Timing belt replacement

Low and behold, after owning the car that had a lowly 32,000 miles on it when I first purchased and “Full” VWSH, my car was approaching the 80,000 mile limit for timing belt replacement

Normally I go through around 1,000 miles per month and at current mileage it would be around summer next year when it needed replacement but I decided to carry out the timing belt replacement early as I’m expecting this winter to be a cold one and don’t want extra strain on the vehicle during the snow. The current mileage on the vehicle is 73,472 before the timing belt replacement. Which means my next one shouldn’t really be due until 140-150,000 miles

One of the main factors I wanted was using genuine parts (ideally) for the replacement. After market parts are generally the same as manufacturers parts just without the stamp on them, but I’d prefer knowing I’m using the genuine kit so I know what I’m getting on the vehicle when it’s repaired.

It took me a while to select someone to carry out the timing belt replacement on my Golf, because I’m fussy. Use the wrong grade of antifreeze or miss changing important parts and your engine is knackered.

Rather than take it to a dealer, I decided to have it carried out at a specialist. After a lot of searching and a LONG email trail (sorry Ben), I decided to have the work carried out at Darcys Garage a VW specialist in County Durham. Their tech worked for Audi for 10 years so has experience working with this vehicle.

The total quote I received for replacement of the following parts was around £400. For one major component on the car, I wasn’t fussed about spending more money. I don’t like “cheap” always when it comes to cars

The job was carried out after dropping the car off early in the morning and finished around 4 hrs later.

The following parts were replaced with genuine VW gear

  • Water pump (the ORIGINAL has a plastic impellor, and so does the genuine one), hopefully I won’t get the common impellor issues, my original one lasted until 75,000 so fingers crossed
  • Timing belt. This included the belt and all tensioners
  • Antifreeze – I don’t know what, but I’m assumming it was correct grade that suits VW spec. I think mine is G80 or G80++
  • Alternator belt

Total price came to £385

The car didn’t feel any different when driving it, how it stands up will only show test of time. If anything fails I’ll be certainly taking it back to the garage to be inspected as the original equipment should last me for the next 7-8 years.

At the moment I’m happy with the work received and will recommend Darcy’s garage as it was friendly, fast and great value for money. My car will stand the test of time to find out.

Only downside is the car parking, is VERY limited

I’ll be posting a more in-depth information on my website, including pictures of the equipment and part numbers used. I couldn’t keep the original water pump as it had to go to VW, but it seemed to be in very good condition, no issues with it detaching from the impellor spline. Tried to get a pic but my phone was up the duff.

If you want to look at these pictures go here

VW Golf MK5 Broken Spring

Starting my car this morning and tuning a junction highlighted a horrible sound which instantly occured on my car this morning which immediately made me suspect a my VW Golf had a broken spring


Turning full lock left to right on the car made a horrible clunking noise which can also be engine mounts or the steering rack moving in it’s mounts.


My brother had a better look for me when he got home. Turned out I was right in first instant the spring was broken, pictures to follow to show the damage.


As I had work on nightshift the following day, I decided I needed a replacement asap as the car wasn’t driveable. I previously had my opposite spring replaced for the MOT 6 months prior. I should have replaced both, because they usually should be replaced in pairs (when one gets replaced, eventually the other will go, because it’s “weaker”)


Needless to say around 6000 miles later my other spring decided to go. My car is a 140HP – GT TDI model but it turns out you can fit the standard springs (luckily) the GT TDI ones are harder to find at short notice unless you go pay a stealership for one.


£31 later and I had a replacement spring available, my brother collected all the tools and he did the job himself, thank god for having a car mechanic as an older brother.


Personally, I wouldn’t attempt this job myself, I’d take it to a garage unless you’re feeling lucky. I imagine it’s possible, but my brother ended up removing the entire suspension strut and putting the spring on this way. Even with all the tools available it still took him two hours and a lot of help from me. He ended up having to expand the nuts with heat because they were turning on the locktite threads being a PITA.


Anyway, job done and car responding much better. I think he deserves another pressie for car repair from me soon. He’s been hampering for a Clarke coil spring compressing set for ages, so I might get him it to add to his kit.

CHT747 Coil Spring Kit

VW Golf MK5 Bonnet not closing

Volkswagen Golf MK5 Bonnet not closing : DIY Guide

To read the PDF and HTML versions of this guide you can find them HERE and HERE

The only two tools you will essentially need for the car. A T20 and T27 torx bit. Optional tools can be some insulation tape to hold the plastic guide in place as I found mine kept coming loose every now and then when refitting it to the car aswell as some zip ties and a flat-head screwdriver if you don’t have good pinching grip with your fingers.

The two T20 screws here and remove them from the car {yellow}, these are the screws just next to the headlights in this picture and then once they are removed from the car squeeze in the two plastic clips {red} can do one at a time and then remove the grill from the car.

It’s best to release the tension on the release handle for the bonnet lock before you start the assembly. Mine was always coming loose and I couldn’t work out why. I’m summising it is also because it doesn’t give enough flexibility to the new lock module after you have installed it into your car and it pushes it out of placement. Either this or it’s because the lock runner isn’t installed properly into the bonnet lock. This is how you release the tension on the pulley.Unclip the side casing around the housing that holds the wire for the tensioner and the spring (it’s behind the drivers headlight). It has two little clips to the sides of each will help to release the cover. Then it just comes straight off.Once the cover is off, you can pull the wire and the casing out. The wire itself has a metal ball at the end which fits in a housing in the plastic from the adjoining car side. Just disconnect them and they’re free. In the above examples you can see the casing, the hole which holds the ball for the release lever and the ball itself. It’s fairly easy to do and requires no effort to reinstall back onto the car.

This is the layout of the T27 screws holding the lock in place on the car. There are two long ones holding the main part of the unit itself and a short one that holds the catch bar in place on the car. Make sure to fit these in the correct orientation when refitting your lock. This is a comparison to the lock placement in the above picture for future reference should it be required.

Once the screws for the lock have been removed from the car, it should be a case of extracting it. There is no real tension to it, you should be be able to remove it just by pulling on the normal piece of metal where the bonnet lock catches onto when you shut it after this it’s just a case of extracting it.

This is the plastic inside the guide, this must be fitted to the car otherwise it loses all tension in the bonnet release cable. It’s used to hold the cable the correct distance and so it doesn’t come loose from the car when fitting it
A common problem that I had when I was fitting the tensioner cable to the plastic guide was that it was slipping out and losing grip of the actual guide. This resulted in the cable losing tension and the lock not operating properly. I thought this may have been more due to not refitting the lock correctly but I didn’t want to take any chances. So I bodged the lock with some gaffer tape too. This was to reduce the chances of it coming off when I was trying to refit the lock back into the housing

This is how the wire should be connected to the car when the plastic guide is fitted to it. Or at least how I fitted it to my car, I’ve had no issues after fitting it to the car. Bonnet opens perfectly fine now


Refitting is a complete reversal of the removal procedure, before refitting the grill to the car, it is best to make sure the lock opens. You can manually force the lock closed on the car whilst the bonnet is open. When this has been done, make sure the lock tensioner ball has been reconnected again and then pull on the handle in the car. If the lock opens you should be OK for refitting the grill to the car.
To summarise the refitting procedure once the lock has been replaced on the car itself…

  • Replace lock and all screws (there is a slight notch, use this to guide lock through)
  • Refit the tensioner ball
  • Reconnect the switch for the bonnet open alarm (be careful not to damage it)
  • Manually close the lock with a screwdriver
  • Try opening the lock from inside the car. If it works then everything should be good for repairing
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