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Sent: Friday, July 23, 2004 2:18 PM
Subject: [Norton AntiSpam] Title : Renault Megane CamBelt Failure at 64K and 3.5 yrs
Can you help me with the following Renault problem and post it under the Technical matters forum?
Title : Renault Megane CamBelt Failure at 64K and 3.5 yrs
The cam-timing belt on my X reg (Nov. 2000) Renault Megane Alize 1600 has gone after 64k of mainly motorway miles and only 3 years and 9 months.
Renault servicing says it only needs changing after 72k or 5 years, whichever comes sooner! So I am not pleased!
Especially as I bought the car from a Renault dealer with 6K on the clock and it has been serviced by Renault every 18k since then, last one at 54k. The 3 year warranty has expired, but I feel Renault are at fault here.
The car is at the Renault dealers now and I am awaiting the bad expensive news. I've been in touch with Renault and they have said that they may be able to help me. So it's a matter of wait and see.
I have heard that Renault have fixed the car for free in some cases of cars with similar mileages and age as mine.
Evidently, Renault lost a court case in France, in that if they say a cam-timing belt only needs replacing after 72k or 5 years then that is how long it should last and no less than that!
Has anyone experienced a similar problem with their Renault?
This is something Alfa (and others?) are familiar with. Too many failrues below the 72k mark has meant Alfa inspect the belts at 36k. I'm not convinced by this, how do you insoect a belt with out removing it and then who would replace a used belt?
What I'm saying is that car manufacturers know 72 is VERY optimistic these days for modern highly stressed engines and are erring on the side of caution. If your belt breaks after the 36k inpsection they have done their bit....not good enough! Most people I know will change their belts at 50 at the latest and 36k to be really prudent.
I think you have an excellent case against Renault and they should help you out....be warned, they may try and fob you off with an offer to cover the parts and you pay for labour (or vice versa)...hold on for a good deal! You have maintained a FSH and have done everything you should have.
.....final note, friend of mine used to be a Vauxhall technician, they use chains in a few of the engines (diesel I think) and guess what.......yup, they came back broken at about the same mileages as the belts :O
i have a w megane registered 29/7/00, with 3 year extended warranty. it was mot and then serviced at 59250 last week with the main dealer.
this week the cam belt failed!
the local garage have quoted 475+vat for the cam belt, oil change and cleaning the heads (they said they expect a cerain amount of damage and build that into the price)
the dealer quoted 491+vat which would have been the 72k cam belt change cost. they cannot quote for any other damage until they have stripped it off
The main dealer has adviced a get the job done by the local garage and then contact renault and nicely ask for a contribution for the cost of the parts failure (they say the price sounds too good to be true)
I am no expert when it comes to cars and feel someone it taking the mickey.
Time and time again we hear these stories of people leaving their cambelts for 65 - 72 k miles because that is what the service interval states. I am sure that most backroomers wouldn't leave a cambelt past 45k let alone 72.The general public must realise that These intervals are wildly optimistic at best and are purely aimed at fleet buyers and people who purchase cars based on how often they think they will have to service them. It would not be in renaults financial interest to give a correct cambelt change interval of, say, 45K because people will look at the service interval and choose a different manufacturer whose belts last longer, but i'm afraid that in most cases that is how long a cambelt can reasonably expected to last. I think you stand a good chance of goodwill payment from renault BTW
My last Honda ('00 W 2.0SE) had a belt and recommended change at 70,000 miles. I asked Honda about this (thinking this was a bit much), but they replied that they'd never had a timing belt failure, and they'd pay for repairs if it did. Luckily, my 2.4 Type S has a chain, so that's one less thing to worry about.
I've always been of the prevention is better than cure school, and changed items like cam belts at generously early intervals. This has stood me in good stead, and I've never had an expensive 'consumable item' failure in 23 years of driving.
However, the scheduled cam belt change interval on my 2003 V70 2.4T is far higher than any other car I've come across, at 93,000 miles or eight years, and even with this high change limit, I have never heard of belt failure on the Volvo five pot motor. I even have colleagues in Sweden that have exceeded the recommended maximum mileage by a handsome amount, without failure. One (850 R) is currently at 120,000 miles, and is about to be sold with the need for a cam belt change built in to the sale.
Even Volvos are built to a price, so I wonder what technique is used that allows the industry 'norm', both in terms of design life and actual life to be exceeded by such a high amount?
Even so, I will need to decide whether to trust my instinct, or Volvo's design specifications, in a few years time!
That is interesting SjB. Why the figure 93,000 i wonder? Seems an odd number, why not just a round 90? Perhaps a similar setup to the ford zetec motor which is at 100,000 i think and rarely snaps belts.
If i were you i would stick with what you know and play safe. like you say it has not let you down yet. Or myself for that matter.(strokes rabbit foot,crosses himself and grabs nearest wooden item)
Are you absolutely sure that it was the belt that snapped all on its own or was it helped on its way by a faulty tensioner or guide roller bearing?
A colleague had a cam belt fail on a Mazda recently at 40K miles that upon investigation was due to to the tensioner spring breaking.
Yet another amusing cambelt thread....this backroomer never changes them. It's a gamble, but if you avoid engines with 'reputations' and have a 'feel' for machinery, you're pretty safe.
My Passat GL5 lasted till 130k, then changed only 'cos water pump failed [it looked perfect] then onto 192k.
Wife's Passat GL2.0 lasted 242,000 [whining stiff tension pulley changed 160,000ish], present A6 2.8 - 90,000 - far from being 'stressed' turns two tiny camshafts and looks strong enough to drive a motorbike. Our Focus 1.6 has only done 40,000 and I expect it will last forever if Ford says 10yrs/100,000.
I suspect that most mechanics changing a belt at a mere 40,000 would be hard pressed to notice any wear at all compared with a new one.
Anyway, it's hardly ever the belt that fails - usually a seizing pulley which either friction-fries it or, in 'reputation' engines, breaks up.
"so renault are the only manufacturer that suffers from snapped cam belts then?"
Certainly not. Mitsubishi is well known for popping belts and the massive damage caused to the engines. A brand new engine would not have cost more than what my daughter paid for repairs to hers.
I was talking to a friend tonight who works as a mechanic at a main Ford dealership, and questioned him about my sons Ford Focus 1.6 Zetec which has now done 52,000 miles and is three years old.
He said if it were his car he would leave it up to around the 100,000 mile mark or after 5 years as recomended by Ford, justifying his statement by stating that he personally had yet to see one fail on this particular engine.
I just thought that I'd pass on this experienced source of information. I'm bracing myself for the "My Ford Focus cam-belt failed...." replys.
i am going to pick it up tomorrow and will ask about the faulty tensioner or guide roller bearing (what ever they are, i told you i dont know about cars!)
picking up on various comments
-the guy at the local garage said he always checks the cam belt by observation the service before change, so should the main dealer
-p12.. as i don\'t know much about cars i do what they tell me, the renault dealer actually lost out as if they had looked at it and said it could fail i would have asked them to change it and paid their price! i know what you mean about reducing their risk and if you go over it fine but with a full service history and a relative novice in their hands i do expect them to give me a bit of guidance. my wife refuses to go becasue she feels like she is treated like a dumb woman and they dont actually help her keep her car. (dont go there!)
-will let everyone know how the renault discussions go as i do actually like the car and my wife loves hers and its va va voom (sorry couldnt resist)
out of interest this is the third dealership i have used for servicing, they always forget to clean it, i never use a courtesy car, i always have what they recommend done and i always feel that something will go wrong when i get it back. when this car failed its mot on its front rear being too bald, they didnt have the foresight to put the spare on so that i could legally drive it to kwikfit. they also left the bonnet open which i noticed on the m42! (it was on the latch so not closed properly)
not sure i will trust any of them work on a car again but endure them whilst it is under warranty and they have me by the proverbial sort and curlies!
My sister with the wrecked scenic engine (above) is now a week past getting it back from the date oiginally given and the garage are promising "it will be better than new".
I spoke to her tonight and the garage phoned today to add another £50 to the bill for a "special type of oil needed to get the valves out of the head". Anyone feel a wheeze coming on?
With regards to RF I have had 6 new cars in the last 10 years and none of them (even the high risk Vauxhalls) have lost a cambelt. All them reached the change interval intact. It might be unfortunate but it seems with the diesel scenics the belt goes before the interval, if the interval was reduced I don't think this thread would be here.
But then as HJ said in his column recently " I can't recommend that anyone considers buying a Renault" or words to that effect.
Can you send me some data about that court case, that Renault lost in France?
I have the same problem with my Clio 1.4 16V (twice!):
1. at 40 kkm (the car was 20 months old) my timing belt failed, caused large damage in engine (all 16 valves, watter pump, ...)
2. at 128 kkm (the car is 5 years old) my timing belt failed again, caused large damage in engine (all 16 valves, watter pump, ...)
Obviously anything with a chain should be OK (although chains can get noisy, and have been known to break).
What would be better to know, is which belted engines are non-interference (ie the pistons won't hit the valves)?
I had 3 belts go in quick succession on a Cavalier (late 80's?) - including 1 when I was in lane 3 of the M62, which wasn't funny - but there was no damage done to the engine. Of course I was left to stand in the middle of the motorway, which could well have damaged me.
In answer to the 'why leave the change to 72000 miles questions - I would imagine that this is so the 60K/3yr running cost figures that fleets use won't be inflated by the cost of a cambelt change.
Alfa & Fiat recommend 72K miles on the diesels & I've never heard of one breaking & neither have any of the dealers/websites etc.
I do know someone who had a Renault goona belt go on a diesel 3 weeks after it was changed £ 1,200+ !
my renault scenic is a 2001 model with 38k on the clock ,two weeks ago it broke down.the AA man reckoned it was a cam belt tensioner failure,the renault garage has had it for a week and a half ,they told me it was a tensioner failure and it has done engine damage.
i phoned renault customer care to view my thoughts and they were not interested.i have contacted consumer direct for advice.i believe a tensioner should not
fail after 38k or five years,as it should not detieorate like the belt might with age.
When I bought the Fiesta it had the original belt at just over 80k as per the 100k recommended schedule. It niggled and niggled and in the end I caved in and changed it at 82k (or rather paid a mate to do it who has the right tools and the experience).
We examined the old belt when it came off and have to say apart from looking as you would expect, quite heavily "ribbed", was in fine condition. There were no signs of cracks or splits on the teeth whatsoever.
The same could not be said for the tensioner. Although it turned freely it wasn't as smooth as it should have been, and there was perceptible play in the bearings.
Whether it would have gone another 20k is anyone's guess, but as it was me who would have taken the financial hit if it had failed, I thought it was worth the £80 it cost me. Plus it will probably now outlast the car!
The company I worked for years ago had a cambelt fail on a nearly new Astra van diesel, the dealership didn't have time to fit a new one when it went in for it's scheduled service, it went within a week!
For the cost of a cambelt it's not worth risking but then I do my own and I change the oil twice a year despite doing less that 10K. I have a cynical outlook that car manufacturers want our cars to fail when they're just out of warranty, that way they can sell you another. If they extend servicing to vast mileages it makes the car cheaper to own, until it's worn out then you buy another. How can they lose? If they all do the same it becomes the norm.
Sad as it is everything can fail. What's better looked after than a jet aircraft but these still fall out the sky.
C'est La Vie.
Buy a Citroen and get to know the local GSF staff better...
To the OP. Did anyone at the dealership advise you that the 5 year period was up at the last service, check your bills because if they did and you turned it down, they would/should have stated this on your invoice. If no-one told you about this then I think they are in the wrong, because they should service your vehicle to the mileage/age at the time. This should also include advising you that the cambelt would need changing BEFORE the next service.
Thanks for the warnings everybody as I own 2 Meganes and my wife one. I enjoy driving the vehicles and as a mechanic specializing in heavy machinery I let the local Renault agent look after my cars. You may be interested to know that the heavy machinery I service, that service periods are based on fuel used, not engine hrs or mileage. The modern car computer is capable of recording fuel totals used and I cant understand why the car manufactures dont switch over to that system. A car used round town and city only will do high engine hours with low mileage against a vehicle that does high speed open road driving. This would perhaps prevent what some would term as early cam belt failures. Food for thought. Perhaps worth considering. I am of the opion regardless of warranty that if a manufacturer states a period of time that a belt should last then thats exactly what it is and the manufacturer should be lible for the full cost of repair for an early failure.