'90 VW Golf: timing belt tensioner pulley gone


Old 01-08-09, 04:49 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: USA
Posts: 12
'90 VW Golf: timing belt tensioner pulley gone

i am trying to figure out if i should bail or put some work into this VW Golf '90.

the other day i was driving, stopped at a redlight, shut off the engine to save fuel. went to restart it and engine did not turn over. pushed it out of traffic and checked under the hood. noticed that the timing belt looked slack so took off cover. with the cover off i noticed that the tensioner pulley of the timing belt had completely come undone. a few bearings & races left.

my question is this: i have been told that this engine is zero tolerance and that this type of mechanical failure could result in damage to the valves and rods, so is there any hope that this engine is saveable?

second question how much work & money would be involved in repairing it if it just needs a new belt & tensioner pulley.

and what would be involved in repairing it if the rods & valves are in fact damaged?

final question what could i expect to pay if for a replacement engine & installation?

any suggestions would be gratefully appreciated!
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Old 01-09-09, 08:45 PM
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Windsor, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 99
bearings and races ?

What does bearings and races mean ? If it was stopped when everything fell apart then everything should still be good, if you towed it.
I would pay the money for a new tensioner and look at the belt for cracks etc. for replacement and proceed from there but a 1990 car is pretty OLD? even for a VW.
Therefore it's a crap shoot and you are the shooter.
Old 01-09-09, 09:35 PM
Speedwrench's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Oklahoma
Posts: 1,698
if indeed the tensioner just came apart when the engine stopped, you might not have damaged it, but attempting to start it could have bent a valve,
the only way to find out is to install the belt properly and then roll the engine over by hand to see if it has any problems with the spark plugs removed, then run a compression check. if it passes that you should be golden. however if you feel a lot of restistance when attempting to spin the engine by hand you may have either a bent valve or rocker arm. if the valves are damaged the cost will depend on wheather or not the head casting is damaged, cost could range from 1500-2500 depending on labor rates for your area and materials.

life begins when the kids leave home and the dog dies.
Old 01-09-09, 09:41 PM
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Windsor, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 99
Good advise

Welcome back--good to here from ya.

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