Made In USA Really Does Mean Quality – Here’s An Example

2007 Passat Stock Photo
Stock photo of the 2007 VW Passat

Having come from an automotive background, I’ve written in the past about different engine rebuilds or similar side projects that I have completed.  Usually I’ve been fortunate to have some experience with tearing down the engines in question, but I recently picked up a car with which I was not so familiar.

The car in question is a 2007 VW Passat, with a two liter, four cylinder, turbo charged gas engine (engine code BPY).  I came into ownership of the car because it had been diagnosed as having an engine failure and was in need of a whole new motor to get back on the road.

I met the owner and started the engine to hear what sounded like an aluminum can bouncing around inside of a dishwasher during the heavy duty cycle.  I then did what anyone in my position would do, I bought the car.

When I towed it home I started the engine again to dive a little deeper into what might be the root cause.  And, little to no-noise.

For a few years back in the late 90’s – early 2000’s, VW was plagued by a sludge issue that would clog the pickup to the oil pump and starve the engine of precious lubricant.  I thought to myself, could this still be an issue?  It certainly seemed like a possibility.

So, I dropped the oil pan and examined the pickup screen for the oil pump.  Sure enough, it was clogged.  BUT, while cleaning out the oil pan, I noticed pieces of what looked to be a timing chain guide.  The most likely source of these small plastic pieces was the cam chain tensioner, which uses a timing chain guide and is adversely effected by low or no oil flow.

I tore down to the cam chain tensioner (the same component which failed and caused one of the cams to seize in my A4) and found it almost in pieces, hanging on for dear life.  To be clear, if the cam chain tensioner in this engine had been pushed just a little further, at least one of the cams would have seized and I would have been faced with putting valves in this engine, or being forced to put an entirely new engine in the car.

Thankfully, I seemed to have caught the failure before catastrophic damage occurred.  I ordered replacement parts and a special tool to do the work, eager to see if I could save this engine from despair.

The special tool in question locks the camshafts in place so that timing components can be serviced.  I installed my special tool, attempted to loosen a key bolt, and the special tool snapped in half.  I was back to square one.

I searched for another manufacturer of the same tool, and found one proudly made in the US, though at a premium cost.  But hey, if it has a lower cost and doesn’t work, it has no real value anyway.

I doubled down and ordered the Made In USA tool, impatient to see it arrive and determine if it was money well spent.

Passat 2
Special camshaft alignment/locking tool. Made In USA. (This one worked flawlessly!)

The new tool showed up yesterday and was the type of night-and-day difference you can only dream of when searching for a quality product.  Strong, sturdy, and unapologetically oozing quality, I was proud to see that Made In USA still carries the same meaning for other companies as it does for EXAIR.

Passat 1
New cam chain tensioner installed using my new, quality, Made In USA tool

EXAIR makes all of our products here in the US to a superb level of quality.  My experience last night reminded me of what our customers feel when they use our product to do a job that a lower cost alternative could only hope to achieve.

If you have an application in need of a quality solution, contact an EXAIR Application Engineer.

Lee Evans
Application Engineer

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