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1.8T Timing Belt Replacement Intreval

900 Views 8 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  D.Passat00
I have 83k on my '99 1.8T. I noticed the local dealer's 80k service brochure only mentions "inspecting" belts! Talked to those always helpful guys at ECS Tuning and they said 60-80k max. for the TB. So I called back the "friendly" dealer and asked about the 80k service. When I got to the TB they said, "we recommend 60-80k, not the 105k in the maintenance schedule."

This car is a great drive, but the cost of ownership is getting ridiculous. Can't VW design something that lasts for their recommended service intervals?

No wonder Consumer Reports has placed the '98, '99, and '01 1.8Ts on the "not recommended" list of used cars.

Comments and personal experience?
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VAG is adamant about the 105k changes, which happen to fall just outside the 100k warranty, if you still have one. To be safe, I'd do it at 60k, and still have the 40k, 80k and 120k inspections, etc. done just in case. Since you have to have the plugs done then anyhow, it is really not so bad to pop the cover and look in there.

As for costs, yeah, it is a little higher, but what German car is not? Just the price you pay to drive such a nice car.

If you are comparing your car to the GM never needs service plugs, suspension, etc., dont.

I have owned the so-called never needs maintanance (sp) cars, and they do need work. Usually more since things were not done in a timely manner. The idea is that those neet tricks sell the car, and the second owner, who is not under warranty, gets to pay a hefty sum to the dealership to get that neglected work done.

Compared to a Japanese car, yes, German cars need more work, but it really is not that bad when you look at the numbers.
I have a 00' 1.8t 5spd and I replaced my timing belt and leaking water pump at approx 65k miles. I have had no problems with my car but the 00's seem to be the least problematic.

105k miles for the timing belt is just to long and 60-70k miles is more in line I think. The 105k service recomendation was to make people who lease have a lower expected service cost. At least that is my opinion.
There are many horror stories of early timing belt, or timing belt tensioner, failures. If the belt breaks it will cost you $2000 to $4000 to rebuild the engine. Changing it at the 60k -80k interval is being prudently proactive.

To comment on your general question. My '99 Passat has cost more in service and maintenance than any other car I have ever owned. Yet I enjoy driving it more than any other car - except my TR6 - that I ever owned. I decided to learn everything I can about the car and do my own service when possible - including the timing belt change. This web site allows you to dramatically reduce the cost of ownership of a B5. Without CB5 I don't think I would still own my car.
I just had mr car in for the 80K service. I asked them about the timing belt. They said they would inspect it and if it looked OK don't bother until 105K. They said it's under warranty and they would cover the repair if it broke. So I guess I'll wait a while. Maybe 90K or 95K.
A lot depends on your driving. What impacts it most is lots of speed changes...shifts etc. And engine braking. I drive 70m a day....95% is Freeway. 80% of that is 70-85mph crusing..the rest pockets of B to B. (SoCal traffic)

I waited to 100k (last week) and I have the old part. Looks fine.
The problem on the early B5s (e.g. '98 or so) was the crappy hydraulic tensioner. The kits sold now have an 'updated' tensioner. Even so, from what I could tell, the belt is essentially the same ordinary rubber belt as that on earlier 2.0s that, IIRC, had a mfr suggested interval of 60K. 60K may be a bit conservative side, but 105K is clearly on the wreckless side and conveniently after the warranty is out. If you intend to keep the car a long time, don't want the hassle of a preventable breakdown somewhere that's bound to be really inconvenient, don't want 'damaged goods' after a head re-build, or the hassle of not having your car for a month while they 'fix' it (don't forget the cost of renting a car during that time...), then consider getting all the belts done every 60K like on most cars, plus water pump and thermostat. Consider replacing rollers every 120K.
Most early ones had those (tensioner) replaced on Recall. Mine was. Forgot all about it till we replaced it last week.........
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