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Well, I finally took on the challenge of doing my own timing belt. I bought my treg two years ago with 50k on it. Today it has 79990 and so I knew it was time for a belt. Actually, I was kind of stressing out because of the age of the belt. I know there is some debate on this site as to whether the belt can go 5 or 10 years. Nevertheless, the idea of it breaking did scare me so pushing it as far as I did had me a little worried. I would have done it sooner given its age if I had the time but I was in law school the last 3 years so I did not have much time. THe last couple months have been me playing catch up.

I also replaced the plugs last week. My coils looked great, for those considering whether to replace the coils or plugs or both. I do not recommend replacing the coils. That is unnecessary, unless your that one guy on this forum who must have used his treg as a submarine because they were beyond rusted. Mine looked nothing like that, they looked brand new. Moreover, I did not use a special tool to get the coils off. Mine came off relatively easy. Just make sure you are very careful with them. Pull straight up gently. I would usually twist gently from left to right and right to left to get them a little loose. Do this gently.


Ok, no moving on to my recent endeavor for those who plan on taking the challenge themselves or are debating whether they should change their belt.

First the cost, where I got the parts and the tools I used. Ok I just did the kit at blauparts. My car is an 04 with 80k, and I do not plan on keeping it for another 80k so I figured blau parts will suffice. Frankly, the quality of the parts from the kit did look pretty good and knowing and seeing that now, I would probably have gone through them either way.Its just easier because for the price, most of these kits do not come with everything you need. THe blau enhanced package pretty much does. Plus they allow you to rent the tools. THe tools I would say are helpful, the main ones that I used were the drill bit (although you probably have one of those at home), the timing bar, and I forget the name of the little piece that helps you to adjust one of the other dampers. Basically the timing bar helps.. not so much to keep it in time because you have to take it off to get the belt off and the new one on, but its extremely helpful to get it back into time. Once you get the belt off the left cam pops to the left and the right one pops to the right. So you need to get those aligned again. the right cam is a little tougher to twist back so I bar makes it very easy and kind of worth having. Again it can be done with out these tools, but for the 25 it costs to rent. Its far worth it. You could make the tools to but again 25 bucks or so? is it worth the time? to me no. All in it was about 480 bucks. That is a lot better than the 1400 it would have costed at an indy shop or the 2000 it would have costed at a so. cal dealer.

THe condition of my belt and moving parts.
Well whether its the 10 yr rule or 5 yr rule, or primary mileage, I do not think I would have wanted to push my belt any further. The belts itself did not look bad, the teeth were all there and there were no cracks in the belt. However, it was extremely loose. I mean a lot loser than it should have been. Your belt should be pretty tight. This thing was not. So those of you on the cusp of changing, I would recommend doing to. I think the major reason why my belt was not that tight was because my tensioner was not really working. IT was not adding any tension, it seemed as if the piston was not popping up at all. So another tip- change the tensioner. IF you go to blau that is the difference between the enhanced vs basic package. I really do not see the point of not changing this especially when you are already in there.

the challenges I had Make sure to read this before attempting the job. Read through all the forums first. Make sure you have an understanding off all the steps. This is not a job that you should just start without reading and take it step by step. Its important to read through it all first.


I did this job without removing the front clip. I just removed the fan.

For those of you planning on doing it yourself let me start off by explaining whether or not you should take it on. I would not say this is an extremely difficult task. It is a lot of work and will take your entire day. I had help in the beginning (a second hand is very helpful and also a second brain in trying to figure out how to get some of these parts out). I finished the dissassembly and did the entire reassembly myself. Well actually I had my gf holding a light for me lol or hold a hose. She is a champ. Her dad is the one that got me started.

To be honest, level of experience of this job does not need to be all that high. You need to be handy. If your a person who does not do any handy work then please do not attempt to do this job yourself. If your a person who is intermediate, you can probably do it. I have never done a timing belt myself. I will say I am pretty good at figuring things out- primarily with the help of this site.

This job ended up taking me about 10 hrs. Again, if I were to do it again, I could definitely do it much quicker, the hardest part is dissassembly. Even though its explained on many threads, some things you just have to figure out on your own. They might tell you there are two clips on the sides, but it might take you an hour to figure out how those damn clips work. I came across this problem when removing the fan.

Ok so The major challenges I had were (1) getting the fans out, (2) getting the lower timing belt cover off that covered the tensioner. These two things really sucked. The fans are actually pretty easy, but just figuring out the stupid clips on the side were a nightmare. The whole unit slides up. So do not try prying your flathead into the clips at the top. you will break those plastic clips. Its all on the sides. You need to get a flashlight, find the clips that are holding the fan to the metal radiator. Get a flat screwdriver in between the fan and the radiator where the clip is and push the flat head against the radiator. Pull up when you do this. This is where it is extremely helpful to have two hands. The key is finding those two clips, study how they work and once you figure it out, its a sinch. Not sure why i struggled so much. Getting it back on is reverse order. I actually got the radiator to rest on those clips, got my screwdriver back in between like i did when trying to get the clip to release the fan, and that help to get the fan snap back in.

The second was the lower timing belt cover that covers the tensioner. This cover is a pain getting on and off. I wish I had a better tool. There might be but everyone has had an issue with this stupid thing. There are 3 screws on the face and one on the side of the plate. I hate VW for the one on the side. I used a basic allen wrench and it took for ever. One flat turn at a time. And when it was loose enough with my fingers (very slowly because you cannot get a handle on it). Then once it gets about 2/3rds out it starts to interfere with the stupid alternator. I got hung up on this. Some guys on here grinded away at their alternator to create space. I really did not want to do this. For mine at least, the head of the screw was rubbing up against the alternator, the washer was creating the massive interference not allowing you to get it off. ITs one of those washer that are not free moving to slide up and down the screw. So we got a dremel and cut the wash to create a split in the washer and we were then able to slide the washer back down the screw so we could get the rest of the screw out. YOu will see what Im talking about once you get going on it. Knowing how to fix that problem is a major hurdle. However, you still have to use an allen when the screw gets to the alternator. Since its rubbing against it, turning the screw with your fingers is probably not going to work. Its slow, one flat at a time. We even considered removing the alternator, after seeing the job behind that, no thank you. cutting the washer seemed like a much better alternative.

Those were definitely the hardest parts. My gf's dad recommened me to do the coolant flush when I had everything apart.So once you get the thermostat off and water pump off, I basically shoved a hose into every hole until it came out some other end. I also shoved it into the hoses and waited for it to come out the engine or out another hose. Repeat in both directions until you see water coming out some end that is clean. I did it for a while until all pink was gone and for some i went back and did it again. Since it was hot it dried pretty quickly. but i wiped down all the areas. Like you definitely want to wipe down where your water pump is going to go. I wanted to make that a dry clean and flat surface. Same with your thermostat. Clean off any grease from the previous gasket. Make sure there are no chemicals like fluid on our pullies, dampers or crank. Its not good for the new belt. NOt a big deal if you wash out your system real good clean water should be coming out and that will clean everything off. But i still wiped it down. I was fearful to use any real detergents since I didnt want that to harm the new belt. It was probably being over cautious but whatever.

I used locktite on the bolts around the water pump, everywhere else I did not. I did not want the waterpump bolts to rust on in the event there was some seepage. There might be btw, in our first 50-100 miles until the paper gasket breaks in. I did not see any though.


Getting the timing belt back on. Was the last challenge. First lets discuss timing. Using the crank lock pin is probably a smart idea. I could not find the spot to put the stupid pin into so I did not. IF you see the spot, then go for it. It would not be hard to do and its better safe than sorry. I had a bit of a stressful moment because I didn't. Ill explain.

For those unaware, another person on here does a good job discussing timing but in summary, your engine has to work together so that your piston lifters and rods all are in sync. This means that if your upper cams are not in the right position with eachother and with your crank, you will likely need a new valve job or worse. This does not mean you need to freak out it just means that you need to be careful when making sure everything was in the same position as when you started. So. You should see marks lining everything up. You should before removing your harmonic balancer, Line up the mark on that with the mark on the lower timing belt cover that snaps on and off. You will see pictures of it on this forum. Also, if you see the marks on the upper cams are not lined up then do another rotation. This should be done with the timing belt on!!!!!!!! ok once you have the upper marks lined up and the crank lined up you can remove the harmonic balancer. Again, once you get that off, I used a permanant marker and marked the crank in the event it happened to move I could get it back to the right place. Well I am glad it did because when I eventually pulled the belt off the cams had tension and shifted the belt causing the crank to move a little from the mark. Yieks. I freaked out because I started second guessing my mark. Anyways. I figured it is what it is, lined it back up. I figured if its a micro millimeter off I would hope that the belt teeth would line it back into place. Im pretty sure it did. This is why the crank lock is important. Ok so to get the belt back on, I got the big timing bar, used it to bring the right side cam back to the mark because it was the furthest off, then while holding that got a 24 socket and twisted the left side back and was able to slip the bar back on. BTW i did this with the belt slightly around once side and behind the bar on the other. If you do not get the belt behind the bar, your will bot be able to get it on. You will see what I am talking about when you get to that part. So jumping ahead (do not do this with the belt off and make sure you have your car reassembled with coolant back in the system). I started my car and it make the worst banging sounds. I freaked out because I thought I screwed up the timing. The clip of the timing cover was hitting the stupid cam.. whew.. Heart jumped a few beats there.

The serp belt. Get it around the tensioner and leave the big pully at the bottom right for last, I cannot remember what that is for off the top of my head but nevertheless leave that for last. Use a socket to relieve the tension on the pully and slip it on. Its pretty easy. BE sure for the timing and the serp belt ot map out how the belt went. The timing is pretty easy to figure out and remember the serp is kind of routed weird so that one you should definitely map. I recommend mapping both though.

Lastly, I did not replace any of the seals. All of my cam and crank seals looked really good, there was not leakage around either one of them. With those, I feel like, if it is not broke dont fix it. That just seemed like opening a can of worms. The instructions did say to avoid this step if they looked good. So i went with that. You may beg to differ, not sure. I will admit though if they start leaking ill be pretty pissed having to go back through this process again. I guess im a gambler. Although I will admit, now doing it once, I think I could probably do it in 1/2 the time if I tried to rush (not recommended), or 2/3 of the time if I went at a steady pace knowing what I know now. Thats how it always goes though.

Anyways if any of you need help or have any questions just PM me and Ill do my best to assist you. Its definitely a big job, but once you complete it you will feel very accomplished knowing that you saved a good deal of money and that you simply conquered the task.
 

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Excellent write-up!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Sorry for the typos. I typed it quickly and never went back to reread it. IT seems my fingers or computer auto changes words when I happen to mis-spell. Im sure you get the point of what I was saying either way but I wish I could go back and edit my post. I feel like there is a way to do that? is there? If so How?
 

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You only get 30 minutes to edit on here! After that, the edit button goes AWOL!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Although I hate typos and grammar errors, I think I will live. Seems like to much of a hassle to correct at this point. Why does the edit button disappear? I feel like we should be able to edit our posts whenever. I think there needs to be a petition for that.
 

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If you leave the EDIT button live you can get people playing silly beggars by changing their posts after others have replied to them [usually trolls] but I think it should be left open for a bit longer than 30 minutes - it takes me that long to type some posts!!
 

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Here's a tip

Draft in Word using spell checker etc

Copy and paste to forum when happy

John

Ps I typed this on my IPhone walking to work - lucky not to be hit on a crosswalk!
 

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Great stuff gapp100, thanks for taking the time for the write-up!
 

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I am ready to do mine 87k kms and 8 years. Planing to keep car another 6-8 years so ideal time to do it. Great write up especially with details around that bolt hitting alternator.
 

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Well, I finally took on the challenge of doing my own timing belt. I bought my treg two years ago with 50k on it. Today it has 79990 and so I knew it was time for a belt. Actually, I was kind of stressing out because of the age of the belt. I know there is some debate on this site as to whether the belt can go 5 or 10 years. Nevertheless, the idea of it breaking did scare me so pushing it as far as I did had me a little worried. I would have done it sooner given its age if I had the time but I was in law school the last 3 years so I did not have much time. THe last couple months have been me playing catch up.

I also replaced the plugs last week. My coils looked great, for those considering whether to replace the coils or plugs or both. I do not recommend replacing the coils. That is unnecessary, unless your that one guy on this forum who must have used his treg as a submarine because they were beyond rusted. Mine looked nothing like that, they looked brand new. Moreover, I did not use a special tool to get the coils off. Mine came off relatively easy. Just make sure you are very careful with them. Pull straight up gently. I would usually twist gently from left to right and right to left to get them a little loose. Do this gently.


Ok, no moving on to my recent endeavor for those who plan on taking the challenge themselves or are debating whether they should change their belt.

First the cost, where I got the parts and the tools I used. Ok I just did the kit at blauparts. My car is an 04 with 80k, and I do not plan on keeping it for another 80k so I figured blau parts will suffice. Frankly, the quality of the parts from the kit did look pretty good and knowing and seeing that now, I would probably have gone through them either way.Its just easier because for the price, most of these kits do not come with everything you need. THe blau enhanced package pretty much does. Plus they allow you to rent the tools. THe tools I would say are helpful, the main ones that I used were the drill bit (although you probably have one of those at home), the timing bar, and I forget the name of the little piece that helps you to adjust one of the other dampers. Basically the timing bar helps.. not so much to keep it in time because you have to take it off to get the belt off and the new one on, but its extremely helpful to get it back into time. Once you get the belt off the left cam pops to the left and the right one pops to the right. So you need to get those aligned again. the right cam is a little tougher to twist back so I bar makes it very easy and kind of worth having. Again it can be done with out these tools, but for the 25 it costs to rent. Its far worth it. You could make the tools to but again 25 bucks or so? is it worth the time? to me no. All in it was about 480 bucks. That is a lot better than the 1400 it would have costed at an indy shop or the 2000 it would have costed at a so. cal dealer.

THe condition of my belt and moving parts.
Well whether its the 10 yr rule or 5 yr rule, or primary mileage, I do not think I would have wanted to push my belt any further. The belts itself did not look bad, the teeth were all there and there were no cracks in the belt. However, it was extremely loose. I mean a lot loser than it should have been. Your belt should be pretty tight. This thing was not. So those of you on the cusp of changing, I would recommend doing to. I think the major reason why my belt was not that tight was because my tensioner was not really working. IT was not adding any tension, it seemed as if the piston was not popping up at all. So another tip- change the tensioner. IF you go to blau that is the difference between the enhanced vs basic package. I really do not see the point of not changing this especially when you are already in there.

the challenges I had Make sure to read this before attempting the job. Read through all the forums first. Make sure you have an understanding off all the steps. This is not a job that you should just start without reading and take it step by step. Its important to read through it all first.


I did this job without removing the front clip. I just removed the fan.

For those of you planning on doing it yourself let me start off by explaining whether or not you should take it on. I would not say this is an extremely difficult task. It is a lot of work and will take your entire day. I had help in the beginning (a second hand is very helpful and also a second brain in trying to figure out how to get some of these parts out). I finished the dissassembly and did the entire reassembly myself. Well actually I had my gf holding a light for me lol or hold a hose. She is a champ. Her dad is the one that got me started.

To be honest, level of experience of this job does not need to be all that high. You need to be handy. If your a person who does not do any handy work then please do not attempt to do this job yourself. If your a person who is intermediate, you can probably do it. I have never done a timing belt myself. I will say I am pretty good at figuring things out- primarily with the help of this site.

This job ended up taking me about 10 hrs. Again, if I were to do it again, I could definitely do it much quicker, the hardest part is dissassembly. Even though its explained on many threads, some things you just have to figure out on your own. They might tell you there are two clips on the sides, but it might take you an hour to figure out how those damn clips work. I came across this problem when removing the fan.

Ok so The major challenges I had were (1) getting the fans out, (2) getting the lower timing belt cover off that covered the tensioner. These two things really sucked. The fans are actually pretty easy, but just figuring out the stupid clips on the side were a nightmare. The whole unit slides up. So do not try prying your flathead into the clips at the top. you will break those plastic clips. Its all on the sides. You need to get a flashlight, find the clips that are holding the fan to the metal radiator. Get a flat screwdriver in between the fan and the radiator where the clip is and push the flat head against the radiator. Pull up when you do this. This is where it is extremely helpful to have two hands. The key is finding those two clips, study how they work and once you figure it out, its a sinch. Not sure why i struggled so much. Getting it back on is reverse order. I actually got the radiator to rest on those clips, got my screwdriver back in between like i did when trying to get the clip to release the fan, and that help to get the fan snap back in.

The second was the lower timing belt cover that covers the tensioner. This cover is a pain getting on and off. I wish I had a better tool. There might be but everyone has had an issue with this stupid thing. There are 3 screws on the face and one on the side of the plate. I hate VW for the one on the side. I used a basic allen wrench and it took for ever. One flat turn at a time. And when it was loose enough with my fingers (very slowly because you cannot get a handle on it). Then once it gets about 2/3rds out it starts to interfere with the stupid alternator. I got hung up on this. Some guys on here grinded away at their alternator to create space. I really did not want to do this. For mine at least, the head of the screw was rubbing up against the alternator, the washer was creating the massive interference not allowing you to get it off. ITs one of those washer that are not free moving to slide up and down the screw. So we got a dremel and cut the wash to create a split in the washer and we were then able to slide the washer back down the screw so we could get the rest of the screw out. YOu will see what Im talking about once you get going on it. Knowing how to fix that problem is a major hurdle. However, you still have to use an allen when the screw gets to the alternator. Since its rubbing against it, turning the screw with your fingers is probably not going to work. Its slow, one flat at a time. We even considered removing the alternator, after seeing the job behind that, no thank you. cutting the washer seemed like a much better alternative.

Those were definitely the hardest parts. My gf's dad recommened me to do the coolant flush when I had everything apart.So once you get the thermostat off and water pump off, I basically shoved a hose into every hole until it came out some other end. I also shoved it into the hoses and waited for it to come out the engine or out another hose. Repeat in both directions until you see water coming out some end that is clean. I did it for a while until all pink was gone and for some i went back and did it again. Since it was hot it dried pretty quickly. but i wiped down all the areas. Like you definitely want to wipe down where your water pump is going to go. I wanted to make that a dry clean and flat surface. Same with your thermostat. Clean off any grease from the previous gasket. Make sure there are no chemicals like fluid on our pullies, dampers or crank. Its not good for the new belt. NOt a big deal if you wash out your system real good clean water should be coming out and that will clean everything off. But i still wiped it down. I was fearful to use any real detergents since I didnt want that to harm the new belt. It was probably being over cautious but whatever.

I used locktite on the bolts around the water pump, everywhere else I did not. I did not want the waterpump bolts to rust on in the event there was some seepage. There might be btw, in our first 50-100 miles until the paper gasket breaks in. I did not see any though.


Getting the timing belt back on. Was the last challenge. First lets discuss timing. Using the crank lock pin is probably a smart idea. I could not find the spot to put the stupid pin into so I did not. IF you see the spot, then go for it. It would not be hard to do and its better safe than sorry. I had a bit of a stressful moment because I didn't. Ill explain.

For those unaware, another person on here does a good job discussing timing but in summary, your engine has to work together so that your piston lifters and rods all are in sync. This means that if your upper cams are not in the right position with eachother and with your crank, you will likely need a new valve job or worse. This does not mean you need to freak out it just means that you need to be careful when making sure everything was in the same position as when you started. So. You should see marks lining everything up. You should before removing your harmonic balancer, Line up the mark on that with the mark on the lower timing belt cover that snaps on and off. You will see pictures of it on this forum. Also, if you see the marks on the upper cams are not lined up then do another rotation. This should be done with the timing belt on!!!!!!!! ok once you have the upper marks lined up and the crank lined up you can remove the harmonic balancer. Again, once you get that off, I used a permanant marker and marked the crank in the event it happened to move I could get it back to the right place. Well I am glad it did because when I eventually pulled the belt off the cams had tension and shifted the belt causing the crank to move a little from the mark. Yieks. I freaked out because I started second guessing my mark. Anyways. I figured it is what it is, lined it back up. I figured if its a micro millimeter off I would hope that the belt teeth would line it back into place. Im pretty sure it did. This is why the crank lock is important. Ok so to get the belt back on, I got the big timing bar, used it to bring the right side cam back to the mark because it was the furthest off, then while holding that got a 24 socket and twisted the left side back and was able to slip the bar back on. BTW i did this with the belt slightly around once side and behind the bar on the other. If you do not get the belt behind the bar, your will bot be able to get it on. You will see what I am talking about when you get to that part. So jumping ahead (do not do this with the belt off and make sure you have your car reassembled with coolant back in the system). I started my car and it make the worst banging sounds. I freaked out because I thought I screwed up the timing. The clip of the timing cover was hitting the stupid cam.. whew.. Heart jumped a few beats there.

The serp belt. Get it around the tensioner and leave the big pully at the bottom right for last, I cannot remember what that is for off the top of my head but nevertheless leave that for last. Use a socket to relieve the tension on the pully and slip it on. Its pretty easy. BE sure for the timing and the serp belt ot map out how the belt went. The timing is pretty easy to figure out and remember the serp is kind of routed weird so that one you should definitely map. I recommend mapping both though.

Lastly, I did not replace any of the seals. All of my cam and crank seals looked really good, there was not leakage around either one of them. With those, I feel like, if it is not broke dont fix it. That just seemed like opening a can of worms. The instructions did say to avoid this step if they looked good. So i went with that. You may beg to differ, not sure. I will admit though if they start leaking ill be pretty pissed having to go back through this process again. I guess im a gambler. Although I will admit, now doing it once, I think I could probably do it in 1/2 the time if I tried to rush (not recommended), or 2/3 of the time if I went at a steady pace knowing what I know now. Thats how it always goes though.

Anyways if any of you need help or have any questions just PM me and Ill do my best to assist you. Its definitely a big job, but once you complete it you will feel very accomplished knowing that you saved a good deal of money and that you simply conquered the task.
Great write up bro! Thanks 🙏🏻
 
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