CAMBELT ANTICS. Brera 2.4 JTDM SV 210 08
Book the car in for its annual oil change and MOT at five years old. Service man says that it’s due for a cambelt change. ‘Are you sitting down?’ Its £950 and two days in the workshop! I reply that at 14,078 miles I will leave it to next year but actually don't have a spare thousand. Then discover that alfaworkshop do it for £450.So I ring Alfa at Slough head office to find out what they say is the correct interval and time allowed for this job, only to be connected to an elderly lady who didn’t really have any answers but wasted 20 mins seeing if she could find out. Now I have a case number and they can’t ring me back until next week. Did some more research and came up with four qualities of cam belts. The standard budget brand issued as alfa spares is by Dayco £97.02. Gates that are highly recommended £87.67. Continental quality German brand Contitec £77.93. And SKS, a premium quality belt £97.57. So it seems that they fitted the weak budget FIAT belts to our Alfa's and then expect us to pay to change them every 3 years or every 36,000 miles! A thousand pound bill every 3 years making it £333 pounds a year as an extra hidden service cost. This makes it an ownership issue. When this engine was fitted to a Volvo it's cambelt was good for 75,000 miles between changes!
Alfa customer care ring back a week later to say that the engine has to come out making the job 7 1/2 hours labour 'because of the tight fit in the brera'. Jamie Porter's alfaworkshop quote £450 for the job and four hours because the belt can be changed without removing the engine. If Alfa knew this why didn’t they spec a Kevlar belt from Gates Racing for another £50 extra tops? Instead of costing owners a thousand pounds every three years or 36,000 miles? It still says 70,000 miles in the handbook so specifying a Kevlar belt would have made that a reality. Or is it the cheap water pump that seizes up and snaps the belt? However exotic a car appears ,all the bits you can't see are still all the same bent tin,clips and bolts as on a Fiat. Obviously they buy thousands of each component but do we get Fiat quality components at Maserati prices?