Schaeffler team head north to Tyneside AutoHaus

Schaeffler’s REPXPERT team made a long trip north, to Tyneside AutoHaus in Newcastle upon Tyne, to support and train on an INA timing belt installation.

Alistair Mason, Technical Services Manager at Schaeffler Automotive Aftermarket UK Ltd, helped replace the complete timing belt system on a customer’s EA288 engine, which can be a problematic service.

This common rail TDI engine is widely used on the VAG range from 2012 onwards, and also features a switchable water pump that has been the subject of many technical bulletins. Unfortunately, many aftermarket suppliers provide replacement pumps with the solenoid plug socket blanked off, whereas the INA pump includes the solenoid and is identical to the OE pump.

These pumps may be simpler and cheaper to produce and to buy, but do not provide the essential functionality for getting the vehicle up to temperature quickly that was intended by the vehicle manufacturer. The switchable functionality reduces engine wear and emissions, whilst also helping prevent DPF’s from clogging when cars are used for frequent short journeys.

The repair itself requires care too: “It’s really important before tensioning the belt that both the camshaft and high-pressure fuel pump sprockets are slackened to ensure the right tension on all three spans of the belt,” said Alistair.

“Only once the tension is set do we then re-torque these pulleys, as failure to do this correctly can result in catastrophic engine failure.”

Tyneside AutoHaus was formed in 2016. The thriving independent VW, Audi, Seat and Skoda specialist now employs two technicians and an apprentice.

Service Manager Fergus Carnegie explained Tyneside AutoHaus prefer INA timing belt kits because “everything comes in one box so it’s more convenient – and you get good quality.”

Schaeffler’s REPXPERT app, which is free for garages and technicians to download, enables garages to identify parts and access key technical information like installation instructions.

“We’ve been using the REPXPERT app for a few years and it really does make things easier,” said Fergus. “You just scan the OneCode on the box and it does the rest for you.”

Users simply scan the OneCode QR-code on LuK, FAG and INA boxes from within the app, which the authenticates the product and offers instant access to service bulletins and other valuable installation information. REPXPERT Bonus Points can also be instantly added to the registered user account, which can be used later for tools, workshop clothing, TecRMI data, training and merchandise.

“We’ve used the Bonus Shop for t-shirts, pens and mugs but now we’re trying to save up our points!” said Fergus. “We’ve also tried the REPXPERT hotline to help us with a camshaft problem and it helped us by giving us an independent opinion that backed up what we already thought.”

Tyneside AutoHaus is also investing in training to keep up with evolving technology.
“We know we can’t stop,” said Fergus. “We’ve done a two-day high voltage course. We were working on a hybrid Audi Q7 recently and more customers are looking to go to hybrids.”

“It’s great to get the opportunity to talk to the garages and understand exactly what’s going on at the coalface,” said Alistair Mason. “With REPXPERT it’s all about supporting independent garages as without the garages thriving, we don’t thrive either.”

Information on Schaeffler products, fitting instructions and more can be found on the REPXPERT app, downloadable for free for all iOS and Android devices, or at

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