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  • Writer's picturePonyboy

Timing is Everything

Updated: Sep 20, 2018

Over the years you may have heard about the mystery surrounding the timing belt in your Volkswagen or Audi. So many of these scary ideas actually come from other shops. Sometimes it’s a scare tactic and sometimes maybe the other shop is scared of them too? But like just about anything else, timing belts are not as bad as they seem.

The timing belt does need to be changed on the factory service schedule as preventative maintenance, if not much sooner. We have seen, firsthand, original factory belts fail before they were supposed to be replaced, so there is a lot of validity to this. And the factory service schedule is different for almost every Volkswagen or Audi engine. If you have questions about yours, feel free to call and ask us what we suggest. If the timing belt does break before it is changed, it will be much more expensive to repair. Can we fix that too? Yes, we can, but we hate to see unnecessary spending on something that can be prevented.

So, do you really have to take the nose off of an Audi to change the timing belt? Yes and no. The bumper cover has to come off, but the rest of the components can stay. The whole “front clip,” as it’s called, slides forward into what is called “service position” leaving enough room to work, which is the most efficient way. It saves both time and money as it would take much longer and cost you more in labor to do it any other way.

2006 B7 Audi A4 with the nose in service position

It may be somewhat tough to tell, as the radiator support only slides forward about four or five inches, but it’s just enough. If you look at the headlights where they meet the fenders, you can easily see how far it has been slid out.

You may be wondering, can we can just change the timing belt, or is there more to it? There is so much more to it! When we perform a timing belt service, we change every wear item that the timing belt comes in contact with. This includes:

  • timing belt

  • water pump

  • timing belt tensioner pulley

  • all idler pullies

  • VW/Audi G12/G13 coolant

We also only use factory Volkswagen and Audi Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) parts. There is nothing aftermarket used in the timing belt change service. This is EXTREMELY important as most second timing belt failures are a direct result of improper servicing during the first timing belt change. Aftermarket water pumps usually start to leak within a few thousand miles and aftermarket timing belt tensioners can lock up solid, taking the belt with it and usually bending a bunch of valves in the cylinder head.

the front of the engine taken apart with all wear items removed

all of the new components installed

At Pb European Service we torque every bolt we reinstall during the service with digital torque wrenches to make sure everything is spot on. This is so important because doing so ensures the assembly hardware works within its specified stress limits. It also ensures that the hardware is able to be removed without breaking the next time your vehicle is in for service.

Timing belt components aside, there may be other things we recommend replacing, such as the serpentine belt, its tensioner, and any other roller/idler pullies that turn with it. We always spin all of the accessories, like the alternator, air conditioning compressor, and the power steering pump while we have the belt off to look for any potential future problems. The new serpentine belt components are usually less than the cost of a possible future tow, so it’s cost effective to do it now.

Depending on your vehicle’s engine and the mileage, there may be other things included or recommended, but we always quote according to what our experience has been and all of our repairs are covered under our 3 year/36,000 mile warranty.

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