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TDI 101 Got a simple/basic TDI question? Are you a newbie (new to the forums). Feel free to post your question here.

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Old May 15th, 2019, 18:58   #1
Mr O
Join Date: May 2019
Location: SF Bay Area
Default 1999 Jetta Sedan 5 speed Timing Belt

Hi All,
New owner. First diesel... Bought this car off a lot. 180000 miles and no maintenance info on carfax. Nice interior and paint for the cars age. Has oil sticker on windshield so I know it was changed ~4000 miles ago. Hopefully this is a good indicator that the oil was changed regularly. I am the fifth owner. My only concern is the timing belt that has a recommended change interval every 60k miles. My concern is that the last owner traded it in to avoid the scheduled timing belt change cost... Anybody besides me think that I should just bite the bullet and do the 180k timing belt / water pump maintenance to be on the safe side??
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Old May 15th, 2019, 20:04   #2
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Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Fox Lake, IL
TDI(s): 00 Jetta
Fuel Economy: 47mpg

Yes. If you can do it yourself it costs $200-$300 in parts if not then at least three times as much but it's a peace of mind and good for another 100k miles.

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Old May 16th, 2019, 04:10   #3
Powder Hound
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Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: Conkud, New Hampshiyuh, USA

Is this a '99 with the AHU engine, or a 99.5 with the ALH engine? If you don't know, a photo of the car or the engine will suffice. The A4 chassis (newer body style) will be the ALH engine, and in spite of what you have read, about the only timing belt kits available will be of the 100k mile variety.

Yes, definitely get the timing belt done. You can do it yourself by reading the pdf and obtaining the proper tools. You can do it yourself; I am evidence of this having done it myself the first time without lots of mechanic experience.

Good luck,

You always pay for what you get. Sometimes you get what you pay for.
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Old May 16th, 2019, 05:41   #4
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Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Northern Minnesota-55744
Fuel Economy: 52+ average lifetime '01

Yep, if it is the MklV ALH engine the early models service interval for the manual transmissions was scheduled as 60K miles (40k for the autos) but if it's any conciliation, the interval was/can be lengthened to 100k miles with newer components.
Since you have no documentation of any TB services, its best to do it asap. Besides, it's often done partially/incomplete and/or just plain wrong.
Oil change frequency isn't much of an issue as the proper type. 5w-40 full synthetic every 10k miles (or longer).

2001 Jetta TDI GLS Silver-current driver (salvage)permanently vented-Panzer Plate-Sprint 520s-ScanGauge-CheckTemp III-ZeroStart heater-CAT 2 filter
2003 Jetta GLS Black w/leather (New Project Car) fixer-upper w/broken TB
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Old May 16th, 2019, 08:32   #5
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Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Round Rock, Texas

Read up here on getting this done first, just so you are at least familiar with what actually needs to be done and how and what parts are needed. It isn't just changing the belt. Everything it touches needs to be changed. There are kits here from our vendors that show what needs to be replaced. For example:


This isn't something you just want to let anyone do either. The proper tools must be used and procedures. This is an interference engine and if done improperly the pistons will hit the valves, pretty much ruining the valves and or head and pistons. As others have said you can do it but follow the procedure outlined in one of the posts here. We also have a trusted mechanics list of those mechanics people have had good results with. You should try and find one of them if you choose not to do it yourself.
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Old May 16th, 2019, 09:01   #6
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Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Chatsworth, CA
Fuel Economy: 40-ish

Because you are in the SF bay area, I suggest you contact Matt98AHU here or at his
shop. he is one of that area's trusted guru and a good guy.
2002 Jetta GLS TDI wagon
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