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AudiDoc, Independent Audi Shop Owner
Category: Audi
Satisfied Customers: 1695
Experience:  I've been working on Audis since I was 18 and own an independent Audi repair and performance shop
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In changing the timing belt, do I absolutely need the crank

Customer Question

In changing the timing belt, do I absolutely need the crank shaft lock pin? The crank requires some effort to rotate and with no n power to engine I can't see it moving unless I turn the crank shaft sprocket myself. So can I change the timing belt without the locking pin or is absolute that it has to be on before I change the belt....I can do it eitherway and I have heard it been do before.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Audi
Expert:  Gary replied 1 year ago.

Hi there,

Any engine these days that has a locking pin to lock the crank solid, generally has no dowels/keyways on the cam wheels.

It allows the engine manufacturer to assemble the engine quickly and the timing will be correct every time.

The crank is locked, the cams are locked at the far end, the timing belt etc is fitted and then the CAM WHEELS are torqued.

Having said of all that, you can make your own makes with some liquid paper/white paint pen on the original belt and sprockets.

Lock the cam gears per head together, remove the belt, copy your white marks to the new belt, fit new belt, tensioner etc.

There's one engine I know that takes about 30 minutes to remove the bung and fit the locking tool, which is a pain to do.


Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I have the bar that locks the cams are saying make timing marks on the cam sprockets and old belt, remove the old belt, transfer the marks on new belt then line those marks up on the cam sprockets. ...this of course is without through lock pin in place?
Expert:  Gary replied 1 year ago.

Yes that should work.

Cam AND crank sprockets, and belt in all places.


Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ok..that would imply that I do not have to pull the cam sprockets free ..rather place the new belt onto where the crank and cam sprockets are currently fixed with the marks...correct?
Expert:  Gary replied 1 year ago.

Yes that is correct.

You would need to lock the crank, and camshafts from the opposite end if you wanted to remove a cam wheel to replace a cam seal.

But if all the cam seals are serviceable, you can save a lot of time by doing as described above.

I'm sure you understand how I have described my way.


Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Now that you mention it I do have to replace the cam seals...should I do that first before the timing belt...which is more efficent?...also in removing the tension off the timing belt tensioner do crank it clockwise or counter clock wise slowly? Will it require a lot of force to relieve the tension?
Expert:  Gary replied 1 year ago.

Hi again,

If you have not done this sort of job before, it would be best for you to get a mechanic to do it for you.

You will need ALL the locking tools, even to do just one cam seal.

You also need to replace any cam sprocket bolts that have been removed.

One little error will be bent valves and then a large expensive repair.