Astra Ecotec Cambelt Failure. - David W
Having a '97 Astra towed here to look at tomorrow following cambelt failure at motorway speed. Covered 57,800 miles.

What will I find??

Re: Astra Ecotec Cambelt Failure. - T lucas
We had one go on a filthy pile of junk Vectra with 60k,pathetic Vauxhall service record[tensioner,pullies&belt changed@48k].The repair on that piece of junk included all the valves,more new pullies,belt,tensioner,gaskets,followers etc and to date has been the single most expensive repair on any vehicle we have ever sold.This was about 2 years ago and we could not source any used parts for it.Since then we will not buy Vauxhalls for stock and any offered in p/x are bid in the balls.Ordinary run of the mill cars that let go so expensivly should be publicly outed so that ordinary punters turn their backs on them.Along the lines of what happened to Lancia in the UK,that might make the arrogant motor chiefs sit up and take notice when we dont buy some of their poor quality offerings.
Re: Astra Ecotec Cambelt Failure. - sam
same happened on my vectra

was about 2 and a half years old with full non-vaux service history

had it towed to a vaux main dealer

after an estimate of 2000 quid

and after a few days wait vauxhall agreed to fund all repairs

they seem to be operating an informal 3 year guarantee on cars sold before they started offering longer guarantee's anyway?
Re: Astra Ecotec Cambelt Failure. - robert
A mate of mine runs a small garage. They had a P reg 1.8 Vectra which had a cambelt failure. The repair was almost a grand - however! Vauxhall coughed up most of it. Unless you ask you won't get - give it a try - especially if the car has a stamped service record!
Re: Astra Ecotec Cambelt Failure. - Guy Lacey
I cannot believe how many Vauxhalls seem to suffer from recurring faults.

EVERY Cavalier 2ltr engine seems to suffer from Idle Stabilisation Valve failure.

I work in a position where a lot of travelling "reps" visit and a large number number drive Vectras. Almost every single Vectra-rep has had at least one cambelt failure. One chap has had 3 on the one car. Surely the lease firms would kick-up?

It is also surprising how this doesn't get out to the general public. The bargain trade-warehouse car supermarkets are still flogging ex-fleet Vectras with 80kmile on the clock and prime targets for failure.

It seems the marques that have got their act together, Skoda and Rover, for example, are being slated while the marques that have genuine design faults get away with it (Vectras/Mondeo V6(!)) - usually from the BIG PLAYERS.
Re: Astra Ecotec Cambelt Failure. - Ray
Up to the A4 i have now (on trial for reliablity ,ok so far) over seven years i,ve run Nissan Primara's , these have chains rather than belts (along with bmw).
I would buy another Nissan tomorrow if i needed a car at short notice . Toyota Carina , Honda Accord , Had them all and never had to change so much as a light bulb!
Re: Astra Ecotec Cambelt Failure. - THe Growler
Don't be a slow learner, buy a Mitsubishi or a Honda.
Re: Astra Ecotec Cambelt Failure. - Andrew Scott
I note that the New Vectra to be put on sale in the spring, uses a chain drive rather than a belt, so it seems GM are 'giving up' on Cam Belts.

Comments here and similar comments from my friendly Vauxhall specialist have completely put me off buying a 16v Ecotec Vauxhall.

Has anybody any experience with the current 8 Valve models offered by Vauxhall- do these suffer with the same problem?
Re: Astra Ecotec Cambelt Failure. - Dan J
Same as any other cam belt car, if the belt goes, bye bye engine but I don't think the 8 valvers are any more likely to fail than any normal (Ecotec excepted) engine as they don't contain those stupid plastic pulleys etc that the Ecotec engines do.

Vauxhall must have shot themselves in the foot with that engine as I bet they have ended up paying for many of the repairs themselves.
Re: Astra Ecotec Cambelt Failure. - sam

"Surely the lease firms would kick-up?

mostly they have had a 3 year guarantee on stuff like this even while thre public only had a one year guarantee

and they get rid after 3 years

so no cost to lease companies...
Re: Astra Ecotec Cambelt Failure. - Andrew Moorey (Tune-Up Ltd.)
Hi David
We had a similar repair to do recently. As the pistons were damaged as well (the crowns had distorted crushing the top rings) we opted for a new moter from GM then when we had stopped laughing at the price, rebuilt it ourselves. Didn't need a crank grind or rebore as it had only 30k on the clock and totalled a little over £2k.
You will probably be luckier if the belt failed at low speed, just some valves and a head skim, allow for a few guides and skinned knuckles! The guide roller on ours had failed at 70 mph + and had been rowed to a standstill on the gears!
Regards Andrew.
Re: Astra Ecotec Cambelt Failure. - David W
Thanks all, going to give it a look in a minute.

Andrew could you do the pistons on this with the sump off or was it an engine out job? Does the engine drop out the bottom on the suspension?

Re: Astra Ecotec Cambelt Failure. - Adam Going (Tune-Up Ltd)

Andrew is out to work now, but I just called him on his mobile for you !

No the pistons won't come out the bottom with the sump off and it is an engine out job. Although 'his' case was a Cavalier, apparently on the Astra the engine drops out from below but you have to get it really high (2.5 ft or so).

Have a fun-packed day !

Re: Astra Ecotec Cambelt Failure. - Adam Going (Tune-Up Ltd)
PS. drop engine in unit with gearbox - waste of time trying to separate them
in situ first, apparently

regards, adam.
Re: Astra Ecotec Cambelt Failure. - David W
Thanks Adam, going to have little posting time today I guess!

Re: Astra Ecotec Cambelt Failure. - Honest John
The problem with these engines is not the timing belt itself. It's the GF50 tensioners and pulleys. These are plastic outers with a bearing in the middle. As the bearing gets to the end of its life, like any bearing, it heats up. On something like a Golf with steel pulleys, this heat is fed into the pulley itself and the driver usually hears the bearing screaming in plenty of time to get it changed. With Vauxhall and FIAT plastic timing belt pulleys, the heat from the dying bearing shatters the plastic outer pulley with no warning at all the belt flies off, and pistons start getting intimitely acquainted with valves.

What I found was... - David W
The timing belt had snapped and unusually the tensioner, idler wheels and water pump were fine.

From the fibre debris inside the cover the belt had been shredding for quite a few revs before it let go, gues it wasn't noticeable at motorway speeds.

Bottom end of the engine was fine. On the head 14 of the 16 valves were bent and several valve guides cracked at the base. Exchange head is the way to go on this one. Vauxhall wanted £716 for a head without cams, getting it a good £200 less than that. Add in a timing belt/tensioner/roller set, heat gasket set, water pump, sundries and it £1000 for simplicity.

A wicked cost for a small component failure on a mid range family car.

Re: What I found was... - Robert
It might sound perverse - BUT this shortcoming has resulted in a lot of work for mechanics in maindealers and small garages alike!

Value my car