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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I replaced the timing belt, tensioner pulley, idler pulley, water pump with a kit from Blauparts along with their extensive tool rental kit. I followed the instructions religiously with regard to getting the crank and camshaft aligned at TDC. Fought with the bolts on the crankshaft pulley, some monkey put them on with an impact wrench, had to drill one bolt head off. Fought with the crankshaft bolt and crankshaft seal which was leaking. Performed the timing belt ectomy. Put it all back together. The engine would not start!?! Did a lot of soul searching, YouTube video reviews, let the car sit for a week. I thought maybe the fuel lines had gotten air in them due to the fuel filter being jostled upside down during the thrash to gain access to the timing belt area.

Came back a week later armed with better information and my own set of Metalnerd crank and camshaft alignment tools. Verified that the timing was very close, inserted the Metalnerd crank holding tool, loosened the camshaft pulley bolts and rotated the camshaft a smidgeon until the camshaft holding pin sank deep into slot. Noticed that the camshaft bolts were now more towards the center of their keyways. Verified the tensioner was still in the sweet spot. Tightened everything up, which for my re-attack consisted of the camshaft pulley bolts, and the crankshaft pulley bolts (yes I bought another set of these). Thankfully I did not need to readjust the tensioner, or mess with the engine mount.

Engine fired right up!!! The camshaft was only off by a degree or two, but that was enough to prevent fuel ignition.

The lesson I learned is that VW TDI timing procedures have more variables than other cars, you have to get the crankshaft and camshaft locked down, and the part I did not do right the first time was to rotate the camshaft inside the camshaft pulley to get the camshaft pin to drop in. I hope this helps someone who has experienced the dread of a TDI timing belt job that results in a no start condition.
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