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  1. #761
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    I believe the reason you see the spring clip in different positions is because the pictures are always taken with the engine off. Once you start the engine the spring pressure pushes the tensioner to the right as slack develops in the chain..

    If you look closely at the ridges on the plunger you will note that the right-side of the ridge is tapered to allow the spring clip to pop over the ridge as the plunger moves to tighten the timing chain. The more the chain stretches and the pads wear the further out the plunger goes.

    The left side of the ridge is a straight wall to firmly capture the spring clip. During start up the plunger and spring clip can only move as far left as the opening allows. This distance between the extremes in travel is what prevents the cam chain from developing excessive slack and jumping time.

    Consequently, the critical dimension to watch for would be the number of ridges between the spring clip and the right side of the plunger.

    This pic shows what limits the movement to the left and what adjusts the spring clip extension on the right.

    Last edited by old guy; 03-17-2018 at 03:41 AM.
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  2. #762
    Veteran Member Four Rings bhvrdr's Avatar
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    I'm reading it the same way old guy. The spring clip in effect becomes an indicator of how much chain stretch there is if I'm reading it the same as you are. Wherever the position of the spring clip is is as far out as the plunger has to go to keep tension

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  3. #763
    Veteran Member Four Rings mtroxel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by old guy View Post
    I believe the reason you see the spring clip in different positions is because the pictures are always taken with the engine off. Once you start the engine the oil pressure pushes the plunger out to the right until it is tight against the timing chain.

    Maybe I'm not seeing this right, but how does oil pressure affect the tensioner? There are no oil passages to the tensioner, and as far as I could tell oil get dumped onto the chain and guides but there is no way for pressure to be applied to that tensioner.
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  4. #764
    Veteran Member Four Rings jfo's Avatar
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    I wasn't allowing for that degree of movement of the clip/piston within the "slot". It seems the clip may or may not move all the way to the right side when the engine is off, depending on various factors. Then on start and when running, the clip/piston will move within that range, depending on the changing slack level of the chain.
    I will need to take another look at mine since I assumed the clip was essentially fixed.

    I still read references to the tensioner on the 2.0 being both hydraulic and spring activated. Are you sure there is no oil pressure at work?
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  5. #765
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    Just found this article on the 2.0T CCT failures. It is operated by hydraulic pressure. I'm pretty sure there is also a spring internal to the CCT. So my original assumptions were correct.

    "What does a timing chain tensioner do? For your engine to work properly it is critical that the moving parts within the engine work in perfect time with each other. The component in control of this task is the engine timing chain and the timing chain’s associated components. One of these associated components in charge of keeping a critical tension applied to the timing chain is the timing chain tensioner. The timing chain tensioner is basically a hydraulic ram, when the engine is running oil pressure in the engine is fed to the tensioner and this pressure forces the timing chain tensioner piston against the moving timing chain. By doing so all the slack in the timing chain is taken out and ensures that the timing chain will not jump over sprocket teeth and put the engine out of time."

    EDIT: Spawne32 was able to confirm that the K tensioner operates with spring pressure only. The internal holes are for lubrication only.
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  6. #766
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    Quote Originally Posted by old guy View Post
    Just found this article on the 2.0T CCT failures. It is operated by hydraulic pressure. I'm pretty sure there is also a spring internal to the CCT. So my original assumptions were correct.

    "What does a timing chain tensioner do? For your engine to work properly it is critical that the moving parts within the engine work in perfect time with each other. The component in control of this task is the engine timing chain and the timing chain’s associated components. One of these associated components in charge of keeping a critical tension applied to the timing chain is the timing chain tensioner. The timing chain tensioner is basically a hydraulic ram, when the engine is running oil pressure in the engine is fed to the tensioner and this pressure forces the timing chain tensioner piston against the moving timing chain. By doing so all the slack in the timing chain is taken out and ensures that the timing chain will not jump over spocket teeth and put the engine out of time."
    Where does our timing chain tensioner connects to the motor oil line? I don't see any motor oil feeding into our tensioner per the pic posted.

  7. #767
    Veteran Member Four Rings jfo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AutoRacer100 View Post
    Where does our timing chain tensioner connects to the motor oil line? I don't see any motor oil feeding into our tensioner per the pic posted.
    There are openings on the back side of the casting.
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    Established Member Three Rings Novarider's Avatar
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    Here is a pic of the back of the tensioner from fcpeuro open-uri20150421-27449-pooak9.jpeg

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  9. #769
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    Quote Originally Posted by jfo View Post
    There are openings on the back side of the casting.
    Ok, thanks for the info. So that leads me to believe that for those of you had the tensioner failed did not keep their motor oil level at 100% at all the time? Hence cause the tensioner to fail? Can I make that assumption?

  10. #770
    Established Member Four Rings Spawne32's Avatar
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    the new ones are not oil pressure fed far as i understand

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    Established Member Three Rings B8_Dude97's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AutoRacer100 View Post
    Ok, thanks for the info. So that leads me to believe that for those of you had the tensioner failed did not keep their motor oil level at 100% at all the time? Hence cause the tensioner to fail? Can I make that assumption?
    No the assumption is that when you start your vehicle, either half full or full of oil. You don’t have oil pressure upon starting so it slams into that clip until pressure is built. Doing this a million times you get a worn clip that fails and then it’s all downhill from there


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    Quote Originally Posted by B8_Dude97 View Post
    No the assumption is that when you start your vehicle, either half full or full of oil. You don’t have oil pressure upon starting so it slams into that clip until pressure is built. Doing this a million times you get a worn clip that fails and then it’s all downhill from there


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    So I still need to do this repair even if I have always been keeping my oil level in check... Sigh

  13. #773
    Veteran Member Four Rings jfo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Novarider View Post
    Here is a pic of the back of the tensioner from fcpeuro open-uri20150421-27449-pooak9.jpeg

    Sent from my SM-G955U using Audizine mobile app
    Those don't look like oil ports do they? So perhaps the K version is spring only.
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  14. #774
    Veteran Member Four Rings bhvrdr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spawne32 View Post
    the new ones are not oil pressure fed far as i understand
    Are we correct in assuming that regardless if they were hydraulic or only spring activated the position of the spring clip is an indicator of how far the plunger has pushed out at some point in time due to having to keep tension on the chain and the further the spring clip gets pushed down the plunger the more chain stretch you have? Meaning if it is seven or eight grooves down the plunger then it's probably time to consider either swapping out the chains or trying to figure out some ghetto mod of getting a longer plunger haha

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  15. #775
    Established Member Four Rings Spawne32's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bhvrdr View Post
    Are we correct in assuming that regardless if they were hydraulic or only spring activated the position of the spring clip is an indicator of how far the plunger has pushed out at some point in time due to having to keep tension on the chain and the further the spring clip gets pushed down the plunger the more chain stretch you have? Meaning if it is seven or eight grooves down the plunger then it's probably time to consider either swapping out the chains or trying to figure out some ghetto mod of getting a longer plunger haha
    Yeh that would be correct lol, on the old tensioner the issue was the ratcheting mechanism that prevented it from moving back would break, the teeth that is, which would, without oil pressure, cause the rotating chain to push the plunger in, until there was enough oil pressure behind the plunger to push it back out again and hold the chain taught. During that brief moment on startup was when you would get the chain jump which would cause it to skip teeth and ultimately cause it to go out of time. Worst case scenarios of it actually breaking completely and the chain just coming loose I think were fewer and farer between but regardless the old designs reliance on oil pressure was ultimately its downfall. Now you have a design that has constant spring tension behind it, and a locking mechanism that is much more secure and doesnt rely on locking teeth and a band clamp to hold that lock down. Whoever designed the original one needs to be put in front of the firing squad.

  16. #776
    Senior Member Four Rings
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    So do we still have a concern on the new revisions? I better learn how to swap this myself, because I'm not paying again for it.
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  17. #777
    Veteran Member Four Rings bhvrdr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by A4x View Post
    So do we still have a concern on the new revisions? I better learn how to swap this myself, because I'm not paying again for it.
    I don't know that anybody had a concern over the new revision. What old guy was pointing out was that he had concern whether or not his plunger had reached towards the end of its travel. That's not an issue with the timing tensioner but rather with either worn timing chains or guides. There have been people who have reported their timing chains have stretched quite a bit as eell as those with cracked guides...so that's a concern I would think for people who have even the revised tensioner to keep an eye on how far out it travels

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  18. #778
    Established Member Four Rings Spawne32's Avatar
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    Yeh at that point id be more worried about the amount of chain stretch or if a guide has cracked and failed, which we have seen numerous accounts of. The timing chain being equally as defective has been shown by the number of revisions the part has that it doesnt even look the same and is clearly a beefier chain.

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    Veteran Member Four Rings old guy's Avatar
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    LOL!!
    I'm getting tired of editing all of my posts in an attempt to keep them accurate. Looking at the pic that Novarider posted of the back of the new style tensioner I tend to agree that it is only spring operated. That doesn't change my understanding of how the spring clip functions. The only way mine got to the 7th groove would be because the tensioner went out far enough to push it there. I will check it again at my next oil change in another 5K miles. I picked up four inspection plugs so I should be ready to go for the next inspection. as soon as it goes to the 8th grove I will park the A5 and go back to the A4 while I gather parts to replace the whole mess.....
    Last edited by old guy; 03-17-2018 at 03:45 AM.
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    Veteran Member Four Rings jfo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by old guy View Post
    LOL!!
    I'm getting tired of editing all of my posts in an attempt to keep them accurate. Looking at the pic that Novarider posted of the back of the new style tensioner I tend to agree that it is only spring operated. That doesn't change my understanding of how the spring clip functions. The only way mine got to the 7th groove would be because the tensioner went out far enough to push it there. I will check it again at my next oil change in another 5K miles. I picked up four inspection plugs so I should be ready to go for the next inspection. as soon as it goes to the 8th grove I will park the A5 and go back to the A4 while I gather parts to replace the whole mess.....
    Exactly! I'm curious and like to understand how things work, but I don't really care about spring vs oil. I've been monitoring my tensioner extension for over 18 mths, but now understand that I need to look at it differently. Thanks for raising this point....I would have continued to ignore the clip position.
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    This thread gets longer and longer. More information added as we speak. Can someone post a link to where I can buy the latest K version tensioner and the revised beefy timing chains? Do I need to change the chain guides as well? My car is 2010 with 37k miles on it. This thing keeps me awake at night. I mean reading the threads and researching the shop that is experienced of doing the job and get my pocket ready for a burn. It's stressful. :(

  22. #782
    Veteran Member Four Rings JBAeroEngineer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AutoRacer100 View Post
    This thread gets longer and longer. More information added as we speak. Can someone post a link to where I can buy the latest K version tensioner and the revised beefy timing chains? Do I need to change the chain guides as well? My car is 2010 with 37k miles on it. This thing keeps me awake at night. I mean reading the threads and researching the shop that is experienced of doing the job and get my pocket ready for a burn. It's stressful. :(
    just change everything while you're in there.

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    Veteran Member Four Rings old guy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jfo View Post
    . I've been monitoring my tensioner extension for over 18 months, but now understand that I need to look at it differently. Thanks for raising this point....I would have continued to ignore the clip position.
    So how many miles on your cam chain and and tensioner and how many grooves are you extended? I am assuming you have the latest "K" version tensioner.

    I'm at 7 with only 45k miles.
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    Veteran Member Four Rings jfo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by old guy View Post
    So how many miles on your cam chain and and tensioner and how many grooves are you extended? I am assuming you have the latest "K" version tensioner.

    I'm at 7 with only 45k miles.
    I have about 55K miles on the chain and 20k on the K tensioner. My dealer changed the tensioner, cam bridge and RMS when they did the stage 2 fix in 2015.(all no charge to me). In Dec I had 3 ribs past the body. I will check the clip in a few days, but based on memory would be another 2-3 ribs or 5-6 in total.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spawne32 View Post
    Yeh at that point id be more worried about the amount of chain stretch or if a guide has cracked and failed, which we have seen numerous accounts of. The timing chain being equally as defective has been shown by the number of revisions the part has that it doesnt even look the same and is clearly a beefier chain.
    Just to get technical here - the metal in the chain doesnt actually stretch. The chain length gets longer because the links get worn. Which of course will more of a problem with low oil, which can often happen if you have the ole piston rings issue.

    That being said I think “chain stretch” is the easiest term to use. Kinda like “warped rotors.”
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    Quote Originally Posted by audrobotic View Post
    Just to get technical here - the metal in the chain doesnt actually stretch. The chain length gets longer because the links get worn. Which of course will more of a problem with low oil, which can often happen if you have the ole piston rings issue.

    That being said I think “chain stretch” is the easiest term to use. Kinda like “warped rotors.”
    Also old oil without effective wear additives. Frequent oil changes will help prevent this. The 'stretch' is caused by wearing out links from mixed friction and boundary lubrication conditions in the links, which can be prevented by fresh, high quality engine oil.
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    Quote Originally Posted by audrobotic View Post
    Just to get technical here - the metal in the chain doesnt actually stretch. The chain length gets longer because the links get worn. Which of course will more of a problem with low oil, which can often happen if you have the ole piston rings issue.

    That being said I think “chain stretch” is the easiest term to use. Kinda like “warped rotors.”
    Warped rotors is actually a thing and its caused by over heated and improper torqing of the wheels, but to your point, not to start a metallurgy debate, while your right about wear, audi has addressed the issue of physically weak links in the chain in multiple revisions as a result of physical stress wear. We know this by comparisons of the original revision to the current two most recent revisions which use larger pins holding the links together.

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    Quote Originally Posted by A4x View Post
    Also old oil without effective wear additives. Frequent oil changes will help prevent this. The 'stretch' is caused by wearing out links from mixed friction and boundary lubrication conditions in the links, which can be prevented by fresh, high quality engine oil.
    Depends on how old, but most timing chains are not dependent on a heavy amount of oil at all, much like a bicycle chain is not. They are lubricated for longevity and noise but old oil is not the number one contributing factor of wear, as evidenced by other vehicles that are abused more heavily between oil changes yet the chai. maintains its integrity enough to keep the car running. Ultimately the failure here rests on design, which is also the case in other modern vehicles, which leads me to speculate that audi themselves are not the ones designing the chains but the company producing them for them. Just as denso was responsible for the failure of toyota gas pedals a decade ago.

  31. #791
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spawne32 View Post
    Yeh that would be correct lol, on the old tensioner the issue was the ratcheting mechanism that prevented it from moving back would break, the teeth that is, which would, without oil pressure, cause the rotating chain to push the plunger in, until there was enough oil pressure behind the plunger to push it back out again and hold the chain taught. During that brief moment on startup was when you would get the chain jump which would cause it to skip teeth and ultimately cause it to go out of time. Worst case scenarios of it actually breaking completely and the chain just coming loose I think were fewer and farer between but regardless the old designs reliance on oil pressure was ultimately its downfall. Now you have a design that has constant spring tension behind it, and a locking mechanism that is much more secure and doesnt rely on locking teeth and a band clamp to hold that lock down. Whoever designed the original one needs to be put in front of the firing squad.
    I agree with you on failure mechanism of chain skipping teeth and possibly breaking chain guide too from violent start up when chain has slack because of failed tensioner.

    New tensioner still has oil passage and use oil pressure to maintain tension when engine is running.
    Spring alone can not exert constant force to the chain guide when plunger is pushed out as chain is stretched or the guide is worn.

    I was looking for a picture of the -K level tensioner but could not find one clearly showing the oil supply hole. It is in the back side of cylinder for the plunger located in the bigger hole side.
    If you zoom the picture in the link, you may see the hole.



    http://germanoem.ca/timing-chain-ten...6k109467k.html

    Hopefully someone in this forum take a clear picture soon to clear this up.

    Some other points from other posts above:
    • Oil level has nothing to do with chain stretch. Oil is supplied to the chain from a hole in the cylinder head.
    • As long as the tensioner is working properly (not pushed back when engine is off), some chain stretch will not cause skipping teeth.
      That is whole point of chain drive design: constant relative speed between driving and driven shafts and the complete elimination of slip.
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    Quote Originally Posted by audi bug View Post
    I agree with you on failure mechanism of chain skipping teeth and possibly breaking chain guide too from violent start up when chain has slack because of failed tensioner.

    New tensioner still has oil passage and use oil pressure to maintain tension when engine is running.
    Spring alone can not exert constant force to the chain guide when plunger is pushed out as chain is stretched or the guide is worn.

    I was looking for a picture of the -K level tensioner but could not find one clearly showing the oil supply hole. It is in the back side of cylinder for the plunger located in the bigger hole side.
    If you zoom the picture in the link, you may see the hole.



    http://germanoem.ca/timing-chain-ten...6k109467k.html

    Hopefully someone in this forum take a clear picture soon to clear this up.

    Some other points from other posts above:
    • Oil level has nothing to do with chain stretch. Oil is supplied to the chain from a hole in the cylinder head.
    • As long as the tensioner is working properly (not pushed back when engine is off), some chain stretch will not cause skipping teeth.
      That is whole point of chain drive design: constant relative speed between driving and driven shafts and the complete elimination of slip.


  33. #793
    Established Member Four Rings Spawne32's Avatar
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    Companies have been doing away with oil pressure based tensioners for quite a long time now, even GM's 2nd generation ecotec's had this same problem and GM revised the part which included using a high tension spring behind the plunger to maintain consistent pressure rather then oil pressure alone. They are far more reliable in the long run compared to oil pressure based designs. I don't know why you would say that a spring cannot exert a constant force, how much pressure do you think is produced at idle by oil? Your valve springs produce 5 times as much pressure as your oil pressure at idle does consistently throughout the life of the car. Here is a perfect example of GM's various revisions of the ecotec tensioner...


  34. #794
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    I see the tiny hole you are referring to on the K revision, but I am not convinced that is there for extending the plunger, because it passes through the plunger completely through the hole at the end of the plunger. That hole is likely to allow lubrication of the chain/guides. I honestly dont want to pull the pin on this tensioner for science to see how its assembled. lol

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    It's probably neither here nor there as long as the K revision is no longer a failure point we move on to other things like the chains and guides.

    Plus I think it's been good practice in the world of Audi anyways to keep a good quality synthetic in the car and change it out every 5000 miles.

    I also like to use a 0 W cold weight oil instead of a 5w because I believe cold start is probably the primary time your engine sees wear.

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  36. #796
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    Can I toss out another theory?

    As another poster indicated, a spring should be able to provide (more or less) constant tension by itself - oil pressure should not be needed for that.

    My suspicion is that oil is fed to the tensioner not to provide force, but to provide damping. Think about a car's suspension... if it had only springs and not shock absorbers, the car would have an incredibly bouncy ride. The shocks provide damping and give a smooth ride. I suspect the same is true in chain tensioners... the chain and the spring both can have resonances that cause a lot of movement under certain circumstances. Having oil in the tensioner can damp out those resonances.
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  37. #797
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    Quote Originally Posted by bhvrdr View Post
    It's probably neither here nor there as long as the K revision is no longer a failure point we move on to other things like the chains and guides.

    Plus I think it's been good practice in the world of Audi anyways to keep a good quality synthetic in the car and change it out every 5000 miles.

    I also like to use a 0 W cold weight oil instead of a 5w because I believe cold start is probably the primary time your engine sees wear.
    I personally dont think there is any well founded proof that audi's 10k oil change interval is harmful to engine wear when we know for a fact that their oil specifications are more then capable of providing wear protection for at least that long. I think alot of issues centered around that subject come from other sources like using another brand oil that may be less than qualified to do this or oil contamination from the issues with the rings. I also speculate whether there is much of a difference between 0w and 5w depending on which climate your in.

  38. #798
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    Quote Originally Posted by ELaw View Post
    Can I toss out another theory?

    As another poster indicated, a spring should be able to provide (more or less) constant tension by itself - oil pressure should not be needed for that.

    My suspicion is that oil is fed to the tensioner not to provide force, but to provide damping. Think about a car's suspension... if it had only springs and not shock absorbers, the car would have an incredibly bouncy ride. The shocks provide damping and give a smooth ride. I suspect the same is true in chain tensioners... the chain and the spring both can have resonances that cause a lot of movement under certain circumstances. Having oil in the tensioner can damp out those resonances.
    Very true, id have to pull apart an original style tensioner and see if it even had a spring at all. A spring based tensioner is far more reliable in the long run as evidenced enough by cars that dont have to deal with the same shit. lol

  39. #799
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    My concern isn’t whether the tensioner is operated by oil pressure, spring pressure, or a combination of both. My concern is how far out can the new tensioner extend before it runs out of travel?

    As the components wear the tensioner is going to extend. I suspect the wear is more a result of the pads wearing than the chain. Although wear in both will contribute to the extension.

    So the question is what’s the maximum amount of travel available? Someone earlier in the thread stated that there were 10 ridges in the new K style tensioner. Can anyone confirm that count? I can count 9 in the picture of my tensioner but I can’t tell how many more are available in the cylinder bore that I can’t see.

    Also, where does it start with all new components? Does the snap ring start in the first groove or does it typically start 2 or 3 grooves back? If it starts in the first groove that would mean that I have used up 70% of my available travel. If it starts in the third groove I will have used 62% of the total travel. Again with the assumption of a maximum of 10 available grooves.

    Anybody have one laying around that they would like to open up :-)
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    Lookie what I found!!

    11 grooves it is.



    Last edited by old guy; 03-18-2018 at 09:31 AM.
    A4 Motoza tuned Frankenturbo F21L mixed flow turbo / Bosch 550's / 3" MAF / TyrolSport SMIC / 034 HFC / TT 2.5" DP / Borla Exhaust / Eibach ProKit Springs / Koni Yellows / H-Sport Sway Bars / TyrolSport Brake Stiffeners / HyperShift Short Shifter / Podi
    A5 Mods to come: Little stuff so far. 20/25mm spacers / H&R OE Sport springs / 35% tint / Neuspeed Power Module / black window trim / RS grille.

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