Cam Belt Failure - A Cautionary Tale for JTD Engines - Alfa Romeo Forum
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(Post Link) post #1 of 11 Old 21-05-10 Thread Starter
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Madness Cam Belt Failure - A Cautionary Tale for JTD Engines

My cam belt failed recently and I won't go into the why's and wherefors here. Suffice to say that I discovered that at some stage in the JTD engine's development Alfa/Fiat have apparently modified the valve rockers making replacements incompatible with existing hydraulic tappets.

The upshot is that perfectly servicable tappets have to be replaced at a cost of around £600 as it seems that stocks of the original rockers do not exist.

This came as a surprise to the Alfa Service Manager when I queried this with him. I have also raised this issue with Alfa Customer Care particularly with the requirements for spares to be made available. They have yet to get back to me. Depending on what they say I may also raise a case with the Motor Industry Codes of Practice Organisation.

Unfortunately I don't know what year the modified rockers were fitted to new engines but as mine is a 2004 vehicle it would be safe to assume engines older than 6 years would be affected.

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What mileage did the belt snap at?
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(Post Link) post #3 of 11 Old 25-05-10 Thread Starter
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It went at 55,500 miles but was 6 years old
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Well you're out of the recommended replacement schedule so you don't have a leg to standard on ....
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(Post Link) post #5 of 11 Old 27-05-10 Thread Starter
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Chris,

In general you would be right but in my case it is the garage who have no legs because they serviced the car this time last year and failed to highlight replacement was due and I have documentary proof of this. They have admitted liability and are providing me with free servicing and MOTs to the value of the additional expense incurred.

The main reason for this post was to highlight the rocker/tappet incompatibility issue with older engines and the substantial cost that will be incurred if a belt fails whether within or outwith replacement schedules.

Last edited by EwanR; 27-05-10 at 17:39. Reason: Amendment
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Chris,

In general you would be right but in my case it is the garage who have no legs because they serviced the car this time last year and failed to highlight replacement was due and I have documentary proof of this. They have admitted liability and are providing me with free servicing and MOTs to the value of the additional expense incurred.

The main reason for this post was to highlight the rocker/tappet incompatibility issue with older engines and the substantial cost that will be incurred if a belt fails whether within or outwith replacement schedules.

You are a lucky man then ... I was always under the impression your car your responsibility ... give the garage a shout out they deserve it
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EwanR View Post
Chris,

In general you would be right but in my case it is the garage who have no legs because they serviced the car this time last year and failed to highlight replacement was due and I have documentary proof of this. They have admitted liability and are providing me with free servicing and MOTs to the value of the additional expense incurred.

The main reason for this post was to highlight the rocker/tappet incompatibility issue with older engines and the substantial cost that will be incurred if a belt fails whether within or outwith replacement schedules.
Unfortunately as the owner of the car it is your responsibility to ensure that the correct service schedule is adhered to. If your garage has agreed to compensate you then, as Chris says, full marks to them!

In any case 72,000 miles/6 years is too long an interval to change the running gear on the JTDs. Best to get it done earlier and make sure you change the waterpump at the same time.

The change in design of the rockers has been mentioned on here before. There is currently no opinion from anyone on here as to why they have been changed. Accept it as a 'quirk' of the Italian industrial process - logic is not always at the forefront of Italian technology, and if there is logic, you'll be lucky to find out what it is
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Unfortunately as the owner of the car it is your responsibility to ensure that the correct service schedule is adhered to. If your garage has agreed to compensate you then, as Chris says, full marks to them!

In any case 72,000 miles/6 years is too long an interval to change the running gear on the JTDs. Best to get it done earlier and make sure you change the waterpump at the same time.

The change in design of the rockers has been mentioned on here before. There is currently no opinion from anyone on here as to why they have been changed. Accept it as a 'quirk' of the Italian industrial process - logic is not always at the forefront of Italian technology, and if there is logic, you'll be lucky to find out what it is
72k is too long I agree. 4 years or 50k is probably reasonably although I have seen them fail earlier..
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The design of the rockers is for the same reason as aything else in engines these days - emissions. Alot of people think they're designed to fail to stop any damage being done to valves, camshafts etc, but its purely down to emissions.
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(Post Link) post #10 of 11 Old 02-06-10 Thread Starter
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Unfortunately as the owner of the car it is your responsibility to ensure that the correct service schedule is adhered to. If your garage has agreed to compensate you then, as Chris says, full marks to them!
Under the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982, Section 13 states: "In a contract for the supply of a service where the supplier is acting in the course of a business, there is an implied term that the supplier will carry out the service with reasonable care and skill."

In my case the garage was informed it was a 5 year service and had the service book to refer to.

I don't agree that it is the car owner's sole responsibility and therefor implied liability to ensure a service schedule is adhered to. The garage supplying the "service" has a greater share of responsibility to ensure items requiring replacement are changed.

There are plenty car owners who are not as clued up mechanically as most members of this Forum, may not know the difference between a cam belt and a fan belt and rely on a garage to carry out a service competently and fully.

- Just my viewpoint of course!
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The new Design of rocker has nothing at all to do with emissions as they are exactly the same dimensions as the old ones so no cam timing or lift change takes place, the only difference is the new design of clip, as the old design is a posh paper clip, Alfa in there wisdom made the new clip incompatible with the old lifter to use these you just have to remove the new clip and use the old clips on the new rocker, You can buy new lifters in single parts its just the robbing Dealers want you to spend 500 plus quid on the bits !! this is a low revving diesel engine not a touring car engine !!!!
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