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Old 02-06-2013, 08:14 AM   #1
Bender
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Timing Chain Tensioner Failure Survey

At the request of this thread, it seemed like there was a desire for a true survey into timing chain tensioner failures, specifically centered around transmission correlation. I have set up a survey, much like I did with clutch failures, and will share results when we have some responses.

The survey is here

This link also works:
https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1tbn...HQDPc/viewform

As tensioner failure is relatively rare, I have NOT included a yes/no opening question. This is ONLY for those that have suffered failure. Remember, the pool of failures is small so we are not going to be statistically accurate. There may be nothing interesting that is found in this survey, but there may be. Please fill it out so we can find out.

Also - please share this around anywhere that may have an interest (mk5, vortex, facebook, whatever). The more answers we have the better.

If you see any glaring issues with the survey, let me know.
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Old 02-06-2013, 09:31 AM   #2
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Working as a VW tech since long before the TSI was released I've seen more 50K+ tsi's that are fine than I can count. I've seen a few tensioner fail, almost always on Tiguans. The new dealer I moved to in Colorado has never had a TSI with a failed tensioner come in.

In reality the tensioner problem is nowhere near the wide spread epidemic the Internet is trying to pretend it is. If it wasn't for the Internet I'm willing to bet damn near nobody would even be talking about it because its not common enough to warrant the attention it's getting.
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Old 02-06-2013, 09:33 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DBESTGTI View Post

In reality the tensioner problem is nowhere near the wide spread epidemic the Internet is trying to pretend it is. If it wasn't for the Internet I'm willing to bet damn near nobody would even be talking about it because its not common enough to warrant the attention it's getting.

Totally agree - frankly thats what we found on the clutch side as well.
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Old 02-06-2013, 10:17 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DBESTGTI View Post
Working as a VW tech since long before the TSI was released I've seen more 50K+ tsi's that are fine than I can count. I've seen a few tensioner fail, almost always on Tiguans. The new dealer I moved to in Colorado has never had a TSI with a failed tensioner come in.

In reality the tensioner problem is nowhere near the wide spread epidemic the Internet is trying to pretend it is. If it wasn't for the Internet I'm willing to bet damn near nobody would even be talking about it because its not common enough to warrant the attention it's getting.
I spoke with my vw tech and he said the issue is with the oil passage getting clogged up with slug preventing the tensioner from working properly. He said that is why VW recommends using castrol synthetic 5w40 since it is suppose to be less prone to slug.He said if you can prove every oil change was done with the recommended oil then vw would cover any damages. What are your thoughts on this.
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Old 02-06-2013, 10:48 AM   #5
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My friend is a tech at my VW dealer and he has repaired 2-3 tensioner failures within the last year but none before that. He reported that it was supposedly due to sludge issues. I'm fairly close with the service writer there and he also reported that it was an oil sludge issue and since all of my oil changes were done at the dealer with regular intervals i have nothing to worry about. I am not a VW tech, just reporting what i was told.
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Old 02-06-2013, 11:22 AM   #6
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Old 02-06-2013, 11:23 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ehancock View Post
My friend is a tech at my VW dealer and he has repaired 2-3 tensioner failures within the last year but none before that. He reported that it was supposedly due to sludge issues. I'm fairly close with the service writer there and he also reported that it was an oil sludge issue and since all of my oil changes were done at the dealer with regular intervals i have nothing to worry about. I am not a VW tech, just reporting what i was told.

Well it looks like sludge is definitely one factor causing this problem. That is good to know. Since the tensioners operates off of oil pressure it is starting to add up. As far as Tiguan being more common with this failure would it be safe to say since the weight of the vehicle is causing the engine to work harder it would be more prone to sludge. Just throwing some ideas out there.
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Old 02-06-2013, 11:32 AM   #8
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I would not jump to sludge being the issue. Some of the owners with failures here are religious about oil.
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Old 02-06-2013, 11:41 AM   #9
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Making an additional point that people tend to miss: It is not only the incidence of an event that makes it important, but also the severity/consequences of said event.

In the timing chain tensioner failure, the event seems rare, but when it happens it is catastrophic for the engine and the confidence of the owner to the car. I.e. can you fully trust the engine that has been fixed when valves have been bent and the mechanic says there's no problem with the block? Especially when this is a rare event and nobody has much experience with it?

So, congrats to Bender, it's a great effort!
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Old 02-06-2013, 12:14 PM   #10
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Hasn't this been discussed to death before?

Isn't this to do with the ratcheting mechanism rather than the oil?

I don't see how transmission type plays into this. Does the DSG stay in gear when parked or does it go to neutral and use a pin to lock the transmission? Manual drivers can either leave their car in gear or in neutral, so they experience both conditions.
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Old 02-06-2013, 12:35 PM   #11
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The survey doesn't include conventional automatic for Tiguan owners (if you want all TSI owners).
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Old 02-06-2013, 12:36 PM   #12
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I think I read in one of the older threads that when you park the dsg the car can roll and take up slack in the timing chain and cause more stress on the tensioner. 6MT drivers generally use their parking brake. Someone advised dsg owners to use their parking brakes after that. I have absolutely no proof to back that up and I have no idea if it even matters. The survey probably asks to help determine if there is a correlation between transmission type and failure rate.
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Old 02-06-2013, 12:38 PM   #13
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If I had to guess... we won't even get a sample size of 10, these failures have been very rare, although due to the catastrophic nature every single one has gotten a lot of attention.
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Old 02-06-2013, 12:46 PM   #14
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Quote:
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If I had to guess... we won't even get a sample size of 10, these failures have been very rare, although due to the catastrophic nature every single one has gotten a lot of attention.
Yup - I was thinking we would get about 7 responses.
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