2002 VW Jetta A4 ALK Timing Belt Replacement using the "Mark and Pray" Technique and No Special Tools - June 2007.

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My 2002 Jetta GLS TDI.

Ok, The dealer lied. Last week I discovered the timing belt in my 2002 Jetta TDI had never been changed and the car had 112,000 miles on it. That's 40% over the recommended limit.

I replaced the timing belt using the Mark and Pray technique.

Since you could not be here to see me do this easy procedure, I thought I would post the photos on the marking and reinstalling of the belt by a handy guy, me.

CLICK HERE: This is an excellent link of how to replace a timing belt in an VW A4, ALK, 1.9 Liter TDI engine using the proper method and special tools and all.

Email me with any questions or comments
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But, the technique I am about to show you below is not the offically approved methodology
for timing belt replacements. However, I have successfully used it, and I do no proclaim to be the best mechanic, just a cautious one and have had success with it. I carefully read the publication above many times before deciding to do it "my way". I understand the all the risks and how foolish it would be for me to make a mistake and ruin my engine by foolishly doing ill-advised things to my engine. To me this was not risky, at all.

UPDATE - 6/22/2010 - Engine still running strong at 165K miles. Car runs great...

FYI: I use Mobile 1 Oil AND Mobile 1 ATF (Multi Vehicle Formula) transmission fluid. The Jetta lost it's reverse and had a rough shifting problem. Both the VW dealer and premier Transmission shop in the area said my transmission was toast and needed to be replaced... that was over 35,000 miles ago. I flushed it with Mobile 1 ATF (MVF), then I drain and refill pan twice a year to maintain the fluid. Still running and shifting well.

Let's begin the Timing Belt Replacement project.
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2002 VW Jetta TDI 1.9 Liter Engine - A4 - ALK

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Here we go! Step 1 (further steps aren't really going to be numbered, but thought I could begin with a #1 ! :)

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Step 1: Using a spring clamp pliers or other tool, remove the intake tube connecting to the EGR/intake manifold

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Remove the coolant reservior hose clamp

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Remove Connector

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Bend coolant hose back around and secure as shown in photo

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Remove the two phillps screws securing the reservior

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Use a 5 mm allen socket to remove power steering fluid reservior.

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Remove Fuel Hose clamps (slide them up the neck of the hose)

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I made plugs using a piece of dowel rod and electrical tape - A pencil might have worked if I was desperate.

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Cap or plug the fuel lines

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Bend Fuel Lines back and run through the oil dipstick to hold them out of the way.

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Lift coolant reservior out of its resting place and run it's black hose under and around the power steering fluid lines

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Place reservior onto towel on the fender

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Remove the timing belt cover

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Notice where the belt runs on the injection pump pulley

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Jack up car with floor jack and place on jack stands

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Remove intercooler pipe that comes downward off the turbo.

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Remove nut holding box to frame using a 10mm socet

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Remove side engine cover from car by turning the retainer clips counter clockwise with a screwdriver.

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Retainer clip number 2.

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Use the clamp pliers and remove the clamp on the intercooler and remove the whole duct assembly.

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Remove the Serpentine belt using the tensioner tool or short 16mm

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Relieve the tension on the serpentine belt tensioner and remove the belt.

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Rotate engine to find Top Dead Center. I used the socket wrench and breaker bar on the cam bolt and a 22mm wrench on the injection pump bolt and pulled them towards me slowly and surely while looking for the TDC indicator on the flywheel.

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Look through the inspection "window" for the stamped indicator on the flywheel. The indicator is a line with a circle stamped on it shown in photo.

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Place jack under oil pan to suport motor while the bracket gets removed

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Remove the steel engine mount alignment plate that connects the body to the engine mount using a 13mm socket.

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Remove the four bolts connecting the engine mount to the body compartment. Remove the mount from the vehicle.

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Bolts removed so far.

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Raise engine slightly with the jack, and remove the center bolt holding the engine mount bracket to the engine.

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Remove the second of three bolts holding the engine mount bracket to the engine.

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Remove the third of three bolts holding the engine mount bracket to the engine. You can't see it in the photos (Can't get camera back there), but you can see where it is by inspecting the rear of the bracket.

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Remove the 5 bolts holdaing the upper and lower timing belt covers with a 10 mm socket.

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Remove upper cover. Lower cover was already removed for this picture.


Here's where we Mark the pulleys and belt.


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Using white paint, I marked the Cam pulley to the back plate so that I could detect any pully movement.
With red paint, I marked the Cam Pulley tooth valley to the belt tooth. I marked the back of the belt with a C (for Cam)

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Using white paint, I marked the Injection Pump pulley to the back plate so that with a quick visual inspection I can determine if it has moved at all during belt removal or reinstallation. (This is the purpose of marking things to "SEE" if they move!)

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With red paint, I marked the Injection Pump pulley tooth valley to the belt tooth. I marked the back of the belt with an I (for Injection Pump)

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Using white paint, I marked the Cam pulley to the back plate (this is another mark on the same pulley).

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Using white paint, I marked the Crankshaft pulley to the engine. With red paint, I marked the Crankshaft Pulley tooth valley to the belt tooth.

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Use tensioner tool to release tension from the timing belt.

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Remove upper timing belt guide roller

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Remove large belt roller

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Shows the Belt roller removed

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There's the water pump which we will remove in a bit.

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Remove the nut from the tensioner and remove tensioner from post.

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Remove timing belt from Cam Pulley/Sprocket

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Remove timing belt from Injection Pump Pulley/Sprocket

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Slip timing belt around behind the engine mount bracket.

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STEP BACK: See, with the engine mount bracket out of the way, there really is plenty of room to work between the engine and side wall.

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STEP BACK: Antoher photo of space. Shows engine supported by floor jack to raise and lower engine to access some bolts.

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If desired, remove engine bracket. With bolts removed, it easily drops right out on its own if you just lower the engine a bit.

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Remove the 3 10mm water pump bolts and pull the water pump out of the housing.

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Catch the fluid that spills out in a clean container just in case you need to filter and reuse the fluid - hopefully you have a liter of replacement fluid.

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This is the complete Metalman timing belt replacement kit shown.

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Transfer red marks to new belt using chalk (I am using pink chalk) starting with the crank shaft mark

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Lay belts on top of one another to count teeth and visually observe the teeth are aligned. Mark the Cam position with pink chalk and write a C onto the belt.

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The final belt mark, for the injector pump should be made as shown.

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From the top, load timing belt downward into the access area.

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Reposition engine mount bracket and slip one edge of timing belt around the bracket.

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Shown: Bracket being moved into position

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Align Cam mark on belt to red mark on Cam pulley. Clamp or tape the belt to that position to help hold it in place.

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Align Injector Pump mark on belt to red mark on Pump pulley.

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Top view of new belt placed on Cam and Injection Pump Pulleys.

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Slip belt over Crankshaft Pulley/Sprocket and align red marks and pink marks

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Use a 1/4" drive socket to hold belt onto crankshaft pulley/sprocket. Remove socket once belt is secured in place...later.

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Place tensioner on tensioner post.

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Position engine bracket.

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Reinstall large lower roller tighten and torque.

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Reinstall small lower roller tighten and torque

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Reinstall small upper roller tighten and torque

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Tighten belt tensioner with the tensioner wrench until the indicator shows proper position and tighten and torque the nut.

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Lower timing belt cover shows signs of belt dust. Wipe clean and reinstall.

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Double check all mark alignments. Crankshaft marks are aligned

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Double check all mark alignments. Cam marks are aligned. Red to Pink for belt to pulley mount and on the pulley postion, white to white

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Double check all mark alignments. Injector Pump marks are aligned. Red to Pink for belt to pulley mount and on the pulley postion, white to white

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Reinstall upper timing belt cover.

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Reinstall lower timing belt cover.

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Insert new mounting bolt and torque and turn 90 degrees.

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Raise or Lower engine until center engine mount bracket bolt hole is above the body side mounting area.

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Lower engine slowly watching to be sure you do not pull and vaccuum lines out from above the engine.

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Install new motor mount brack bolt and torque and turn 90 degrees.

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Attach Harmonic Balancer

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Torque Harmonic Balancer

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Place the new serpentine belt into the access area.

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I used a small spring clamp to hold the belt onto the injector pump pulley for a while.

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If you are like me, you will Spend several minutes trying to remember the belt routing pattern.

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Once the belt pattern is determined, the tensioner is retarded and the belt is slipped over the final pulley.

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Reroute the coolant reservior tank lines and place the reservior back into its original position.

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Unplug or uncap the fuel lines an reconnect them to the proper fittings. See color coding in hosing to reconnect correctly.

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Uncap and reconnect the coollant overflow line to the reservior. Be sure you add fluid back into the reservior before turning the engine over by hand.

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Reatach the power sttering fluid reservior to the engine mount.

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Reconnect the intercooler hose.

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Reconnect the intercooler pipe.

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Turn motor one revolution by hand to be sure you got it right. NO INTERFERENCE ALLOWED.


With key in ignition, turn over engine for a couple of short bursts. Then, inspect timing belt for positioning. Start car and let it run for a moment then shut it off. Check belt position again. Replace upper timing cover.


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Here is the Tensioner wrench I made in about 5 minutes using a piece of steel and two hardened 3mm bolts I found in my garage.
I used the new tensioner to determine where to drill the holes for the small bolts shown.

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Another picture of the tensioner wrench