1 8t Cam Chain Tensioner Replacement

by: jeanluc


How To: Replace 1.8t AWM cam chain tensioner

My car was having the following code show up. It usually would not cause the CEL to light.

16395 - Bank 1: Camshaft A (Intake): Retard Setpoint not Reached (Over-Advanced)
P0011 - 002 - Lower Limit Exceeded – Intermittent

The chain was very noisy; you could hear it rattling anytime the car was running.


  • Metric Socket set
  • Torque wrench - inch pound or small foot pound
  • Metric Allen bits
  • Screw drivers
  • T-30 Torx Socket (for cam caps and tensioner)
  • Cam Tensioner Retainer tool 3388 – mine came with new tensioner
  • Razor Blade
  • Flange Sealant AWV 188 001 02
  • White out – for marking cam chains and timing marks


  • Valve Cover Gasket -058198025a
  • Tensioner Gasket -863.590
  • Tensioner -058 199 088E
  • Hose Clamps

1. Set the timing marks to TDC on Cylinder #1. I found that I could “bump” the motor until I got is close and then use a wrench for that last few degrees.
2. Remove the upper timing belt cover and the plastic cover on top of the motor.
3. Remove coil packs and spark plugs (keep in order). Put paper towel in spark plug holes to keep debris out of cylinders.
4. Pull off or remove all items marked in blue
5. Remove all valve cover bolts (9 total) and accessory bolts. They are marked in red. Remove the cam position sensor (in front) and let it dangle by the wire.

6. Remove Valve cover and old gasket.

The main act:

1. Mark the timing chain. Clean the cam chain of oil where the timing marks are. Count out 16 rollers between the timing marks. Recount 16 rollers. Use liquid paper and mark the cams and chain at both the intake and exhaust side. Have your friend recount 16 rollers. Paranoia is good on this step.

2. Install the Cam Tensioner Retainer tool 3388, being careful not to over tighten. My tool came on the new tensioner, so I wrapper the new part in an old t-shirt and lightly held it in a vise. I then “borrowed” the tool to disassemble the old parts.

Here is how this works, we are going to remove the intake cam and leave the exhaust cam alone. We can then pick the intake cam and tensioner up as a unit and swing them up and out of the motor. This way we do not need to monkey with moving the front end to the service position or mess with the timing belt.

3. Remove oil splash guards. Using your T-30 socket, remove bearing caps 3 and 5 on intake side (red). Loosen bearing cap bolts on caps 3 and 5 on exhaust side (purple). Remove all remaining caps on the intake side and loosen remaining exhaust side bolts evenly. Remove the double bearing cap at front of engine. Put caps aside in the same order as installed. Loosen exhaust cam bearing cap bolts. Do not fully remove exhaust bolts or cam except cap number 1. Remove the cam chain tensioner bolts (4 total).

4. Lift the intake cam and tensioner together and swing them out of the motor. This is easier said then done. Patience is your friend.

5. Here is how it will look once you weasel the tensioner out.

6. Clean all gasket surfaces using a scotch brite pad or a razor if needed. Install the new half moon gasket under the chain tensioner.
7. Move your Cam Tensioner Retainer tool to the new tensioner. Install the new tensioner the same way the old one came out. Watch your timing marks. Double and triple check the timing. I had to install the tensioner twice because the chain slipped a tooth. Slide the new gasket under the tensioner and seat it on the dowel pins.
8. Clean all cam journals with a piece of clean t-shirt and oil them.
9. Install caps 2 and 4 on intake and snug 2 and 4 on both cams equally. Install remaining caps on intake cam and snug bolts all bearing cap bolts equally. Apply sealant to bottom of double bearing cap. Install double bearing cap. Carefully align cam seals at front of engine for proper seal. Torque all cap and cam tensioner bolts to 10 Nm. Remove tensioner tool.
10. Count 16 pins on the cam chain and verify the timing.

11. Reinstall the plastic splash covers over the intake cam.
12. Install new valve cover gasket and then install valve cover.
13. Install cam position sensor.
14. Reinstall spark plugs, coil packs, hoses, covers and other items.

Start the car. The tensioner will make noise until it fills with oil.

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