Re: DIY Cambelt change on V6?
Ok so I thought I should let people know how this went… and the answer is… fine! The car started first time and I’ve done 100 or so miles since with no issues what-so-ever. Took it easy for the first 50 (well, probably more like 15) but have given it a bit of stick since and it seems to be all OK.
My verdict on the job? It isn’t difficult, but it is very time consuming. I underestimated just how much dismantling you have to do to get at what you need to. I took my time throughout and didn’t really have any problems, and it still took a good 18 hours. How on earth a garage does it in 4 I have no idea. Seriously, I can see they would be quicker and more confident, but I just don’t get how they do it that quickly! My advice on that note is that if you take it somewhere to be done, make sure they are reputable, because a cheap price on a back alley is going to involve cutting corners IMO!
Would I recommend DIY? Yes if you’re confident and have a decent amount of experience. I think the best description I saw was in the Car Mechanics article which described it as “not for the faint-hearted”! Very true! You end up with a good bit of the car stripped and the engine fully exposed, once the old belt is off, you really want to know your way around an engine to be confident about it all. I was, but my helper looked like he was going to be sick when I said we even had to loosen the cam pulleys and hence really enter a point of no return! The car is quite easy to work on though, sure some bits are a fiddle but it ain’t that bad! With the wings lifting up with the bonnet there is more space around the engine than on most cars! One really big advantage to DIY is you really learn what’s where on the car, which for me, is a good thing.
Some lessons learned…
The TotallyAlfa tensioning tool is fine for setting the belt tension, but don’t bother using the other end (26mm spanner) to try and hold the cams when loosening the pulleys. It is too thin to take the torque and your Cams will move, potentially risking you stripping the threads holding the cam blocks on (not good). I used a really chunky solid adjustable spanner for this – much better!
The crank nut. I borrowed an electric 12v impact wrench from Jiggy (THANKS!) and this did the trick first time! It felt very, very tight by hand, but this tool budged it a treat. It had some kind of centrifugal clutch so it spun up and then released causing a big whack in the direction of your choice. My advice, get one of these tools, great! P.S. the cheap air wrench I bought didn’t touch it!
Finding TDC / timing… pretty easy if you have done it before. I used a stand mount dial gauge but I would recommend one that screws into the spark plug hole for ease of use.
Other than that make sure you have a really good range of tools to hand, particular allen keys and allen key bits for ratchets etc. I would also recommend a set of crows foot spanners and you obviously need a good torque wrench to reassemble correctly (very important being all alloy block & heads). All the other obligatory tools are required i.e. Cam blocks, a suitable 41mm socket for the crank pulley (very thin walled for the size) etc.
So, hopefully I now have the best part of 5 years worry free motoring ahead, hopefully this info will be useful to anyone debating the job in the future!
Cheers to all who helped and especially to Jiggy for loaning some of the tools!