DIY cambelt replacement


Having found these forums a useful source of information I thought I’d share the experience of changing the cambelts on my A2 1.4 petrol in the hope that it is of use to someone. If you are a competent DIY mechanic then the job is quite straightforward and no special tools are required. They would make it easier though! You should be able to complete the job in a day but I’d allow a weekend if you are dependent on your car for Monday morning!

This is roughly the procedure I followed............

1. Disconnect the battery
2. Loosen O/S wheel bolts
3. Raise front of car using Audi jack (I couldn't get my trolley jack under it!). There are two flat areas in the alloy structure just behind and inboard of the front wheels that are useful for placing the axle stands. Remember to put the handbrake on and chock the rear wheels!
4. Remove O/S front wheel
5. Remove engine under tray and O/S wheel arch liner
6. Remove the auxiliary drive belt (use a 16mm ring spanner to release the tension)
7. Now, this is the difficult bit. You need to undo the crankshaft pulley bolt which is done up to 90Nm +90deg rotation (i.e. bloody tight!). Ideally you should use a crankshaft pulley locking tool. I didn't have one so I put the car in 5th gear and used a piece of wood between the drivers seat rail and the brake pedal to hold it down. I also used two arms from a hub puller which I hooked into two opposite slots in the crankshaft pulley. I joined these together with a plate and then put a crowbar through them and wedged it against the floor. You need a 19mm socket and a long bar on the crank pulley bolt but it will come undone. Be careful not to shift the car on the axle stands!
8. Remove the crank pulley and re-fit the bolt with a couple of washers which make up the same thickness as the crank pulley.
9. Loosen the spark plugs to make the engine easier to turn over
10. Support engine sump with trolley jack & wooden block
11. Remove air intake, upper timing belt cover, O/S engine mounting brackets.
12. Lower engine slightly to improve access. Don't go too far or you will rip the oil dipstick tube out of the sump.
13. Remove the lower timing belt cover.
14. Turn the engine clockwise to TDC on cylinder1. The dot on the crankshaft should line up with a line in the cylinder block casting. The 8mm holes in the camshaft pulleys should line up with holes behind them. Insert two 8mm bolts into these holes to lock the cams in place.
15. Add your own timing marks using Tippex to both cam sprockets and the crankshaft. (These will be invaluable when re-fitting the belts!)
16. Release the tension on the main belt by loosening the tensioner bolt and then using an allen key to move it out of the way. Remove the main belt.
17. Do the same for the small timing belt.
18. At this point it is worth replacing both belt tensioners and the water pump. The water pump I took off had a plastic impeller whereas the replacement (Audi genuine part) had a steel impeller. The water pump is held on by 2 bolts and is straightforward to replace. It's important that the block sealing surface is clean before fitting the new water pump. I generally use a smear of sealant as well to ensure it doesn’t leak. Note that when fitting the lower tensioner the u-shaped feature on the outside of the tensioner should fit around the bolt head in the block.
19. Fit the new upper timing belt. You'll find that even with the locking bolts in place the camshafts will have moved slightly due to the force of the valve springs. I used a socket and wrench on one of the camshaft pulleys to bring my Tippex marks into alignment whilst fitting the new belt.
20. Tension the belt by rotating the tensioner with an allen key until the pointer on the tensioner lines up with the centre mark. Hold it there whilst tightening the tensioner bolt (20Nm).
21. Fit the main timing belt starting at the water pump and going anti-clockwise direction.
22. Tension the belt by rotating the tensioner with an allen key until the pointer lights up with the feature on the outer ring of the tensioner. Tighten the tensioner bolt (20Nm).
23. Rotate the engine clockwise 2 crank rotations and ensure that all of your timing marks line up. If the engine locks or the timing marks are not aligned then you need to remove and re-fit the belts until they do.
24. Apply firm thumb pressure to the main timing belt and you should see the pointer on the tensioner move.
25. Now put it all back together! – Note that you should use a new crank pulley bolt.

My car still had the original cambelt which was 7 years old and had done about 60k miles. It looked due for replacement as there were signs of cracking in the rubber. More worryingly the main belt tensioner was not doing its job and the belt was quite loose. I don’t think it would have been long before it slipped or snapped. My car had a full Audi service history from new and I was told by my Audi main dealer that the cambelts did not need replacing. This was clearly bad advice. I also suspect that the oil filter may have never been changed as I’ve never seen an oil filter so rusty.

I also serviced my car at the same time. It took me a while to find the air filter (in front of the O/S wheel arch) and the oil filter (on the front of the engine to the left of the exhaust down pipe). I found that removing the dipstick guide tube from the sump made it much easier to get to the oil filter (it’s still awkward though). The allen bolt is difficult to undo and so worth replacing with a hex bolt to make it easier next time.

Please note that I offer the above advice based on my experience of working on my car. I accept no responsibility for damage to your car or yourself caused by you trying to follow these instructions!

Good luck :)


How different is this the Diesel

Great post
I was thinking about doing the cambelt on my 1.4 tdi 2001. Is it the same procedure?


Well-Known Member
Great post
I was thinking about doing the cambelt on my 1.4 tdi 2001. Is it the same procedure?
No, the diesel layout is comrehensively different and as good a guide as this is, it won't really prepare you for the task on your diesel.


I found this excellent post and decided to give it a go. I bought a complete cambelt kit from Stoke Audi and have been waiting for some nice weather to get started. Today was the day.

Everything went to plan by following the above post until I came to the main cambelt tensioner. I have had it on and off several times and even put the old one back. The problem I have is that although I can adjust the tension as described in the VW Polo Heynes manual the tension indicator never moves so I don't know when I've got it right. It's almost as though the internal spring isn't engaged. Both the new and the old tensioners are the same. What am I doing wrong?

The secondary belt and tensioner went on fine. It's just the main one that is giving problems.

I'm off to the pub to chill out now but I hope someone can provide me with some guidance. Tomorrow could be a long day otherwise.

Sorted. The tentioner also fits if you put it on 180 degrees out. Everything is back together again. I'll be much more confident about using the full rev range in future.



GJ* many thanks you have just boosted my confidence enough to tackle this myself.

Can we get this post stickied please. Even though I had used cam belt, cambelt and change I never found this post, only by using timing belt did I stumble upon this.


New Member
Looking at guide, the crank pulley removal looks worrying, as I don't have access to the bits to make the crankshaft pulley lock so what ways are there of locking the pulley.



I have used a motorcycle clutch tool from motion pro. I have used it in at least 3 bikes and 2 cars for cambelts AND in countless other jobs.