DIY Cam Belt - Diesel Astra - raffles
I have a 1997 Astra TD. 1.7 GM SOHC engine. 36,000 miles. Vauxhall suggest 8 year/80,000 mile cam belt renewal, which seems a bit ambitious to me.

Naturally reluctant to a) part with the best part of £200 to let the main dealer renew the belt and b)have somebody else wreck my engine (I can do that!), I consulted the Haynes manual.

Haynes describe a procedure involving special Vauxhall tools, and a Dial Test Indicator to time the camshaft and fuel injector.

Has anybody done this job themselves? If so, is it not possible to carefully mark the old belt prior to removal (at crank, injector and cam), transfer these marks to the new belt, fitting it so that they all line up with no slack?

I've changed cam belts before, but would I be better coughing up the cash this time, can I do it as outlined above, or should I buy the special tools?

Has anybody known of belt failure in these engines? If so, at what mileage/under what conditions?

Could I get away with leaving it a bit longer?

The car has been well looked after and is driven sensibly - but mainly for shortish journeys.

Should the water pump be renewed at the same time as a matter of course?

Thank you for reading this, and please help if you can.
DIY Cam Belt - Diesel Astra - Shigg

The problem with marking up and transfering the belt is that getting the new belt on would not only be difficult, the old belt could have stretched so when you slot on a new one it could be too tight or may not fit in exactly the same gear wheel teeth. With diesels it's very important that you get the timing bang on or power loss and smoke can be a real problem. I've not done a belt on a turbo diesel astra but done a couple on standard diesel astras. Are you sure that it's not possible to just lock up the engine with suitable pins before changing the belt?
As for the £200 for it changing how much would a replacement engine cost along with the required tow in?

Goos luck.

DIY Cam Belt - Diesel Astra - Dynamic Dave
Vauxhall suggest 8 year/80,000 mile cam belt renewal,

They changed the schedule to 40,000 miles/3 yrs I believe.
Check with your Vaux dealer for latest details though. From experience of owning Vauxhalls for some 17 yrs now, the cambelt schedule has changed more often than the weather. Was 30,000 miles, then 36,000 miles, etc, you get the picture. The best one was "it will last the lifetime of the car sir" but people took this too literally and missed the all important bit, "the belt should still be inspected at regular intervals to assess wear"
DIY Cam Belt - Diesel Astra - otter
I replaced the belt on my 1992 Golf Turbo Diesel. I could'nt find TDC marking on the flywheel after a lot of searching so I marked up all of the positions of the pulleys with a drop of tippex and a corresponding drop on the engine casing before removing the old belt. Then replaced the new belt making sure everything was in exactly the same place (ie all the tippex dots matched).
The most difficult part was trying to decide on the correct tension. Did the usual twist the belt 90 degrees in the fingers but still seemed to wobble a little, so tightened it some more but it seemed to idle very slightly differently and lost a little fuel consumption so I guess its a little too tight. Has anyone got a good way of checking the tension or do you need a special tool?
Its the first belt I've changed but its probably worth getting a good mechanic to do it. I did it because I was interested and also very dubious of big dealers/service centres - you never know who is under the bonnet (trainees etc) causing mayhem. My parents had an Audi TDi that spent months at a 'new' Audi dealer having small problems mis-fixed (replaced a noisey wheel bearing with a new 6-speed gearbox, new injection pump for a small ECU fault, failed to replace the timing belt at the correct interval (luckily found out because the pump belt went first!!) etc etc - its a long story that goes on and on until they eventually apologised and said 'sorry we're not used to diesels yet?!!" Then 18 months later it went into a VW franchise for an MOT (the nice local mechanic was fully booked). My 'old dear' went to pick up the car and was told that there was some oil in the water (funny that, never been in there before, I know because Ive often lovingly peered at the Audi engine). Of course a new head-gasket replacement ($$$$) was advised by the nice man in his suit 'as a precaution'. 'We can do it immediately madam' (obviuosly not much work on for the boys out the back). Smelling a rat she politely declined and took it to her busy local mechanic. Puzzled becasue he'd recently serviced this car he set about testing for all the signs of a head failure and replaced the polluted water - still no problems and no water contamination? Now 750000 miles later (125000 total) and the car is still good as new - and guess what, its been nowhere near a franchised dealer in that time.
DIY Cam Belt - Diesel Astra - Shigg
>>Has anyone got a good way of checking the tension or do you need a special tool?

There are tools available, Peugeot specify a tension measurement, whereas some diesels use an auto-tensioner (one of the transits does I believe). Where cambelts are concerned I don't understand why people take risks, changing engines is time comsuming and can be expensive.

DIY Cam Belt - Diesel Astra - steve52
I've replaced the cambelt on my Cavalier turbo diesel (Isuzu). You have to lock the cam and fuel pump in place using spare bolts (8mm and 6mm I think). The crank is left in the tdc position although its vee belt pulley has to be removed. The cam belt tensioner has a built in spring which tensions the new belt correctly. I thought it was a relatively easy job once the offside access panels were removed from within the wheel arch and the cambelt guard was off.
DIY Cam Belt - Diesel Astra - steve52
Just noticed yours is a different engine from mine. What a waste of time, sorry!

Value my car