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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
2003 Passat, 1.8T AWM, Tiptronic, 127,000 miles. I just changed the 3rd failed timing belt tensioner in less than a year and a half. I put a German OEM on this time. Unfortunately, when I got everything apart, I wasn't able to mark my belt before it slipped off. I lined up my timing marks on the camshaft and on the crankshaft when getting everything back together. When I started the car it sounded like a screwdriver being stuck in a fan. I immediately shut it down. I looked around under the hood and around the front of the engine to make sure nothing had fallen in the engine bay. I tried it again and the same terrible sound so I shut it back down. Could I have gotten one of the shafts 180 degrees off? I rotated everything by hand twice and checked tension before reassembling and didn't notice anything unusual. I hope I haven't destroyed my engine :(
 

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Did anything fall into the lower front timing belt cover? I made a bonehead mistake once and a bolt dropped down in there, sounded the same but went away after a couple seconds because it got jammed into the bottom of the cover and ground the belt down the middle, fortunately I caught the belt before it snapped.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the response nuclearseal. I'm going to have to take everything back apart to diagnose so you bring up a good suggestion. I will check to see if something fell in there, but I didn't see any marks on the belt when I pulled the top timing belt cover off. It almost sounded like it did when the first tensioner failed. I was in Kentucky driving back to Florida and the car started making a terrible noise when I let off the throttle. Especially at lower speeds. Come to fine out the belt was about to fall off and the timing was changing with the slack on the belt. I'm a little confused as to why it has started up twice and I shut it off. If the valves were bent, would that not occur as I turned it over preventing it from starting? I'm feeling a little anxiety over this as it's my daily driver. I've always done the work on this car, but I have a 14 month old and I've had to do a few repairs in a hurry unlike I used to, taking my time. It's a 2003 Wagon in good shape and only has 127,000 miles.
 

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You are correct, if the valves were bent the engine would have stopped running quickly and certainly would not have restarted.

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recheck the timing one more time and scan for codes just to be sure. i'd be paranoid too.

rotate the crank by hand one more time and observe all moving parts, pulleys, belts.

you could remove the fuel pump fuse and have someone crank it while you look around in the engine bay to pinpoint the noise.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I went home on my lunch break and tore it back down. I pulled the spark plug in no. 1 cylinder, which I failed to do in a rush last night, and sure enough I was off a 180 degrees off. I corrected the mistake and got it back together and it started and runs fine. Praise the Lord! Still not sure how it managed to run last night and self destruct.
 

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What was 180 degrees off (yet, somehow, still didn't cause any mechanical damage similar to "the sound of a screwdriver being stuck in a fan")?

It may "run fine" but a compression check of all four cylinders may tell you otherwise.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Actually, it may have been 360 degrees off. Timing marks were lined up, but the number one piston was not at TDC. I took the belt off, rotated the crank 360 so the piston was at the top and reinstalled the belt.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Car is now running normally. Did a compression check and #1 = 190psi, #2=190psi, #3=200psi, #4=200psi. I think I've been spared this time.
 

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I don't know what the problem was, but it certainly was NOT as described.

The cam can't be 180 or 360 degrees out, when the cam is 180 degrees from the timing mark No1 piston is at TDC ex stroke.
When properly timed the cam is on the timing mark only once every second time the crank is at TDC.

The crank or cam can't be 360 degrees out. For either crank or cam, 360 degrees is the same position as 0 degrees.
If the crank was 180 degrees from TDC when the cam is on the timing mark, the engine would not run and valves would be bent.
 
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