Paul’s DIY Timing Chain Guide for 2.0T (Volkswagen MK6 EA888 Gen 2)

» Is this guide for my car? If your engine bay looks similar to this –it is for you. If you only want to replace the Timing chain tensioner instead of the entire timing chain assembly, this is also the guide for you.
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I – Parts and Tools

Fixing the MK6 (EOS/CC/Jetta/Golf/Passat/Tiguan) TSI 2.0L timing chain issue is definitely one hell of a job –and naturally it requires a hefty list of tools, parts, time, oxy and a lot of patience. They don’t just charge $900 (tensioner only) ~ $2,200 (timing chain assembly) at the stealership and behind it for no reason.

When you are met with those dreadful P0016 and P0341 error codes every time you start your car, life gets depressing pretty fast. Folks with the older/faulty chain tensioner probably have it worse because you guys are driving a ticking time bomb that is in the matter of “when”, not “if” whether it will blow.

So with that beind said, I’ll do my best to simplify this complex repair job as practically as possible. And I hope you will see that throughout the article. If you have suggestions, or find anything confusing / missing, let me know in the comment section or on our VW EOS group and I’ll get to it. If you find missing body parts on the other hand, call Saul or better sell this car to someone in Ozark.

Anyway, I shall categorize the parts and equipments that you should need into two section, Essentials and Optionals –one you should really own to get through all the works smoothly and successfully while the others would be great to have but who knows. I own every piece in this list so you can rest assured that I’m not recommending some unncessary intergalactic bullshit from other multivese.

At the end of the day, the big challenge from this repair isn’t technical difficulty but a lot has to do with impatience. If things get hard, take a break and come back fresh to tackle the problem.

A. Essential Items for TSI 2.0L Timing Chain Replacement

A. Essential Tools and Hardware

Pair of Jack stands with Anti-slip
Hydraulic Aluminum 3-ton Floor Jack
Extendable Dual-head Ratchet
Flexible Head Ratchets
Serpentine Belt Toolkit
24″ Breaker Bar
Mechanics Tool Set (122 pcs)
Hose Clamp Pliers + Pick Set
Engine Support Bar
Carabiners rated ~5000lbs
Low-profile Triple Square Bit set
Socket Extension set
Long Arm Ball-head Hex Allen Key set
Utility Scrapper
Digital Caliper
Timing Chain Toolkit for VW TSI Engine
Oil Drain Pan
Heavy-duty Zipties
Combination Wrench Set
Liqui Moly 5w-40 Engine Oil
*use 0W-40 if you are in colder climate zone.
Permatex Oil-Resistant Gasket Sealant
Permatex Anti-Seize Lubricant
1/2″ 27 mm Deep Impact Socket
*only buy this if you replace the lower timing chain
3x different sizes Torque Wrenches 1/23/81/4
Hex Bit Socket Set
Timing Chain Kit —includes Guides, Chains, Tensioners, Crankshaft Sprocket
RockAuto / ECSTuning
Crankshaft Harmonic Dampener TTY Bolt WHT009475
Quantity: 1x
Bracket to Body (Engine Mount) Front TTY Stud Bolt N91029602
Quantity: 1x
Bracket to Body (Engine Mount) Back TTY Bolt N90596906
Quantity: 1x
Bracket to Engine M12 TTY Bolts N10701501
Quantity: 3x
Engine Bracket to Body Bracket (Engine Mount) M10 TTY Bolts N10552402
Quantity: 2x
Lower Timing Chain Cover bolts + Exhaust Cambridge Bolt N10029205
Quantity: 16x
Lower Timing Chain cover Amazon (OEM) / ECSTuning (Genuine)
*OEM cover is cheaper but may not have TDC triangle marking for future reference.

B. Optional Equipments, Hardware and Upgrades

Loctite Blue
Creeper Pad
Secondary Floor Jack or existing Emergency Roadside Crossjack
Liqui Moly MOS2 Anti-friction Engine Treatment
*I use this to soak new chains, but if you want to use engine oil it’s fine too.
Cordless Impact Wrench
*Mainly used to take off lug nuts and crankshaft bolt.
LED Lighting Kit
Impact Socket Set
VW Purple Coolant Concentrated
*You may lose some coolant during the disassembly process, it’s recommended to have this in case you need a top-off.
Any bolts and o-rings listed here can be reused from the orignals, unless they are damaged. Then you can come back to this and know what to find.

Upper Timing Chain Cover Gasket + Front Seal (06H103483C)
Cambridge inner o-ring WHT007212B
Cambridge 06H103144K (include inner o-ring WHT007212B)
6x Cambridge Torx Bolts N10470703
2x Torx bolts (N10554005) for Upper Timing chain tesioner
N205 Solenoid Vale 06H109257C
Turbo Muffler Delete kit
Street Density Motor/Trans Mount Kit

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II – External Parts Disassembly

1 – Preparation

An important aspect that we often overlooked is decent lighting during the repair job. Take your time to set up a clean and bright work area so you can avoid frustration down the road. I learned it the hard way when my eye-fatigue quickly led to huge mistakes where I totally regret two seconds later.

Another significant step you must do is jack the car up properly for this particular repair.

This is quite vital for your safety as well as to avoid unexpected expenses. Your interactions with the engine during this repair requires pulling, pushing, jerking stuffs from the top to the bottom of engine block, sometimes with great force. You need a strong support so you don’t find your engine sitting on the floor after break, or it funnily falls on you while you are under and then you wake up dead.

Once you got that down, time to take out a T15 Torx and 13mm wrench socket. I happened to have this dual-head ratchet so it saved me a bit of time.

Go ahead and remove the undercarriage Splash Shield (1Q0825237B for the EOS).

While you are under, move on to the passenger side fender liner. Remove these bolts:

There are two more at the bottom.

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2 – Remove Turbo Outlet Pipe

With the fender liner removed, you’ll have access to the Turbo Outlet Pipe and its coupling hoses. Yours might look at little different to mine, but the removal process will be practically similar.

On the far up left side of the pipe (back), there is an U-shape bracket with notch that you can stick a flat screwdriver in and pry it off.

You’ll see the same bracket again towards the front of the car.

I’m not sure if this is just me, but my two brackets are not the same size. The front one is slightly larger than the back.

Now back to the center of the pipe, you can go ahead and remove these two bolts to separate the pipe itself from the engine block.

Slowly turn each of the coupling hoses to disconnect the entire Turbo Outlet pipe assembly.

When the Turbo Outlet pipe is out of the way, you could remove this little bracket as well.

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3 – Loosen Turbo Muffler Elbow

Removing the Turbo Outlet hose will reveal the Turbo Muffler, sometimes known as the Turbo Elbow. There is a connector behind the turn, so you might need an angle pick tool to disconnect it due to extremely small space.

There are 3 bolts securing the Turbo Muffler to the block and you can use a variety of tools such as small flex head ratchet + extension with H5 Allen Hex bit attachment to remove them.

You won’t be able to remove the Turbo Muffler completely just yet, because the N75 Solenoid Valve (06F906283F) connector behind is blocking the way. Leave the Turbo Muffler hanging there for now.

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4 – Check whether you have an old or new TSI 2.0L timing chain tensioner (revision 06K109467K)

After you took off the Turbo Outlet pipe, you should be able to locate this little cap on the black cover right behind it. Pry it off with a flat screwdrive to open a peek hole to many nightmares.

If yours look something like the photo, you can sleep better at night now because you have the newer revision. If there is no groove and it’s all smooth, you have an older version.

The tensioner in the photo seemed more than half way extended, meaning I suspected my chain was stretched. I also confirmed this using OBD11 under Live data » Block 93.

The acceptable range for camshaft adjustment position is +/- 2° and I got a whooping 9.97°

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5 – Remove Coolant Hoses, Coolant Reservoir and Breather Hose

Now moving on to the top of the engine bay. First, let’s take it easy by disconnecting the Breather hose (1K0133366BP) from the engine.

  1. Squeeze the latch to remove the hose from its retaining clip.
  2. Use a hose clamp tool to slide the clamp further back, then use a pick tool to disconnect the hose.

Tuck it somewhere out of the way.

On the passenger side of the engine, you will see two coolant hoses on top of each other. Disconnect the top Reservoir hose first (1K0121109AK) and drain it into a pan underneath.

While waiting for the coolant to drain, you can go ahead and disconnect the coolant return hose and the coolant level sensor.

The coolant reservoir is held in place by two T15 Torx screws and one 10mm bolt.

After you took the coolant reservoir out, you can continue to disconnect the lower coolant supply hose. To avoid confusion with the Reservoir hose earlier, this bottom one has sleeve. There will be more liquid coming out, be prepared!

I also decided to cover the open end of the hose with a plastic wrap and tuck it near the firewall.

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6 – Remove Ignition Coil Packs and Spark Plugs

Press the tab on the connector to raise up the latch, then you can pull the connector back from the ignition coil. A pick tool again will make this task effortless.

After that, you will find resistance when removing the ignition coil itself from the engine. Wiggle it 1⁄8 of a turn to left and right while simultaneously apply an upward pulling pressure will help you get them out in a short time.

Each coil pack removed leaves you access to the spark plugs. It’s optional to remove these little guys but I highly recommend you do so. It’s easier to crank the engine without tension from the spark plugs, and you will be glad you have them removed now.

It’s best to use a special 5/8 deep socket with rubber insert specifically made for removing the spark plugs and an extension to fish them out. There are four spark plugs for the TSI 2.0L and you only need to remove the first one on the far left. However, I wanted to check their condition so I remove all of them.

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7 – Loosen the Oil Dipstick Housing

There are two bolts attach the oil dipstick housing to the engine block. You can use a T30 Torx to remove them.

You will not be taking the dipstick housing out just yet. We will do so after the engine-bracket mount is removed.

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8 – Remove Serpentine Belt and Belt Tensioner Pulley

I use this kit from Harbor Freight (Amazon also has it) to rotate the Serpentine Belt Tensioner and release tension on the belt in order to remove it. You will need a 17mm impact socket to turn the nut.

Once the belt is off, you will have to remove the pulley from the belt tensioner itself. This gives room to reach the cover bolt behind it later.

  • Use a torque wrench or a breaker bar equipped with the same 17mm impact socket you used earlier to remove this bolt. When the pulley is out, put the bolt back on and just hand-tighten it.

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9 – Remove Engine Mount

As you take off the engine mount, there will be nothing in place to secure the engine to the frame. Thus we need a good support system to prevent unnecessary mechanical and medical expenses. I use the engine support bar to keep the engine as stable as it could be while we work on the timing chain later.

Many folks typically would only use a floor jack with a thick 2×4 wood piece as the buffer between the jack lift-point and the oil pan, without a support bar. I find it risky because you could only rely on the sole metal oil pan to carry half the weight of the 350lbs engine besides the transmission mount on the other side.

On top of that, the engine tilts at an angle while the car is lifted so there is a potential slip away while you torque internal bolts later. I would use this method only if I need to get in and out of a job quickly such as changing engine mount, but definitely not for a timing chain replacement work.

Everybody wants to financially to be able to recover from this after all said and done.

That being said, I have a spare floorjack and a 2×4 laying around so I might as well use them as a secondary support system in case the bar fails for some reason. Utilize the emergency crossjack from the trunk if you don’t have a second floorjack or you can relocate the first floorjack for this purpose.

The setup for the support bar is basically using the included chains and equipment themselves along with a pair of rock climbing carabiners rated 5000lbs to connect to the engine lift brackets. Then you turn the wing nuts right above the red bar just enough to keep the engine in place exactly where it currently is.

Proceed to remove this bracket that holds the windshield wiper fluid refill cap (yellow circles below). Then you start remove the bolts that attach the engine mount to the body mount (orange). These stretch bolts were torqued to over 50 ft-lbs so they will require some Mana for removal.

Take out those two TTY bolts (N10552402) from the mounting bracket. These are stretch bolts and they are a one-time use. You must replace these bolts each time you remove them since they lose the grip strength significantly if reused.

There is this weird TTY stud bolt that you might need a deep impact socket to remove. You can attach socket to a flex ratchet or a breaker bar to set it loose because these engine mount bolts tend to be very stubborn. Fortunately, the bolt on the other side is just a normal flat top hex.

These are the bolts (N90596906 and N91029602) taken out of that engine mount body bracket. Lift up the mount and inspect for any wear or tear. Mine ripped a little near the top here so I ordered a set of performance motor and tranmission mounts for replacement.

You’re half way through to remove the engine mount assembly.

As you probably realize now, the engine mount assembly is consisted of two parts. One bracket attaches to the frame and the other to the engine block. They both connect together via strong TTY bolts. So you got the first part out, now onto the second.

This is pretty tricky and is the reason many people gave up. But bear with me and we can get through it in no time. I give it a year and a half.

Let’s first have a visual understanding of how this mount bracket looks like.

This mounting bracket is facing the frame and unfortunately there is almost no room for you to get a tool in there to reach those 3 bolt locations. In order to tackle bolt #1 and #2, low-profile is key and this is also what you need:

  • Short Triple Square M12 bit attached to a 3⁄8 10mm socket.
  • A short socket extension.

All tools and parts in this article are shown in Section I above. Please check that list to make sure you have purchased everything you need to do this repair successfully.

Now from the top engine bay, you need to raise you engine side a little higher. Anywhere between 1″ to 2″ using the support bar. Turn the wing nut slowly and gradually clock-wise until you can reach the first bolt through the frame.

Turn the wing nut slowly and gradually clock-wise until you can reach the first bolt through the opening on the subframe…

Or above it.

You should also be able to break off the #2 bolt all the way as well. In some case, you might not be able to get it out at first due to its head hitting the frame. But everything will come off when you loosen the third bolt.

Note that my Triple Square M12 bit kept dropping out so I wrapped a piece of paper towel around it keep it tight inside the socket.

The engine is connected to the dogbone underneath, do not lift the engine higher than you need it to be or you risk damaging it.

Now you can drop the engine lower, and go under to remove both the second and the third bolt. I find using the thin bar from the Harbor Freight Serpentine Belt toolkit (also available on Amazon) worked wonderful. Time to take that damn mounting bracket out.

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10 – Remove the N75 Solenoid Valve and Oil Dipstick Housing

Remember when you could not get the Turbo Muffler elbow earlier off due to a connector blocking the way? Now is the time for you to tackle this task with a long arm size-4 Hex key.

There two bolts on each side of the valve and I’m sorry if you have big hands. This is very challenging time indeed. But at least you can move the Turbo Muffler around to find room, take full advantage of that luxury.

While you are still around this part of the wood, you can also go ahead and gently yank the oil dipstick housing out of the oil pan. The only resistance there is, is from the o-ring itself so be very mindful. Namaste. And put a tape over the opening to prevent objects falling in the oil pan.

I guarantee if you remove the dipstick housing and leave that hole open prior to loosening N75 Solenoid Valve, one of those tiny bolts later will drop and find the perfect path right into this hole to fuck up your day in every multiverse.

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11 – Remove the Camshaft Adjuster Magnet

After you removed the dipstick housing component, you can continue to remove the Camshaft Adjuster Magnet (06J109259A). It’s held by two more T30 Torx bolt. If it looks disgusting as mine then you might want to give it a good scrap and wipe off the excess so when you reinstall it later, it will sit tight with the inner o-ring.

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12 – Remove the Upper Timing Chain Cover

Continue on to remove the black top cover (06H103269H) to reveal the upper timing chain components and all their glory. This is a good time to inspect the rubber gasket / front seal and order new ones (06H103483C) if needed.

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13 – Adjusting the crank roller to Top Dead Center (TDC)

Now that you have the cover out, you should see the Exhaust Camshaft sprocket (left side) and Intake Camshaft Adjuster sprocket (right side) as well as the main timing chain that connects them. Pay attention to the marking on both of these sprockets, but don’t touch anything just yet.

We need to get the crankshaft to a position known as Top Dead Center before we perform any sort of works on the timing chain system. This is rather the most crucial yet simple step in this entire repair job. If you fail to do this, your timing will be messed up and the engine could literally eat itself.

First, grab your ratchet + a 15/16 socket and get under the car. There are two small triangle notches on the crank pulley if you pay close attention. You need to turn this roller clockwise to eventually line it up with another triangle marking right on the lower timing cover at the 4 o’clock position. Some models also have another indicator at the 12 o’clock position.

It’s a lot easier to rotate without the spark plugs in place, hence we removed them earlier. Plus you can even shine a light into the far-left passenger side spark plug hole to see if the piston is at the highest position inside the combustion chamber. Use this photo to help you visualize the view.

The upper timing chain sprockets should start to look something like this as you get the crankshaft to the TDC position.

If you get to measure the distance correlation between sprockets with a digital caliper, you will find a range from 61 to 64mm between the Intake Camshaft Sprocket’s marking and the left side of the center chain guide mount. The second measurement is from one sprocket’s marking to the other (Intake Camshaft Sprocket to Exhaust Camshaft Sprocket), which should return between 124mm to 126mm.

  • Intake Camshaft Sprocket Marking to Center of Chain Guide Mount: 61mm-64mm
  • Exhaust Camshaft Sprocket Marking to Intake Camshaft Sprocket Marking: 124mm-126mm

If you are only here to replace the chain tensioner, it’s vital to keep these sprockets in their correct timing positions. If you are going to remove everything (chains, tensioners, guide) as what we are going to do, you will be able to adjust these sprockets later if your measurements are off by a little –in which that is indicating the metal chain is stretched.

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III – TSI 2.0L Timing Chain Internal Components Disassembly

1 – Remove the Crankshaft Roller and the Lower Timing Chain Cover

We’re ready to uncover the rest of the timing chain assembly. Grab your Torque wrench or a breaker bar + 15/16 socket and the special counter-hold tool (T10355) from the Timing Chain toolkit, we are going under.

The special tool has 4 notches that line up with the holes on the Harmonic Damper (aka Crankshaft Pulley/Roller 551231).

Apply steady pressure on the counter-hold tool and do not let the Crankshaft roller rotates at will. The better you keep it frozen, the more accurate you can install your timing chains later. Now simultaneously turn the crankshaft bolt counter clock-wise. This bolt is torqued to over 110 ft-lbs so you bet it will put up quite a fight. It’s very easy with a Torque wrench however.

If you find the handle of the tool is too short, you can attach that extension piece from the HF Serpentine Belt kit to give you more leverage like I did so in the photo. If you have no one to help you leverage the counter-hold, you can attach the extension point to the 9 o’clock direction and use the Lower control arm on the back side to prevent the movement instead.

As you remove the roller, immediately put the spacer from the Timing chain toolkit onto the crankshaft bolt, and put the bolt back on. We don’t want everything fall apart when we take off the cover.

While you are still under, we are going to remove all 15x T30 bolts that secure the lower timing chain cover.

Apply a leveled pressure on these bolts while you remove them, they are easily stripped.

There is this one bolt that hides behind the serpentine belt tensioner. Fortunately we removed the serpentine belt tensioner roller earlier, which gives you more room to access this bolt now. After some advanced geometric computations, I decided to use my knee as leverage to push the belt tensioner out of the way.

There is a specific tool used to lock the serpentine belt tensioner (T10060 A) but it costs $16 for no reason.

Even though with the bolts off, the cover is still attached pretty tightly to the engine block thanks to the sealant. Grab a flat-head screwdriver and prying it off gently from the top and then make your way down.

As you take the lower cover off, there will be some oil spilling out from the oil pan. Many people will drain their oil prior to this step, but I will flush out my oil after the chain replacement job is done. This is your call to make, whether do it before or after.

If you’re met with a stubborn cover, it will potentially bend itself near the bottom. It’s recommended to replace this cover once you take it off anyway, to avoid future oil leak issue.

Here you can see where the Timing Chain chamber sends their regards.

All numbers in the diagram below will help you visualize most of the bolts that we will be removing from the Upper and Lower Timing chain assembly.

Now you should be familiar with the two slender guides on both sides that direct a long metal chain from the lower crankshaft to the upper Intake and Exhaust gears. Use a pair of zip ties and do your best to keep the tension as perfectly intact as possible on these chain guides.

If you are here to only replace the chain tensioner, you should do this step extremely careful. Put the Zipties on these two guides as best as you can. You may need more than a couple of zipties.
You want a quick in and out between the old and the new tensioner without messing up the timing. If the tension is lost, the chain WILL skip teeth and you will have to take everything apart to fix it.

If you are going to replace all the chains and guides anyway, you still should put a ziptie on these guides to keep things nice and neat where they are as you work your way to dissemble components around them.

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2 – Remove Oil Pump Chain Tensioner

Let’s compress and lock the oil pump chain tensioner.

Compress the left side of the rail guide as far right as you possibly can, until the little hole on the guide itself (1) passes over the metal clip (2). This allows you to slide a pin from the Timing chain toolkit into that hole thus locking the tension that applies to the oil pump chain.

Now it’s safe and easy to get the Oil Pump guide tensioner out with a T30 Torx bit.

Lift the chain off the crankshaft sprocket and settle it kindly in the oil pan cave right below. It is not necessary to replace this chain.

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3 – Remove the Camshaft Bridgeskip this step if you only want to replace the timing chain tensioner.

Now let’s remove seven T30 Torx bolts from the cambridge (06H103144K) above by the upper timing chain gears.

Clean out the oil residual insde these bolts’ heads. Oil will make you strip the head easily, especially if the previous mechanic torqued them with an impact driver.

When you take a peek behind the cambridge, you will see the camshafts themselves. There is a notch on each of the two camshafts where you can stick a 18mm/19mm wrench in, to either counter-hold or make small adjustment on the sprocket’s timing.

Within the large opening of the cambridge, you should see the Camshaft Timing Solenoid (aka N205 valve, 06H109257A). You need to remove this valve before you can take the cambridge off. And in order to do that, you will need the special assembly socket (T10352) from the Timing chain toolkit.

Use a 18mm wrench to prevent the camshaft from turning and blow up your timing precision, turn the ratchet equipped with the special socket CLOCK-WISE to break the valve loose.

The N205 Solenoid is a left-hand thread, you must turn it clock-wise for a successsful removal. Also do your best to keep the timing gears from turning too much or you risk setting your timing way off from TDC.

There are reports from other MK6 owners that a defective N205 Valve is also another cause for P0016 error code. Give it a throughout inspection, check if anything stuck or having restricted movement; especially the center pin. I highly recommend replace it with a new one while you are here.

Carefully slide the cambridge of the camshafts. Both sides must come out evenly to avoid damage to the shafts.

The cambridge is under tension from the timing chain. If you find it impossible to remove it right now, continue on to the next step where we’re going to remove the chain tensioner. Once the tensioner is off, you may find it easier to remove the cambridge.

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4 – Remove Upper Timing Chain tensioner

When people say they have an old timing chain tensioner and need replacement, they often refer to the Upper Timing chain tensioner.

There are two tensioners sitting next to each other, the Upper timing chain tensioner (1) is right above the Lower timing chain tensioner (2). Use a T30 Torx to remove the two bolts that attach the Upper timing chain tensioner (1) to the block. Skip the Lower timing chain tensioner (2) for now.

Then you can use a pair of pliers to gently pry it off.

If you are here to replace the Upper timing chain tensioner only, you can go ahead and install the new one now. After that, head straight to Closing up Timing Chain Compartments. Otherwise, continue further on this disassembly journey.

The Upper Timing chain tensioner (06K109467K) and two N10554005 Torx bolts.

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5 – Remove Upper Timing Chain Guides

With the Upper timing chain tensioner off, you should be able to remove the cambridge much easier if you could not do so earlier. Behind the cambridge are the holes for the 6 of the 7 bolts that attach the cambridge to the block earlier. We will utilize these holes for installing the gear lock pin (T40267) from the Timing chain toolkit.

Spread some oil on the bare part of the lock pin’s bolts and then secure the device to the block using the existing hole pattern. You can slide the lock in and out to stop the gears from rotating. If the teeth don’t line up, use the 19mm wrench to slightly adjust the shaft.

When the Intake Camshaft sprocket is locked, then it’s time to cut ties.

Now from the bottom, use a T30 Torx to remove the right chain guide that’s secured by 2 bolts. Then you can slide the guide down to remove it.

There is only 1 bolt that holds the left chain guide.

The last chain guide is the top-mounted. You can stick a flat screwdriver in and pry it off. It’s a lot harder than it looks, especially when everything is greasy and slippery.

Install the second lock pin for the Exhaust Camshaft sprocket, then remove the entire Upper timing chain by dropping it down from the top.

If you only intend to replace the Upper timing chain components, this is the end of the Upper timing chain disassembly and you can go ahead to installing the new guides and upper timing chain.

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6 – Remove Lower Timing Chain Components

If you planned on replacing the Lower timing chain components, you absolutely did not know what you signed up for. So let’s get right to it.

You need a 27mm deep socket and an extendable/long ratchet to reach the Lower timing chain tensioner. You should be able to remove it this way:

The Lower Timing chain tensioner.

There are 1x medium-length chain, 3x chains guides and a total of 5x bolts for the rest of the Lower timing chain assembly.

Note that there are 3 markings on the chain, and each one is about 15 links apart.

If your Timing chain replacement kit has a new Crankshaft sprocket, you can follow the next section to replace it after you have these guides removed.

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7 – Replace the Crankshaft Sprocket

I’m replacing this Crankshaft sprocket so I took it off for the new one. Remember to put the crankshaft bolt back on once the replacement is in place.

In the front of the Crankshaft sprocket, there is a triangle keyway that marks the fitting for the Crankshaft Harmonic Damper (551231) which we removed earlier. It’s shown in the yellow circles above. You need to keep this in mind so you know there is only one way for the Harmonic Damper to fit snuggly in later when we reinstall.

When you remove the current Crankshaft sprocket, there is also another notch in a similar fashion –which means the Crankshaft sprocket can only go onto the crankshaft correctly one way and no others (green rectangles). Be sure you pay great attention to this detail to avoid grave mistakes.

Here’s a quick illustration straight from ElsaWin.

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IV – MK6 Timing Chain Replacement

(Optional) Soaking the New Chains and Lower Timing Chain Tensioner

Many indie shops I know put the new chains on directly as they often rush through the job, but I prefer to take it slow and give these chains a coat to protect them on the first dry start.

I soak the new chains in Liqui Moly MOS2 Anti-friction Engine Treatment; and the Lower Timing chain tensioner which is driven by hydraulic, in engine oil.

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2 – Setting up new Lower Timing Chain and Guides

It is a narrow space to get your eyes on these gear and sprocket, but do your best to get to them. These components reside on the right handside of the lower timing chain compartment.

Use your finger to rotate the intake-side balance shaft gear until its yellow mark sits between the two dots of the sprocket below it. It may take up to 7-8 rotations to get these indicators lined up properly.

It is very important to keep this balance shaft’s yellow triangle marking perfectly fixed exactly where it is. NO MOVEMENT whatsoever –which is right between the two dots. If it rotates off by a tooth when you try to set up the rest of the chain, you will experience engine vibration during idling.

The yellow arrow above indicates where the first dark color-coded link on the Lower timing chain (medium-length) will go on. There might be a shorter chain in your replacement kit that is for the oil pump, but we don’t need to change that one.

Now this is what you have been waiting for: it is time to put the chain on!

Each dark-colored link on the chain must line up accorndingly with a marking on the sprocket. The markings are either indented circle or triangle pointing at the tooth that meets the link on the chain.

There are three sprockets in this area for you to connect them all with the chain:

  • Intake-side balance shaft (right)(#1)
  • Crankshaft (middle)(#2)
  • Exhaust-side balance shaft (left)(#3)

What if the #2 link does not line up with my Crankshaft sprocket?

The crankshaft has to be in Top Dead Center position and should not move at all. Its position influences other balance shafts, not the other way around. Now in some case as you remove the cambridge in the Upper Timing chain compartment, you might have rotate the Crankshaft so slightly that it offseted half a tooth or so. In such scenario, you can make tiny adjustments for fitting.
However try not rotate the crankshaft counter-clockwise in great extent, ever.
If you end up having to make a full clock-wise rotation of the crankshaft, so be it. Then meticulously verify it is in TDC by looking in the most far left, passenger side spark plug hole that the piston is completely shut. Sticking a long drill bit or long screwdriver in here can also help you see the up and down movement of the valve.

Once you have everything looking all nice like the photo above, we can go ahead and install the chain guides for the Lower Timing chain. I like to give each one of them a light coat of oil prior to the installation. How do you like my fried chick wings and bites?

There are three guides for you to put them up. Yet there is only one way for them to go on so you can’t go wrong with this.

Torque for all Lower timing chain guides bolts: 14.75 ft-lbs / 20 nm.
Remember to apply pressure on the marked link closest to the guide you are installing to keep it engaged in the tooth of the sprocket.

We will not reinstall the Lower Timing chain tensioner at this time just yet.

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3 – Setting up new Upper Timing Chain and Guides

Dangle your longest chain like this. Mine looks darker because it has been soaked in lubricant all day. Some day somewhere, that was what she said.

The color-coded links on the chain line up perfectly with both the Intake Camshaft sprocket marking and Crankshaft sprocket marking.

Uh oh.

The link missed the marking on the Exhaust Camshaft by a tooth! That’s it boys, it’s over. Pack it up and call the towing service we’re taking this nightmare to the stealership :(

If this happens to you, don’t panic just yet. Save it for a stripped bolt or something. When you first released the tension on the Upper Timing chain early and removed the cambridge, it caused a little movement in the shafts themselves even though you locked them with the pins. You may not even be able to engage the chain links into the teeth right now.

So first thing first, take out your digital caliper. We’re going to measure the correlation between the Intake Camshaft marking and the center top mount.

If your value is between the acceptable range of 61mm to 64mm, then you know we ought to adjust the other Exhaust Camshaft instead –or vice versa.

If your Intake camshaft is out of the acceptable range, start adjusting it first.

Use your 18mm/19mm wrench and grab on to the back of the shaft you want to make adjustments. Slide the lock pin out of the engagement point, then apply small rotation left or right to the shaft until you’re satisfied.

Then slide the lock pin back in, strap the chain on and make sure the markings line up.

If you find the rotation range is limited, try flipping the wrench.

This is the approximate reading for the correlation between the Intake and Exhaust Camshafts’ markings, locked but under no tension.

Now you can resintall the new chain guides in place. Start with the right side first, slide it up from the bottom.

In order to be able to get the left side chain guide in place, you will have to remove the lock pin.

Take this opportunity to do a final observatory inspection. Make sure all timing marks are still in their correct locations without the tensioners, all the bolts are torqued to specs.

It might also be a good time to clean up the surface of the Lower Timing chain area where the cover goes on. You can do that with a razor, but be gentle.

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5 – Installing new Timing Chain Tensioners

We just need to do a quick prep on the Lower Timing chain tensioner, by applying a thin layer of the same gasket maker you are going to use on the cover, onto the tensioner’s metal o-ring. Some models have a separable o-ring like this, some don’t.

Hand-tighten the tensioner into its location.

Next, reinstall the new Upper Timing chain tensioner in place.

If you removed the cambridge earlier, do not pull the locking bracket from the tensioner at this time. If you are only here to replace this specific tensioner instead of the entire Timing chain assembly, then you can pull that grenade pin now.

You want to simulate a portion of the tension generated by the tensioner without actually pulling the locking bracket, because we still have some works to do. So go ahead and squeeze both side guides of the Upper Timing chain together to the center and ziptie them in this position.

While you are still down here, let’s take care of the last tensioner –the one for the oil pump chain. Nothing too crazy about putting this guide back in place. Pull the pin to release the tension when you are done.

Torque for Oil Pump Guide Tensioner bolt: 6.6 ft-lbs / 9 nm

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6 – Reinstall the Top-mounted Guide and the Cambridge

With both the side guides installed, the Upper Timing chain should already tightened up. If you have a hard time trying to get the top guide reinstalled, use your wrench and slightly rotate the Exhaust Camshaft clock-wise. You should feel the resistance, don’t overextend the turn.

Here we are at the semi-final Camshafts’ markings correlation measurement reading.

Before you put the cambridge back on, give it a thorough inspection. Some people find crack that shouldn’t be there. Also give the inner circular areas (yellow) where both Camshafts go in a thick coat of oil. This will help you put the Cambridge on much easier.

Some older revision of the cambridge has a little oil screen where the red arrow is pointing at. And that part often breaks off and decides to live somewhere in the engine. If it’s ripped and not completely break off yet, go ahead and remove this screen using a precision nipper. Volkswagen have comfirmed that doing this will not affect the engine in any way but it will save you a lot of headaches in the future.

When you reinstall the Cambridge, it is extremely important to slide both sides in evenly. Do not push one side in first and then the other, doing so will damage the camshafts. If at some point you feel like it’s stuck, turn the Exhaust Camshaft slightly left and right using the 18mm/19mm wrench to aid Cambridge’s movement.

Give it a little tap with a rubber mallet at the end when you think it’s all set.

Half of the resistance you come across are from the zipties we put on earlier. Fortunately it is a whole lot less pressure than from the actual tensioner when folks accidentally pulled the locking bracket on the tensioner before they reinstall the Cambridge.

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7 – Closing up the Upper and Lower Timing Chain Compartments

Take out your 3/8″ Torque Wrench and the 27mm Deep Impact socket, we are tightening the Lower Timing Chain Tensioner for good.

Torque for Lower Timing chain Tensioner: 62 ft-lbs / 84 nm

Before you pull the locking bracket from the Upper Timing chain Tensioner, it’s worth it to go over and double check the torque on every bolts securing the chain guides once again.

Don’t forget to also cut and remove the zip ties.

Now we secure the cambridge and camshafts assembly together. A few notes that you may them helpful:

  • The little M6 bolt (yellow, N10029205) that goes on the Exhaust side of the Cambridge must be replaced, you cannot reuse the old one. These bolts are also used for the Lower Timing chain cover and they all have an oil-resistance coat that prevent them from backing out when the engine oil penetrate the thread.
  • You can reuse the other 6 bolts (green, N10470703) to secure the Cambridge. I recommend a replacement if their heads are too worn out.
  • You need the special donut socket tool to reinstall the N205 Valve (red, 06H109257A). It is left-hand thread therefore you need your wrench to counter-hold the Intake Camshaft while you make the counter-clockwise turn of 25.8 ft-lbs.

Get the final readings for your Intake and Exhaust Camshafts with the digital caliper.

When you are absolutely certain you got the timing setup as accurate as possible, then go ahead and give the crankshaft two full rotations. Doing this means there is no turning back on be able to see these timing marks lining up ever again for the next (at least) 160 rotations.

We gotta do this to make sure nothing is jammed or seized during the installation.

If you rotations are successful, it’s time to practice dry-fitting your Lower timing chain cover on-off a few times. This way you know the precision required to not mess things up when there the gasket sealant is on the line (literally).

A little side note: I ordered several Lower timing chain covers from Amazon to check their quality and whether they are up to par with the OE cover. In short, only one made it while others have issues here and there. Sometimes, Amazon ship you a used one even though you ordered new –shady people swapped their old cover, keep the new one and return their trash.

This lower timing chain cover is sold by Oxygen (JSDAN store) on Amazon. It has well-packaging, solid quality, no bent edges. However, just like most other after-market covers there is no triangle marking for the Crankshaft pulley which may make it harder to put the Crankshaft in TDC position in case you have to do another timing chain replacement in the future. If that bothers you, you can order a genuine cover via ECStuning.

To practice-install the cover, you can use both hands but they must be holding on to the front side of the cover while you quickly line up the cover’s guide holes into the two pins in the engine block.

If there is some oil accumulation in these threads, do your best to dry them out.

When it’s time to apply the gasket sealant, follow the existing tracks on the edges with a steady hand and it should come out nicely. Mine was a mess (thanks, hands!)

You have roughly 5 minutes before the sealant start to harden and 24 until it’s fully set.

It is important that you must also apply two moderate lines of sealant across these two bent areas on the block.

As far as I know, it is not neccessary to apply sealant around the bolt holes on the cover, but I thought while I was there –why not?

Follow this sequence and torque specs to secure your Lower Timing chain cover.

Here’s the chart by itself if you want to look at it closely. And in case if your Lower Timing chain cover only has 8 bolts.

Don’t feel bad to put the serpentine belt tensioner’s pulley back on. This journey is coming to an end, Frodo.

Torque for the Serpentine Belt Tensioner’s Pulley/Roller bolt is 35 nm or 25.8 ft-lbs

Next we have the N75 Solenoid Valve (06F906283F) which is one hell of a challenge to put them tiny bolts back on. Good luck, it might take over half an hour just for this simple task. Hence, instead of reinstalling the stock Turbo Muffler I decided to use an after-market Turbo Muffler Delete just for the sake of easier get-around and less air flow restriction to the turbo.

Don’t forget the very thin o-ring that goes between the Turbo block and the Turbo Muffler / Turbo Muffler Delete.

Before you put the Crankshaft Pulley (Harmonic Dampener) back onto the Crankshaft sprocket, pay close attention to the triangle keyway and make sure the pulley sit correctly.

It’s recommended to give the Crankshaft seal a light coat of engine oil prior to reinstallation of Crankshaft pulley.

If you worry whether the Crankshaft pulley gets on right, it helps to use a highlighter to leave a mark indicating where the triang keyway is located on the other side.

Moving on to the top. If you have new gaskets for the Upper timing chain cover, go ahead and replace the old ones now. Be sure the gasket sits tight and evenly into the housing.

Here are the sequence steps and torque specs for the Upper Timing chain cover bolts.

These five bolts take 9nm, or 6.6 ft-lbs of torque to tighten. That is 79.66 in-lbs if you wonder.

While you are still here, we can put the Camshaft Adjuster Magnet (06J109259A) back on as well. Don’t forget the oil dipstick housing will also be attached to this component later.

I had to come back for this componnent a few days later because the old adjuster magnet’s pin was stuck and there was evidence of oil leak. This was unexpected but on hindsight, I should have checked before putting it back on in the first place.

[Back to Index]

8 – Install the new Crankshaft Bolt, the Serpentine Belt and Oil Dipstick Housing.

Are you ready for one of the hardest step yet? Here we are going to install the new Crankshaft Bolt into the Crankshaft Pulley. This bolt takes 150nm of torque (110 ft-lbs) and an extra 90° turn to stay snugged.

You MUST torque this bolt to specs and NEVER reuse an old one. A stretch bolt loses its strength significantly once you remove it. The extra turn after fully torqued gives the bolt the yield strength it needs to secure the Harmonic Dampener.

Also, 150nm torque plus the extra turn is no joke. Be sure you double-check and triple-check your engine support bar, the floorjack supporting the oil pan (if available) seriously. You don’t want things to fall out all over while you are under.

You derseve a break after that Crankshaft bolt. But if you are still on adrenaline, go ahead and put the serpentine belt on. And then the oil dipstick housing.

[Back to Index]

9 – Reinstall Engine Mount: Lining up the Brackets.

First we start with the Mount to Engine (Block Bracket) and three new M12 Bolts (N10701501). They are stretch bolts and must not be reused.

Due to the very limited space as we all know, the trick to get the bracket and bolts in place is sliding the bracket down from the top bay. Then quickly put the two bottom bolts in and raise the bracket in its proper place, hand-tighten the bottom bolts first.

Finally you can put the upper M12 bolt in from the bay above.

Now the hard part is to torque these bolts correctly.

To get to the furthest back bolt, stick your torque wrench into the abyss. Then align the M12 bit to the bolt head properly. After that you can tighten it from the top easily.

Torque for M12 Bolts Mount to Engine (Block Bracket): 60nm / 44 ft-lbs + 90° Turn

You might have to raise or lower the engine using the support bar, combine different extension to reach the other two bolts properly. Anyway, as you have gone this far I’m sure you gained enough EXP and level to tackle this like a real pro.

Here’s the challenge: drop a comment and tell us how you did it! I probably enjoy it more than I should.

Hint in case you need for the bottom-right bolt: “It’s easier to fully torque in the near future where gravitational force shifted!”

Now we’re here at the second part of the engine mount, the body bracket (mount to body). Install the two pair of botls where one has a little stud sticking up like a morning wood.

Torque for these two bolts (using 16mm socket): 40nm / 29.5 ft-lbs + 90° Turn

You may have this little “oh shit” moment where you find out that both brackets don’t really line up neatly on top of each other anymore. Don’t worry, in many cases the engine receded a little bit when you changed its altitude and torqued the Crankshaft bolt early. Gravity also helped the cause.

So naturally, we’ll let nature correct this issue.

When the car is on the jack stands, sometimes that causes the engine to naturally falls back further to the firewall over time.

Before we let gravity influence the engine position, go ahead and put the Turbo Outlet Pipe back on. I have replaced the Turbo Muffler with the Turbo Muffler Delete and this is how it looks on mine now. Link may look at bit different at the time of your reading due to manufacturer’s revision.

Don’t forget there is the clip-on bracket for the front-end section of the Turbo Outlet hose.

I bet you remember how to put the fender liner back on and how many screws it uses. Get that done first, and put the wheel back on. Then finally you jack your car up once again but this time do it from the rear.

Don’t be afraid to that your engine might get hurt, use some force to rock the brackets into place. The holes should start to line up nicely again with the asisstance from gravity.

Install the front bolt first and tighten it to 95% of the way where you feel it snugs, but at the same time still easy to turn a little further to either direction.

These are Torque to Yield (TTY) stretch bolts, do not reuse the old ones.

Then adjust the position of the two brackets again using some squeezing and rocking movement. The second bolt should go straight in with no resistance after some wrestling between the two mounting brackets.

You should be able to line up the mounts to the point where these bolts can fall through easily and able to rotate clock-wise with little to no resistance. Be aware of cross-threading because the threads are aluminum while the bolts are metal.

In this video, I could tighten both bolt to the very last turn by hand without any excessive force or ratchet. If it does not feel right in those first rotations, you might be cross-threading –bolt probably went in at an angle– and that will destroy the threads which means a new block bracket (mount to engine) or Helicoils are in order. You definitely don’t want that to happen. It’s still fixable, but it’s a headache and time-consuming.

Double-check on the fitment of the mounts one more time, then grab your torque wrench and seal the deal.

The two bolts (C) that connects the two brackets together to form the complete engine mount assembly requires 60nm or 44 ft-lbs, and an additional 90° turn. You should align the brackets squarely and torque the far back bolt first, then finish off with the front one.

While you are here, reconnect all the coolant hoses, breather hose and the coolant resevoir just for fun.

[Back to Index]

V – Endgame

Congratulations on reaching the end of this article.

I’m sure it’s been a lot of fun and challenging moments (and frustrations) along the way. But you did it! You made it half way through!

Yes. Half way. The real party begins the second you turn the ignition. Is it gonna work? Did you fix the problem? Do you have to take everything apart and adjust again? You never know. It could be a super smooth sailing from now, or it could be worse. I just want to prepare you mentally for what to come.

However, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. I have a few notes for you before I leave you on your own.

I recommend applying some anti-seize on the spark plugs’ threads before you drop them back in.

Stripped bolts!!
During the removal of the Cambridge Torx bolts, one of them was over-torqued by an impact driver before (thanks dealership’s “professional”!) and I stripped the bolt head while trying to remove it. What eventually worked for me after several trips to different hardware stores was the combination of Harbor Freight right-angle drill and Lowe’s Grabit speedout Pro kit

No crank!! P025C error code upon ignition!

If this was a week long project, your battery might have depleted which leaves you with a bunch of error codes. The car may not even be able to start at all.

To rule out a dead battery, first try to open and close the driver door all the way for at least 5-10 times. This helps pump the fuel into the engine. Sometimes doing so gets rid of the P025C code and the car will start back up. The symptoms of this issue are long cranking noise upon ignition, engine sputtering but never finishes.

If your car’s battery is completely dead, you will hear some clacking noise followed by a total shutdown. You might lose power steering for awhile even after replacing the new battery or jump starting the car. In my case, my steering angle sensor was not responding at all, there was no communcation signal between the steering wheel and the ECU. I had to drive around the back road for thirty minutes to get the battery fully charged, let it sit overnight and the next morning all problems cleared up.

Well, I guess that’s all I have for now. I’ll add more to this section if something comes up in the comments. Best of luck on your repair!

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  1. June 14, 2023
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