Impression of a VW Transporter T3 Timing belt change with a few problems along the way. A DIY task for those with a bit of time and a few tools.
Volkswagen Vanagon - Transporter 1.6D 1986
A Volkswagen T3 transporter from Germany in excellent state with just 126.000 Km on the clock.
Have a look how to change the timing belt for this Volkswagen Transporter T3 diesel.
VW Transporter T3 Timing belt change
A 1986 Volkswagen Transporter (aka Vanagon) T3 1.6 liter diesel needs a timing belt change – we were in the neighborhood and offered to help. The task was done in about 8 hours of work, including a few problems and surprises along the way.
|1986 Volkswagen Transporter T3 timing belt change on 1.6 diesel engine
On first glance the limited working space at the Volkswagen 1.6 Diesel engine caused some concerns. How to change the timing belt without reasonable space? After asking around, it shouldn’t be too hard, just remove a few things and you’re good to go. No need for measurement tools and timing adjustments, just plain old nuts and bolts.
Access to the Volkswagen T3 timing belt
To create some working space the following parts were removed:
- rear fender / bumper + license plate holder
- Exhaust / Silencer / Muffler
- Cooling fluid overflow reservoir + air filter housing
- Alternator / Dynamo / Lichtmachine
- Plastic belt cover plate top half
- Engine protection plate rear side. (Not the front engine cover plate)
All these parts came of with a bit of a fight with rusty bolts and screws.
|Volkswagen Transporter T3 belts for waterpump and alternator
Next job was to remove the waterpump and crankshaft pulley. Looking at the Hex bolts there was trouble ahead. Someone had taken a go at these and ruined the allen hex bolts. It looked a bit strange to use hex inbus bolts, its quite easy to ruin those when they’re fixed tightly. Luckily the waterpump pulley bolts came off without too much of a fight. Vise grip pliers did the job.
Crankshaft pulley hex bolts ruined
The same hex / allen / inbus bolts were fitted at the crankshaft pulley – they looked totally ruined. Two came off with the same vise grip pliers. The others didn’t move an inch, the vise grip wrench came off, messing up the bolt even more.
|Volkswagen T3 crankshaft pulley with ruined hex allen inbus bolts
Drilling of the bolt heads was a first thought, however this could result in even more drama. How to remove the short leftovers from the crankshaft gear? Welding M8 bolts on top of the them seemed like a good alternative;
|Volkswagen Transporter T3 crankshaft pulley welding hex allen inbus bolts
The M8 bolt welded pretty easily – two spots were enough. But drama struck again, the bolt snapped under pressure from the wrench. Why use Allen Hex bolts when there's so much force needed to release the crankshaft pulley?
|Volkswagen Transporter T3 crankshaft pulley welding snapped from hex allen inbus bolts
Another welding attempt:
|Volkswagen Transporter T3 crankshaft pulley 2nd attempt welding hex allen inbus bolts
Two things are important while welding; prevent the welding sport from becoming too thick. The extra thickness touches the big bolt making it impossible to turn. In all cases aim the welding torch carefully – welding the Allen / imbus bolt to the pulley causes even bigger drama.
|Hex allen inbus bolt with welded M8 bolt
Luckily both welded bolts came off with quite a bit of force. Impossible to do this with an hex wrench – it will ruin the 6 sided hex setting for sure.
Almost done? BBQ Time!!! with Original Volkswagen sausages
|Volkswagen Transporter T3 timing belt in full view|
|View at the timing belt of a VW transporter T3
A good result after 5 hours of work – now the actual timing belt change starts.
Replacing the T3 timing belt
Red marks at the 3 important gears already hinted a previous timing belt change.
|View at diesel pump gear marking - marks the dieselpump position
Using the same red marks at the crankshaft, camshaft and diesel pump, replacement is quite simple. The tensioner gear was loosened and the old cam belt came off easily;
If at this point the gears of either the crankshaft, valves or dieselpump has changed and the original position can't be found, get a volkswagen transporter T3 workshop manual.
Be very carefull with T3 transporter / vanagon dieselpump timing information found on the internet - double check before starting the engine.
|VW transporter T3 crankshaft marking - needs to be set here
After a bit of a fight in getting the new belt on the camshaft gear, next was setting the timing belt tensioner;
|VW transporter T3 timing belt tensioner
With about 5 mm of movement on the longest timing belt stretch, a new cam belt tensioner was bolted on. Timing belt change done!
The waterpump already was replaced – a sensible thing to do when it already looks old.
From here all removed parts were fitted in reverse order. After a last check, the engine was started – and sounded quite ok. A test drive confirmed nothing had changed, same power, same sound.
When camshaft, crankshaft or dieselpump axles are moved during the timing belt change, the procedure to adjust the timing of valves and dieselpump can be found in Volkswagen Transporter / Vanagon workshop repair manuals:
After all this work - time to celebrate - BBQ with original Volkswagen Currybockwurst (No kidding!!!) Click on the sausage pic for more info.
|To complete the timing belt change - BBQ time! Original VOLKSWAGEN Curry Bockwurst