There still seems to be a good number of people who are unaware of the cam follower problems. Not all cars have the problem, and some may never have it. BUT it will kill your wallet if you find out yours is on the edge of dying and you are out of warranty.
There is no set of factors that directly contributes to the wear. If you have the A cam, there is a TSB out to replace your cam with the properly hardened B cam. VW will only replace the cam if the car is throwing codes or a check engine light or if they physically see the damage. The problem can still occur but having the B cam reduces the risks. I have had no problems and as far as the internet world is concerned, much of Europe seems to be just fine. The number of factors affecting the rate of follower wear is just enormous. It could be oil standards, fuel quality, driving habits, maintenance, and so on. The design has been remedied on the newer TSI engines with a roller follower. This design should have been used in the first place instead of the flat tappet style used on the FSI.
Here are a few links to check out:
The most common symptom of a cam follower in trouble is a fuel cut. This feels like someone just took the gas pedal out from under you. It does NOT feel good. This doesn’t always come up with check light or code. Which leads us to the most obvious signs. These codes may come up when scanned.
–P0087 Fuel Rail / System Pressure – Too Low
–P1093 Fuel Trim 2, Bank 1 Malfunction
–P2293 Fuel Pressure Regulator 2 Performance
If these come up, check your follower. These can be symptomatic of other problems as well so don’t panic yet. Check the thrust sensor on the high pressure fuel pump. Your low pressure fuel pump could also be on its way out. These are all much cheaper problems than the cam situation. Best case scenario is that the ecu just glitched. Worst case, destroyed cam, follower and fuel pump. If you have never checked your cam follower and you have any kind of mileage, do so now. Don’t count on the dealer to check for you. It won’t destroy itself in 5000 miles but check every other oil change. If wear looks minimal every time you check, you can lessen the intervals.
The picture on the left shows a follower with normal wear patterns. You can replace it if you wish but it can probably go a few more miles. The part number is 06D 109 309 C. 1stvwparts has excellent pricing. Note that the edges still have some of the DLC coating on it. If yours does not, then that is absolutely time to change. I haven’t seen too many that look so clean. If your foll0wer looks like the picture on the right, sob quietly and then proceed to the dealership, if under warranty, and hope for the best. Or if not under warranty, prepare to feel a world of hurt. It’s going to be pricey. Replacement of the cam is recommended to be done at a shop or qualified service center. It is not really a job for the weekend mechanic as it needs specialized tools.