VW Passat Cam Belt Tensioner - Chris Jones
Recently bought a W reg 1.9 TDI 115 bhp with 75000 miles on the clock. Due to a horror story with a car a nearly bought breaking its cam belt on the day of collection (covered in earlier post) I had the new dealer agree to a cam belt change. I have since had some very bad dealings with the dealer that I finally purchased my car from. They have shown themselves to be bodgit and scarper style dealers. The service book has a garage stamp and belt change tick. I am unsure whether the tensioners were changed or not. 3 questions:

1. If I contacted the garage (no garage facilities at the dealer I purchased the car from), would they be able to confirm whether the tensioners were replaced?

2. Has anyone got a feel for what it would cost to replace the tensioners alone (assuming belt has already been changed)?

3. If they haven't been changed, do you think I should get them changed or wait for the next belt change in 40000 miles?

Thanks all
VW Passat Cam Belt Tensioner - bertj
A VW service record should include computer printed bills for parts replaced. Even if a VW is still under warranty a bill is generated when parts are replaced. This bill should then be inserted in the customer's service record book. It's possible, of course, that the bills have been thrown away.
However, if the car has always been serviced at a VW dealer, there will be a computer record of what's been done to the car. The dealer only has to input the reg or VIN to find out the car's service history.
If the car hasn't been serviced by a VW dealer then you have no other means of knowing. If this is the case I would bite the bullet and get the tensioner and belt changed. You are probably looking at the thick end of £300 but this is a lot cheaper than a new engine!
VW Passat Cam Belt Tensioner - madf
Cost for Audi A4TDI was £250..

Don't wait.. or multiply above figure by 5, 10 or more if belt snaps...
VW Passat Cam Belt Tensioner - IanT
Chris, let's see if I've understood you. The garage you bought the car from ("Bodgit and Scarper") had no garage facilities. So the cambelt change was done elsewhere - possibly at a reputable garage. Garage number 2 should be able to give you full details of what they did and whether they replaced the tensioner.

However, it is unlikely that Bodgit and Scarper would have asked for the tensioner to be replaced, since it would have cost them money for no benefit (you hadn't asked for it to be replaced).

The tensioner is not usually a service item anyway (someone else will need to confirm this for the Passat). Generally, garages will not change the tensioner unless signs of wear are detected while changing the belt (or if they are asked to by an ultra-cautious customer).

If you went back and asked Garage number 2 to change the tensioner, they should automatically change the belt again as well, since no "reputable" garage could give any guarantee about a belt which had done even a few hundred miles.

If you are happy with garage number 2, and get confirmation from them that the belt was changed, I would leave it at that. Don't get too worried about the tensioner - you could equally well worry about the water pump seizing or the crankshaft pulley disintegrating, which could be just as bad for the engine.

VW Passat Cam Belt Tensioner - jud
After reading your post, how can you be confident that they have even changed the belt?
Get some one to change the tensioners and if possible check that the belt is new. If in doubt get it changed.
VW Passat Cam Belt Tensioner - Chris Jones
Hi all. Thanks to everyone for your replies and advice. This really is a fantastic facility for us non technical people to try and get some honest and un biased opinions.

I am 'fairly' certain that the cambelt has been changed purely due to the garages 'stamp' in the log book and the confirmationt tick in the 'timing belt' box. I would hope that no garage worth a penny would leave themselves open to possible problems. With the Passat on 75000 miles, the belt was due to go around 80000 miles, it woudl surely be too much of a risk. I will contact this garage to ask if they have any records stating whether the tensioner has been replaced.

Thanks again all who have offered assistance.

Regards, Chris.
VW Passat Cam Belt Tensioner - robZilla
I just had the cam belt, tensioner and rollers changed on my Vectra at the same time as the 40K service. They charged me £130 for the service and £180 for the cam belt kit, including all parts, labour and VAT.
VW Passat Cam Belt Tensioner - JohnM{P}
When I enguired about the cost of the cam-belt change on my 110TDi (my ex-company car) at 120k, my trusted VW dealer strongly advised me to change the tensioner also as they had not changed it at 60k as the leasing company had not agreed to it - so I wouldn't assume that a cam-belt change tick included the tensioner...
This does show that my tensioner lasted 120k, but I don't know if the PD engine is harder on the tensioner.

VW Passat Cam Belt Tensioner - VFR800
I spent quite a while looking for a Passat and do not believe that the car has had a new cambelt just because someone has ticked the box. One car I looked at had the box ticked but on checking the history with the dealer in Suton Coldfield there was no record of the belt being replaced on the VAG records - Decided to walk past that one.

VW Passat Cam Belt Tensioner - sean
Hello Chris,

VW diesels are an area in which I work. You are wise to get the belt changed if you are in any doubt about it's service life so far.
If the dealer who changed the belt is a franchised VW one, any VW dealer can print off the history. Some may charge a small fee, many won't.

To be politically incorrect, your belt tensioner is built like Rocky. The PC answer is to change it. In reality, what you have is a single, all steel pulley wheel. About 1.5" wide and 2.5" diameter. It is true to say that 1 or 2, with mileages Captain Kirk would be impressed with, have seized. If it was my money, I'd change it every 3rd belt change.

The tensioner costs about £35 from Eurocarparts and GSF. It can be fitted without major dismantling, as all that is needed is to unclip the top cover, with the locking peg in place on the camshaft and the flywheel datum marker set.

About 15mins work. I reckon a good garage will charge you about £100 if you're desperate to do it. Some of the bonkers figures I've seen fellow backroomers post would be up to £300.

The belt change is essential though. You want to know for a fact that it was done.

Lift your bonnet, my friend. It won't bite you.

Look at the LHS. On the end of the engine, next to the airbox you will see a black plastic cover about 8" wide by 1" thick and about 11" tall, held by spring clips.

Undo the clips and whip it off.

Look at the cambelt, now exposed. Can you see markings on the back?

Can you see wear lines where it might have rubbed on that cover you removed?

Does it look spangling? This is what you want.

Armed with the knowledge, replace cover, spring the clips back over, close bonnet and feel refreshed.

Trust in God, and check everyone else's work.

Good luck, mate.

Value my car