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    Thread: Timing Chain? How much to replace?

    1. 09-06-2006 10:36 PM #1
      This is for a 95 Passat VR6 with 110,000 miles.
      I have a noise that sounds like the timing chain, but it is in the 1800 to 2000 RPM range and I can only hear it under load (while driving, not while rev-ing in neutral).
      I need to change my valve cover gasket any way, so I figure I am 1/2 way to at least some of the timing chain parts. I was thinking about just replacing the upper tensioner bolt (to the newer style) and the upper guide rail.
      With 110,000 miles it is probably time for a timing chain fix, especially with an old style upper chain setup, but dropping the tranny is a lot of work compared to just changing out the upper tensioner bolt and the upper guide rail. Can I change to a newer upper tensioner bolt and keep the old upper tensioner rail (I believe you can't change the rail without dropping the tranny)? It seems that the upper guide rail wears the most. Does this sound risky, asinine, or brilliant? Any ideas for the noise besides the timing chain?

    2. 09-06-2006 11:34 PM #2
      You cannot mix late style/early style tensioner rail and bolt. They fit together differently. See pics on page 1 of this thread.

      #1 problem is the plastic guide rail, you can replace that from above. That might buy you some more time. You can inspect the tension rail from above, see the pictures of mine for reference above. You could replace the tensioner bolt with another early style bolt, but it's expensive and you'll need to be buying a late style at some point.
      If the guide rail is broken then that's your current problem. If it's just cracked then it's not what's letting the chain be slack. It will have to have a piece broken out that would leave part of the chain unsupported, in order for that to be your cause. Replace it anyway cuz it's cheap, but try to determine if it's the actual culprit.

    3. 09-07-2006 12:50 PM #3
      Good to know about the tensioner rail and bolt needing to match.
      From your pictures, I am interested to see what my upper tensioner rail looks like. Those were some pretty deep grooves in yours.
      I think I will plan on just replacing the upper guide and taking a look at the upper tensioner rail while I am in there and then decide what I need to do.

    4. Member wolfsburged.'s Avatar
      Join Date
      Dec 23rd, 2003
      Cary, NC
      1984 Jetta GL Turbo Diesel, 1982 Caddy ABA project, 2001 Jetta GL TDI 5MT, 2016 Jetta GLI SE 6MT
      09-07-2006 02:40 PM #4
      That's a good plan.
      When I cracked mine open at 209k, my guide was cracked and grooved, but the tensioner plate was actually fine.

    5. 09-07-2006 03:18 PM #5
      Have fun disconnecting the EGR. The Bentley does not address the fact that the EGR prevents the valve cover from being removed.

    6. 09-07-2006 05:06 PM #6
      It looks like you had a close call with your upper guide rail and it is interesting that your upper tensioner rail had little wear on it. So, you changed your tensioner bolt because it was stuck? Is there any way to bleed the old style bolts so that they provide the proper tension again?
      I am not looking forward to the EGR. I have not touched it since I bought the car and I am expecting the worst; especially since I keep hearing what a nightmare it is.

    7. Member wolfsburged.'s Avatar
      Join Date
      Dec 23rd, 2003
      Cary, NC
      1984 Jetta GL Turbo Diesel, 1982 Caddy ABA project, 2001 Jetta GL TDI 5MT, 2016 Jetta GLI SE 6MT
      09-07-2006 05:15 PM #7
      I'm not sure if you can bleed it or not; mine had the oil inlet clogged. It was not terribly expensive to just buy a new one.
      The EGR was a minor headache to deal with, but overall the job went very smoothly for me and was actually easier than I anticipated. Of course I didn't do as much as Jeff did. I didn't touch the headgasket or do anything transmission related.

    8. 10-06-2006 11:03 PM #8
      I broke into the engine and I have little to report. The upper tensioner rail has a little wear, but it is not too bad. The upper guide rail seems to be alright also. I wanted to remove the upper guide rail and take a closer look at it to verify that there were not any cracks in it, but I am having a problem taking it out. I am having an interference problem with an item of which I am unsure of the name. In the picture below, it is the piece of metal with the hole in it above and to the left of the upper guide rail. When I try to slide the rail out it hits this. Do I really have to remove this to get the rail out? It is bolted in several places under the intake runners and seems like a pain to remove.


    9. 10-08-2006 02:46 PM #9
      The magic Bentley told me the thing I was talking about is called the 'Lifting Eye'. There are three bolts holding it on, but it is mounted under the bracket for the secondary air injection pump, so you have to remove those also. The bolts are kind of a pain to get to. So, to anyone that plans to replace the upper guide rail without removing the tranny, keep in mind that this needs to be removed also. If anyone has managed to do this without removing the lifting eye, let me know.
      The upper guide rails looks almost new, even under close inspection. The Timing Chain-ish noise I have been hearing does not appear to be caused by any of the upper timing chain parts (unless the tensioner bolt was not operating properly, but the chain seemed to have good tension before I removed the tensioner bolt.
      Does anyone have any other ideas for what might be causing the noise? I only hear it when I am going kind of slow (15-35mph) because it is fairly quiet. It happends in about the 1800 to 2000 RPM range and only under load (hard gas while going up a hill, not just cruising on the flat).

      Modified by Dr_No at 7:44 AM 10-11-2006

    10. 10-10-2006 03:17 PM #10
      You can remove the 3 bolts that hold the upper guide rail in place and pull it off without removing the lifting eye. I was even able to slide it out past the eye when I had to go back in to change something, without removing the bottom pin/bolt.

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