VW/Audi 2.0t Timing Chain Problems – A Must Know Guide

*Update 5/1/19* – The VW timing chain settlement was approved by a judge last December.

**If your Audi or Volkswagen does not qualify for the Audi/VW 2.0 TSI timing chain tensioner recall, then the eEuro team is here for you! According to the Audi and VW timing chain settlement, the timing chain system is comprised of the timing chain tensioner, timing chain, chain sprockets, guide rails and tensioning rail. Since you’re doing or covering the repairs yourself, you should also consider replacing the following VW or Audi engine parts: the lower 2.0t timing cover and the cam bridge bracket. More on that further below…

**If you think your car might qualify, you should seek a lawyer working on this Audi and VW timing chain lawsuit. Even if you already had repair work done you might still be entitled to some reimbursement of the timing chain system repair or replacement cost. Again, seek a lawyer for more information about the VW timing chain settlement. We cannot help you with a lawsuit-related question, so please contact us only if you’re handling the replacement.


If you have a late model Audi or VW 2.0T and you are wondering about things to keep an eye on, VW/Audi 2.0t engine problems with the timing chain tensioner should be at the top of your list.  The engines in question are in the 2.0 TSI family, and include the CCTA, CBFA, CAEB, CAEA, CDNC and CPMA code numbers.  These engines went into hundreds of thousands of cars between 2008-2013. These VW/Audi 2.0t engine problems were so widespread it led to the VW timing chain settlement. The specific defect in these engines is timing chain tensioner failure in what’s supposed to be responsible for the timing jumping teeth.  With the timing messed up, the valves will hit the pistons and bend ie. total failure.  Most reports of engines failing right at startup.

Timing Chain Tensioner - Upper
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This is an older style timing chain tensioner under recall without the flat metal bracket against the timing chain guide

Later engines of the same EA888 family featured an updated part, which is used to update early style cars.  Luckily if you have an early TSI engine, the preemptive chain tensioner replacement is not that big of a deal.  The part is cheap and not too hard to replace, just tedious because you have to access the timing cover.  On cars with transverse mounted engines this is done through the passenger side wheel well under the fender liner.  On longitudinally mounted engines, you will most likely have to remove the bumper to replace the timing chain tensioner.

In 2016, this defect was causing so many engines to fail that a class action lawsuit was filed, and the widespread Audi/VW 2.0 TSI engine problems effectively resulted in a nationwide timing chain tensioner recall.  That does not mean that yours has been updated, and if you don’t know the specific service history of your car you should replace these VW/Audi parts.  If you don’t, you are conceding to live with the fact that you have a potential ticking time bomb under your hood.

Updated Genuine VW TSI 2.0t Timing Chain Tensioner

This is the updated upper cam chain tensioner, in Genuine VW/Audi

You can differentiate the older style between the new one by looking for a metal bracket on the part that contacts the chain guide rail

Many reports claim the updated-style tensioner (which we carry) started going on cars somewhere between 2012 and 2013.  One source specifically cites the defective VW 2.0 TSI timing chain tensioner replacement was started in July 2012, but we can’t say for certain.  If you have any TSI engine Passat, Jetta, Golf, GTI, Tiguan, CC, A3, or A4 made before the end of 2013, this all applies to you.

If you are going to replace your upper tensioner, we recommend also getting a new lower 2.0t timing chain cover since they are stamped metal and often bend during removal because they are stuck on with sealant.  There is no specific gasket for this.

This is a common source for leaks after replacing the tensioner.  While they are in there fixing the specific timing chain tensioner recall, many customers also choose to replace other major engine timing parts, such as the chain and timing guides.

Timing Chain Cover - Lower
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Other parts that are really good to replace while replacing the tensioner would be the Cam Bridge Bracket, which fits over the ends of the cam gears, and a timing chain.  On the Camshaft Bracket there’s a fine screen that commonly dislodges and gets sucked into the narrow oil passages, effectively becoming everything it is fighting against.

Camshaft Bracket - Rear
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You can also replace the timing chain, although most cases of complete timing chain failure are due to the tensioner failing and causing a ‘chain reaction’, sorry for the pun.  If you replace the timing chain you will need to rent a special tool to lock the camshafts, and you might as well replace the brittle plastic guides at the same time.  This is of course a big DIY day, versus just fixing the known defective timing chain tensioner recall and going on your way.  Be sure to look for cam chain stretch.  Up to you.

Timing Chain
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Whether or not you were included in the VW timing chain lawsuit and settlement, if you own an Audi or VW from the list below (or close even) you’ll want to consider replacing the parts involved in the timing chain tensioner recall. Prevent a catastrophe that would not only leave you stranded but could cost you exponentially more to fix possible engine damage.

Timing Chain Tensioner - Upper
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Shop for the parts for your car by entering your vehicle in the selector at the top of our website. We have a huge selection of OEM, Aftermarket, and Performance parts with prices that beat all competitors.  Just look for yourself and see!


*UPDATE 5/16/18* – The VW timing chain class-action lawsuit mentioned is proceeding through the system and it appears that owners of vehicles that have suffered engine damage (up to and including complete annihilation) may be able to receive some kind of compensation based on the vehicle mileage.  I don’t have specifics, but if you are one of those people that have suffered premature engine failure, seek a lawyer working on this VW/Audi timing chain lawsuit, as there are several firms working across the country that will be able to include you in this.  Please, however, do not contact us.  We can sell you a thousand parts for your VW, but we will not be able to help you with this specific lawsuit.  Again, seek a lawyer for more information.

Model/Years of Audi Timing Chain Recall

  • 2008–2012 A3
  • 2009–2012 A4 Avant
  • 2009–2013 A4
  • 2010–2013 A5 Cabriolet
  • 2010–2013 A5
  • 2012 A6
  • 2011–2012 Q5
  • 2009–2012 TT
  • 2009–2012 TT Roadster

Check our Audi parts catalog and select what model you own; or simply input your specific car into the Vehicle Selector above.

Model/Years of VW Timing Chain Recall

  • 2012–2014 Beetle
  • 2012–2014 Beetle Convertible
  • 2009–2012 CC
  • 2009–2012 Eos
  • 2008–2012 GTI
  • 2008–2010 & 2012–2014 Jetta
  • 2009 Jetta SportWagen
  • 2008–2010 Passat
  • 2008–2010 Passat Wagon
  • 2009–2013 Tiguan

Check our Volkswagen parts catalog and select what model you own; or simply input your specific car into the Vehicle Selector above.


43 thoughts on “VW/Audi 2.0t Timing Chain Problems – A Must Know Guide
  1. Tim Evans

    I have a 2014 Jetta GLI 2.0 which is experiencing the tensioner failure and I’m being told all my chains are stretched and that my camshaft needs to be replaced. Is this something that is common, the camshaft replacement seems much to me.

  2. John French

    Cam tensioner went out, tore it done and did repairs. Failed to notice the lobes on the cam were not where they were suppposed to be located. reassembled and had compression on number 4. no compression on 1-3. Took it back apart thinking I had lifter issues from the intake valves making contact with pistons. To my shock all of the lobes for 1-3 were not located properly. I assumed that this like every cam I ha seen before was a cast and ground to spec piece. Apparently VW figured out how to assemble a cam from pieces. New cam is underway. Hopefully I didn’t damage the new intake valves. leak down test appears ok.

    Word of advice LOOK at the cams, make sure the lobes have not relocated.

    • Adam Goral

      Hi Alan, later EA888 family engines, such as that CHHA, shipped with updated tensioners with the specific defect fixed. You should be OK, but be sure to always do regular oil changes with a high quality synthetic oil (Such as ROWE), as these parts are considered to be maintenance. Just something to keep in mind, thanks for checking us out.

    • Pat

      Recalls are reserved for safety items and concerns that could cause injury or death, ie Takata airbags and mk 4 brake light switches. Auto manufacturers comply with recalls rather than get nailed by the NTSB and losing badly in court.
      Crummy designs that lead to expensive repairs so not constitute a recall. Maybe a service action/campaign, but that would be a voluntary repair initiated by the vehicle manufacturer, not the NTSB. Once in a while a class action suit victory by a group of consumers will prompt a vehicle manufacturer to perform a service action, but those situations are quite rare.

  3. Leonardo Calbusch

    My 2013 jetta – engine number CPL 002733 – is about to be repaired because the mechanic says the engine had suffered this tensioner issue. Both tensioner and chain will be replaced, I’m just waiting the parts to be delivered.But I’ve read over internet foruns that my engine have the new tensioner already. How can I be sure? I also have read that once my engine is open would be a good ideia to simply remove the tiny camshaft bracket screen, to avoid the dislodgent problem. Should I do that?

  4. Adam Thanks for the update!
    One thing that needs to be checked on the 12-13 year cars is some did get the updated chain adjuster and chains. I have seen a few on the list that should have the updated parts but did not. It is very easy to check just need to remove the plug and look in.
    It looks like they will only go to a 100K? on mileage under there fix so this leaves thousands and thousands of engine out there. As I say the hand grenade pin been pulled and just wait for the BOOM!! Here at http://www.DRVOLKS.com we do many upgrades on the engine as I said in the early post the engine is hard to work on and you need the right toolkit.

    • Adam Goral

      This should have the updated version, must make sure you use a high quality oil and change it regularly, as all newer VW 2.0ts have some fragility in the timing dept.

      • Zakaria Chehab

        Thanks for the quick reply Adam. So the CAWA is a newer engine in the ea888 family? It says on the sticker that mine was manufactured on 5/2011. I’m wondering because I’m not sure if the CAWA was introduced at a later stage worldwide or only to the North American market, as I’m located in The Middle East market.

  5. Barbara Closson

    Do you know who is representing South Carolina owners and/or how would I find out? Thank you My car has already cost me thousands for the timing change mentioned.

  6. Jeff

    So my 2010 VW CC is experiencing apparent misfiring, but mostly until the engine gets warm/hot; I had all plugs changed, but the symptoms continue. Is this associated w/the timing mechanism or potentially something else?

    • Adam Goral

      It is very common for the ignition coils to fail around this time, 8-10 years in. When you say misfiring, what exactly are you experiencing? Do you get the flashing check engine light that would signal a misfire? If so, get the engine scanned for trouble codes so you can see what cylinder it is on. Here’s a link to the ignition coils from the OE supplier to VW: https://www.eeuroparts.com/Parts/77840/Ignition-Coil-07K905715FA/ . Other common causes for misfires are vacuum leaks and air leaks in the intercooler/turbo system, so check for small cracks in the vacuum lines and intake hoses that might be leaky when cool but seal once warm.

      • Jeff

        Thx Adam. No, the ‘check engine light’ isn’t coming on. No codes registering either. Symptom is only at startup when pushing the accelerator…anywhere between 5 mph to 70 mph I feel the slippage or hesitation or sputtering. Once the engine heats up (typically after 3 – 5 min of driving) all is good.

        • Elee

          Hello, do you have any updates on what you did to fix this? I am having the same issue with my 2010 Audi A4. Chain tensioner and cam shaft replaced, but am still seeing EPC lights at low rpms after a bit with engine hesitations.

    • AZ

      Yo, fellow 2010 CC owner. Get your upper intake off and clean it all out. YouTube will guide you. I’m at 130k and badly needed a cleaning. Not too difficult, but a few annoying steps. Might just replace the intake wheel you have it off. I didn’t replace mine but then on assembly has codes for replacement. It’s a faulty design that fails, but if you’re under 125k it’s under warranty.

  7. Brandi

    I have a 2014 VW Jetta. It is in the shop now. Broken timing belt. VW says I have to pay 6,000 because I can not provide proof of oil change service!! That this some how is my fault. No check engine light or oil light. Went to start it up and it wouldnt start. What do I do now???

  8. i am repairing a 2010 Tiguan with tensioner failure. i find great step by step
    ” how to properly time and install timing chains on the VR6, 2.0 FSI and several other engineS THE ONE I JUST WATCHED ON THE VR6 WAS GREAT but where is the video on the 2.0T TSI ???

  9. Steve Scharschmidt

    I have a 2013 VW Jetta that is at a Volkswagen dealership now. The vehicle has 80,000 miles. The dealership said that based on mileage I have to pay 40 percent which is approximately $5,500.00. A VW customer care rep stated that I had to pay because of mileage and another told me it was due to other parts and labor for damage that the timing chain caused to other parts of the vehicle. They never gave me a final answer as to why I had to pay such a large amount let alone anything at all. This is all confusing to me as this appears to be a recall issue and should be taken care of. What am I missing? Thank you for your assistance. I appreciate it.

  10. Alan


    Brought my 2014 Audi Q5 in for service because the Check Engine light was on. The local Audi dealer diagnosed need to replace timing chain and tensioner. Estimate for work $3,000.

    My car VIN is not listed in the class action lawsuit as qualified to participate. Car was built in 2013. Can I still file claim to be included is this lawsuit? What can I do?

    VIN: WA1LFAFP4EA053981
    Dealer: Audi Exchange (Highland Park, IL)
    Initial delivery date: 12/26/13
    Audi Q5, 2014, 2.0T

    Thank you,

  11. Kristin

    Same issue and question as Alan. 2014 Q5, 2.0T, 70K miles, purchased 11/30/2013. Check engine light is on and the Audi dealer says the timing chain is stretched. I am not happy. What are the chances of including newer models in this, or another lawsuit?


    • Adam Goral

      This seems like a separate issue specifically, but generally the same with bad timing designs. I have no idea about a lawsuit but it’s a shame to have so many people coming forward with problems on such new cars. I assume freshly out of warranty?

  12. Heather

    I also had this problem on my Audi Q5 at 56,000kms. Check engine light came on so I took it into dealership. It took them 3+hours to diagnose the problem as a faulty tensioner causing the iming chain to skip. Cost me $2700 to replace! I purchased the Audi service package at my dealership when I bought the car and have been bringing it back to them for regular maintenance every year. I am furious to hear that this seems to be a known problem and was never checked. I am also concerned that this might have caused some damage to my engine, although the dealership says it didn’t.

    • Cheryl

      I was shocked two weeks ago with a total engine failure, 600 miles from home, because of the timing chain. I have a 2013 Q5 that I bought used and now have a $8,500. repair bill. This is my 4th Audi and have had no major problems before. This is devastating because the 2012 Q5 is covered but not my 2013.

  13. Dave

    Hi guys,
    Recently Bought a 2011 Tiguan 2.0 TSI unaware of the timing chain issues sadly.
    It has a timing chain rattle now, but checked the tensioner by removing the plug, and its the new 16K, dated 178 18 which I believe is a 2018 made tensioner. Thats good news I trust.
    However I am unable to confirm that the chain was renewed by the previous owner, hence my concern that it may have stretched.
    Also 4 codes come come up on my OBD 2 reader:
    P0011, intake camshaft position timing over advanced,
    P0016, Crankshaft position-camshaft position correlation bank 1 sensor A
    P0300, random multiple misfire detected
    AND P0301cylinder 1 misfire detected,
    all permanent!
    What is that telling me other than something is not right please?
    A retired mechanic in Australia that does not need this shit, but will do what I have to do to get the best out of it.

    • Adam Goral

      Diver Dave, you are right about the chain and the potential damage it may have incurred from the previous owner going too long on a bad tensioner (which has now obviously been replaced). Those codes sound like your camshaft adjustment is out of whack. In your position, I would pull the valve cover off and have a look at the chain. Try to pull it away from the sprocket in its tightest spot, halfway around the gear. If the chain is stretched, you’ll be able to pull it up slightly off the gear because the individual links have play in them. The next thing I would do is pull the oil pan off, and check for broken fragments or particles in there (maybe a chain guide?), and also the clean the oil pickup feed tube. If you have low oil pressure up top, your camshaft adjusters might not be fully engaging. There are a few ways you may not be getting perfect oil pressure to your VVT adjuster. One thing that can cause poor oil pressure to this section of the engine is something called a camshaft bracket (some call it a cam bridge) https://www.eeuroparts.com/Parts/49251/Camshaft-Bracket-Rear-06H103144J/. There’s a screen there that can get clogged and restrict oil flow to the solenoids. There is also a camshaft adjustment solenoid (basically an oil pressure controller of sorts) https://www.eeuroparts.com/Parts/81121/Camshaft-Adjustment-Solenoid-N205-06H109257A/ that can get gummed up or be out of position if reinstalled poorly. I have heard of people using a very small shim to move the position of it out a hair because this part isn’t seating correctly, but I do not believe that is your problem. Unfortunately, on these engines there are a lot of potential problem areas (and a lot of resulting lawsuits) so until you pull the covers off and have a look, it’s hard to say why your timing is messed up. If you find the problem, please let us know! We have the best prices on all VW audi engine parts and once diagnosed, we can help get your Tiguan back to good running order.

      • Dave

        Hi Adam,
        Thanks for your prompt, detailed reply mate.
        I have removed the camshaft sprocket cover and cannot find any chain slackness. That was my first thought.
        What I did notice is that whoever (a butcher) did the previous job used what appears to be a pin punch to remove the LH thread camshaft solenoid and damaged the holes somewhat.
        Also the inlet camshaft control valve has 2 paper gaskets fitted, that look very home made, to shim out the control valve (perhaps to get the timing right).
        That raised great concerns for me about the condition of the inlet camshaft solenoid.
        I would attach photos if I knew how to on this forum.
        As I live out in the countryside, far from the big cities that have all the knowhow and tools readily available, I am waiting on a crankshaft holding tool arrival to remove the Crankshaft pulley and check things under the cover., like chain guides, timing, etc.
        Once I get the lower cover off I can perhaps assess the situation further.
        Will keep you posted once I can advance further.
        Thanks again for your guidance here.
        TSI Cam
        TSI Cam Chain
        TSI Cam Adjuster Shim
        TSI Cam Adjuster Solenoid Damage

    • Adam Goral

      The CBFA engine is the California emission version (ie PZEV, SULEV, whatever) of the CCTA engine of the EA888 engine family. You should look up recall history on your car, and if there is no mention of any timing components being inspected or replaced, then I would highly recommend getting the timing worked out on this car before it’s too late. We have all the parts you need to do this preemptive service (as mentioned in the article). Failures can be sudden and catastrophic so don’t wait.

  14. Anne Jardim

    Hi Adam – Thank you for all of the information you have provided on the tensioner/timing chain problem. I have an Audi A3 CBFA 8P engine manufactured 11/11. Not driven much, currently 22,500 miles. I was alerted to the tensioner problem by an Audi independent workshop where I took it 6 months ago for an oil change. I cannot get a sraight answer from 2 dealers as to whether I have the defective tensioner and am covered by the settlement and eligible for preventative repair.
    Can you tell from the details given if my engine has the defective tensioner?
    Many thanks,

  15. Cas

    I could really use some guidance/ advice on what to do. I have a 2012 A4 that falls under the settlement. My car just broke down ( 2 months ) exactly after the audi dealership advised me to replace my turbo which cost me 5k to fix they told me my car would not have any issues going forward and that the turbo was the problem. Now after I just dropped 5k (2months ago)to repair the turbo they are telling me that my timing chain is why my car broke down for the second time and it’s going to cost me 3,600 to fix. I asked them about the timing chain settlement they told me I have to pay for the repair first then go through the lawsuit to be reimbursed. I don’t know what to do at this point I’m without vehicle any help would be extremely appreciated.

  16. Russ

    I have a GTI 2010 with a 115k on it. A VW mailer I received regarding timing chains Indicated that I could get reimbursed for the cost of replacing or fixing the timing chain if that work occurred prior to mid January 2020. So imagine my surprise today when I was told by my local VW dealer today to have a door rattle fixed that my timing chain was stretched and needed to be replaced. Should I be a little bit skeptical that I could’ve been told this before last January given how much the chain had stretched? I hate to be cynical but it doesn’t seem like coincidence.

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