Astra Cam Belts - Laura
Has anyone had any experience with cam belts going early on eco-tech 1.4 16V Astra's. Mine has gone after 20,000 and Vauxhall have rejected a claim due to the belt being over one year old ! Help, I want to fight them !
Re: Astra Cam Belts - Ian (cape town)
L,
what does the service book say? I know on my 1.8 it said
75 000kms for cambelt change.
I'd say you have a case - especially if you have a FSH from Vauxhall.
Re: Astra Cam Belts - Adam Going (Tune-Up Ltd)
Laura,

Oh dear !! Not uncommon at all, I am afraid. At the red bar at the top of this page click on Search, type in "cambelt failure" and search the last 180 days. You will be amazed how often the words Vauxhall and Ecotec appear.

If you need some expert independant help with your claim I would suggest you contact a gentleman called Douglas Wragg on 01444 811349. He is an exceptionally well-qualified consulting engineer who investigates and fights this sort of claim all day long. Don't know where you are, he is in West Sussex, but he will be able to tell you what to say at the very least. Do be aware that if you instruct him to action this on your behalf there will be cost implications, but that is just another thing you can use against the dealer, as if liability is accepted they mayl face a bill for your costs as well.

Good luck, Adam
Re: Astra Cam Belts - Dan J
You'll get better responses than this off others but cambelts are renound for snapping on the Econaff engines fitted to the Vectras and Vauxhall usually bite the bullet and stump up at least a good percentage of the cost. Have your dealings just been with the franchise garage themselves? Perhaps contacting Vauxhall itself and voicing your complaint would be a good idea?

If it was a Vauxhall garage that fitted the cambelt I certainly wouldn't stand for it and am sure you'll be able to get them to dig into their pockets for at least a good part of it.

Wait for a few other people to post!

Best of luck
Dan J
Re: Astra Cam Belts - John Slaughter
Laura

The usual very useful info from Adam and Dan, which shuld be followed. It's very true that the service history will be significant in deciding who might pay, or if you have any chance of compensation.

Unfortunately, this is a very common problem. Is this the original belt? Since early '97 Vauxhall have had a 8 year or 80,000 mile change period on these, up from 4yr or 40,000 miles, but as has been mentioned ignore the 80,000/8 years and always change at 40,000 or 4 years, if not before.

Because of these intervals, I believe that Vauxhall dealers do usually make some contribution in the case of early failure, but, it depends on (usually) a Vauxhall service history, and some confidence that the mileage is correct.

One of my friends (original owner, full Vauxhall service history) had an engine rebuilt after a failure at 36,000 miles (in France)at Vauxhall's expense. Equally, a colleague of my wife has recently had a similar claim (an Astra) rejected, as a service had been done very late. Given that a normal service won't even check the cambelt, it's irrelevant, but clearly these repairs are expensive and Vauxhall won't do more than they have to, and they will argue that a Vauxhall dealer may spot a problem. They are unlikely to pay following work done outside the Vauxhall network, but then you could pursue the claim against the garage who did the work.

So, a 20,000 mile failure isn't really acceptable, and if you feel you meet the criteria for compensation, press the case with the appropriate party using the expert if needed.

Regards

JS
Re: Renault Cam Belts - Mike Coleman
Picking up the cambelt thread, my brothers Laguna 2.2 diesel had its belt changed at the recommended 75K (although I have seen HJ recommend it should be done at 40K). I nagged him to change it, and now 10K later the waterpump seized and he is now £3000 down to a Renault dealer. THe bottom line is that these motors are really flawed in design and cambelts in general are a big loser for punters and a massive gain for the enemy (dealers). They trade on saps like my brother who always believe them and spend money that they have not got, while my joke bucket (V-6 760) is passing the 240K line on the original timing chain, motor and tranny. If they could design in 1976 a famously duff motor like that and it can last, I think Renault and the rest can dump timing chains like BMW have and just put up with a little more rattle and less income.

Have a good one,

Mike

PS anyone with problems with their V-6 760 can email me as I have learned a great deal about them over the last 10 years.
Re: Renault Cam Belts - Honest John
The Laguna 2.2 timing belt problem has been itemised in the car by car breakdown for a long time.

It isn't usually Vauxhall timing belts themselves that fail. It's the steel bearing in the GF50 plastic tensioner which overheats and shatters the plastic outer wheel, throwing off the belt which then gets mangled. Same thing happens with Fiat Bravos and Bravas and Daewoos.

HJ
Re: Astra Cam Belts - Laura
I have had my GF50 things replaced twice already to stop this fault on my 62,000 Astra and the cam belt was changed at 38,000.....and i still am victim of this Econaff engine fault!!

L
Re: Astra Cam Belts - David W
Laura,

I'm really sorry to hear about the cambelt. I've just done one for a friend and customer in an Astra. The parts alone were about £800.

It's too complicated to go into here but I have noticed a common feature in the way the tensioner works on these engines, and the Fiats that suffer.

I've just had a 2.2 Laguna in for service under 40,000 and am struggling to justify to the customer why the belt should be changed so soon.

Personally I would never buy one of these cars at any money, the risk is too great.

You just ought to see the response on the trade forums if the Vauxhall issue is raised, most folks have done loads of these belts....sometimes twice for the same customer!

David
Re: Astra Cam Belts - Andrew Scott
Comments like this have made me cross the current Astra (G Series) off my shopping list. My local Vauxhall Dealer confirms all the stories posted here, of the pulleys and tensioners on Ecotec engines disintegrating without warning.

I had thought of buying an 8 Valve Astra I believe Vauxhall still offer it on their
low spec. Astras, however I guess I would be buying an technologically old
engine and the resale value may be tainted by peoples experiences with the
ecotec engine.

There is a Vauxhall dealer 1mile from my home which is handy for everyday requirements Warranty Servicing, Spare parts etc.

Has anyone any thoughts on this?

Andrew
Re: Astra Cam Belts - Dan J
Well, I think the 8 valve Astra engine is simply a smaller bore version of the 1.8 I have in my Cavalier. I have it on good authority from a bygone post from David W (thanks for the info even though it wasn't me who requested it!) and also from many stories on Cavweb re various cambelt incidents that if the cambelt should fail on this engine (which I don't think is subject to the same pulley/tensioner issues that the Ecocrap engine is) then as the valves are in line with the piston ie not at an angle and there is a small recess in which the valves sit, if the pistons do strive the valves, rather than destroying the engine they simply push the valves upwards. Various stories of Cavalier engines having the belt snap, the AA coming out and fitting a new one and owner simply driving off.

I wouldn't say that in ALL cases no damage would be caused but it is likely to be a huge site less than in the Eco engines. Only problem is that the "fun" engines and ones which are more spritely are the 16 valvers. I've driven a 1.4i 16 valve and a 1.6 8 valve and the latter, like my Cavalier, is like driving a tractor! No doubt a reliable engine but no poke or decent acceleration at all.

Much as though I like the Astra as a car I'd cross it off your list...
new Astras - John Slaughter
Andrew

Dan is right. The new Astra is a good handling car, but the 1.6 8 valve is a bit slow. Less power even than the 1.4 16v, and it's not clear what place it fills in the hierarchy. It isn't even better on fuel than the 1.4 or 1.6 16valvers. I was most impressed with those I've driven, but it needs at least the 1.6 16v.

I'd buy one and accept the belt drive cam, but then I've run 3 Vauxhalls for a total of 120k miles and never had a cam belt problem, having stuck to a 40k/4year change

Regards

JS
Re: new Astras - Dave Etchells
Going back a bit but (96?) a guy I worked with had the previous model Astra and his belt snapped - expensively - at 37k miles, 1k over the recommended interval. Naturally Vauxhall were not very helpful and pointed him towards his service book. The moral always is to keep within the service guidelines or suffer the consequences. That and never, ever buy a Vauxhall.
Re: new Astras - RogerL
If your Vauxhall has been serviced regularly at a Vauxhall dealer AND the repair is done at a Vauxhall dealer, the dealer can be pressurised into getting Vauxhall to pay for the repair. My 1995 Cavalier 2.0 16v broke its cambelt at 50,000 miles but it took a lot of pressure to get the cheque out of Vauxhall.
 

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