Unfortunately the car wasn't fixed properly. The new tensioner rattled heavily at idle, and I took it to my local dealer to get checked out. They agreed the tensioner was faulty, but didn't have one in stock, and could I please come back at another time to get it fixed. This dragged the saga out until mid January when I finally could make it back to get fixed.
So last Friday I took it in, and waited for the repair to be complete (I was on my way home after working overnight). On starting the car I could tell instantly that it still wasn't right - but was desperate to head home and have a nap.
My local dealer replaced the tensioner with a new pulley. I had been told some cock and bull story about there being a newer version of the pulley (apparently VW are on their third revision now) - but the new one was exactly the same as the one replaced by the dealer at Wodonga.
So, after a snappy 1400km round trip to Tamworth over the weekend, I took it back to my local dealer on Monday afternoon. I had tried to call, but couldn't get through and just drove in and requested someone look at the car.
I think they could tell from the look in my eyes, I wasn't leaving until it was fixed. They sent a mechanic from the floor (thank goodness - I was over the 'service manager') - who had a look, could see the car wasn't right and decided to take it into the workshop straight away. A few minutes later he diagnosed the alternator pulley was playing up, and would need replacing. They didn't have one in stock - but some common sense prevailed and they took one off an alternator they had on the shelf. Big thank you to James from the workshop for finally identifying the fault and fixing the car properly.
So at last - just over a month since it failed, the Amarok is back to 100%. I am a little frustrated that it took so long to get put to rights - three extras visits AFTER it had already spent over a week off the road. It also makes me wonder if the power steering pump really did need replacing after all. Hmmm...
Whilst waiting for the car to get fixed, I had a look over some new Amaroks on the showroom floor. I was interested to see the new 4 cylinder Amaroks have a plastic cover that covers the air conditioning compressor, power steering pump and the whole serpentine belt. I asked why this kit hadn't been retro fitted to earlier models, but got the usual excuses. If I want to install those covers it will cost me $356.
Whilst I love the Amarok as a comfortable touring car, I think there are some design flaws with the engine, particularly if it gets used as a 4WD should. The plastic covers are all just attempts to patch over underlying shortcomings. I am sure if there was the same volume of these cars on the road as other brands, the shortcomings would have all been identified, met and addressed by now - either by the manufacturer or with quality aftermarket gear.
Such a shame - as the rest of the car is simply fantastic. But for now it's good to go again. Best I start planning the next adventure!