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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I added this onto a very old thread, but the forum warned me to start another thread, so this is it. I have a 2012 GTI and had the tensioner inspected during some routine maintenance at 65K miles.

Attached is a photo of the tensioner which my tech commented is quite far out. Interestingly my engine date code of 4/2012 was borderline, but I luckily have the newer model tensioner. However it appears I have a fair amount of timing chain stretch at low miles of "not crazy" driving. Attached is the photo and the Tech Tip. Comments on whether I need the chain(s) replaced urgently are welcome. The wording of the TSB about the "number of splines visible" is unclear to me, but another thread concludes it it actually the number of grooves to the right of the spring that should not be greater than 7. Is this correct?

Prior to the inspection, I assumed I would be fine up to at least 100K if I had the newer tensioner, but that was before I learned about the usually rapid rate of timing chain stretch in this engine.

I should get my OBD11 scanner in another day or two and will check the cam phase angle readings. Thanks.
 

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I'm not sure what "normal" is for how far out. The workshop manual doesn't say anything about having a certain number of ribs or teeth on the tensioner to count. Also, I'm not sure what you mean by "the usually rapid rate of timing chain stretch". I'm sure the chain wears, but I would be surprised if it did so at 100k miles. If you feel uncomfortable with it, by all means have the chain and tensioner replaced.
 

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I'm not sure what "normal" is for how far out. The workshop manual doesn't say anything about having a certain number of ribs or teeth on the tensioner to count. Also, I'm not sure what you mean by "the usually rapid rate of timing chain stretch". I'm sure the chain wears, but I would be surprised if it did so at 100k miles. If you feel uncomfortable with it, by all means have the chain and tensioner replaced.
Yes it says a limit of 7 to replace the tensioner.
It is in Elsapro
 

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Yes it says a limit of 7 to replace the tensioner.
It is in Elsapro
Interested in what you're looking at. I have elsa and I just looked through the entire engine service manual again, and it goes through the replacement procedure, but no mention of this. Maybe I'm not seeing it. What page is it on?
 

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Yes it says a limit of 7 to replace the tensioner.
It is in Elsapro
Not the tensioner, the chain needs to be replaced due to wear/stretch. Yes, you replace the tensioner too, but doing just the tensioner does no good at all unless you have the old tensioner.

Oil quality and oil change interval has the biggest affect on chain wear in my experience. If you go 10k+ on oil changes and go to the quickie lube places, you can expect the chain to be very worn by 90-100k miles. Use good synthetic, factory filter and change every 5k or so, and you can almost double that.
 

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I added this onto a very old thread, but the forum warned me to start another thread, so this is it. I have a 2012 GTI and had the tensioner inspected during some routine maintenance at 65K miles.

Attached is a photo of the tensioner which my tech commented is quite far out. Interestingly my engine date code of 4/2012 was borderline, but I luckily have the newer model tensioner. However it appears I have a fair amount of timing chain stretch at low miles of "not crazy" driving. Attached is the photo and the Tech Tip. Comments on whether I need the chain(s) replaced urgently are welcome. The wording of the TSB about the "number of splines visible" is unclear to me, but another thread concludes it it actually the number of grooves to the right of the spring that should not be greater than 7. Is this correct?

Prior to the inspection, I assumed I would be fine up to at least 100K if I had the newer tensioner, but that was before I learned about the usually rapid rate of timing chain stretch in this engine.

I should get my OBD11 scanner in another day or two and will check the cam phase angle readings. Thanks.
I worked at a euro indie shop and when these would come in we used the rule of thumb as follows:

5- keep an eye on it (check at every oil change)
6-tell the customer it’s time to do it
7-it’s past due and can go at any time.

We have had these pop at 7 more than once


How does one inspect these tensioners without a lot of dismantling??

There’s a rubber plug in the front timing cover that correlates with the tensioner and an inspection mirror allows you to see it pretty easily.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I know I am preaching to the choir but it is sad that VW had recommended the 10K interval, as a sudden premature timing chain failure is a pretty serious event.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
By prior gens you mean before Mk 8? Surprising as they claim to support Bentleys back to 1991 and VW/Audi is their bread and butter. I see many posts from folks doing coding on Mk 6's BUT the software may have be revised since.
 

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By prior gens you mean before Mk 8? Surprising as they claim to support Bentleys back to 1991 and VW/Audi is their bread and butter. I see many posts from folks doing coding on Mk 6's BUT the software may have be revised since.
Mk7s. Mk6s weren’t bad but got nothing on Mk5s. I haven’t tried Audi or Bentley.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
After about 24 hrs now I am starting to get Live Data to work on OBDeleven. Block 93 Cam Phase Adjustment Measurement was -.48 degrees right after starting, then settled to -1.2 to -1.3 degrees after a few minutes. Now I am puzzling whether this means I am fine, or with 6 grooves showing to the right of the tensioner spring I am close to falling off a cliff?

FYI, attached is the TSB Tech Tip having to do with chain stretch.
 

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Thanks for posting the TSB. I have done a handful of these chain jobs and the tensioner always had more room to take up slack. I judge the need for chain replacement based on timing. My Tiguan last month was 4.99 so I'm getting ready to tackle that, regardless of where the tensioner is. Again, the tensioner takes up slack, but a worn chain will cause a discrepancy in the cam to crank timing and has, for me, been a reliable indicator of wear. Also, I don't recall exactly but I think VCDS will not read Group 93 until maybe like 10 seconds after starting, so I have no idea of the startup degrees.
 

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A well designed engine should never need timing chain replacement.
It is usually not chain stretch, but slipper and guide wear.
If a chain is going to wear and need replacement, then the designers goofed, because then a timing belt is much easier and cheaper to replace.
The whole point of a chain is that replacement is incredibly difficult, but you should never have to do that.
But no timing chain can survive 0w20 weight oil.
All timing chains need thicker oil than that.
I would never use thinner than 10w40 oil for an engine with overhead cams or timing chains.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Definitely agreed with the the comment about the VW TSI having timing chain design problems; also with "stretch" really meaning guide wear. For me, one big selling point of the 2.0T engine was the longer life/less expensive maintenance implied by its a timing chain. It appears for many this was not borne out. (I almost bought a vehicle with a TDI engine, but that was during the time TDI high pressure fuel pumps were failing.)

I thought the lighter weight oil had to do with tighter tolerances of modern engines and/or turbo but the suggestion to use 10W40 is interesting. Comments welcome.
 

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I added this onto a very old thread, but the forum warned me to start another thread, so this is it. I have a 2012 GTI and had the tensioner inspected during some routine maintenance at 65K miles.

Attached is a photo of the tensioner which my tech commented is quite far out. Interestingly my engine date code of 4/2012 was borderline, but I luckily have the newer model tensioner. However it appears I have a fair amount of timing chain stretch at low miles of "not crazy" driving. Attached is the photo and the Tech Tip. Comments on whether I need the chain(s) replaced urgently are welcome. The wording of the TSB about the "number of splines visible" is unclear to me, but another thread concludes it it actually the number of grooves to the right of the spring that should not be greater than 7. Is this correct?

Prior to the inspection, I assumed I would be fine up to at least 100K if I had the newer tensioner, but that was before I learned about the usually rapid rate of timing chain stretch in this engine.

I should get my OBD11 scanner in another day or two and will check the cam phase angle readings. Thanks.
I've been through this timing chain issue with my 2013 Eos. It had the old tensioner and had chain stretch as well according to my shop. I think their date ranges are somewhat off and my mechanic said that he didn't see VW just throwing out the bad tensioners. Supposedly starting a certain date then they used the new updated tensioner but who really knows. He said they probably used up the batch or whatever of them and then started using the new ones. I got the latest updated tensioner and updated chain design, which was to prevent chain stretch and my car is doing great. I've been doing 4,000 mile oil changes with VW or Mann filter and Liqui Moly 5w-40 oil. Good luch with your dilemma.
 
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