The cam timing chain tensioner is just part of the problem with the cam chain. Chain wear is another issue that is just as problematic, especially if you are doing long oil change intervals. The dealers and independent shops that I know are even seeing the latest gen EA888s with jumped chains.
Its been solved OEM from early months of 2012 models after the facelift. Just do service yearly, change oil and look after carbon buildup and youll be fine!
Or so people think. I see about one 2L a month where people don't think they have to worry about the late chain engines jumping time and they end up with bent valves and a big bill.
The new tensioners don't collapse like the early ones, and the late guides that wrap around the intake cam sprocket help, but in end the chains still do wear and will still jump, so it is imperative that people have them inspected periodically. That can just be checking the intake cam position adaptation with a diagnostic tool periodically. Most of the independent shops I work with do a preventative timing chain job a week. I myself have now done 10 head jobs due to jumped chains. Three had the updated tensioner and three had old style tensioners that had not failed leaving three that were a toss up as the tensioners were worn and the chains were worn/stretched.
Personally, I wouldn't treat any of these chain engines as any more reliable than an engine with a timing belt. FWIW, I had a '06 GLI a few years ago that I got with an original belt that went at 160k, and now a mk6 Golf R that had a belt roller fail at 145k. I would say waiting that long to do a belt job is not smart, but I also wouldn't be surprised if a chain wore out before that time. From what I am seeing, people aren't getting much more than 100k out of the chains before the wear becomes excessive. Regular oil changes with good oil definitely help extend that, but aren't a sure fix. If you don't want to believe it, that is fine. I can tell you that a nice '13 Tiguan SE 4motion with sunroof, navigation and 90k miles and a jumped chain is worth about $2k; or it was about a year ago when it sold.
I dont say, the chain is immortal, every shop should check the tensioner and chain. At least my mechanic does not differ, if belt or chain, just these need to be checked as are essential to the engine.
Since MY 2012 you have:
- engine was rebuild since engine number 234188 or newer you have 06H107065DD pistons and 06H198151C piston rings 1,2-1,2-2 drilled. Or their newer versions. That prevents from the oil leaks and carbon buildup as previous engines had this problem,
- tensioner is 06K 109 507 F (from factory) so if jumped you should not have collapsed head
So if you check your engine once a year and do the oil changes you can be fine. I know happy owners with 150k on the clock.
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