timing belt and serpentine belt age

jakej78b

Veteran Member
Joined
Jun 13, 2019
Location
Alamogordo, New Mexico
TDI
2000 Volkswagen Jetta TDI ALH 1.9
Whats the shelf life of these components? I hear if installed that a timing belt should be replaced every 7 years regardless of mileage. Say I bought a new belt kit and put it on a shelf... is it toast after 7 years?
 
Last edited:

CableJockey

Veteran Member
Joined
Apr 20, 2019
Location
South Dakota
TDI
2002 Golf GLS
Timing belts I believe use neoprene in their construction, which tends to have a shelf life of 5-10 years, if stored in 'ideal' conditions.
However, that is also roughly the service life of a timing belt...
Not sure I would trust a new belt knowing that it was nearing the end of it's "shelf life"....

Serpentine belts crack and 'dry rot' with age (similar to tires?) but with them being less critical to the engine, I see less issue with installing an old, but new one.
 
Last edited:

Lightflyer1

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Sep 13, 2005
Location
Round Rock, Texas
TDI
2015 Beetle tdi dsg
Why would you buy a belt kit only to shelf it for 7 years? Just buy a kit when you need one. They aren't in short supply or anything. Unless you are planning for the apocalypse you shouldn't buy and store long term.
 

Tdijarhead

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Nov 10, 2013
Location
Lawrenceville PA
TDI
2003 TDI Jetta Daughters Car, 2001 TDI Beetle, Daughters car, 2005 Golf TDI Mine, all 5 spds
It probably comes with a belt because it needs a belt. If the seller is saying the belt was just done but has a belt...well

What kind of belt or belt kit is it a quality belt or a prothe special.
 

Lightflyer1

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Sep 13, 2005
Location
Round Rock, Texas
TDI
2015 Beetle tdi dsg
That is like saying I got milk on sale and want to keep it for 2 years before using it. Not talking about a commercial business here either. Most people don't lay in stock (multiple items) for these things and don't use it.
 

rhinorear

Veteran Member
Joined
Jul 27, 2019
Location
Lost Causes NM
TDI
2014 JSW
Milk may not be the best example. I freeze milk for at times months before use. I bet milk would last 2 years frozen then thawed.

Just thought I would be the wrench in this ever so important set of gears here........;)
 

jakej78b

Veteran Member
Joined
Jun 13, 2019
Location
Alamogordo, New Mexico
TDI
2000 Volkswagen Jetta TDI ALH 1.9
I have no doubt that the car I am buying needs the belt changed... I'm just wondering if it is safe to use the sellers belt (assume it isn't a prothe). I mean, I could also just get the belt for $40 and use the rest of the tbelt kit, which should have a longer shelf life... right?
 

Tdijarhead

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Nov 10, 2013
Location
Lawrenceville PA
TDI
2003 TDI Jetta Daughters Car, 2001 TDI Beetle, Daughters car, 2005 Golf TDI Mine, all 5 spds
What do the markings on the new belt and related components look like? iNA? Continental? Dayco? Litens?
 

oilhammer

Certified Volkswagen Nut & Vendor
Joined
Dec 11, 2001
Location
outside St Louis, MO
TDI
There are just too many to list....
I've never seen an ALH timing belt that looked suspect due to age... and I've done them one early ones that were at the time 15 years old. The newer type are probably going to be even more durable age-wise. I'd not worry too much about it. If the cars do not get driven a lot, and spend a fair amount of time sitting, quite often the water pumps start to weep long before the belt is miled up anyway.
 

Lightflyer1

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Sep 13, 2005
Location
Round Rock, Texas
TDI
2015 Beetle tdi dsg
A lot depends on the parts mfg. The hard parts may be rusted or corroded inside or have other issues from sitting for so long. If you DIY then it may be worth the hassle. If you have to pay someone else to do it then I would use new parts. The problem is if anything goes wrong you will have bigger issues than the belt setup. Not as bad if you can do the work but paying someone twice to do the job due to old parts with issues and/or having a TB break or similar will need head/valve work and even greater expense. It is a gamble as only you know anything about the parts you have on hand.
 

backfast61

Veteran Member
Joined
Jun 28, 2015
Location
Mechanicsville , VA
TDI
2006 VW Jetta TDI automatic,2006 VW Jetta TDI 5 speed
Save yourself alot of headache
Go to IDPARTS and order the complete timing belt kit.
Write it down in your maintenance book as well as on the sticker that goes on the timing belt cover.;..
You will have peace of mind knowing exactly when it was done...plus it has the water pump that should be replaced as well!
 

jokila

Vendor
Joined
Dec 3, 2004
Location
Houston, Texas
TDI
2003 Jetta GLS, Manual
Milk may not be the best example. I freeze milk for at times months before use. I bet milk would last 2 years frozen then thawed.

Just thought I would be the wrench in this ever so important set of gears here........;)
Reminds me of the time I bought Girl Scout cookies and froze them up because I couldnt eat as much as I bought. I brought them into work a year or so later and put them out for others to try out. Someone made an email to warn others of the expired cookies. I promptly replied about how it got that "old".
 

klazzic

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 19, 2019
Location
Denver
TDI
B4V, MK4 Golf
Maybe this can further benefit anyone in doubt...
I searched for 'timing belt shelf life' and found this post. Funny enough, someone very recently gave me a purchased 8yrs ago gates tb kit for a vehicle they no longer have. The kit just resurfaced during a recent move and I'm actually curious now to see the date code on the belt-TBC. I was excited at first but after doing some research, as I'm in the market for a similar kit, I've opted for a fresher tb kit for piece of mind despite everything being new old stock. As others have stated, a fresh kit (with a hopefully newer manufactured belt among other things) is better then risking the headache of a dated timing belt breaking, leaving you stranded/likely needing valve work. Just my 2 cents.
 
Last edited:

csstevej

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Aug 12, 2004
Location
north nj
TDI
2001 golf tdi 4 door auto now a manual, mine, 2000 golf 2 door M/T son's,daughters 98 NB non-TDI 2.0, 2003 TDI NB for next daughter, head repaired and on road,gluten for punishment got another tdi 2001NB,another yellow tdi NB
I find it funny reading this….. it just seems like everyone is focused on the “ Timing belt “ …..realistically how many belts have actually snapped? I think since I’ve been on this forum maybe one….if that…. All the failures of “ timing belt “ I’ve read about are secondary affects , and are from other causes….. WP seizure , tensioner failure , tensioner being adjusted the wrong direction ( the one car I bought had this done to it ) , idler bearing failure , FOD going into the belt pathway from either a stray bolt , rock , or the failure of the acc belt. Just my observation……
 

turbobrick240

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Nov 18, 2014
Location
maine
TDI
2011 vw golf tdi(gone to greener pastures), 2001 ford f250 powerstroke
It would have been fine, imo. Donate the new old stock kit to someone with a thriftier constitution.
 

klazzic

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 19, 2019
Location
Denver
TDI
B4V, MK4 Golf
I find it funny reading this….. it just seems like everyone is focused on the “ Timing belt “ …..realistically how many belts have actually snapped? I think since I’ve been on this forum maybe one….if that…. All the failures of “ timing belt “ I’ve read about are secondary affects , and are from other causes….. WP seizure , tensioner failure , tensioner being adjusted the wrong direction ( the one car I bought had this done to it ) , idler bearing failure , FOD going into the belt pathway from either a stray bolt , rock , or the failure of the acc belt. Just my observation……
fair point about the number of belts actually having been reported as snapped. I've seen a good amount of ALH cars in my area on craigslist/online and in the salvage yard for the snapped belt reason but it's hard to say why. I din't conduct a pole...but my money is on either miss-installed and/or neglected TB interval. I've only had to do 3 timing belts and I never thought to check for a date...till now. I also never had the belt on there long enough to be in the date range that some folks warn against (true or simply speculation). I looked at the one my friend gave me and it was bought 8 years ago and has a 2011 date stamp. Doing a different key word search on google, Gates Australia and USA have different shelf life dates...go figure. AUS is 6yrs supposedly if conditions are ideal and USA states 8yrs. I'm all about saving money when I can but I've never done a valve job, and wouldn't want to deal with being stranded, the towing bill if I'm away from the metro, and the associated valve job. That's just me. I ran my IDI 1.9AAZ for years without a TB cover and perhaps I was playing a game of chance.
 

oilhammer

Certified Volkswagen Nut & Vendor
Joined
Dec 11, 2001
Location
outside St Louis, MO
TDI
There are just too many to list....
VAG timing belts rarely fail on their own. Aside from some early 1.8t engines in the Audi A4, they generally last the prescribed service interval with ease. It is usually neglect or some other component that either failed on its own or didn't get proactively replaced at the previous interval that causes problems.
 

klazzic

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 19, 2019
Location
Denver
TDI
B4V, MK4 Golf
It would have been fine, imo. Donate the new old stock kit to someone with a thriftier constitution.
I am very thrifty... That being said if I brought my car to my in-law (mechanic for more years than I've been alive) and didn't tell him about what Gates recommends, he wouldn't think twice about putting it on if it's new and looks good. To each their own...
 

turbobrick240

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Nov 18, 2014
Location
maine
TDI
2011 vw golf tdi(gone to greener pastures), 2001 ford f250 powerstroke
Great. Why don't you pay it forward and pass the kit along to someone who will use it.
 

jokila

Vendor
Joined
Dec 3, 2004
Location
Houston, Texas
TDI
2003 Jetta GLS, Manual
VAG timing belts rarely fail on their own. Aside from some early 1.8t engines in the Audi A4, they generally last the prescribed service interval with ease. It is usually neglect or some other component that either failed on its own or didn't get proactively replaced at the previous interval that causes problems.
I recall early 2000s Passat 1.8Ts had this problem where the belt service was 105k miles but they failed right before, or just after the powertrain warranty expired at 100K. If you were an unlucky owner in the latter case it sucked since you paid for it on your own.
 
Last edited:

oilhammer

Certified Volkswagen Nut & Vendor
Joined
Dec 11, 2001
Location
outside St Louis, MO
TDI
There are just too many to list....
Yep, the early engines, like I said. AEB code. 2001 brought the new style engine, the ATW was also the early style. 2001, even before the facelift, brought the newer style engines (first AUG, then AWM... which ran until the end of the B5s in 2005).

They actually updated the timing belt setup on the early engines, which required a couple other new bits as I recall. I think the ATW already had the updated parts, though.
 

Zak99b5

Veteran Member
Joined
Apr 30, 2021
Location
Albany NY
TDI
2003 Jetta TDI
Didn't the ATW also get the internal water pump?

AEB timing belt job is the easiest I've done. Swing open the lock carrier (A/C lines kinda like a hinge) and it's all right there. I'm sure a later 1.8T with internal water pump would be even easier.
 

oilhammer

Certified Volkswagen Nut & Vendor
Joined
Dec 11, 2001
Location
outside St Louis, MO
TDI
There are just too many to list....
ATW is still the old style engine... it is the last of the old style (2000 MY), and 2001 brought the first of the new style (AUG) engine. Both the ATW and AUG are a wee bit oddball. Most of the ATW is the same as the AEG, and most of the AUG is the same as the AWM. But there are some tiny differences, mostly related to the bolted on bits, not the engine proper itself.

This is why I get my panties in a bunch when people say "1.8t" and leave it at that, as there are a bunch of engine codes that would fit that, from three completely different engine families spanning several decades and a variety of VAG platforms that share nothing with one another.
 

AndyBees

Top Post Dawg
Joined
May 27, 2003
Location
Southeast Kentucky
TDI
Silver 2003 Jetta TDI, Silver 2000 Jetta TDI (sold), '84 Vanagon with '02 ALH engine
Below, is a Continental TB, over 5 years in age and something over 50k miles. .............. it survived the Water Pump locking-up. The belt did not jump time.!

I've seen several original Timing Belts well beyond 120k miles and 10 years old. I saw one at 149k miles. It was all but impossible to pick it from one with 100k miles on it. As for the other components in the kit, if they have not been exposed to water, they are fine.

Oh, keep in mind, this is the engine in my Vanagon. Top gear (4th) has roughly the same on the ground ratio as 4th gear in a Jetta. So, in reality, it has far more than 50k miles on it.

 
Top