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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
hi – I am a brand-new member and looking for some advice. My wife has a 2003 turbo beetle and this morning on her way to work the timing belt apparently broke. According to my local VW dealer they feel that the best course of action is to install a new belt with all of the appropriate pulleys and related items at a cost of around $1400 and they can determine if there was any damage to the valves or pistons. Of course the repair for that should it be necessary could be well over $5000. My question to the group is does it make sense to have to spend $1400 to put on A new belt and all the related parts before they can tell me whether or not there's any damage? I would've assumed that a VW dealer would have some type of a viewing device or something that they could use look down into the cylinder to see if there were any bent valves hanging down. Bottom line – is this the normal protocol? it just seems A crazy amount of money to spend just to be in a position to find out that I need to spend another $5000. At the same time if it is pretty much assured that there would be valve or piston damage wouldnt it then make sense just to go ahead and skip the timing belt repair and fix the damage and very simply put on the new belt when the engine is reassembled? By the way – the car has about 95,000 miles and is in good shape otherwise.
 

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Wife's 01 1.8T mechanic
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Your dealer is 100% wrong. Not only that, $1400 is severely overcharging for a simple timing belt service (by at least $400, even for a dealership). I'm sorry to tell you that the engine has been damaged internally. The head must come off for inspection. There will be bent valves, and there might be head or piston damage. DO NOT take it to the dealer. Go over to the TDIClub.com forums, and look for the list of "Gurus". These are independent garages that specialize in diesel VWs, and the 1.8T is easy to work on compared to the diesels. They will be able to handle your job, easily. All the gurus come highly recommended by member reviews. Any should be able to give you detailed quote, and they'll be able to confirm my keyboard diagnosis.
 

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Rescued Beetle
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Agreed!

I agree with turboturbo, it's an interference engine so when the timing belt goes, you get bent valves and worse. If it's worth it to you to fix it, don't go to a dealer. They are trying to get all the $ they can from you for some reason. Best of luck!
 

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I guess; the question is, do you want to keep the car and for how much longer do you want to drive it and keep it in top running condition? That decision: can help you decide what to do going forward.

Prices for the main parts needed for the repair; have come down lately! You can get a rebuilt head in the $600-$800 and complete timing belt kits with water pump and everything you need for about $275. Head gasket and head bolts, etc. and other a sundry items, would be extra on top of those items...

Here are some links/examples; of sources for the above parts:

VW BEETLE 1.8 20 VALVE REBUILT CYLINDER HEAD VOLKSWAGEN

VW Beetle Timing Belt - VW Beetle Timing Belt Kit - 1.8T

Rock Auto has a FULL head gasket sets: Victor Reinz and FELPRO; around $100 and head bolts, Victor Reinz and FELPRO about $20-$25.

With the sky high prices; the VW dealer is quoting, you could get a rebuilt long block or a used engine cheaper! Just a thought; depending, on how long you plan on keeping the car! :)

Audi and Volkswagen Standard Engines

Check out this thread; to see what is involved as a DIY and what prices are for everything needed to do the job:

http://newbeetle.org/forums/1-8-liter-turbo/35490-bad-timing-belt-need-head-rework.html
 

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1400.00!? wow...I have an 04' that I just had done a couple of months ago. I bought the timing belt kit, with all the parts needed, from Blauparts for 280.00 and a local mechanic installed it for a little over 300.00. There are some other places online that sell kits as well. I was very satisified with blauparts. They were really helpful.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Everyone - Thanks so much for your insight and input. I found a local 'guru' from the list and spoke to him this morning. I will be towing the car there later today. He definitely put me at ease both in terms of potential cost and his approach. Prior to getting your input my thought was that the car was toast ($1,400 for a timing belt and then $5,000 or so for the actual internal damage repair) which made zero sense regardless of the condition of the car but the person I spoke to at PD Autowerks in Winchester, Va had a much better understanding of what might be needed and discussed numerous options in terms of what could be done based on what he found. He did say that if the car was in motion then there would be some form of damage 100% of the time and that putting on a belt beforehand to determine the extent of damage was theft in his opinion (mine too...) so basically the plan is to get the car towed to him, have the head removed and then see what is needed from there. It still won't be an inexpensive repair but the potential range is far more reasonable than what I was looking at.

Thank you all again!
 

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Hey, glad you found a good independent VW shop; PLEASE keep us posted as the troubleshooting and repair progresses. More and more people are going to end up in your scenario; so, any info you could provide from your experience, can help other members here... who may end up in your situation! Keep us in the loop! Thanks! :)
 

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Older but not Wiser
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I am a service advisor at a VW dealership here in dallas, and we charge $850-900 for a timing belt, water pump, rollers, and tensioner job.

i highly recommend that you take it to another shop if you wnat to save money because the dealership will charge for a tear down and that costs a lot of money. there is no doubt you have internal damage.

just my .02 -oh and i used to be a VW Tech for the same dealership.

-jd
 

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Dude you are about to be up-sold big time. I'm not saying that all the dealership service advisors are crooks( No offense 007), but since I worked as one and as a service assistant mngr I will tell you that we had quotas to make and if we didn't we'd be out of a job.(They'd be interviewing people while you were there still working and smile at you the whole time)
Here is how this is going to go down !
The guy will pop you for the timing belt and all the other crap that's in there...then the tech will start the car or attempt to only to find out that it has no compression :dunno: Gee I wonder why !?
Because your engine is an interference engine , that's why!!
So now he's going to say " I'm sorry but the timing belt wasn't the only problem..it looks like there's internal damage and we're going to have to open it up and see whats been damaged. It's going to be 3-4 hrs for a tear-down and what ever we'll find inside we'll report back to you. If you choose to do the work with us that tear-down price will be included in the final total, so you wont be charge the labor + the tear-down.Before I can start I'll have to have your ok for the tear-down first !"

Or it could be that this is a new guy and he's never wrenched or knows anything about cars or these cars and he never confronted the tech and told him to at least shove a camera down the spark plug tube and look at the valves.

You see honest service advisers that know what the hell they are doing will be up the techs ass to make sure he does his job right and not make him have to go back to the customer a second time to tell him that after you just spent 1200 dollars that did not make your car run. Because lets face it, after 1200 dollars you're going to be tapped out right? and you wont have the extra 2000+ for a top end rebuild.

If this was in my shop I'd take the adviser and the tech to the side and ask them which one of them would like to pay for the wrong initial diagnosis ?
 

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Yeah so chances are pretty good that all the exhaust valves are bent.

I work at a VW indy repair shop and that is about what we charge for this job: using high quality parts and doing everything, seals, crank and cam, water pump... complete job.

Yes, it can certainly be done cheaper; however, I do see about 6 to 8 cars a year that someone cheaper tried to put a timing belt on a 1.8t and ends up coming back to us to have it redone.

Yeah. That is what I would do next is stick a bore scope down the spark plug hole. You cannot see the valves but you might see marks on the pistons where the valves hit, or you might see nothing and it could still have bent valves. I would just start preparing for worst case now and expect to find some bent exhaust valves.

If your wife was going slow or had the car out of gear you might have dodged a bullet, but if she was traveling at any speeds and just let it grind to a stop there is likely damage. However, don't ever seem much more than bent exhaust valves.
 
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