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Discussion Starter #1
I was hit by the dreaded defective timing chain tensioner! Every 2.0TSI engine manufactured before 2012 was fitted with a defective timing chain tensioner. Mine failed and the resulting damage destroyed the entire engine. I had to buy a used engine to salvage the car.

VW has a replacement tensioner out now that replaces the defective one. They will NOT issue a recall because that would be too expensive for them. So do yourself a favor and get the replacement unit installed in your Tiguan. It might just save you over $5,000 (that's what the defect cost me!).

Carl...
 

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Gidday,

At what Km's did tis occur? Is your your vehicle serviced properly?
I have read a couple of articles where the timing chain has skipped a tooth under certain circumstances, but not due to the tensioner.
 

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Luckily, due to my persistence, the dealer changed the tensioner on my 2012 Tiguan. I believe VW should be doing this as a preventative measure anyway. If they don't, I would hire an attorney because VW is aware of the issue and has been for some time. You should not be on the hook monetarily for this.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Mine failed at 206,000 km John, and I had a perfect service record. If you google timing chain tensioner on vw's you'll find many sites where this is documented. Even NHTSA has a Technical Service Bulletin out on this issue.

Great job hhbah - how were you able to convince get the dealer to change the tensioner??? Were you aware of the problem?

Carl...
 

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My 09 has just over 82,000Km, mostly open road use.
What's the approx time involved in replacing the tensioner? Presumably similar to replacing a cam belt.
I think I'll be talking to my service agent.
Thanks for that.
 

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I have a very good relationship with the Service Manager at my dealership. He knows that I want to keep my car for at least 10 years. I've spoken to him about the tensioner issue and the problem of carbon build up around the valves. He told me about a perventatve gasoline additive that VW makes and I also have Direct Injection De-Carbon service done.

I told him that VW should do the timing belt tensioner on all cars as a preventative measure. They only way he was willing to do it was if the engine threw a code, which it did.

They actually kept my car for two days.
 

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Hi hhbah,

yes I too have an excellent long term relationship with my service manager, that's why I now travel 120 odd Km's when he moved to another VW agency.
I'm awaiting a reply from him after reading the above this morning.
I note at every service, Golf GTi or Tiguan, there is an item listed as "cleanburn fuel system cleaner" @ $10.00. I'm usually against additives, but if this is preventing carbon build up then a good thing.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
There are some sites that discuss sludge buildup as a possible cause of the tensioner failure. I disagree with those opinions, based on the tensioner design (I'm a forensic engineer who works on mechanical automotive issues and a 17 year member of the Society of Automotive Engineers). I have performed a forensic evaluation of this tensioner issue that it all comes down to the design of the retention device used on the tensioner. The retention device is a circular band of spring steel that wraps around the cylindrical-shaped portion of the tensioner. The band is designed to hold the ratcheting mechanism into the body of the tensioner (the ratcheting mechanism allows the tensioner to move in a tightening direction, but never in a loosening direction). The band is so weak that it will eventually fall off the tensioner, causing the ratcheting mechanism to fall out, and this causes the tensioner to no longer maintain tension under many engine conditions. It's plain and simply defective - if you have the old tensioner then it's not a matter of if your engine will fail, but merely a matter of when. I wish someone at VW told me about the defect before mine failed. Carl...
 

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Today I paid over $4000.00 to have my 2010 VW CC repaired due to a defective timing chain tensioner. It only had 85,000 miles on it. VW charged me $105.00 to evaluate the engine and give me this dreaded news. I asked the agent what could cause this and he told me he didn't know that maybe because I went a little long between oil changes was the cause. They wanted me to pay $1200.00 to replace the part to see it that would fix it, when I refused and get this he tried to sell me another car!!! I bought car a little over a year ago and my car payment is high enough. 3 months after buying the car most of the lights went out on the car and the trunk stopped working. A defective cable is the problem there so now to use the trunk I have to go threw back seat. I will never but another VW!!!!!!!!!! p.s. If you've had this issue please email me at [email protected] Thanks
 

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Mine blew at 67k and destroyed the entire engine. I had a 2012 Tiguan. The dealership said I was 7k over my powertrain warrantee and I'd have to pay for the entire repair, so I called VW of America. I was not very nice to VW of America when reporting this issue because when the engine failed, the car began to rapidly decelerate on the highway as it had several times during the intake manifold defect, and I was absolutely TIRED of repeatedly having this vehicle repaired- everything under the hood seemed to fail one by one after that recall. Anyway, they covered the parts and I covered the service. All in all I spent $1600 and they spent $7000. They kept my car for a week and a half, after which I promptly traded in that deathtrap for a Chevy SUV with 30k miles and a 100k powertrain warrantee. I have reported this issue to the NTSB. There has been a technical bulletin out about this problem sine 2002, and in my opinion it is far more than an inconvenience or an expense- it is a safety hazard. If VW hadn't offered to goodwill me the parts, I would have left that car on the train tracks with the keys in side of it and reported it stolen (yes this is a joke- I'd never endanger anyone's life the way VW has by shoddily designing this model).
 

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What is the cost of having the tensioner replaced? I better find out if mine was done. I just bought a pre-owned 2010 with 152,000 km's on it.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I don't know the cost, but it involves moving some items to remove the timing chain cover. The new and updated (non-defective) tensioner is cheap, so this is a job worth doing. Much cheaper than having to replace the entire engine, which is what I was forced to do after my tensioner failed.
 

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Talked to my dealer. They actually tried to talk me out of it. Said it's not a cheap job and not worth doing. Told me they've only seen one fail out of all these vehicles they've sold since 2010.
Maybe they just want to sell me a new engine later? LOL.
 

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Spoke to my dealer, the labor to remove the cover and replace it is 5.2 hours. So what's that, maybe $700 ? It might be a tad more to insert a new tensioner. My dealer also said that they've only seen 2 engine failures due to this defect. FYI there is a service bulletin (12-15-01), dated July 23rd, 2012, that addresses this problem and the fix (new tensioner if the engine isn't trashed by the time it gets to them), and it has a photo of the old tensioner. Check out https://youtu.be/mzQIpyxkhaA for more details.
 

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Spoke to my dealer, the labor to remove the cover and replace it is 5.2 hours. So what's that, maybe $700 ? It might be a tad more to insert a new tensioner. My dealer also said that they've only seen 2 engine failures due to this defect. FYI there is a service bulletin (12-15-01), dated July 23rd, 2012, that addresses this problem and the fix (new tensioner if the engine isn't trashed by the time it gets to them), and it has a photo of the old tensioner. Check out https://youtu.be/mzQIpyxkhaA for more details.
Update: Discovered the inspection procedure in another well-known VW forum, simply involves putting the car on a lift, probably having to remove a hose, remove a rubber plug, inspect the tensioner (may need a mirror), replace the rubber plug (a dealer may insist on a new one, about $7 US), replace the hose. Total labor charge was 0.4 hours (about $54 at my dealer in Southern California). The good news for me was that I have the new model tensioner. My build date is 11 December 2011. Another forum contributor has a 2012 Build date Nov 2011, he had the old tensioner.

Note that the build date may give a clue as to whether you have a old or new version, but it really depends on when the ENGINE was assembled, and whether or not the transition to the new part was hard (remove the old ones from the production line, replace all with new ones) or soft (use the old ones until they run out). This is especially true for those owners in the transition period like myself.
 

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Your date line sounds accurate. My 2012 Tiguan build date was Sept 2011 and it had the old style tensioner. I had it changed.
 

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Crawled under my tig a few minutes ago. Have an 09 so assuming I need to replace the tensioner. All I could make out was MR7. Is that enough to know it's the version that needs to be replaced or is the new version also MR7?

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G920A using Tapatalk
 

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Crawled under my tig a few minutes ago. Have an 09 so assuming I need to replace the tensioner. All I could make out was MR7. Is that enough to know it's the version that needs to be replaced or is the new version also MR7?
"2009" is enough to know that, unless you bought the car used and have a maintenance record of it being swapped out, it has the old style. Cost will be about $1500, and with all VW used car values in the tank, you might want consider your next step.
 
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