Using the TS Variator Repair Kit - My experiences - Alfa Romeo Forum
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Using the TS Variator Repair Kit - My experiences

Hi all,

I just wanted to post my experiences of fitting the variator repair kit on a 1.6TS engine, in case it was of any use to people. I've linked to quite a few different sites for this.

I've read a lot of the different threads that have been posted regarding using this kit vs replacing the variator entirely. I know people have different opinions, but if like me you're pig-headed (and poor) enough to decide against the common wisdom and use this kit, I hope this helps.

1. Finding a repair kit.
Firstly, the part number for this repair kit is: 071715450. The kit consists of a spring and plastic washer. That's it!

I couldn't find one online at the usual (UK based) parts suppliers, so I needed to go further afield. I know a guy on eBay has been selling them, but for quite a cost so I'm not sure everybody wants this.

I bought mine from here:
Alfa Romeo Ersatzteile - italia Ricambi - Reparaturkit für Phasenversteller Alfa Romeo 145,147,156,166 71715450
They were good to deal with and delivery was not as expensive as listed on the site, since I was only buying 1 very light part. Contact them for a better deal.

I also found two other sites selling these at:
Ajoituksenmuuntimen korjaussarja [71715450] - 9,00€ : Ricambi Heikka, Varaosat ja tarvikkeet italialaisiin
and:
genuine parts GmbH | Suche - 0071715450 | online kaufen

Disassembly:
I was replacing the timing belt kit, so it was a logical decision to sooth the diesel rattle from my lovely engine at the same time.

After stripping the usual gear to replace the belt (belt covers, plastic coil pack cover, rocker cover), I got to look at the variator. From this site: Linky (in German) you can get a good idea of the internals of the device, and what will be replaced.

From this site: Linky (in Swedish and actually for a Barchetta) I figured that I could remove the variator without having to take the inlet cam off. My decision in this was based on my fear of screwing up the timing when replacing the cam. Also I work on the basis that the least bits removed from an engine, the better.

To open the variator, there is a circlip at the inner end that must be removed. This will allow the body of the variator to slide out, while the inner shaft stays attached to the cam.
You may need to turn the engine over a few times (by HAND!!) while moving the circlip around so that you can access it when Cyl.1 is at TDC.

When you have the circlip at the top, and Cyl1 is at TDC, put on the cam-locks. You will be safer as you may move the cam around a bit while removing/replacing the variator body.
Now open the circlip. It is worthwhile to have a second pair of hands available at this point, as the body can fly out when the circlip is released.

With the circlip released, draw out the body of the variator. You can keep the inlet pulley attached if you want (I did).

You may or may not decide to replace the oil seals. If you do, you will need to replace both seals so buy both in advance (that's one mistake I made).

When drawing the body out, be careful of the two small spring washers at the inside end. They have a tendency to stick to the end of the shaft and fall on the ground under your car (like mine did)

Bring the body over to a clean workbench. This site: Linky (in Finnish) gives good info on the process of disassembling the variator.

Pull the inner pistons out. There is an oil scraper ring that may get caught on the groove for the circlip. Just pull with a bit of force and it will come out.

When you have the parts disassembled, you will see the plastic washer. This has probably worn slightly. Mine was worn very marginally, but this was enough to cause the rattle.

Give all the parts a good clean. You may want to use solvent to clean them, I just gave them a wipe with a clean rag and a rub with a bit of clean oil.

Obviously at this point inspect the parts for damage. If any of the splines are worn/chipped, throw it out and buy a new variator.

Reassembly:
Be careful when reassembling the pistons inside the casing. There is only 1 position they can go in, where both the inner (straight) and outer (helical) splines match up. There are most likely three drill marks that you can use to visually align these.

NOTE: There is a gap between the two inner pistons when the unit is assembled. This isn't obvious, and caused me great confusion. The inner and outer splines will appear to be slightly misaligned when they are together. The diagrams in the Finnish site mentioned above will show the gap.

Drop the plastic washer in to the case. It will be obvious from the shape which way it goes in. Next drop the two spring washers into the bottom of the case. I used a small pliers to place them in. Note that they need to be placed in the right way, that is like this: )( so that they touch in the centre, and the rim of one contacts the case. The rim of the other will contact the shaft. A drop of oil on these will help them stick together.

Now for the tricky bit, actually reassembling the unit. This site: Link (in Romanian) gave me a good tip, that is to compress the spring before assembling the unit. I used some strong nylon string to do this.

The reason for precompressing the spring is because of the small gap between the two pistons. This gap means that when the two parts are pushed together (as happens if the spring is uncompressed), it becomes very difficult to engage both pistons on the shaft.

To assemble, I firstly formed the gap between the two pistons by moving the larger one out until the inner (straight) splines lined up. The gap will be about 2 mm, but you can do this visually.

Next, gently slide the case with the rotors onto the shaft. Try to avoid moving the larger piston. When the case is almost fully engaged, you will feel the shaft touch the smaller piston. If it does not engage immediately, try 'wiggling' the case and turning it slightly. You will feel it engage and it will slide fully home. I'd recommend trying this without the spring, to get the 'feel' for this.

When the unit is reassembled, you will need to replace the circlip. Make sure that it is sitting fully into the groove all the way around, otherwise you could have some serious failures!

Finally reassemble the timing belt following the normal instructions (I used the instructions given here: Link

Now for the test. Has it made any difference?!

When I started mine, my heart dropped. The car sounded even worse than before, with quite a pronounced rattle. However once I was sure it wasn't going to blow up, a blip of the throttle brought oil into both sides of the variator, and it suddenly was as smooth as it should be.


I hope this info is of some use to you? Obviously it's just my experiences, I'm an amateur and don't advise anybody to tinker with their car if they don't know what they're doing, etc.

But if you do start the job, and get stuck, feel free to give me a shout by pm to ask my opinion.

Cheers

Des

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e
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good work des - keep us posted on how well the repair stands up
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I've a couple of old variators, I might try putting them back together just to see if I can do it! Good links there.
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Hi,

Great post!

What was your problem with the variator? Lack of power? permanent diesel noise? or just when starting the engine?

What's new? No more diesel noise even when starting the engine?


thank you !
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Hi Tipiak

the symptom was a classic diesel noise on startup, that was getting progressively worse.

It's great now, no problems at all (with the variator!)
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hello im currently trying to repair my variater its constantly sounding like a diesel ive got it all out and open. the plastic washer does look damaged ive got the kit 1 spring and the washer but i made the mistake
You may or may not decide to replace the oil seals. If you do, you will need to replace both seals so buy both in advance (that's one mistake I made).
lol i made same mistake anyway where can i buy these seals from? thanks
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Hi Alfa166ts,
you are right, you should replace the oil seal, and that does mean doing both ( which is a real PITA). I got one from ebspares.co.uk, but I think alfaownershop have them too ( not sure about th 166)

btw for anyone that's interested, the engine still sounds sweet as a nut, no rattles after 110,000 miles!
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Which oils seals would they be? The camshafts?
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hello i managed to get the camshaft oil seal from the dealers it was just under £20 put everything back together drove it sounded abit different and abit better but didnt fully go and then suddenly just made a noise like boof boof and car went off started again just about started and 20 sec later went off again then i just let the car role and managed to push it back up to my drive.WHAT THE HECH IS GOING ON. i hope then engine is not screwed ive changed bottem end then had problem of it not revving over 3000rpm so did cam sensor that cured that then only problem was it was loud tried this variater and now this i started it next day and it started but just made sum banging noises i really think the engine is dun in now i cant believe the amount of headache this car has bought me im gutted with it now any 1 wana buy it off me it owes me about £1400 i hate alfa's now after this experiance with it. im going to look into it again after a few days and hope its ok as it did go really good and seemed very fast for what it is i did drive it for about 2-3 miles and did rev it up to try and get the oil up,what do you think has happened im thinking it may be timing but everything did look right.also oil is disapearing not leaking from head or nothing and not smoking i dunno il see what happens with it now now i know why people say dont touch alfa's
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alfa166ts View Post
hello i managed to get the camshaft oil seal from the dealers it was just under £20 put everything back together drove it sounded abit different and abit better but didnt fully go and then suddenly just made a noise like boof boof and car went off started again just about started and 20 sec later went off again then i just let the car role and managed to push it back up to my drive.WHAT THE HECH IS GOING ON. i hope then engine is not screwed ive changed bottem end then had problem of it not revving over 3000rpm so did cam sensor that cured that then only problem was it was loud tried this variater and now this i started it next day and it started but just made sum banging noises i really think the engine is dun in now i cant believe the amount of headache this car has bought me im gutted with it now any 1 wana buy it off me it owes me about £1400 i hate alfa's now after this experiance with it. im going to look into it again after a few days and hope its ok as it did go really good and seemed very fast for what it is i did drive it for about 2-3 miles and did rev it up to try and get the oil up,what do you think has happened im thinking it may be timing but everything did look right.also oil is disapearing not leaking from head or nothing and not smoking i dunno il see what happens with it now now i know why people say dont touch alfa's
why are you blaming the car for a mistake YOU probably made
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its not if i made any mistake.its the amount of headache this car caused me first i bought it with the bottem end gone.so i bought a bottem end then come to doing it did that ok then it was timing which took da mikk with the cam locking tools so bought them,also the amount of different nuts/bolts is crazy,oh and buying the torx bits then come to another part n bought another set of bits to fit the head.then the balance belt can some 1 tell me what does the balance belt actually do??? and did all that and car is loud and revving upto 3000rpm figured out that its on limp mode bought cam sensor £74 fitted that then revving fine and just the loud variater noise did that n now something else is gone wrong with it hope its something minor if not i think im gonna scrap it / should have done this to start with.im thinking now if this doesnt get sorted now then im never touching a alfa again unless its something newer like 159 and i get it cheap and i loved that when i had it, dont get me wrong people alfa's are lovely car when right but when they go wrong they are a pain in the you know what.lol any1 need any bits ??? try me in 1-2 weeks as might end up going that way about it if i really have too.
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Don't know about anyone else on here, but I actually find alfa engines a joy to work on compared to a lot of other manufacturers!
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I too love working on alfas, i find most other cars boring to work on.

Alfa166, surely you knew there was an element of risk buying a car with the bottom end gone?
Did you check the price of parts etc before buying it?

The balance belt is to help the engine run smoother, but it'll happily run without it
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any 1 wana buy this alfa of me complete or shall i break it for parts? i give up on it ive spent about 1400 on it and aint willing to spend any more on it ive done bottem end seemed ok then messed around with the variater kit and after that ive left it it did run but all of a sudden make a kinda weird banging noise and went off next day i started it it started str8 away but same noise i aint got the time or money to spend on it and i wana go on holiday so will let it go for 800 cash no less its a 2002 plate and has all the gadgets windscreen craked mot and tax may be running out soon or out already i did drive the car 100 miles was good to drive just noisey because of variater may just need new variater but i cant say for sure as havent investigated what is the noise may be head or may be something silly also i did cam sensor £74 will break if enough intrest let me know what you need 07775677792 its got sat nav 2 but i could get the code to work for some reason
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alfa166ts View Post
any 1 wana buy this alfa of me complete or shall i break it for parts? i give up on it ive spent about 1400 on it and aint willing to spend any more on it ive done bottem end seemed ok then messed around with the variater kit and after that ive left it it did run but all of a sudden make a kinda weird banging noise and went off next day i started it it started str8 away but same noise i aint got the time or money to spend on it and i wana go on holiday so will let it go for 800 cash no less its a 2002 plate and has all the gadgets windscreen craked mot and tax may be running out soon or out already i did drive the car 100 miles was good to drive just noisey because of variater may just need new variater but i cant say for sure as havent investigated what is the noise may be head or may be something silly also i did cam sensor £74 will break if enough intrest let me know what you need 07775677792 its got sat nav 2 but i could get the code to work for some reason
Wrong place to post this.. £800 is very optimistic more lie £4-500...
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The quote where he said the 166 ts was very fast made me laugh Totally under powered IMO.

Any mechanic or hobby mechanic worth there salt has torx drivers,sockets. Motor's have been using them for over a decade now.

OP I know your losing faith, but might be better to solve the problem than break her in the long run and for your pocket, Have faith or if not Simply Alfa's in Lye will sort you out, and they'll even lend you a 2.0l166 ts that works
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Lol ok I should have said it was very fast for a alfa it's quicker than what I expected from it maybe because the bottem end was just done and it felt responsive ok and maybe because I took it to 80 or so on my rd I've driven fast cars m3's r32's integra type r etc etc so I know what's fast and I've even had the alfa 159 200-210bhp 2.4 jtdm which was the only reason I started liking alfa's and thought I'd sort this 1 out I like exploring all car makes I know what's 4 me and what ain't this can be sorted with a few hundred on it but I just don't WANs spend more now u buy it of me and sort it out
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fatdarryl View Post
Don't know about anyone else on here, but I actually find alfa engines a joy to work on compared to a lot of other manufacturers!
I'm a Renault "RTE" which is a top level tech at Renault and whilst I love working on them I have to agree with the above. My family motor is a 2001 147 with the little 321.04 and is a breeze to work on. My first job was timing belt, water pump and aux belt run. I'm now gonna have to redo it all again as the variator needs replacing/rebuilding but the above report makes the rebuild seem worthwhile. Shame the dealer network is terrible around my way...

... I had to explain to my local parts dept. pleb what a Variator was this morning (Talk about knowing your product) and he got on his high horse when I enquired in to the existance of a rebuild kit for one. Apparently "If we did a rebuild kit why would we sell so many variators" I was told with a stern voice. Apparently he has extensive knowledge on a part that only 20 seconds ago he knew nothing about!

Actually, its how I found this thread cos I was on the hunt for the Italia Ricambi link as I knew I'd seen it before.

Mick
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Yeah.. the repair kit looks like a goer. Most excellent write-up Rathkennades.



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Anyone else have any long term experiences with the Variator Repair Kit? Is it still sweet as a nut or are you kicking yourselves and having to do it again?

Mine make a noise for less than a second on a cold startup and goes away. Fine otherwise. Might be the time to do a repair then a replacement.
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When was the last oil change? New oil often quietens it down for a bit until you get to a cam belt change (remember 36K or 3 years now!)
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New oil 5 months ago.

The biggest shame is that the belt was done before sale 6 months ago....
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Any 1 need any alfa 166 2.0 ts parts im breaking mine its silver with leathers heared/electric
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I've read on another site that some people think that it's not the variator itself that makes the noise.. they seem to think that the loss of top end oil pressure caused by the variator washer/oil seal leaking causes the hydraulic followers to take a while to fill up.. Dunno ???
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Hate to bump on old thread.

I'm trying to get the variator back together. The camshaft is still in the engine, but I can't get everything back together, tried compressing the spring but how do you get the wire you have compressed it with out? I just can't seem to do this at all. Any help would be appreciated.

Regards,

Haydn
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