Golf Mk III GTi 16v Cam Belt Failure - Mags
I'm new to this site but it looks like plenty of you are able to offer some decent advice that may at least reassure me that I'm not being taken for a ride over this...

Y'day my 1996 16v Golf GTi (65,000m and fsh) cut out on me at a r'bout. I managed to coast off the next junction and called out the AA. The car would not restart and the very nice man diagnosed cam belt failure.

The car was taken to an AA Service Centre who advised me that it would cost £800 to £1000, but couldn't be more precise without spending £200 to take the top off the engine and check the damage.

I contacted a local VW dealer to see what their estimate would be - they said a max of 8 hrs labour (@ 50 ph) plus £200 for parts - total of £600. However, another VW dealer has quoted anywhere from £800 to £1500 depending on the severity of the damage!

I'm likely to take the £600 quote, but a little worried as to why it is so low compared with the others - are they being overly optimistic or might the damage be fairly minimal? There was no excessive noise when the engine failed, so could it be that as the belt snapped at low revs the valves and head have not suffered any real damage?

As far as I'm aware the cam belt is original and replacement has never been advised to date by VW - should it have been?


Golf Mk III GTi 16v Cam Belt Failure - andy n
hi, it all depends whether its a interferance engine or not, if it is and the valves and pistons have contacted the last quote could well be about right im afraid, if they have not it will be just a case of reassembly and new belt, gaskets etc, hopefully the latter will be the case.
Golf Mk III GTi 16v Cam Belt Failure - Mags
Thanks Andy - I've seen some mention of "interference" and "non-inteference" engines on this forum - any ideas which a 1996 VW 2.0 16v is?!
Golf Mk III GTi 16v Cam Belt Failure - CM
I believe that VW advise a change between 60-80k
Golf Mk III GTi 16v Cam Belt Failure - Mags
Thanks CM - probably just my luck that it's gone now, then! Next service is due in 5k and from my little knowledge of such things I would have gone ahead with a cam belt change if suggested by my garage!

In the year since I've had the car, which I bought off a good friend who I know looked after it well, it has run beautifully - can I reasonably expect it to be as good after the work is done?
Golf Mk III GTi 16v Cam Belt Failure - M.M

I'm no specialist in these particular engines, I do know the type but haven't had to deal with one after a broken timing belt....yet! However here is some starting info to consider.

My trade guide refers to your engine as an interference type where damage is most likey to happen...note this guide errs on the side of caution.

But in general...

You could have no damage at all if you are amazing lucky. It would just need a new timing belt fitting and starting up. Many folks would do a compression test before starting and you can look under the cam cover to try and judge if any valves have been bent and are stuck open a little.

Or at a worse case many valves could be bent, plus other damage caused to the head. That would make an exchange head the best option. I would say an exchange head would be about £500.

So if someone just took a chance, popped a new belt on, and it actually ran then you'll get out around £150. But if they decide to remove the head, you need another and replace with all new gaskets etc you'll be looking at nearer £1200-£1500.

Thing is no-one can be absolutely sure until they've looked.

That £600 sounds too low from a VW dealer. They seem to be relying on finding no damage but if they do you'll be faced with another £600...and your car will be in bits so little chance to take it elsewhere.

And if you do take it to some-one who sorts it without taking the head off beware there is just a chance damage caused (a hairline crack in something) now may take some thousands of miles to actually break...and then you'll need to have the head off anyway when it does.

Always a difficult call.

Can't you find a friendly specialist with labour rates nearer £30/hr and who will use VW OE parts but at a discount from retail??

Golf Mk III GTi 16v Cam Belt Failure - Hintza
Golf Mk IV 1.6 (X reg)

Tensioner went at 31,000 miles all work done under warranty in March this year. Including new head etc. bill was around £1,200 at a provincial garage (Scotland).

I would also look for a competent non-main dealer garage if i was footing the bill.

You pays your money and takes your chance here (a bit of a cliche I know but.....)

Golf Mk III GTi 16v Cam Belt Failure - Mags
Thanks for the advice, everyone! I ended up having the work done at the VW garage down the road from where I work - I know it may have cost a little more but it is convenient and I was able to keep popping in to check the work. Cost me a total of just over a grand - £450 for labour plus about the same for parts, plus VAT.

All 16 valves had to be replaced, the head all cleaned up and all gaskets and seals replaced. I'm currently running it in for a couple of hundred miles at no more than 3000 rpm - which is a real bore as I want to see how it goes now! The mechanic who carried out the work told me it will be as good, if not better, than new - although I'm not sure how true that is!

For my future use, can anyone recommend a good, friendly VW specialist in the Chelmsford area of Essex? As all my mates who have VW's are on company car deals, they just use the dealer. Rather than just go by the Yellow Pages, I'd prefer to have someone recommended!
Golf Mk III GTi 16v Cam Belt Failure - eMBe {P}
>>..can anyone recommend a good, friendly VW specialist in the Chelmsford area of Essex? ..>>

Don't know about VW sppecialists, but why not try looking up HJ's directories (button on Left) for Good Garages in Eastern England?
Golf Mk III GTi 16v Cam Belt Failure - DL
Glad to hear you are all sorted Mags, but I'm slightly perplexed at the need to run it in!


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