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Hey Y'all:
Back when I first started selling my 80K timing belt kit, I had the opportunity of packaging my kit with a timing belt tensioner from my aftermarket supplier that was labelled 038 109 243N which is the correct VW part number. It was in a dark blue box from Lemforder(Lemforder doesn't manufacture the tensioners, a Canadian company called Litens does.). I also had stock of O.E.M. 038 109 243N tensioners which were much more expensive to buy. I wanted to sell the aftermarket Lemforder 243N tensioners but when I compared them side by side I saw the difference. The O.E.M. tensioner is quite different and the spring mechanism is more robust and the spring's wire is thicker. The amazing thing is that when I looked closely at the aftermarket tensioner's label I found that Lemforder had stuck a new label over the 038 109 243H label of the old style tensioner. The supposed Lemforder brand 243N tensioner was identical to the old style 243H tensioner! Lemforder was trying to pass off the old style tensioner as a new 80K tensioner. I sent the Lemforder parts back and have sold the factory parts exclusively through dieselgeek.com for as long as I've offered the 80K timing belt kit.
Here are some pics of the two tensioners:

Notice that the true 80K tensioner has a larger hub section that houses the beefier upgraded spring mechanism.

This picture shows the boxes and the color of the tensioner bearing seals are blue on the old style tensioner and are orange on the new style O.E.M. 243N tensioner.
This picture shows that the real 80K tensioner on the right has 038 109 243N stamped into it.

I have been in contact with Litens, the manufacturer of both tensioners. They have confirmed to me personally that real 80K tensioner has not been made available to the aftermarket and so the O.E.M. parts are the only true 038 109 243N parts. If you have purchased the repackaged and mislabelled Lemforder timing belt tensioner then you should not run your timing belt for more than 40K miles if you have an automatic transmission or 60K if you have a manual transmission. If you are unsure of whether you have the 40/60K tensioner or the true 243N tensioner, you can look at the tensioner after you remove the upper timing cover and if the bearing seal is blue then you have the old style 40/60K tensioner. If your tensioner's bearing seal is orange then you have the 80K tensioner. Bear in mind that not all sellers offering 80K timing belt kits are selling the true 80K tensioner. Dieselgeek.com has only sold the true 80k tensioner.
 

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Re: Make sure you have the Real 80K Tbelt tensioner! (jroyston)

this why I only stick with OEM..
I have seen to many things happen and dislike doing a job again..
 
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