Wondering how to replace the timing belt on a Volkswagen Beetle, Golf, or Jetta with the 1.9L TDI ALH engine code? Below are step-by-step VW timing belt installation instructions and tips developed for the 1.9L ALH engine code TDI. Our hands-on experience has helped us create instructions that are specific to this engine. This how-to guide includes instructions on the removal and installation of all timing belt systems and related timing belt components.
Applies to the following VW models:
1998-2004 VW Beetle 1.9L TDI ALH Engine Code (US) A4 Chassis
1999-2004 VW Golf 1.9L TDI ALH Engine Code (US) A4 Chassis
1999-2004 VW Jetta 1.9L TDI ALH Engine Code (US) A4 Chassis
DISCLAIMER: The 1.9L ALH TDI VW timing belt installation is a complex repair procedure and should be performed by experienced automotive technicians, trained in performing proper timing belt installation. Blauparts recommends that an Audi VW Factory Trained ASE Certified Technician perform timing belt repair. One who has been trained in specific timing belt procedures for your exact vehicle engine. This is for your safety and to prevent improper installation by untrained and unqualified installers and technicians, leading to possible engine damage. Always read the factory service manual safety instructions and guidelines. Always wear safety glasses and other safety items when performing the following repair.
How To Step 1
Position the vehicle in the air on proper automotive jack stands and remove the passenger side front wheel.
How To Step 2
Remove the protective splash pan using a T-25 Torx driver.
How To Step 3
Remove the lower intercooler hose by removing (1) 10mm nut (1) spring clip and (1) hose clamp located in the passenger side wheel well.
How To Step 4
Loosen and remove the passenger side fender liner by removing the spring clips from corresponding studs.
How To Step 5
Using a 16mm wrench, loosen and remove the serpentine belt by turning the tensioner clockwise.
How To Step 6
Using a 13mm socket, remove (3) bolts that secure the serpentine belt tensioner to the engine.
How To Step 7
If the forward upper intercooler hose clamp is not accessible you may need to remove the front bumper to remove the passenger's side headlight. If the hose clamp is accessible remove the hose clamp and continue to step 18.
How To Step 8
Remove the bumper cover to gain access to the hose clamp at the top of the intercooler. Pull up (vertically) in the top side corners of both the passenger and driver side of grille trim. Then push inward towards the engine and once again pull up on the top side corners of both the passenger and driver side of grille trim. Be careful not to break the clips molded into the grille.
Pry up and remove the spring clip from the hood latch lever. Then using a flat blade screwdriver, spread the latch apart so that the rod clears the latch pins and removes the latch.
How To Step 9
Pull upwards on the grille and remove it.
How To Step 10
Using a T-25 Torx driver, remove (4) screws from both passenger and driver's side on the front side of the wheel well.
How To Step 11
Using a T-30 Torx driver, remove (5) screws on the top of the bumper cover.
How To Step 12
Remove passenger and driver-side lower front bumper grilles.
How To Step 13
Using a T-30 Torx driver, remove (1) screw from behind the grille opening on each side of the vehicle that secures the bumper cover to the radiator.
How To Step 14
Begin to remove the bumper cover, but pause to remove the bulbs from the rear side of the marker lamps. It may be advantageous to use 2 people for this step.
How To Step 15
Unplug the passenger side headlamp. Then use a T-25 Torx driver to remove the (4) screws holding the headlamp in place.
Remove headlamp (2 upper screws and 2 lower screws).
How To Step 16
Use a 1/4“ drive ratchet and 10mm socket to remove (3) nuts from your engine cover.
How To Step 17
Use pliers to remove all clamps from the intercooler hose between the intake manifold and intercooler. Twist the intercooler pipe and remove the pipe through the headlamp opening in the radiator support.
How To Step 18
Drain the coolant from the engine by removing the lower hose from the oil cooler, located just above the oil filter. Then, drain the radiator at the radiator drain knob located on the lower driver's side of the radiator.
How To Step 19
Use a phillips screwdriver to remove (2) screws securing the coolant tank. Remove both hoses connected to the coolant tank and locate them to the side.
How To Step 20
Use a 5mm allen wrench to remove the single allen head bolt that secures the power steering reservoir to the motor mount. As an option, you can choose to completely remove both power steering hoses for easier access to the area.
How To Step 21
Loosen the (5) spring clips located around the cover, then remove the complete upper timing belt cover.
How To Step 22
Use a 6mm allen to remove the (4) allen head bolts on the vibration damper. Counter hold the crankshaft by using a 1/2“ drive ratchet and 19mm socket. Remove vibration dampener.
Torque Spec this fastener, 7 ft-lbs + 1/4 turn.
How To Step 23
If you are planning to install a new lower crankshaft seal at this time, loosen the lower crankshaft toothed pulley bolt. Position special tool #3415 in lower crank toothed pulley and use breaker bar with 12 points 19mm socket to loosen the main crank bolt.
Please Note: Do not remove the bolt or toothed pulley at this time. Just loosen the bolt.
How To Step 24
Remove valve cover breather assembly.
How To Step 25
Use a 10mm wrench to remove the (2) 10mm nuts holding the vacuum hose bracket located below the vacuum pump on the driver's side of the valve cover. Loosen vacuum hoses from the support bracket.
How To Step 26
Use a 10mm wrench to remove (2) bolts that hold the coolant manifold on the right side of the cylinder head. This will allow clearance for the removal of the vacuum pump.
The torque spec for this fastener is 7 ft-lbs.
How To Step 27
Use a 13mm wrench to remove (3) bolts securing the vacuum pump to the cylinder head.
The torque spec for this fastener is 15 ft-lbs.
How To Step 28
Use a 5mm allen wrench and socket to remove (7) allen head bolts retaining the valve cover.
Please Note: Use the allen wrench to remove the allen bolt located under the EGR valve
The torque spec for this fastener is 7 ft-lbs
How To Step 29
Rotate the crankshaft until both valves for cylinder #1 are completely up and fully seated.
How To Step 30
Insert the cam locking tool #3418 into the slot on the camshaft. If you cannot, rotate the crankshaft 180 degrees and re-attempt to insert the cam locking plate.
Please Note: NEVER use a locking plate to torque crankshaft or camshaft bolts.
How To Step 31
Remove plastic plug from bell housing on the driver side of the engine. This will allow you to also see the timing reference mark on the flywheel. Locate and align the machined marker on the flywheel with the notch protrusion in the bell housing.
How To Step 32
Install the flywheel locking tool #4004 on the lower toothed pulley of the crankshaft. Tighten allen bolts hand tight, then add 1/4 turn with a 5mm allen socket.
How To Step 33
Insert fuel pump locking pin/tool #3359 into the hole in the fuel pump toothed pulley and then thru-hole in fuel pump casting. It is possible to install pin/tool 3359 to the right of the hole and have the injection timing off by about 30 degrees. If this is done your engine will not start.
Please Note: you may have to tap gently on the pin tool to get it into the hole in the fuel pump casting. Never turn over the engine by injection pump.
How To Step 34
Support engine with suitable engine support.
Warning: Failure to use an appropriate and safety-approved engine support could result in injury or death.
VW ALH TDI Timing Belt and Related Component Removal
How To Step 35
Use a 1/2“ drive ratchet to remove (2) 18mm upper motor mount bolts.
How To Step 36
Use a 1/2“ drive ratchet to remove (2) 16mm body motor mount bolts and remove the body side motor mount.
How To Step 37
Remove the cast motor mount bracket secured to the engine by removing (2) 16mm bolts on the top side and then (1)16mm bolt on the bottom side of the bracket.
A swivel extension might be required.
How To Step 38
Raise the driver's side of the engine to remove the motor mount bracket.
Please Note: This can be difficult. Make sure the lower bolts have been fully removed from the bracket so they are not in the way. Lift bracket up and then forward toward the front of the car. You may have to lightly pull on the a/c evaporator pipe to allow the motor mount bracket to clear. If you are unable to remove the bracket towards the front, you will need to remove the turbo air intake pipe to remove the motor mount by moving it towards the rear of the vehicle.
How To Step 39
Remove and lower the timing belt cover by removing (4) 10mm bolts.
Important: Apply Loctite to these bolts when reinstalling the cover.
How To Step 40
Loosen and remove timing belt tensioning idler, timing belt, and all other fixed tensioners. Also, remove the water pump.
How To Step 41
Position tool #3415 in the lower crankshaft toothed pulley. Using a 12 point 19mm socket, remove the crankshaft bolt.
How To Step 42
Remove toothed pulley.
How To Step 43
Using tool #3203, remove the lower crank seal. Inspect crankshaft for possible groove from where the old seal rubbed on the crankshaft. Lubricate the sealing lip of the new crank seal with clean motor oil. Using tool #3265, gently tap the new crank seal into place. If a groove existed in the crankshaft, recess the new seal slightly deeper so the seal lip rides on a new surface area of the crankshaft.
Important: Do not rotate or turn the crankshaft at this time.
How To Step 44
Re-install toothed belt pulley and torque bolts to 88 ft-lbs + 1/4 turn.
How To Install VW ALH TDI Timing Belt, Tensioners, and Seals
How To Step 45
Clean the machined area where the water pump will mate with the engine block. Install the new improved water pump by turning all water pump fasteners equally snug by hand and then slowly and evenly torque the fasteners to 7 ft-lbs.
How To Step 46
Use pliers to loosen the hose clamp at the thermostat housing and remove the hose. Then use a 10mm socket to remove (2) bolts securing the housing to the engine block. Remove the old thermostat, noting the orientation of it. Clean thermostat mating surface on the engine block. Install the new thermostat in the same orientation as removed. Install new o-ring to housing, then install housing to block. Torque housing to 7 ft-lbs. and reinstall hose and clamp
How To Step 47
Install (3) new upper and lower FIXED tensioners. Apply a small amount of thread locker and torque fasteners to specifications.
Smaller tensioner torque spec 16 ft-lbs.
Larger tensioner torque spec 22 ft-lbs.
How To Step 48
Install improved 62mm O.D. fixed tensioner using the new bolt # GK29001 supplied.
Torque fastener to 30 ft-lbs + 1/4 turn.
How To Step 49
Install timing belt tensioning idler. Position backing plate flange on tensioner with the slotted hole in plastic cover and slide tensioner onto the stud. Tighten securing nut only finger tight at this time.
How To Step 50
Temporarily remove tool 3418. Loosen cam sprocket with tool #3036 by about 2 turns. Reinstall Tool 3418 with the camshaft at TDC Then using tool #T40001 and a 3/4 drive ratchet with an 18mm socket, apply tension to the center of the cam bolt until the cam sprocket pops off.
How To Step 51
Loosen and remove the camshaft cam cap. Remove camshaft seal. Inspect camshaft for possible groove from old seal wearing on camshaft seal surface area. Lubricate the seal lip of cam the seal with clean motor oil. Slide-in new cam seal. If a groove existed on the camshaft, locate the new seal a few millimeters deeper on the camshaft so that it rides on a new surface area. Reinstall cam cap and evenly torque nuts to 15 ft-lbs.
How To Step 52
Reinstall cam sprocket and only tighten finger tight at this time.
Warning: Do not loosen the center bolt! Loosening center bolt changes injection pump factory settings which can only be adjusted by using special equipment.
How To Step 53
Loosen (3) 13mm bolts on injection pump sprocket. Do not remove bolts completely, just break them loose.
How To Step 54
Install the timing belt by positioning it over the lower crank toothed pulley and then work your way upward.
How To Step 55
Double-check that the timing belt is properly in place and engaged in the teeth of the lower crank pulley, the teeth on the camshaft pulley, and the teeth on the injection pump pulley. Center timing belt on all pulleys and idlers. Next, Set the timing belt tension. Remove tensioning idler nut and apply thread locker. Loosely reinstall nut. Remove tool #T40001, then use tool #T10020 to apply tension clockwise to the tensioning idler pulley. Align top dead center marks. Once marks are aligned, tighten the nut and torque it to 15 ft-lbs.
Final Timing Belt Replacement Wrap Up
How To Step 56
Remove injection pump pulley bolts one at a time and install new bolts and tighten them to 15 Lbs.
How To Step 57
Tighten the Cam Sprocket bolt with tool #3036. Torque to 33 ft-lbs.
How To Step 58
Remove locking pin tool #3359 from the injection pump sprocket.
Remove tool #4004 lower crank lock pulley tool.
Please Note: Install (2) the allen bolts and nuts onto the tool that were supplied with the tool.
How To Step 60
Remove tool #3418 cam locking plate.
Warning: NEVER use tool #3418 to tighten or torque fasteners! Damage to the camshaft may occur.
How To Step 61
Turn the engine over by hand two full revolutions and verify that there is no interference.
How To Step 62
Bring # 1 cylinder of the engine to top dead center and verify all timing marks align properly as outlined earlier.
How To Step 63
Install the lower timing belt cover.
Important: Apply Loctite to the (4) 10mm bolts when reinstalling.
How To Step 64
Reinstall motor mount casting to the engine block. Be sure to apply a thread locker to all existing bolts. Install lower bolts into motor mount casting before positioning bracket in place, then position casting into place in between engine and body of the vehicle. Install the (3) bolts into casting at the same time and start threads of all the bolts before tightening any one of them down.
The torque spec for these fasteners is 33 ft-lbs.
How To Step 65
Reinstall the body half motor mount with (2) bolts.
Torque spec for these fasteners is 30 ft-lbs +1/4 turn
How To Step 66
With the engine lowered and back at the proper level, install the motor mount to engine bracket bolts.
Torque spec on these fasteners is 44 ft-lbs +1/4 turn.
How To Step 67
Locate any components removed not specifically addressed in this guideline and re-install.
How To Step 68
Review each step found in this set of guidelines to ensure each component has been addressed properly and has been re-fastened to specification.
How To Refill VW ALH TDI Cooling System After Timing Belt Replacement
How To Step 69
Reconnect the lower oil cooler hose to the fitting.
How To Step 70
Make sure the radiator drain knob is tight.
How To Step 71
Install your coolant expansion tank cap, start your engine and allow the engine to warm until the radiator fans cycle at least once or until you are sure the thermostat has opened. You can safely bring the engine up to around 2000 RPM to quickly develop heat in the engine for the thermostat to open.
If the coolant expansion tank fluid level goes down while you are running the engine, turn off the vehicle and carefully remove the coolant expansion tank cap. Re-fill with coolant to the max line and re-start the engine and let warm again until the radiator fan cycles.
How To Step 72
When the engine has cooled re-check the coolant and add as needed.