The chain runs through tensioners that are supposed to keep a tight, consistent pressure on the chain. When everything is going smoothly, the chain matches the timing between the pistons and valves so they operate like a sweet symphony.
But when that chain fails or the tensioner stops doing its job, the pistons and valves will butt up against one another like a terrible mosh-pit.
Timing Chain Defects and Premature Engine Failure
Like anything in your engine, timing chains will eventually require some maintenance. However, according to Volkswagen’s own warranty and maintenance schedules you shouldn’t have to worry about this maintenance for 120,000 miles.
Except, that’s not always the case – especially in 2008 and later cars with the EA888 2.0L engine. Those engines have multiple reports of premature timing chain tensioner failure, as early as 20,000 miles! So only off by 100,000 miles or so. No biggie.
The Result of a Tensioner Failure
The timing chain tensioners are both spring and hydraulically controlled and can fail in a number of ways. One thing is for certain, when it does fail it’s not good news:
- The timing chain loosens and the timing of the pistons and valves is all thrown off
- You might hear a rattle
- The engine might not start, or if it does, it might shutdown while driving
- A check engine light might come on if you’re lucky to warn you of impending engine doom
- In many cases, the pistons will just smash into the valves, bend them to hell, and catastrophically kill your engine.
Volkswagen has been hit with multiple lawsuits saying defects in the timing chain system are causing engine failure well before the recommended maintenance schedule.
In response, VW is blaming consumers for poor maintenance. And going back to 2010, the automaker has sent multiple technical service bulletins to dealerships informing them what to do if customers complained about the timing chains.
In May of 2016, a lawsuit was filed claiming VW sold cars with defects in the timing chain tensioner system and won’t help owners with repairs. A couple months later, another lawsuit was filed by 24 plaintiffs from 17 states claiming the timing chains “jump a tooth” in the camshaft.
In New Jersey, the lawsuits were combined and focused on multiple models dating back to the 2008 model year. Volkswagen’s motion to dismiss the case was denied by the judge.
The lawsuit is being heard in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.
McCuneWright, LLP Lawsuit
Additionally, McCuneWright, LLP filed a class-action lawsuit in federal court on behalf of consumers who who 2006-2016 VWs and Audis with 2.0L gas engines.
The lawsuit alleges what you might expect – that the timing chain tensioner is defective and eventually fails. Once that happens the engine is toast, and it’s not the consumer’s fault.
McCuneWright is interested in speaking with and representing additional consumers who have incurred out-of-pocket expenses related to a defect in the vehicles’ timing chain tensioner.