So I just replaced the timing belt and water pump etc. at 203800 miles on my beloved 20 year old Golf GT TDI, so all is well with the world. However I am bloody exhausted, back is hurting and I want to learn from this for the next time, should there hopefully be one. My main gripe is with the side engine bracket - I remember the first time I did the belt, I tried to assemble everything around the bracket without removing it since it seemed nigh on impossible. This time however, after removing belt and tensioner etc., I lowered the engine right down and it just fell out. Reassembly is not so easy! I tried reinserting it from below but that was a non-starter since the central cover mount spigot is blocking the way. So I tried jacking the engine up and tried from above to the point where the EGR was hard up against the bulkhead and there was still barely room. I forced the bracket with all my strength against the heatshield in the corner and metal pipes and pulling the engine forward to try to get it past the plastic timing belt cover and with brute strength I eventually succeeded. However there has GOT to be an easier way!?! Is it a big job to remove the last part of the timing cover which is mounted on the side of the aluminium block and appears to be underneath the cam pulley which would also therefore require removal? Should I also remove the EGR if this would help? I saw mentioned on another forum about possibly removing the bracket on the opposite side so that the engine can be moved over for a bit of extra room? Annoyingly just about every video I have watched skips over this, or demonstrates with a stand alone engine - not helpful!!! Photo attached.
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