I'm glad the tdi has a belt

mxtdiguy

Veteran Member
Joined
Oct 17, 2017
Location
Mexico
TDI
'16 sportwagen TDI sel 6mt
They say chains last the lifetime of the car, I seriously doubt it. While the chain itself may not break, the tensioners and guides wear down, and a chain just sounds bad imo.

My previous chain motors were a Toyota 2.4, and a Subaru 3.0
Both had horrible chain sounds. I opened up the Subaru and saw how the plastic guides wear down and need to be replaced, so what's the point ?, bad design imo

oh and the subie timing cover was metal and held in place by like 50 screws. No gasket either, needed to be sliconed in place. I hate Subarus

Love the silence of a belt.
 
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h.ubk

Veteran Member
Joined
Sep 23, 2016
Location
Idaho
TDI
1997 Jetta TDI with 1Z Engine
The older Mercedes diesels use chains. Many people run them up to 300K miles. You never hear the constant complaining on the forums about valve/head damage. And there are no special tools you need to dig out every 60K miles.

h.ubk
 
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740GLE

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Aug 19, 2009
Location
NH
TDI
2015 Passat SEL, 2017 Alltrack SE; BB 2010 Sedan Man; 2012 Passat,
Each have their strengths and weaknesses. With the average owner only owning a new car for less than 100, both are not pretty much even on "paper". It's the second, third owner or those that pile on the miles were the difference lies.

VW Gen 2 TSI had known issue with chain tensioners going out, enough that there's litigation against VW. Merc has also had their issues with chains, my coworker lost his mid '00 E class gasser due to a CEL and timing chain/tensioner issue, again class action lawsuit persisted warranties extened, reimubrsments made, sadly he missed the boat and had a $5,000 repair bill on a ~$6,000 car. He solved the problem by buying a newer E class.

It wouldn't take much more than the same error on the TDI to sour everyone's feelings about belts vs chains.
 

Garrison

Member
Joined
May 7, 2017
Location
North Carolina
TDI
2006
My only complaint abouit belts is the $1000 service to have it replaced every 80-100k. The seller of my audi a3 said it had been done, that was a nice kick in the teeth.

Don't feel confident doing that work myself when the consequences are so dire.
 

740GLE

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Aug 19, 2009
Location
NH
TDI
2015 Passat SEL, 2017 Alltrack SE; BB 2010 Sedan Man; 2012 Passat,
Yes, there are pros and cons either way. VAG has well sorted, durable, and reliable belt systems. They have awful trouble prone chain systems.
Shhhhhhh!!!!
 

IndigoBlueWagon

TDIClub Enthusiast, Principal IDParts, Vendor , w/
Joined
Aug 16, 2004
Location
South of Boston
TDI
'97 Passat, '99.5 Golf, '02 Jetta Wagon, '15 GSW
The older Mercedes diesels use chains. Many people run them up to 300K miles. You never hear the constant complaining on the forums about valve/head damage. And there are no special tools you need to dig out every 60K miles.

Dkr.
They don't break, but they do stretch with age and the timing gets retarded. That is often why old M-B diesels are so low on power. But people just think "it's a diesel" and live with it.
 

dasjefe

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 22, 2017
Location
Taylor Texas
TDI
Golf Sportwagen
I did a BHW timing belt replacement without too much trouble and I don't have much wrenching experience. There are a great number of DIY people committed to keeping these cars (TDI) on the road that there are excellent detailed resources for all types of repairs. As more of these folks start working on the Sportwagen as this model ages, I'd expect see a lot more info. I don't mind the belt... but it is much better if it is driving a good water pump that doesn't crap out before the life of the belt is reached.
 

mopower

Veteran Member
Joined
Mar 22, 2007
Location
Midwest vandweller
TDI
15 GSW
I've heard of a few cases of early waterpump failure already and one case of the waterpump failing and taking out the timing belt (and valvetrain) on a 2015 TDI. I'll be checking mine out this weekend or next week during an oil service.

That's not to say there aren't many, many timing chain'd engine having chain/tensioner/guide issues from most brands.
 

oilhammer

Certified Volkswagen Nut & Vendor
Joined
Dec 11, 2001
Location
outside St Louis (where it's safe)
TDI
There are just too many to list....
You should see the carnage that happens when one of the Ford Cyclone V6s in transverse applications lunches its water pump. Seriously. 15 hour job IF you actually catch it in time. If not.... new engine. And some do not even make it 100k miles. :(
 

h.ubk

Veteran Member
Joined
Sep 23, 2016
Location
Idaho
TDI
1997 Jetta TDI with 1Z Engine
They don't break, but they do stretch with age and the timing gets retarded. That is often why old M-B diesels are so low on power. But people just think "it's a diesel" and live with it.
That's not true. I've had six of them and worked on a bunch more. There are a bunch of tuning issues on the Mercedes -- lubricating the linkages, replacing all three fuel filters, valve adjustments, etc. When these are all done properly, the car runs as new with good power even if the engine is run down with low compression. Replacing the timing chain has nothing to do with that. Timing is not nearly as critical on an engine with mechanical fuel injection and no computer controlled anything.

The timing belt on the VW is a major weak point. It is one of the primary things making this an engine that is easily prone to failure.

h.ubk
 

IndigoBlueWagon

TDIClub Enthusiast, Principal IDParts, Vendor , w/
Joined
Aug 16, 2004
Location
South of Boston
TDI
'97 Passat, '99.5 Golf, '02 Jetta Wagon, '15 GSW
You clearly have more knowledge of Mercedes and timing than I. I've been told by several mechanics (and customers) that worn guides and stretched chains affect timing negatively on older M-Bs. The impact on power delivery, I guess, is another story.

Timing belts are only a problem on TDIs if they're neglected and/or serviced improperly. And a number of them are. We hear about it all the time. There are many, many do-it-yourselfers out there who complete timing belt service without proper tools or knowledge. And things go wrong, sometimes months later. It's not the belt system's fault. When customers ask about doing the job themselves I always tell them that if they feel they have the skills and knowledge, go for it. But the consequences of doing something wrong are dramatic and expensive.

I've owned 12 or so TDIs, many on their third or fourth belt (my son's is on his fifth), without issues. We had one Golf that had a water pump seize and strip all the teeth off the belt. Surprisingly it did not lose time, and with a new belt it was fine. The car had sat and not been started for nearly a year before the water pump failure. So I chalk that one up to neglect. No other failures.
 
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oilhammer

Certified Volkswagen Nut & Vendor
Joined
Dec 11, 2001
Location
outside St Louis (where it's safe)
TDI
There are just too many to list....
I've seen lots of old 4 and 5 cyl MB engines with major chain stretch that were slugs.... including my own 240D. I forget what we measured the cam retard at, but it was pretty bad, like 20 degrees or something. The newer ones seem better, but it may just be that they make so much more power that they can gear them a lot higher and thus the engine's wear is reduced.

But, those old ones will continue to run that way, and the chains are so massive that they rarely all out break. And the engines are pretty robust all around (speaking of the old SOHC iron head engines).

As good as MB is with chains, though, I think VAG is equally as good with belts. I have been daily driving these cars since 1989, and have never once had a single issue with the belt drive on ANY of my Volkswagens, ever. Collectively easily over a million miles on them, too, not to mention my belt driven Mazda pickups that also never had a peep of trouble. Normal PM, done correctly, total non-issue.
 

Mike_04GolfTDI

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Nov 19, 2003
Location
Richmond, BC, Canada
TDI
Mine: 2019 Golf R DSG, Wife's: 2015 Golf Comfortline TDI
I don't think it's possible to kill a diesel Mercedes.

I had an '87 300D Turbo with a bad head gasket. It liked to blow all it's coolant out when put under any kind of load. I once drove it 300km without coolant, in mountainous terrain (which is why I couldn't keep coolant in it), with the temperature needle pegged at the top the whole time. It was totally fine and I continued to drive it long after that.

It held 8L of motor oil and had a huge oil cooler (looked like a radiator) so I guess it could run indefinitely with no coolant!

Oh, and it had over 500,000km on it. Once I got a TDI I sold the Mercedes to someone I knew (he was aware of the coolant issues) and he drove it for a few more years until he bought a TDI as well.
 

IndigoBlueWagon

TDIClub Enthusiast, Principal IDParts, Vendor , w/
Joined
Aug 16, 2004
Location
South of Boston
TDI
'97 Passat, '99.5 Golf, '02 Jetta Wagon, '15 GSW
I've been told that the sure fire way to kill a M-B diesel is to have the oil cooler fail and not shut it down soon enough. It'll pump that 8 liters of oil out of the pan and seize the engine if you aren't fast enough.
 

hugho

Active member
Joined
Feb 17, 2018
Location
NW wyoming
TDI
red 2002 vw Jetta wagon 250K miles, MT
The older Mercedes diesels use chains. Many people run them up to 300K miles. You never hear the constant complaining on the forums about valve/head damage. And there are no special tools you need to dig out every 60K miles.

h.ubk
The MB chains will stretch after 250-300K miles if you don't change your oil frequently. But replacing the chains is easy as is the plastic chain guides. You just roll in the new chain tying it to the old chain. easy job I just did. no more chain noise and FE went up a few mpg.Belts suck on all cars which is why most companies have gone back to chains. Some belt changes are easy and fast like subaru 4 cly and camry/corolla 4 cyl. Some are hard and take special tools like VW!! ugh!
 

Mike_04GolfTDI

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Nov 19, 2003
Location
Richmond, BC, Canada
TDI
Mine: 2019 Golf R DSG, Wife's: 2015 Golf Comfortline TDI
The MB chains will stretch after 250-300K miles if you don't change your oil frequently. But replacing the chains is easy as is the plastic chain guides. You just roll in the new chain tying it to the old chain. easy job I just did. no more chain noise and FE went up a few mpg.Belts suck on all cars which is why most companies have gone back to chains. Some belt changes are easy and fast like subaru 4 cly and camry/corolla 4 cyl. Some are hard and take special tools like VW!! ugh!
Does the chain have a master link that you can disconnect?
 

turbobrick240

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Nov 18, 2014
Location
maine
TDI
2011 vw golf tdi(gone to greener pastures), 2001 ford f250 powerstroke
The MB chains will stretch after 250-300K miles if you don't change your oil frequently. But replacing the chains is easy as is the plastic chain guides. You just roll in the new chain tying it to the old chain. easy job I just did. no more chain noise and FE went up a few mpg.Belts suck on all cars which is why most companies have gone back to chains. Some belt changes are easy and fast like subaru 4 cly and camry/corolla 4 cyl. Some are hard and take special tools like VW!! ugh!
I can't speak to the older tdi's, but the timing belt job on the common rail tdi's isn't any harder than the numerous timing belts I've done on interference and non interference Volvos, toyotas, Fords, etc.
 

meerschm

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Apr 18, 2009
Location
Fairfax county VA
TDI
2009 Jetta wagon DSG 08/08 205k buyback 1/8/18; replaced with 2017 Golf Wagon 4mo 1.8l CXBB
I agree, but not everyone should be allowed in the kitchen.
 

compu_85

Gadget Guy
Joined
Sep 29, 2003
Location
Springfield VA
TDI
... None :S
I've been told that the sure fire way to kill a M-B diesel is to have the oil cooler fail and not shut it down soon enough. It'll pump that 8 liters of oil out of the pan and seize the engine if you aren't fast enough.
That just happened to Tom and his 76 W115 300D :( The "good" news is that the motor was getting tired anyway and he'd been investigating a rebuild. Of course this happened right after he'd replaced the rear end with a new, quiet one :rolleyes:

-J
 

Ol'Rattler

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Jul 3, 2007
Location
PNA
TDI
2006 BRM Jetta
I agree, but not everyone should be allowed in the kitchen.
That's the truth. If a person doesn't understand what they are doing they shouldn't do a procedure that if they get it wrong can severely damage an engine. Starting the engine to see if you got it right or not is certainly the wrong approach.

It would be nice if gas engines used the crank and cam tools. If that were true, gas engine would be as goof proof to do a belt on as a TDI engine is.
 

mxtdiguy

Veteran Member
Joined
Oct 17, 2017
Location
Mexico
TDI
'16 sportwagen TDI sel 6mt
That's the truth. If a person doesn't understand what they are doing they shouldn't do a procedure that if they get it wrong can severely damage an engine. Starting the engine to see if you got it right or not is certainly the wrong approach.
It would be nice if gas engines used the crank and cam tools. If that were true, gas engine would be as goof proof to do a belt on as a TDI engine is.

Curious about this :

"VCDS Hacks: Adjusted Cam to Crank Timing"

What does this do ?
 

Ol'Rattler

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Jul 3, 2007
Location
PNA
TDI
2006 BRM Jetta
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