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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I recently changed my timing belt on a 2000 AEG New Beetle that desperately needed a timing service. I bought my parts online from ECS Tuning's timing belt kit, and the installation went smoothly. However, a couple days after the install, my engine suddenly developed a slight squeak / chirping noise that comes from the timing belt area. The noise only happens on a cold startup and goes away after 1 to 3 minutes once the engine warms up. I've removed the serpentine belt and it's definitetly NOT the cause of my issue. I also removed the top cover to see if anything is rubbing against the belt, but I don't see or feel anything strange besides the tensioner being a bit off. The engine runs great and acts just like it did before the timing belt swap besides the slight noise on startup. What are your opinions on the matter? Timing belt or other parts misaligned? Too tight? Something else?

Here's a video of the noise a couple seconds after starting the engine:

Here's a video of the top cover removed:

On the topic of the timing belt tensioner, I made sure to set the tensioner correctly when I installed the belt. I slid the tensioner into it's slot inside the engine block, used a special tool to rotate the tensioner counter clockwise, torqued 15ft pounds, and checked the tensioner arrow after rotating the engine to make sure it didn't move around. Whenever the engine is running (warmed up and no noise), the tensioner arrow is exactly where it should be moving ever so slightly. When the engine is off (warmed up), the arrow points slightly to the right. I assume this is normal behavior, however, when I check the tensioner while it's cold, it points below the window where it should be. As it warms up, the arrow begins to make its way back the center of the window. Is this also normal behavior, or could this be related to my problem? I've read so many threads where some say that arrow should not move at all after install while others say it's perfectly fine as long as the tension was set correctly when I torqued down the tensioner. With people so split on the matter, I don't know which is correct.

A pic of the tensioner when cold:
cold tensioner.jpg

Video of it running while cold:

Video of it running after warmed up:

A pic of the tensioner when hot:
hot tensioner.jpg


I haven't touched my timing belt since I did my install about two weeks ago, and I would really appreciate not having to tear my engine apart again without knowing what the problem is first. Any input would be greatly appreciated!
 

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Definitely, doesn't sound right; it is possible, something is definitely wrong! What brand timing belt and tensioner kit, did you buy? Best to stick with oem; like Schaeffler/INA or Continental.

Keep in mind, you can cause catastrophic engine damage, potentially bend the valves in the head; if the timing belt fails or something in the belt path is messed up, causing things to self destruct. It could be something, as simple; as the timing belt shield got bent and is making contact with the pulleys or the tensioner pulley is installed wrong, defective or many other possibilities.

If you can reach the bolts for the timing belt metal cover; you might loosen them, see if the scraping noise is reduced or goes away. A basic isolation technique; would be to remove the serpentine/accessory belt and remove that from the equation, see if the sound goes way (i doubt it). Work in reverse, doing a process of elimination; until you find the problem, fix it and reassemble, job done. Don't feel bad, if you have to "redo" the timing belt swap; we have all been there before and it is part of working on cars, "learning by doing".

Here is the service manual procedure and a video; on timing belt tension, on the 2.0L engine, that might be helpful to review.


 

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I think the problem could be the belt tension. The tensioner arrow should line up under the following conditions:

1. Engine is overnight cold. As the engine warms it expands and the tension on the belt will change.

2. Engine is not running. Turn the crankshaft using a wrench until it reaches TDC on cylinder 1. Now look at the tensioner to take the reading.

Under any other conditions the arrows may not line up even though the belt tension is correct. The video that Billymade included is very good at explaining it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Timing belt is Continental, and tensioner is INA. I watched the video provided and plenty of other videos before I did the timing belt job, so I made sure the arrow did line up after rotating the engine several times by hand. While installing the tensioner, I did have some difficulty getting the arrow to stay in the correct position after rotating the engine. It took about 5+ tries for it to stay lined up, but now it definitely doesn't line up when the engine is cold. Could the tensioner be faulty or am I missing something?
 

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Well, that's a tough call; if this is your first time doing the 2.0L timing belt/water pump job, it is possible to mess things up and if you were struggling with the tension, something might've gotten damaged in that re-adjustment process? I'm sure this isn't what you want to hear, but double check everything and possibly disassemble things, make sure the parts arn't defective (water-pump, tensioner, timing belt, etc)or possibly damaged and reassemble, replace bad parts, until it's correct?

I'm sure this isn't what you wanna hear but that might be, what its going to take, to figure things out? Again, the timing belt is crucial; as it's always possible damage the engine if things aren't perfectly done right.


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If you're struggling with figuring things out, you might wanna go ahead and take a break; if you have a friend or a relative that is mechanically inclined, sometimes it helps, to have them, look over your shoulder as it were, to walk you through everything and they are able to see the problem. When you are working on some thing for a long time; it can be frustrating, you lose your objectivity and ability to see problems, that maybe right in front if you. The first time doing a timing belt, on a particular new to you, engine; is always the hardest, at first. The next one, will be really easy; the first time, it can be a challenge, to get it right.


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The parts you used, are the high quality; oem parts and they should be good. Did you replace the waterpump as well? Did you have any problems installing that part?


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By the way, do you are a bad oil leak; like a cam seal or valve cover gasket? Things look pretty dirty; i would cleaning things up, so the timing belt doesn't get contaminated; fix any oil leaks. This is typically, caused; by bad gaskets or oil seals.


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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
No, my water pump went in just fine. The oil was from a leaking valve cover that I replaced a while ago. I'm going to disassemble the engine once more to reset the tension although I have my suspicions over the tensioner itself. Like I said before, the noise was not present until a couple days after I changed my belt. During that time, I witnessed the tensioner slowly make it's way to the left every time I checked the engine while cold. Since it happened so slowly, I thought the tensioner was just adjusting itself. I think I'll also go ahead and buy a new tensioner just to be safe and compare the two.
 

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Well, let us know what you figure out; once you get things torn apart and inspect all the parts for damage or incorrect installation, etc.... thanks.


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However, a couple days after the install, my engine suddenly developed a slight squeak / chirping noise that comes from the timing belt area. The noise only happens on a cold startup and goes away after 1 to 3 minutes once the engine warms up.
To me, these two things point to the belt being a little bit too loose. When a new belt is installed after a few days it will have lost the set it had from being folded in the packaging and will have stretched just a little bit, loosening the tension. Also, when the engine is cold the distance between the crank and cam is smaller than when it warms up and expands thermally. The belt will be a little looser when the engine is cold. Since the noise goes away when the engine is warm I think the belt being a little too loose would explain the noise.

When I set the tension on my belt what I did was use a wrench to turn it to cyl 1 TDC and stop it there. Then I used the wrench to apply a small amount of forward force to the crankshaft, maybe about 1/2 what is needed to actually start the crankshaft moving. This moves the slack in the belt to the tensioner side and gives a better tension reading. Also, you don't have to keep turning it as you set it. You can keep it at one place as you work.
 
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