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Discussion Starter #1
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(for 2.5 owners only, 1.9s don't have them. They connect the alternator and aircon compressors to their drive shafts).
Not being keen to replace the Gates Coupling (and associated freewheel clutch) early just because VW would like the business, I’d like to collect the forum’s experiences of how these fail.

I’ve been through most of the posts on the subject and derive:

1) Not many Gates rubber sleeves have failed in service, unless it's fallout from another problem.

2) The freewheel clutch eventually wears out, and thus is a service part on 100 or 120k depending on year (or how much confidence VW had when they built your van).
Did the clutch internals actually change? (might be hard to know if it was a running supersession).
-if not they we all have the maximum mileage before worrying.
- if so, presumably any replacement will last as long as the best...​
3) There is talk that a failed clutch wrecks the alternator. I would like to establish how this happens: Anyone?
i) If is is then you can’t use the official puller to extract it, can it still be carved off with an angle grinder etc...?​
ALSO
How long have you got between the clutch starting to give signals of failing and full failure.
Is this tens of miles, or hundreds?​
Logically how the van is used has a massive impact of the life of the clutch – soft motorway use should barely wear it compared with urban grand-prixs...

What is the longest mileage anyones had on theirs? Mines on 155k but gets an easy life (mostly).
 

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Hi,


I bought a van from a van centre in Leicester and it was ed, I took mine to VW Commercials in Trafford park Manchester as it was knocking its off, they said the gate couplings have gone on this and said its a 3hr job, not sure how much to fix it but the total cost for all the repairs needed on this one I bought was £2700. I have slapped the trader with a county court claim because I saw the van on van trader, rang em up, did a deal and paid bank transfer. After picking it up found it to be a right mess and within 2 days told them I was rejecting it under the DSR but they told me I couldn't which is hence the claim.

If anyone wants to know who this trader is please pm me because I know they have a few T5's for sale and I wouldn't want anyone else to get fleeced by these ers
 

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This one has just had a new clutch and flywheel costing about £1600 so maybe that's why the gate couplings have/had gone ?

I work for Unipart Automotive and can get bits pretty cheap and the garages I go to, the ones I've asked anyway don't know what gate couplings are.
 

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Just had both mine done for the first time on my 2005 174 @ 206,000 miles.
I totally forgot to get them done.
I guess i was lucky as they recommend changing every 100,000 on my van
cost £142.42 each fitted at VW Van Centre
Hope this helps
 

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Just had both mine done for the first time on my 2005 174 @ 206,000 miles.
I totally forgot to get them done.
I guess i was lucky as they recommend changing every 100,000 on my van
cost £142.42 each fitted at VW Van Centre
Hope this helps
Thats cheap,

Just been quoted £640 to replace both Gates Couplings and £375 for waterpump at VW Van dealers in West London !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 

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That's bloody expensive !

You can buy em on ebay for around £40 for Gates ones and we sell lots of Gates alt belts etc so theyre not nasty ones.

I was told that's a 3hr job as well but by lookin at that pic I'm sure its not, anyone changed it ?
 

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It isn't a tricky job, Although I had my rad out at the time so access was easy.

You'll need the special spline bit to remove the free wheel from the alternator, I got mine from the dealer after asking very nicely and it was only £10 T:
Forgot to say, I'd replaced mine at 100k fearing it would be in pieces. It had loads of life in it! I:

Mine was off ebay, £88 coupling & freewheel if I remeber rightly....
 

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Discussion Starter #11
As original poster I’ll follow up with last weekend’s experiences.

I was having to change the intercooler anyway, (see separate post) so I thought I’ll just do the extra and do the engine front maintenance...
to be Gate coupling, heater plugs, and manifold cleaning.

From so many posts on here I went about it completely wrong: :(
  • trying to work behind the rad in the “service position” -just take the complete bumper off, at least the first time.
  • Trying to avoid draining the water.
  • Not taking the front engine mount / stabiliser off. Jacking up the engine when I did (not necessary)
  • Slacking off the alternator “pivot bolts” –bum advice from this forum.
  • Improvisng an alternator spline tool as I couldn’t get one in time.
Which was OK until I realised I needed an 8mm 12point spline tool to hold the shaft too- some of the 33tooth “alternator spline tools” on amazon etc have these built in, some expect you to have this other “specialist” bit already. But an 8mm allen key holds it – until it strips the teeth out of the alternator shaft and you're completely b*99**ed.:eek: As it’s now Saturday night and I need it running for Monday I set-to with the angle grinder, (having first mummified the alternator with tape) An hour later the freewheel is off. –which is ok if you’re trying to avoid a new alternator (£180), but possibly not if you’re paying a main dealer £100/hr .

It will be a pain next time I need to change the freewheel- but as the original one was in good nick at 155k, the new one is staying on until it dies... And I’ve proved it doesn’t kill the alternator.T:
Good news is my local parts place had a OEM INA freewheel unit for £32+vat, but couldn’t get the rubber sleeve. So as the old one looked perfect it went back on!

Other Results
Inlet manifold – Only a mm or two of sludge inside, so barely and issue, but I still made a scraper to get most of it out when burnt the rest out with a hot air gun and blowlamp.
Supplier couldn’t get gaskets set – because they are re-useable! –good little cost saving.

Heater plugs done. People on here have done them without taking the rad out- they have by respect. :ILU:Its fiddly enough with full access! Van starts much cleaner now- must have had a couple down.



Conclusion: If I valued my time and could get it to an independent expert I’d let them do it! Or at least get the proper two-part alternator tool... But I did learn a lot about my van.
And also I did the extras: degreased everywhere, cleaned the mainifold and EGR, ground off the heavy rust scale on the subframe and treated, waxoyled all little corners etc etc.
 
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