Cavalier cam belt check? - Old Banger
J-reg 1600. Is it possible to check the cambelt condition? How? This car has residual value only. It looks hideous, but it goes, currently, and I'd like it to keep doing so for a while. I'm told the cam belt was changed about 25,000 miles ago, but suspect that it was really the *fan* belt!
Cavalier cam belt check? - Xileno {P}
Remove cover, and slightly twist the belt. You're looking for any signs of cracking. It usually starts between the teeth.
Cavalier cam belt check? - Old Banger
Is it a hard thing to remove the cover? I can't see any screws.

Also, I forgot to ask - will it damage the engine on one of these old things if the belt breaks?
Cavalier cam belt check? - Xileno {P}
It's ages since I last was under the bonnet of a Cavalier and can't remember the way the cover is fixed.

As for damage if it snaps, well most engines seem to be interference type now but some Vauxhalls are/were safe. I am sure DD will be along soon with his Vauxhall knowledge.
Cavalier cam belt check? - Dynamic Dave
IIRC, the cover is held on with 3 6mm bolts. One on top, and two down the side of the cambelt cover.

To really check the condition of the belt you need to remove it so that you can flex it in all manner of directions to check for signs of cracking. If you remove it to check, you might as well fit a new one anyay.

I *believe* the 8 valve engine in your Cavalier is classed as "non interferance". In other words, if the belt does snap the pistons *shouldn't* kiss the valves. That said, I know someone who used to have a Nova and the engine was trashed when the belt snapped.

To replace the belt on this engine is relatively easy, but you should also contemplate a water pump change as well. On an engine of this age, the pulleys are aluminium and there is no belt tensioner, so that's one less expense of not needing to replace them. The belt is tensioned by rotating the waterpump.
Cavalier cam belt check? - Old Banger
Thank you for your reply. Something in the engine makes quite a rubbing/rattling noise on starting, which goes away after a minute or two. Any ideas what it might be? It's clearer from the drivers seat than from the (front) passenger one. Probably not the belt, else I guess else it wouldn't go away like that.

I've heard that it's possible to put on a new belt by slitting the old one in half, lengthways, removing half of it, and then sliding a new one on. Is this likely? I'll have to try & change the thing myself if it needs doing, due to £££ considerations.
Cavalier cam belt check? - Xileno {P}
Noise could be a lot of things, might be the water pump.
Slicing the belt in half to change it is not how I have done them in the past. Although it has the advantage that the timing will remain changed, you've still got to tension the belt. I am not a great fan of these engines that use the water pump to tension the belt, in my experience of VW's once the pump is disturbed, they usually leak slightly. Then you are into removing the thing to fit a new seal.
Cavalier cam belt check? - Xileno {P}
Doh, should read 'timing will remain unchanged'.

Getting old.
Cavalier cam belt check? - Number_Cruncher
If it is a normal compression 8 valve engine, then the valves won't hit the pistons. If it is a higher compression 8 valve engine, then the rockers are sacrificially weaken to enable them to snap before doing damage to the valves or pistons. Either way, older 8 valve Vauxhall engines are not expensive if the belt breaks. IIRC, yours will be a 16SV engine, which does no damage in the event of a cam belt breakage.

If changing the belt, I wouldn't touch the water pump unless you have to. If you do have to touch it, put a new one on. There are 2 reasons to have to touch the water pump 1) it is leaking or has rough bearings 2) the new cam belt is not correctly tensioned with the water pump in that position.

When fitting a belt, I tend to mark the position of the pulleys, and slide the belt off without disturbing the water pump. Then slide the new belt on and check the tension. If you are lucky (7/10 cases are) then you don't need to bother with the water pump.

As DD says, the cover is held on with a few M6 bolts.

I really wouldn't bother trying to check an existing belt, because a) you need to remove it to see it, and b) not all damage is visible; owing to the composite construction, an inter-layer delamination will be missed by your external visual inspection, for example. I can't imagine a belt alone being expensive.

I don't see how the longitudianl slitting method would work in this case. How would you clear the water pump flange?

Number_Cruncher
Cavalier cam belt check? - Dynamic Dave
Something in the engine makes quite a rubbing/rattling noise on starting, which goes away after a minute or two.


That could be almost anything.
1. A loose cambelt which quietens up when the engine has expanded slighty. If this is the case, then an old cambelt is liable to snap if loose because it is flapping around.
2. Hydraulic valve lifters - although these rattle/clatter rather than make a rubbing sound.
3. A dry alternator belt. Try putting some chalk or spraying a small amount of wd-40 on it to see if the noise goes away.

 

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