Timing Belt Query - Alfa Romeo Forum
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(Post Link) post #1 of 5 Old 13-10-08 Thread Starter
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Timing Belt Query

Hi, I'm new to the forums, so I hope I've posted this in the right section!

I'm wondering if someone can confirm or deny the information I've been given by a local garage.

My 156 V6 went in about 2 weeks ago with an increasing in pitch whining noise as the revs increased. The garage pinpointed the problem to an auxilary belt pulley bearing that was going and a timing belt tensioner pulley that was going. It's taken a while to fix due to sourcing parts that are normally part of a bigger kit.

A point to make is the timing belt, tensioners, rockers, gasket and belt stretcher were all replaced 7000 miles ago, as part of the 72000 mile job, so the garage thought it odd it needed a tensioner, but hay ho.

Now the garage replaced the parts, timed it all up, took it for a test drive and...the belt tensioner collapsed.

My question is; the garage say the damage will be limited to the valves, but they don't know how many until they've done a compression test. Is this true? For example, they said there would be no cylinder, cam or piston damage. Is this true?

To wrap up, I'm having the spark plugs replaced at the same as the repairs as it makes sense. The garage also have my dealer documentation from when the timing belt kit was fitted, as they are getting an Alfa dealer representative over. Apparently there is a decent chance we can get them to pay for the repairs as the belt stretcher is supposed to be good for 32000 miles. Guess I'll find out how well this goes tommorow.

I appreciate any comments or advice any of you guys might have.
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Re: Timing Belt Query

There is a chance that piston damage has occured, and a chance that the big end shells have been flat spotted, which can cause bottom end failure a few miles down the road. Also there is a good chance one of both of the heads will have sustained damage.

I think the general concensus is that if a V6 has had a timing belt issue then it is cheaper to source another engine than to fix the damage.

If they are prepared to fix it correctly then thats fine, but for them it's a massive job.
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Re: Timing Belt Query

Erm..yes and no. The V6 bottom end is immeasurably stronger than the TS bottom end, so it will take a bigger knock, but you can never rule out big end damage. Lots get repaired without the crank being compromised though.

Who did the major timing belt change/service? Thats where the problem began. They tend not to replace idler bearing as they are costly and sometimes there is a delay sourcing them, but its a deadly shortcut not to change them after 72,000 miles. If it was an Alfa Romeo approved garage then it should be covered by them or Alfa. You do after all pay for a job to be done properly. This was not done properly.

As symon says, its a big job to rebuild. I'd never let a V6 cambelt go past 55,000 miles personally either.

If you do go for a replacement engine..get a 3 litre out of a 166. It really make one hell of a difference to the 156 and costs no more.

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Re: Timing Belt Query

No matter how old a tensioner is, when the belts replaced, so should the tensioner be, as well as the idler, this garage is going to find out the hard way it sounds, but yes they are correct, rarely is there damage to the bottom end and never have I seen damage to the cams of a V6 because of belt failure, but my guess would be that you'll need 4 inlet, 4 outlet valves, 8 guides, 2 head gaskets, oil, filter, antifreeze, and a lot of luck. As if an independant garage touch a car then Alfa will not pay out, they can not really be attributed with the blame, especially as this other garage have had the belts off, did they use blocks and official alfa timing and tensioning tools??? This is where the argument will lie I'm affraid and it's this second garage that will feel the brunt of the bill, after all the tensioners don't just "collapse", normally the wheel "EXPLODES" and that is why the belt goes. To say it collapsed would imply they never tensioned it correctly.
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Re: Timing Belt Query

Thanks for the answers guys.

I can say the full timing belt stuff was replaced at 71,000, about 7,000 miles ago, by the Alfa dealer.

It would be getting any damaged valves replaced, with full timing belt kit again. It might be also worth me clarifying the belt didn't snap, which should've reduced the damage. Essentially, the belt stretcher collapsed (he's shown me the part), meaning the belt didn't turn freely.

Hopefully that means the damage isn't as severe as when a belt snaps. I could persue the engine route, depending on cost. Any ideas?

To answer the other question, the garage specialises in timing belts and actually sourced the offical Alfa timing tools, which was a 1 week delay in the original repair time.

I can only hope, it may seem.
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