uh Houston we have a little situation... and it's getting really dark. Thank goodness for the nearby street lamp.

      I cut a hanger and fished it out since I could still see the bushing. I was a bit tired and worried that it might fall deeper into the engine and I'd be in trouble.



      This took me far too long from start to cleanup (maybe 15 hours including:
      cleaning/repacking starter gears;
      bleeding clutch [undoing the bleeder screw even with PB Blaster took scary pressure to open];
      replacing plugs;
      dismantling the secondary water pump, cleaning it and sealing everything with blue RTV sealant;
      scrubbing down the battery tray)

      but it's done, the car runs better than it did when I had a "VW Specialist" tune it up at 60K miles and really, hasn't run this well since it was new 12 years ago. Glad I could finally find the time to finish this job. Thanks to everyone who contributed advice.


      ---------------------------------------------------

      Just took a few more pictures tonight.

      While I went to bed last night, exhausted but satisfied with having finally taken care of this job, I was a little disappointed at what seemed (in low light, at least) like there wasn't much wear on the upper rail guide. However now that I've finally had a chance to look, it's obvious that this is note a "lifetime" part and was a failure waiting to happen.





      Note the missing bushing.



      Last edited by kaka_kong; 09-23-2012 at 03:54 AM. Reason: Add pictures and links

    21. 10-11-2012 10:54 PM #616
      I bought a 2001 Jetta with VR6 in it last year and have been working on it part time. It was bought at an auction--it was a flood car, but it only had 40K miles on it. The flood damage was small but the engine was damaged because someone tried to start it with water in it (not me). I took the head off and it did have #1 connecting rod bent. I replaced the rod and piston and put the head back on. I used the DIY here to get the timing chains back on.

      When I started it, it runs OK, but the computer throws a PO 343 code. I took the valve cover back off and set the crank at TDC--the cams line up perfectly, so the timing does not seem to be off. But after thinking this over isn't it possible that I have the intermediate shaft out of sync with the crank causing the PO343 code? Since I did not take the trans out I was not able to see the lower chain position. I am able to see the TDC on the crank pulley, but I'm concerned that there is more than one slot in the intermediate shaft and I have the wrong one visible when I put the chains on the cam. I noticed the crank position sensor actually reads off the intermediate shaft and not the crankshaft itself. Is there any way I can check the timing of the intermediate shaft w/o taking the trans out?

      Any ideas?

    22. Member vr6pilot's Avatar
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      10-12-2012 01:15 AM #617
      If everything is properly timed, the TDC mark on the crank balancer will be aligned AND the notch on the intermediate shaft will appear as it does in step #21 AND the cams will be aligned in accordance with the cam alignment tool. With all of those aligned at once, your motor is in harmony with itself.
      Last edited by vr6pilot; 10-12-2012 at 01:26 AM.
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    23. 10-12-2012 11:14 PM #618
      I'd like to believe you that if the crank is at TDC #1 and the notch is showing with the cams lined up, then you are good. But if the picture in the DIY is correct, there are two notches in the intermediate shaft. That means you can get it on TWO different ways and still see the notch. My bet is that it is only on correctly ONE way. But, without the tranny off, how can you tell which way is the right way on lining up the notch?

      I'm going to see if I can show a picture here of what I mean. Nope that didn't work. Not sure how to post a photo here.

      But the DIY clearly shows the countershaft gear with TWO notches in it because they had the tranny off so you can see them. But from the top without the tranny off you can only see one notch at a time so you don't know which notch you are seeing. In the picture, one notch is next to the keyway for the gear, but you can't see the keyway when the gear is on.

    24. Member 2CoupeLove's Avatar
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      10-19-2012 04:05 AM #619
      This is the most well done DIY i have ever come across and it was exactly what i needed. will be timing my freshly built vr this weekend and hopefully finish my build. Thanks alot man.
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    25. Member carpathianwolf's Avatar
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      10-19-2012 10:46 AM #620
      I just want to ask about the Locating pin with the collar, upper guide rail. It states to tighten to 10 Nm (7 ft-Ib). The motor had a chain failure so the locating pic was damaged. I installed the new pin and tried to install the new upper guide by sliding it onto it, but it wont go on.

      pic for ref. (Green arrow)


      thank you
      Last edited by carpathianwolf; 10-21-2012 at 11:44 AM.

    26. Member carpathianwolf's Avatar
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      10-21-2012 11:41 AM #621
      Found the problem. The owner who provided the parts bought the wrong part. The upper guid rail was for a AAA motor and not for the AFP. I didnt notice the wrong part. Here is the difference in the pin just for ref. Left mk3 - right mk4

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      10-21-2012 02:08 PM #622
      this is awesome when i bought mine the timing was all messed up so i didnt know how to set it after the rebuild. i do have a question though. is it ever a good idea to do intermediate shaft bearing in the AFP engine?
      2001 VW Jetta GLX VR6 with way to much to list on the signature lines

    28. Member TonySkate's Avatar
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      11-16-2012 12:53 AM #623
      Hello, I am looking for a few timing parts of a 2000 VW jetta GLX with a AFP VR6 engine

      I really dont know what are the exact part numbers and I hope you can help me, because I was looking for those parts about a year.

      exactly the parts that I am lloking for are the showed with arrows on the next image ( they are basically bolts)


      Sorry this is my first VW car I came from Ford big blocks so I really do not know almost nothing about this engine... can anyone knows where or who can help me to get this parts? I just need the correct bolts for my engine

      thanks!!!

    29. Member V-dubbulyuh's Avatar
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      11-16-2012 06:24 AM #624
      When I'm doing those chain jobs:
      • Timing parts - MJM, Fourseasons.
      • Specific bolts such as you have listed - Stealership
      "OP sounds like a MKIV guy"

    30. 11-16-2012 10:53 AM #625
      Quote Originally Posted by TonySkate View Post
      Hello, I am looking for a few timing parts of a 2000 VW jetta GLX with a AFP VR6 engine

      I really dont know what are the exact part numbers and I hope you can help me, because I was looking for those parts about a year.

      exactly the parts that I am lloking for are the showed with arrows on the next image ( they are basically bolts)

      Sorry this is my first VW car I came from Ford big blocks so I really do not know almost nothing about this engine... can anyone knows where or who can help me to get this parts? I just need the correct bolts for my engine

      thanks!!!
      No worries - welcome to VW's. For starters, you can ID the VW part numbers for each bolt from the diagram and parts list at http://www.jimellisvwparts.com/showA...g=timing+chain.

      You can get these at your local dealership, or try ECS Tuning. If the following link works it will take you right to the timing set bolts/guide pins - http://www.ecstuning.com/Volkswagen-...ngine/Timing/2

    31. Member V-dubbulyuh's Avatar
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      11-16-2012 12:20 PM #626
      Quote Originally Posted by wmcraft View Post
      You can get these at your local dealership, or try ECS Tuning.
      Good call on that, did not realize ECS was selling the individual bolts.
      "OP sounds like a MKIV guy"

    32. 11-16-2012 01:39 PM #627
      Quote Originally Posted by V-dubbulyuh View Post
      Good call on that, did not realize ECS was selling the individual bolts.
      Yep - I picked up my upper rail guide pin (pics further up in this thread) from them at approx $30. Pricey, I know. But it was almost identical pricing as the dealer. I picked up some new stretch bolts for axels, flexplate, etc. from them as well. Pricing seems to be at or slightly better than dealer for most of them.

    33. Member TonySkate's Avatar
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      11-19-2012 05:08 PM #628
      Awesome guys, thank for your time and help! I found al the parts that I was looking for! now I know what are the specific number parts for my engine, I hope soon I can let know know good news about my ride!

      sorry I know my english isn´t the best but I do my best! thanks a lot

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      01-15-2013 02:03 PM #629
      great write up fot this PITA job. I'm doing this in Colorado winter in an open shed. Not a job for the newbie.

    35. Member grantndub's Avatar
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      01-16-2013 01:21 PM #630
      Quote Originally Posted by gypsymoth View Post
      great write up fot this PITA job. I'm doing this in Colorado winter in an open shed. Not a job for the newbie.
      I'll agree this isn't for a newbie. I just did mine over the past weekend about 3 full days that's including a mistake I made that took 3 hours to recover from, I did a bunch of other things too. But I still have a p1340 code, it runs fine. This weekend I'm gonna pull the cover off and verify the timing. I'm pretty sure it's on but now I don't know.

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