Cam locks are not counter holders, look at this problem from using a cam lock to counter hold cams instead of following instructions and using a wrench to counter hold the cams

Day 1

VIN: 3VWTE29M8YM145048


MAKE: Volkswagen

MODEL: Jetta Sedan GLX (9M2)


TRANSMISSION: Manual 5-Speed

MILEAGE: 157000

AFFECTED SYSTEM: Engine / Powertrain Engine Mechanical / Internal

DESCRIPTION OF ISSUE: Drive Belts and/or Alignment Of



Jetta came in with notorious Cam/Crank correlation fault, early engine only a 12V so no variable valve timing.

Sold complete timing job as customer owned car from new and is in love with it.

No engine damage was noticed during disassembly.

Have performed countless chain repairs on these cars but this is a first: 

With everything in the right location and bottom end timed properly, the cam shaft chain will not sit tight on the cam sprockets even when the lock is in place. The chain will lay on the sprockets super slacked, if you try to move or wiggle the cams to try to make the chain tight, it will

not go onto the sprockets, almost like it’s a half tooth off.

I will attach pictures here so you guys have a visual view of what I am talking about.

The pictures that show the lock in place is where you see the chain not tight on the sprockets with slack,

The one where the chain looks tight on the sprockets is where you see that the short cam seems to be not line up with the lock.

Has anyone seen this issue before, the camshafts are casted from one piece, but can they twist?

This is so bizarre and wondering if I can have a sprocket problem or some kind of damaged camshaft issue.

Any input helps! Thanks Guys!!

Anything looks weird as far as the Timing Chain Tensioners, or the
guides??  Still trying to remember a similar issue that was caused by either a guide or tensioner.

I know that you cannot swap the tensioners right to left……or left to right.

I’ll dig around the search engine database and see if I find anything.

Did you check the chain length specs, or comparison to the previous chain??

Any machine shop work performed on this cylinder head (milled)??

Has anyone been in this engine previously (HISTORY)!!

Everything is OES brand new and looks and sizes up with old pieces.

Chain when compared to other one is relatively the same, don’t see a visual difference, it is a news superseded part number though so that’s what I originally thought.

Day 7

The car is FIXED! And I’m sure you guys can’t wait for the answer!

THE CAM LOCK TOOL WAS BENT! Not in a way that can be seen by the naked eye but when you lined up the cams and bolted the tool down it would flex up right and move the cams closer together permanently!!

So when you would remove the tool and look at the cams, the chain would be super slacked and the cam would be moved!

Brian’s idea to just install everything and turn it over to make up the slack made it possible to see what was happening,

once rotated and crank was lined up, the camshafts and the chain appeared to be in correct location

with no slack! But once we put the tool in it would move the camshafts and cause the slack! 

This car has been test driven and confirmed to be fixed!! Can’t wait to chuck that garbage tool in the can and order a new one.

Thanks for your help guys!

The following is in the repair instructions, if it was followed it would have saved the tool and a wasted week of time chasing a non-problem.

The counterholding the cams while the cam bolt is in stalled is not unquie to the motor, but most motors that use cam locating fixtures.