2004 VW Touareg Timing Chain diagnosis

I brought my 2004 VW Touareg V6(83k miles) to the dealer for a recall on the ignition call and much to my surprise, was presented with a diagnosis of a $6,000 problem! The dealer told me that the computer read some codes which say that the timing chain is stretched and needs to be replaced. They said it will take 4-5 days and should be done asap so it doesn’t “go out”, because if it does, it’s an even more expensive problem. I took the car to another VW repair shop and they asked me if I heard any noised when I start it cold (like pebbles in a bucket). I have not had any problems like that at all, so they said I shouldn’t worry until I start getting symptoms. They also said there is no recommended point (like 90,000 miles) when VW recommends the change, so it really shouldn’t be a common problem. I want to do the right thing, but I don’t want to rush into an expensive repair if it isn’t necessary. Any advice? Also-they keep referring to it as a chain (not a belt). There was another guy on this discussion board who called it a belt.

Sounds slightly bogus to me. Whether it’s a chain or a belt, the engine has a tensioner to take up any slack. If there is, in fact, any stretch, the tensioner takes care of it. Next time they tell you your chain has stretched, ask them why the tensioner isn’t automatically taking up the slack, while they fumble for an answer…

If it were a belt, your manual would recommend inspection/replacement around 90,000 to 100,000 miles. If it’s a chain, there probably wouldn’t be any mention of a replacement interval.

Furthermore, $6000 to replace either a chain or a belt is totally outrageous. Highway robbery. Run away from the dealer and stick with the VW shop that told you not to worry about it.

(By the way, I just checked and verified that it is, in fact, a chain, not a belt).

I would have thought that a 2004 Touareg would have a timing belt not a chain. Are you sure it is a chain?

   Dealers are no better (or worse) than independent mechanics for almost anything you might need done on your car.  They will almost always charge more per hour and often more for parts and supplies.  They also tend to look at repairs a little different than the independent. 

A dealer may well recommend work that strictly may not be needed, but could be connected to the problem or maybe replace a part when a little repair would fix it ALMOST as good a new.  

There is no need to bring your car to the dealer for any service other than service that is going to be paid for by a recall or original warrantee.  During the warranty period be sure to have all required (as listed in the owner's manual) maintenance done and to document all maintenance work.

I suggest that most people would be better off finding a good independent (Not working for a chain) mechanic. 

Note: Never ever use a quick oil change place. They are fast cheap and very very bad.

You might want to post this on a VW forum (or two) to find others with that year/model.

Gates indicates no belt for your Touareg, so looks like it has a chain.

Thanks to all who replied - that makes me feel a lot better! You were all very helpful. Now I’m wondering if I should ask the dealer to reimburse me the $120 “diagnosis fee” which they charged me for finding this big “problem” (which really isn’t a problem!). I will definitely be going to the independent guy from now on.

My friends VW Eurovan with VR6 had a $5k repair with timing chain. The entire transmission and engine had to be removed to replace chain. However it was stalling and having check engine lights associated with it.

There is a known issue with the VR6 and timing chains.

Unless you have symptoms leave it be.

I checked, yep, it’s the VR6, so sounds like andrew’s friend might have had the same problem…

Well, I didn’t say nothing’s wrong. You should get an opinion from a good independent VW mechanic. The second shop sounds like all they did was ask you questions, and did not even look at it.

And you can forget that $120, they did what they said they were going to do.

The question I have is thus:

Did your car have a check engine light on when you took it into the shop for the recall work?

If it didn’t, why did they check the car for issues that weren’t making themselves known?
Why did they charge you for something you didn’t ask them to look into if there wasn’t a check engine light on?