Timing chain replacement on 1.2 TSI EA111 engines (VW, Skoda, Audi)

The 1.2 TSI EA111 small-block turbocharged engine is used in a number of VAG models: A3 2 (8P), Fabia 2 (5J), Roomster 1 (5J), Yeti 1 (5L), Caddy 3 (2K), Golf 6 (5K), Polo 5 (6R) and some others. The biggest problem with these engines is a weak timing chain. Let’s find out how to replace it and extend its service life.

What’s wrong with the VAG 1.2 TSI engines of the EA111 generation

The 1.2 TSI four-cylinder turbocharged gasoline engine was developed as an alternative to the outdated 1.6 MPI atmospheric engine and the 1.4 MPI engine with a cast iron cylinder block. In contrast to its predecessor, the 1.2 TSI engine is fitted with an aluminum block, reduced piston diameter from 76.5 to 71 mm and significantly lightened.

1.2 TSI EA111
First-generation 1.2 TSI EA111 engine with chain drive timing

The engine became lighter, more economical and produced 86, 90 or 105 hp, depending on the settings, but paired with the heavy bodies of the Golf, Octavia or Caddy, this power was clearly not enough. This was reflected in the fuel consumption, which could rise to an immodest 12 liters per hundred.

The 8-valve aluminum cylinder head with a single camshaft provided quite decent low-end traction. However, the biggest problem, as it turned out later, was related to the life of the timing chain. The chain stretched very quickly, but it was not replaced even under warranty.

The reason was that the manufacturer had given the drive chain a lifetime shelf life. Obviously, the engineers did not take into account the capabilities of the chain itself and the load on it.

двигуни 1.2 TSI EA111
The first and second generation of 1.2 TSI engines: EA111 and EA211

Later, the problem was solved by modifying the 1.2 TSI engine of the EA111 generation in 2012. Its successor, the EA211, already had a timing belt and a number of modifications, but it’s no easier for owners of VAG cars with the 1.2 TSI EA111 engine.

When to change the timing chain on 1.2 TSI EA111 engines

Depending on the year of manufacture of the engine, the timing chain could cover 30,000 to 35,000 km, but no more. Engines with a production date after October 2010 received an upgraded chain and gear set.

Original VAG repair kit for replacing the timing chain of 1.2 TSI EA111 engines

There were three versions of repair kits (chain plus sprockets):

  • 03F-109-158B — since 2009;
  • 03F-109-158K — since 2010;
  • 03F-109-158G — since October 2010.

The first and second options did not require sprocket replacement, but were ineffective. In less than 30 thousand kilometers, the chain would stretch and jump one or more teeth.

Old and new timing chains 1.2 TSI EA111

However, replacing the chain and sprockets with a new 03F-109-158G set made in 2010 did not completely solve the problem. That's why the masters recommend checking the degree of chain stretch every 40-45 thousand kilometers.

Three revisions of the chains of the 1.2 TSI EA111 engine. The last one, after 2010, is the most successful, but it changes along with the gears.

How to check the timing chain of the VAG 1.2 TSI generation EA111

The 1.2-liter TSI engine of the EA111 generation does not have a sight glass to assess the degree of timing chain extension. Therefore, there are only two ways to check it -- the first involves complete disassembly of the timing covers and timing drive protection, and it requires a special measuring tool. Which is unlikely to be in your garage.

The second option is much simpler, but for some reason VAG does not officially talk about it. Only in corporate dealer networks of service stations. To check the timing chain, all you need is an old tensioner and a little bit of modernization.

In fact, here's what you need to do:

  1. Disassemble the unnecessary chain tensioner completely.

    Для перевірки ланцюга ГРМ

  2. Drill a hole ⌀6 mm exactly in the center of the tensioner head.
    Для перевірки ланцюга ГРМ
  3. Remove the rod and valve and assemble our device.
    Для перевірки ланцюга ГРМ
  4. The result is a device like this one.
    Для перевірки ланцюга ГРМ

To measure, simply unscrew the working tensioner, screw in the home-made device, and use a caliper with a depth gauge to determine the reference point. It is advisable to do this on a new chain.

Для перевірки ланцюга ГРМ

Now you can check the timing chain puller at any convenient time without any additional hassle. It is recommended to do this every 15-20 thousand kilometers, but not later, knowing the unpleasant features of the 1.2 TSI EA111 engine.

Remember that the deviation from the reference nominal parameter should not exceed 6 mm. The maximum depth is 73.5 mm. If more, the timing chain must be changed.

How to replace the timing chain on 1.2 TSI EA111 engines (Golf 6, Polo, Jetta 6, Fabia 5J, Yeti 5L, Roomster 5J)

Depending on the year of manufacture of the engine, as we have already seen above, the chain will need to be replaced between 30 and 50 thousand kilometers. However, experts believe that it is worth giving preference not only to replacing the chain itself, but also sprockets, idlers, bolts, and washers of a new model.

Spare parts for replacement of the timing chain 1.2 TSI EA111

As a rule, VAG offers to buy a complete repair kit for replacement. Its catalog number is 03F 198 158 B. It contains all the elements of the third modification of the timing drive, i.e., already modernized.

комплект грм

The price of the original VAG 03F 198 158 B kit in Ukraine is in the range of 4500-4800 hryvnias (approximately $125). However, there are analogs. For example, RS0042 ET Engineteam.

This is the official supplier of engine parts to VAG assembly lines in Eastern Europe, and the quality is quite decent. You can buy a 210583 Hepu kit for the same price.

If you do not want to buy a complete 1.2 TSI EA111 timing belt replacement kit, here is a list of spare parts that can be purchased separately:

  • new chain of the third revision – 03F 109 158 G;
  • chain tensioner – 03F 109 507 D;
  • camshaft sprocket – 03F 109 571 F;
  • crankshaft gear – 03F 105 209 G;
  • two chain retainers (shoes) – 03F 109 469 E, 03F 109 509 F;
  • drain plug for the oil pan with a seal – N90 813 202;
  • crankshaft pulley mounting bolt N90 987 302;
  • camshaft gear mounting bolt – N90 256 202;
  • bolts for fastening the timing cover N10 734 501, M6×20, 12 pieces;
  • long bolt for fastening the timing cover N10 734 401, M6×40;
  • crankshaft pulley gasket-washer – WHT 004 724.

Depending on the scope of work, you may also need crankshaft oil seal 038 103 085 C, as well as sealants for the timing cover and crankcase pan, part numbers D 176 501 A1 and D 176 600 A1, respectively.

Additional equipment for replacing the timing chain

Even simple procedures on a modern engine require some special tools, bits, pullers, and templates. In the case of the VAG 1.2 TSI engine, it will be difficult to do without at least the camshaft and crankshaft retainers. Here they are in the photo.

The thing about the 1.2 TSI EA111 engine is that the crankshaft and camshaft sprockets are mounted without any keys or splines. What's more, the lower crankshaft sprocket is not even held in place by the pulley's clamping force. The pinion is removed with a three-pawed puller of a generally standard design.

It is precisely because of this feature that both shafts must be precisely fixed at the top dead center (TDC) position of the first cylinder.

Thus, it will not matter how we install the new gears - the shafts are fixed, the new tensioner is installed, and the upper gear is fixed with a new bolt last.

To lock the shafts, you will need two clamps:

  1. Crankshaft retainer, original part number T10340.
  2. Camshaft retainer, VAG part number T10414.


They are commercially available, but they are not cheap. However, we have accurate technical drawings of these clamps.


If you have access to a lathe and milling machine, you can easily make them yourself or order them. It will certainly be cheaper than buying a ready-made set.


As for the crankshaft sprocket, it can be dismantled either with the puller we discussed or with a special device that is also used to press the gear onto the shaft.

It is important to remember that the new gear must never be forced onto the shaft (with a hammer, sledgehammer, etc.), as there is a risk of damaging the crankshaft thrust half rings. This will lead to extremely undesirable consequences for the engine.

Changing the timing chain on the 1.2 TSI EA111 engine

The replacement procedure is quite simple and typical for small engines of Volkswagen, Skoda, and Audi. To begin with, you will need to perform a number of standard operations: drain the antifreeze, engine oil, remove the right wheel and fender. As well as engine protection. Then mark the direction of rotation of the attachment belt and remove it.

The rest of the work is performed according to the following algorithm:

  1. Loosen the clamps on the hoses 1 and 2, press the locking bolt 3 and move the antifreeze hoses aside.
  2. On the check valve, remove the hoses 1 and unscrew the retaining bolt 2.
  3. Unscrew all bolts of the timing cover 1 and remove it.
  1. Screw the T1034 retainer in its place.
  2. Unscrew the plug from the cylinder block.
  3. Unscrew the two bolts 1 and remove the nozzle bracket 2.
  1. In place of the antifreeze check valve...
  2. ... replace the camshaft retainer.
  3. Remove the oil pan, having previously removed the catalyst inlet pipe - screw 1, oil temperature and level sensor connector 2, bolts 3 of the protective shield.
  1. Remove the oil pan
  2. Wash the oil tank...
  3. ...and a dirt tray
  1. Remove the crankshaft pulley.
  2. Unscrew the cover of the timing drive.
  1. Unscrew the timing chain tensioner.
  2. Unscrew the upper chain sprocket on the camshaft.
  3. Dismantle the chain retainers (shoes).
  1. Remove the chain from the bottom gear
  2. Pull out the old chain together with the sprocket
  3. Clean the surface
  1. Remove the lower cover of the oil pump drive chain.
  2. Remove the lower chain pinion with a chain puller.
  3. Carefully remove the old gear
  1. Lubricate the inner surface of the new gear
  2. Install it with the help of the device
  3. Check the tightness of the installation
  1. Install the new idlers and the new chain.
  2. Tighten the new chain tensioner to 60 N∙m.
  3. Install pinion 2 on the camshaft
  4. Tighten the upper gear bolt to 50 N∙m.
  1. Перевірити фази газорозподілу фіксаторами валів.
  2. У тому чіслі роподілвала
  3. Болт 1 затягнути рукою
  4. Довернути болт кріплення верхньої зірочки ще на 90 градусів.
  1. Apply sealant to a clean, grease-free surface of the timing chain housing.
  2. Pins for easy installation of the cover
  3. Tighten the timing chain housing bolts according to the diagram to a torque of 5 N∙m and turn them 30 degrees a second time.
  1. Secure the crankshaft with a wedge in the area between the balancer and the cylinder housing.
  2. Install the crankshaft pulley and tighten it with a torque of 150 N∙m and turn it 180 degrees.
  3. Clean and apply sealant to the sump lug plane. Tighten the bolts with a force of 13 N∙m.

Assemble the remaining elements in the reverse order. After assembly, allow the sealant to dry for at least 30-40 minutes. After that, you can fill in the fluids and start the engine.

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