Timing Belts - Again! - Tom Shaw
On modern genenerally reliable cars, the biggest potential serious failure is a broken timing belt. I often have nightmares about the potential bill. Our Saxo's have a belt changed at 40,000 miles despite Citreon's assurance that these are good for double that milage.
I know this subject has been covered many times here in the past, but I would like to know which are the most reliable vehicles in this aspect, and more importantly, which are the worst?

The experience of regular readers, particularly those in the trade would be appreciated. I have heard that on the base model Corsa the pistons will not contact the valves if the belt breaks. Is this true?

Tom
Re: Timing Belts - Again! - Dave


Cam-chain, Cam-chain. Ra, Ra, Ra.

Timing chains not perfect either. - David Woollard
Dave,

OK OK point taken but......

Timing chains do give trouble. Some of the Mercedes models suffered as did some Nissan Micras. Also the old Land Rover Diesel timing chains would often wear so much by 60,000 miles the pump timing was all over the place......smoke and poor performance.

Chain in your motor then?


David
Re: Timing chains not perfect either. - Dave
David Woollard wrote:

> OK OK point taken but......
>
> Timing chains do give trouble. Some of the Mercedes models
> suffered as did some Nissan Micras. Also the old Land Rover
> Diesel timing chains would often wear so much by 60,000 miles
> the pump timing was all over the place......smoke and poor
> performance.
>
> Chain in your motor then?

Rover has a belt, bike has a chain.

Belt is silent, but needs replacing all the time.

Chain is noisy, but should last the lifetime of the bike engine. For values of lifetime < 50,000 miles ;-)

To be honest I've come round to the belt camp - my mate had a Vauxhaul Manta (remember them) which I thought was a suprb home maintainace 'banger' (actually it was in nice nick and used to go to owners club meets but YSWIM) but the chain *was* a bit noisy.

I reckon the cog driven V4's have the answer.
Of course the ultimate solution is: - Dave
OHV engines!

My '89 Skoda Estelle was superb. Or there's the Ford Ka with the excellent (without CAT) Endura-E for 50's technology fans with more cash.



Hmmmmmmm. Push-Rods.

Re: THE ultimate solution is: - peter
To avoid valve and Piston damage surely the ultimate solution must be the Rover Gas turbine car of early 60s, closely (?) followed by a Trabant 2 stroke! (Yes I know there are other 2 strokes, inc Wartburg, NSU I think)

All ohv will be suspectible to piston - valve damage if a valve drops from breakage or loss of collets etc. But at least it is generally only one of each.

Other possibly more practical solutions will be of the side valve variety,
Morris 918cc Ford 1172cc and for more power the V8 Pilot come to mind. At least these all can be abused and then repaired!

I have intentionally omitted the exotic Wankel and early sleeve valve engines, since I dont understand them. Some body will probably reply with a list of Steam engines but I dont understand those either!

I remember losing all 8 valves on a (Very) big valve Imp engine when the Chain Tensioner broke and the chain skipped a tooth! So chains are not the total answer.
Re: Of course the ultimate solution is: - John Slaughter
Dave

Never seen a Ka without a cat.

As for the Endura E, well, its roots go back to the '59 Anglia 105E engine, and I've changed more than one timing chain on those or their derivatives!

I have to say too that I have been less than impressed with performance of the catalysed versions of the Valencia engine, as have several others to judge by a previous thread. And as for changing the timing chain on the transverse engine........

Cheers

John
Re: Of course the ultimate solution is: - Dave
John Slaughter wrote:
>
> Dave
>
> Never seen a Ka without a cat.

There is one. It was called an Anglia. ;-)

> As for the Endura E, well, its roots go back to the '59
> Anglia 105E engine, and I've changed more than one timing
> chain on those or their derivatives!

Oh, you knew. Serve me right for showing off. I'd have thought the timing chain on an OHV engine is v. short and indestructable. - Surely not a service item? If it is it must be a big job?

> I have to say too that I have been less than impressed with
> performance of the catalysed versions of the Valencia engine,
> as have several others to judge by a previous thread. And as
> for changing the timing chain on the transverse engine........

Carry on I'm interested...
Re: Of course the ultimate solution is: - John Slaughter
Dave

Anglia - yes, learned to drive in one.

Short timing chains are no more indestructible than long ones, but I wouldn't say they are a service item like a belt. As I say, going back a few years, I've changed them on Fords, Spitfires and A-series. When did you last hear an A-series with over 20k on the clock which didn't have a bit of chain rattle? Probably only one with a duplex chain, or the later type tensioner. Saabs are by no means immune from timing chain problems as the miles mount up. OK, chains rattle for a while and show problems are developing, unlike the silent but deadly belts, but the noise gets to you in the end. In fact, the problem is often the tensioner, rather than the chain.

As for catalysed push rod Fords. At one time I owned a new Mk 3 Fiesta with the 1.3 single point injection catalysed Valencia engine. Barely faster than the 1.1 carbureted Mk 2 it replaced and far worse on fuel. Struggled to hold 75 on Motorway gradients, and rarely bettered 35 miles/gall. At the same time my father had a similar, but slightly earlier, car with a carb, and no cat. I borrowed it a couple of times. Cruised all day at 75, and on the same runs would do 42/44 miles/gall. A number of owners of these engines also suffer from oil sludging - HJ's mentioned it before. Maybe the newer multipoint injection cars are better, but based on personal experience, I'm not impressed, and wouldn't take the chance.

The comment about changing the timing chain on the fwd cars relates to the lack of clearance between the engine and the inner wing. In most cases it looks like an engine out job. There is more space(if you remove the radiator) on rear drive cars. Snag on the old Fords was that you had to loosen and drop the sump a bit at the front, so the chances of an oil leak were high!

Cheers

john
Re: Of course the ultimate solution is: - Dave N
I had the timing chain tensioner replaced under warranty on a Mondeo V6 I had. It worked like a hydraulic tappet, and as it was faulty, it would take a few seconds to get up pressure in the mornings. Engine came out, and I had the usual problems associated with that operation when the car came back! But that was nothing compared to the hassle I had explaining to the guys at the dealership what the problem was in the first place. Of course they never heard it because I'd leave it overnight with them, some car mover/driver would start it and take it into the workshop, then the spotty twat, sorry, factory trained technician, wouldn't be able to hear anything.
Re: Of course the ultimate solution is: - Dave
John Slaughter wrote:
>
[snip interesting background]

Thanks!


Is the Valencia engine a derivitive of the Endura-E? I thought the Ka had the Endura-E but your 1,3 Fiesta would be the same engine as the Ka. Yes?

>A number of owners of these engines also
> suffer from oil sludging - HJ's mentioned it before. Maybe
> the newer multipoint injection cars are better, but based on
> personal experience, I'm not impressed, and wouldn't take the
> chance.

My housemate has a three year old Ka. It does 1.5 miles twice a day and has it serviced every 10k. (About 15 months). I imagine it's sump is filled with white-grey sludge!


Thanks for the history/engine design lesson John!
Re: Of course the ultimate solution is: - John Slaughter
Dave

The Valencia engine is the development of the 105E Anglia/Cortina engine used in the Fiesta. Built in Spain hence Valencia. The Endura E is a further development of the Valencia unit.

Regards

john
Re: Of course the ultimate solution is: - Dave
Is the Endura-E built in the same factory? It must be a very similar engine it's capacity is *identical*.

Dave
Re: Of course the ultimate solution is: - John Slaughter
I believe so, but I'm not 100% sure.

regards

john
Re: Timing chains not perfect either. - David Woollard
I see HJ mentions a Micra chain failure this week (Sat Telegraph) at low mileage.

I really struggle with my 8,000 mile a year Micra owners to convince them of the need for a 6 monthly oil change, will have to show them the cutting!

David
Timing Belts - Fiat Bravo - Neil
My wife and I drove a Fiat Bravo for three years (80000 miles). The belt and tensioners are designed to last 72000 miles.

The original belt was replaced under warranty due to worrying noises from the engine bay at 36000 miles.

The second belt snapped at 70000 miles (after 34000 miles of use) resulting in a bill for almost £1000.

My experiences with the Bravo, it's belt failure, it's airbag system failure (cause unknown despite regular diagnostics), and the dreadfull backup from the Reg Vardy garage in Sunderland (they didn't set the timing properly, refused to admit there was a problem, and then refused to apologise for causing the problem following a second opinion) mean that I won't be driving a Fiat again in the near future.
Re: Timing Belts - Fiat Bravo - honest john
In another thread I asked backroomers about experience of Ford Zetec belts (Escort, Mondeo, some Focuses). I mean the older Zetec E, not the newer Zetec S as used in Fiestas, Pumas and the 1.6 Focus. So has anyone had a Zetec E belt break of fly off at under the 5 year / 80,000 mile life specified by Ford?

HJ
Re: Timing Belts - Fiat Bravo - Andrew Moorey
I have not had experience of Zetec belts breaking but they get very slack by 50k prompting early replacement. I have had several instances of early signs of tensioner/ guide roller failure. Incidentally I'd be interested to know of any horror stories regarding the Zetec S. I understand that it is a Yamaha engine.??
Re: Timing chains not perfect either. - Alvin Booth
Tom,
Dont know about the base model Corsa but I have known two cam belts break on Nova's and none of them did any damage.....
Also changing the cam belt on the old Nova was a doddle. You could slip the old belt off the pulleys and carefully get the new one back on without disturbing the water pump for adjustment.
Once the bottom pulley was off its only a two minute job.

Alvin
Cars that may escape damage. - David Woollard
Tom,

Here is a list of the models that should escape damage. Use advice with care.

Daewoo Nexia 1.5, Espero 1.8/2.0
Fiat Panda/Uno/Tipo with 750/1000/1100 engines, Punto 1.1/1.2
Ford Sierra 1.6(LS model) and 2.0.
Lada Riva 1.3.
Rover 216,Maestro 1.6, Montego 1.6.
Subaru 1.8 L-series, Imprezna 1.6/1.8/2.0 SOHC, Legacy 1.8/2.0/2.2
Toyota Carina/Camry/MR2 - only models with 1S/1SE/2S-E engines, Paseo 1.5, 4-Runner V6.
Vauxhall Nova '90-'96 1.4/1.6, Astra/Cavalier 1.4/1.6, Corsa 1.4 SOHC, Pre'94 1.3/1.4/1.6/1.8/2.0 Nova/Astra/Cavalier?Calibra/Carlton

Note there are no diesels in this "exempt" list. Older Vauxhalls take the merit prize here I suppose.

I must stress again. Do not use this information as a basis for any timing belt change decision. Consult your technical information or dealer with the exact make/model/year/engine size & type.

David
Re: Cars that may escape damage. - Tom Shaw
Thats quite an impressive list, David. Now if they can do it, why can't the rest of them, and maybe I'll stop waking up screaming in the middle of the night. On the other hand, when anything appears about timing belts, perhaps I should just avert my eyes......
Re: Cars that may escape damage. - Ian Cook
88 Cavalier 1800 broke a belt somewhere about 36K (long time ago now, I don't remember exactly) - but didn't it do any damage.
Re: Cars that may escape damage. - Ian Cook
Sorry, I'm dyslexic this morning. I meant to say "it didn't do any damage"
Re: THE ultimate solution is: - Cliff Pope
Not so sure about the 2.0 Volvo engine being valve-safe. I have been advised to the contrary.
I do quite a big mileage in one, and have always followed HJ's advice, change at 40,000 miles regardless, or earlier if the weather is nice and you have the time.
BTW, I have found there is no need to remove the fan belt pulley - very difficult - just make a cut in the bottom of the lower plastic belt cover and bend it over the shaft.
I find the belt is visibly past its best even at 35,000 miles, and there is a noticeable improvement in running afterwards, I suppose because the timing is spot on again.
My motto is, belts are cheap, engins are not.
Re: Cars that may escape damage. - David Lacey
Diesels will ALWAYS 'bend or snap' with cambelt failure due to the reduced clearances at TDC which is down to basic engine design.
I would like to point out, that on David's comprehensive list, only the 1985-1989 Rover 216 models fitted with Rover's 'S' series engine were 'safe'. Later 'D' series 16V Honda engines fitted from late '89 in the MK2 200/400 will break big-style if the belt breaks etc.
As a mechanic 9/10 years ago, I can remember changing Ford Pinto and Montego cambelts by the roadsideafter breakdown!! You wouldn't even consider changing one of today's belts by the roadside would you????
Re: Cars that will escape damage! - peter
Having got away with a belt break on on a 1986 240 Volvo fitted with a 2316cc B230A engine I was lucky because the engine is not 'Valve safe'. I am told by the trade that about 30% breaks on this engine get away with it. There is apparently no tie up between speed & circumstances at which it happens and the outcome. I guess that this is because there is no inertia in the cam shaft so it stops dead at time of failure. Possibly the spring loading imposed by valve springs makes it susceptible to stopping in certain positions. The pistons carry on moving so damage then becomes a matter of luck.

I was told that the timing belt service on this engine used to be spec for 36k changes which was later changed in early 80s to 48k intervals without a change in the belt spec. Mine lasted 56 k (ok I was lazy, it was Febuary and I was waitng for warmer weather and my new garage to to be built before doing it).

However the 2.0 ohc l engine fitted in some later 240 models (and poss some earlier) is supposed to be valve safe. I presume that this variant is the one also fitted to 300 series cars.
Re: Of course the ultimate solution is: - Brian
Dave
I think you are a bit hard on bike engines. My last one did 85,000 miles on the same timing chain. The engine was good for a lot more miles and I only changed it because the bike parts were wearing out.
However, drive chains and sprockets are a different story! I never got more than about 20,000 miles out of any of those components. Of course operating in the open with just a bit of grease for protection is hardly the ideal environment.
Brian
Re: Of course the ultimate solution is: - Dave
Brian wrote:
>
> Dave
> I think you are a bit hard on bike engines. My last one did
> 85,000 miles on the same timing chain. The engine was good
> for a lot more miles and I only changed it because the bike
> parts were wearing out.

I was slightly tongue in cheek! I hear of lots of bike making 100k (B12's B6's).

> However, drive chains and sprockets are a different story! I
> never got more than about 20,000 miles out of any of those
> components. Of course operating in the open with just a bit
> of grease for protection is hardly the ideal environment.

Jordan thrives in such condiitons. ;-)


Shaft drive is the answer.
 

Value my car