How to loosen the timing belt tensioner on a 1.8t VW jetta

Written by mark robinson
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How to loosen the timing belt tensioner on a 1.8t VW jetta
The timing belt controls the timing of the engine's valves. (Hemera Technologies/ Images)

The timing belt used in the 1.8T variant of the Volkswagen Jetta requires a certain amount of tension on the belt to be held in place. The timing belt tensioner makes sure the proper amount of tension exerted on the belt. This prevents the belt from skipping, slipping or jumping off track, any of which can result in major engine damage. The timing belt tensioner should be replaced at the same time as the timing belt.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

Things you need

  • Ratchet and socket set
  • Hex driver set

Show MoreHide


  1. 1

    Remove both upper and lower timing belt covers. The upper cover is secured by tension clips while the lower cover is secured by two 10mm bolts, one 5mm bolt and one 6mm bolt. Remove these bolts with a ratchet and socket of appropriate size.

  2. 2

    Rotate the crankshaft with a socket until the camshaft timing mark lines up with the Top Dead Center (TDC) timing mark on the valve cover. Mark the timing belt edge to the camshaft and crankshaft sprocket with whiteout.

  3. 3

    Insert a 8mm hex driver into the tensioner pulley. Rotate the tensioner pulley to relieve tension on the belt. Carefully remove the timing belt without disturbing either crankshaft or camshaft sprocket.

  4. 4

    Loosen the two 10mm bolts and 13mm bolt holding the timing belt tensioner in place. The tensioner then can be removed by loosening and removing the 14mm bolt holding it in place.

Tips and warnings

  • The 1.8-litre turbocharged engine used in the Jetta can also be found in the VW Passat and Audi A4. The same procedures for loosening the timing belt tensioner apply to the aforementioned vehicles fitted with the 1.8T engine.
  • Mark the position of the timing belt crankshaft and camshaft before removing the timing belt. Otherwise, the valve timing can be thrown off, causing the valves to collide with the engine's pistons. This can result in major engine damage.

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