I have just had the cam belt and water pump changed at my local VW dealership on my 2004 VW Passat B5 and on the technical report they were kind enough to point out everything else they wanted to charge me money for. So this question is regarding the most "urgent" and "expensive" one in this report.

I spoke to a mechanic and he said a lot of technical things that I didn't understand which I know makes this problem much harder to solve. Sorry!

Here is what I know:

  • There is a bearing that is wearing out near the front of the car
  • It is near a big fan
  • That bearing is important
  • If that bearing jams it may mean that belts (I don't have a cam chain) dependent on that could come off causing severe damage to the engine
  • Would cost £918 ($1500 maybe?) to get it fixed at the dealership
  • 7-8 hours labour (supposedly)
  • They would need to take the entire front end off the car to do the repair (hence the price)
  • The bearing is near the alternator or power steering pump or both

I am looking for more information regarding this bearing and any parts surrounding it. Hopefully to determine whether the given quote is reasonable or even if it is something I could have a go at myself given adequate research.

What bearing is this? Do you have any more detailed information (and a proper name) for this bearing?

  • It sounds like the cam belt tensioner – HandyHowie Jan 8 '16 at 21:35
  • If @HandyHowie is correct, and I think he is, I'm not sure why he would call it a bearing, but the part your describing does sound like a timing belt tensioner. What I can't understand, if they just changed the timing belt then they had easy access to the tensioner, why didn't he change it then? It's kind of standard to change the water pump and the tensioner while changing the timing belt since you're in there anyway, might as well and not pay to get in there again. – cdunn Jan 8 '16 at 21:39
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    It's the mechanics comment about if this bearing jams the timing belt could come off. Only bearings involved with that would be the cam shaft end bearings, the timing belt idler pulley (has a bearing inside it), or the crankshaft bearing. If it's the crankshaft bearing and that's wearing out, you don't want that jamming on you. – cdunn Jan 8 '16 at 21:44
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    On the other hand, it could just be one of the serpentine belt pulleys (it has a bearing in it) – HandyHowie Jan 8 '16 at 21:45
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    Max, in the past when a mechanic had "recommendations" like this for me, they were also able to print out a quick quote that listed them for later. Next time this happens, try to get a printed quote so you can research it more. – JPhi1618 Jan 8 '16 at 22:24