Timing Chain Tensioner and Chain Issues for 2.0T TSI VW and Audi Models

Some of the issues with a timing chain can result in losing hydraulic tension, which can cause the engine to jump timing. These problems are found mostly in Audi and VW 2.0T TSI models. The early version of the model of these cars seems to have some defects that can cause engine trouble well before the warranty should be up on the vehicle. Because of this, it is essential to know about the issue and tools needed to fix it before purchasing one of these models.

Timing chain

What are the issues with the timing chain tensioner and chain for 2.0T TSI VW and Audi Models?

The models that seem to have the biggest timing chain tensioner problems are those with the engine codes CCTA, CBFA, CAEB, and CPMA engines anywhere between the dates of 2008-2015. These engines are found most commonly in the GTI, Jetta, Passat, and A4. The issues cause the intake and/or the exhaust valves to make an unwanted impact (is any impact wanted?) with the piston while the engine is running. When this happens, it results in a catastrophic failure of the piston and timing chain. The repair will require a head job, vales, and timing components replaced. During the replacement, you should also make sure that there isn’t any other damage done to the cylinder head, cylinder, or piston.

Losing Hydraulic Tension: How to Know When Your Timing Chain Tensioner Is Bad

If you have a bad or failing timing chain tensioner, there will be telltale signs of the failure. The hydraulic tension can wane and cause your car to lose power or lurch before it stops running. Recognize the following signs and give yourself a chance to stay safe on the road with a timing chain tensioner that may be going bad.

  • The engine is stalling or running roughly
  • Front-end noise that sounds like a rumble. Front-end noise usually happens when you are speeding up and running high RPMs.
  • Of course, you may have a check engine light come on if this is happening. If you pull the code, it may say something about a camshaft sensor, misfire, or something about the crankshaft. These are all problems that need to be diagnosed by a professional and certified mechanic.

If your car has any of these problems, get it into Alex’s Autohaus as soon as possible. The time and money you will save by having a proper diagnosis of the problem may save you the extra cost of a major engine repair.

What Is the Timing Chain Tensioner Repair?

If you need the timing chain tensioner replaced on your car, it requires replacing the chains, tensioner, and possibly the guides and sprockets depending on age and visible wear. Timing chain tensioner replacement is an expensive and time-consuming repair. It is not recommended to be done by a novice home tinkerer.  However, it is good to have a working knowledge of the components that need to be checked. That way, you can identify if you have a timing chain tensioner problem.

Timing Chain Components

The chain and related components listed above need to be replaced. All of these chains and components need to be replaced for the job to be done right and for your engine to run smoothly again. This also ensures that you will not have catastrophic failure to the engine in the future due to this issue.

Synthetic Oil for Timing Chain Tensioner

A tip is always to use full synthetic engine oil. Full synthetic engine oil may be more expensive, but it has been proven to extend engine components’ lifespans. Synthetic oil can also extend the life of the timing chain and the components that go along with it.  The manufacturer has it specified for the engine for a reason.

Cost of Timing Chain Tensioner Failing

When the timing chain tensioner fails, there are many parts of the engine that are involved and will need to be checked and possibly repaired. This includes cylinders, intake and exhaust valves, chains and all components that go along with them, and cylinder walls and heads. The extent of the damage will determine the total cost of the repair. Estimates will probably run from around $2k-$4k depending on the amount of damage done, but it is impossible to give you an exact estimate without first inspecting the vehicle.

What Will You Get With A Timing Chain Tensioner Repair?

With this repair, you will be getting the most updated timing chain tensioner that will prevent the problem from happening again in the future. Even though this is a big hit to the bank, it can give you peace of mind knowing that this issue is almost certainly not going to happen again. Upgrading the timing chain tensioner will take care of this problem for the life of the car.

How to Know If You Need A Timing Chain Tensioner Repair or Replacement?

The section above about losing hydraulic tension details what you will be feeling in the car if the tensioner has a failure. However, there have been cases of this happening at around 30k miles, which is a relatively low mileage for this type of component failure. If your chain skips because of a tensioner failure, this can cause significant damage and cost you thousands. You might want to think about having this replacement of the timing chain tensioner done regardless of whether you feel that it is about to fail. Repair may save you money in the long run.

Past Part Numbers That May Need the Timing Chain Tensioner Replaced

Timing chain tensioner

This is a big enough problem that even if you haven’t felt the negatives of a timing chain tensioner failure, you should check yours. If you don’t, it is a significant risk. The past models of the VW/Audi Tensioner are 06H-109-467-N, 06H-109-467-AB, 06H-109-467-T.  If you have these part numbers, definitely consider replacing yours.

In this image to the right you can see the old design on the left and the new upgraded version on the right.

Codes That Your Check Engine Light Might Be Showing If You Are Having A Tensioner Failure

If the tensioner is in a state of failure, you will be able to tell by the way the car drives (or does not drive). Some of the universal fault codes are P0016 for crank or cam position sensor, or P0328 for knock sensor 1 circuit high input.  Ether of these engine faults could point to the failure of the tensioner and should be diagnosed as such. Replacement of the timing chain tensioner may be in short order for your car.


The bottom line is that if you feel, hear, or smell trouble brewing with a 2.0T TSI VW and Audi models, get the car checked out by a professionally certified mechanic. This is especially true for the 2013 or even some of the 2012 models of VW or Audi 2.0T TSI. The longer you wait, the more damage you may cause to the systems that are running alongside the timing chain tensioner. Caution is always best with an issue of this magnitude and the significant consequences of failure. Give Alex’s Autohaus a call or schedule online with our ASE Certified technicians today.

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