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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Bought my daughter a 2002 Turbo Beetle with 110K on it, but without service records is there a way to tell if timing belt has ever been done?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for being so helpful.

It's nice to know there are still people willing to spend a little of their time, and to put actual effort and thought into their response.
 

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Well, first of all; pull the plastic timing belt cover off and take a look at the timing belt, see if it is tight, the tensioner is leaking and check the idler pulleys for wear.

Here are some basics; to look at, when inspecting the belt for wear:

Timing belt failure symptoms, causes and corrective actions | Gates Europe

Most of the time; when I have seen, a original timing belt it will have the Volkswagen logo and part number on it, unless it was replaced at the dealer at its service interval. Better shops; will put a sticker in the engine compartment and indicate when it was done last.

Because, of the potential catastrophic engine failure; that can result from a broken timing belt, failed components in the best path (idler pulleys, hydraulic tensioner, water pump etc.), I would recommend you put a full timing belt/waterpump kit in the vehicle, if you do not know when it was done last.

I recommend timing belt kits; from www.blauparts.com; they come with everything you need, to do the job correctly and come with high quality oem parts.
 

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You can look at it but that won't tell you the whole story. Its not usually the belt that gives out, but a component in the system like the water pump. And you can't always see that there is a problem with it. As said, without service records, I'd buy a kit and get the job done ASAP. If the belt goes on a 1.8T, you'll have engine damage.
 

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You can look at it but that won't tell you the whole story. Its not usually the belt that gives out, but a component in the system like the water pump. And you can't always see that there is a problem with it. As said, without service records, I'd buy a kit and get the job done ASAP. If the belt goes on a 1.8T, you'll have engine damage.
I'm with Jess on this.
If in doubt, and you have no service records, it's best to get the service done. The expense of repairing a top end, or worse, is not worth taking a chance.
Repairing a top-end can cost you 2500 dollars on the low end. If a broken valve scratches and gouges your cylinder walls, you're basicalloy looking at replacing the engine.

It's best to invest the money, and give yourself peace of mind.
 

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I read in the Bentley manual that one can measure the width of the belt to see if it's within spec. From my memory, I think the width of a worn belt should be at least 21mm. Measured a brand new VW belt-it was only 21.7mm, so there is not much variation between a new and old belt. Don't rely on my memory-double check the width specs yourself in the Bentley. As others have posted, just because the belt being within specs doesn't mean that the rest of the stuff connected with the timing belt is OK.
 

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Correction--I just double checked the Bentley manual. It is 22mm wear limit. My brand new belt must've been 22.7mm because I remember it was only 0.7 mm wider than the wear limit.
 

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I've been a new beetle owner (of the same beetle) since 2001- an org member since '04-ish. Over the years, I've seen numerous posts from folks taking a chance on timing belt service. Some tried to eek out a few more thousand miles; some buying their beetles not knowing the service of their beetle. Some succeeded... some have failed.
I know some of our fellow orgers can vouch that many new beetles are traded in because of its age AND the cost of getting the timing belt service done. Due to the "as is no warranty" and very limited used warranty nature of our now aged new beetles, without service records, a buyer could inherit the service that was never done. If the belt fails, you have costly repairs, with little to no recourse.

Please note, that since the new beetle's '98 debut, interference engines are more commonplace, as well as the emergance of reputable independent VW mechanics. You can get a timing belt service (belt, tensioner, roller, water pump) done much cheaper than in the early years. There's a great service shop here in Jacksonville that will do the service for 700.00, parts included. And this something else to consider....many times buying your own parts can save you the cash of the shops parts markup.

Maybe you can do a CarFax or a VIN search, to research the service or maybe even the previous owner...that might be a bit creepy though :p

As for me, and this is me, I wouldn't take the belt specs as gospel. This same Bentley says that the auto transmission fluid is "lifetime"- an issue of debate on the failure of trans. longevity. As for me, in this case, I'd bank on the decade+ experience of beetle owner experience- success and failure both.

Again, if you have no success finding any service records, I suggest getting the timing belt service done. The peace of mind thousands saved, and your daughter being happy with her beetle, is well worth the investment
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks, all - lots of info!

... I bought the car from 2nd owner and did a Carfax on it, but no record of Timing belt being replaced by dealer anyway. I'll bite the bullet and get it done. There is a good non-dealer VW mechanic nearby (I tried a dealer recently and got the impression all they wanted was to soak me for as much money as possible).
 

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... I bought the car from 2nd owner and did a Carfax on it, but no record of Timing belt being replaced by dealer anyway. I'll bite the bullet and get it done. There is a good non-dealer VW mechanic nearby (I tried a dealer recently and got the impression all they wanted was to soak me for as much money as possible).
Good call buddy:thup:
Yeah, info & research.is a vital thing these days. The dealer is a benifit, in that they have genuine VW parts. Yet, the org, it's members and supplied resources, help us save the cash the dealers can stick us with- pays to shop around.

Keep us posted AND keep posting :cool:
 
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