Cambelt change & casual use - Alfa Romeo Forum
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Cambelt change & casual use

Hi all,

I have recently purchased an Alfa Romeo 156 2.0JTS and have a few questions. I hope you can help.

I was following the thread below regarding cambelt and other engine parts. Is it best to have the belts, tensioners, water pump & variater carried out at the same time?

https://www.alfaowner.com/Forum/engin...ange-cost.html

Further to this, what Alfa Romeo specialist/garage in Kent would be best to use?

Finally, I'll be driving the 156 around a little bit before the cambelt change. I presume it should hold out for 50 miles before I get it done?

Thanks

Charlie
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Originally Posted by CowleySerpent View Post
Hi all,

I have recently purchased an Alfa Romeo 156 2.0JTS and have a few questions. I hope you can help.

I was following the thread below regarding cambelt and other engine parts. Is it best to have the belts, tensioners, water pump & variater carried out at the same time?

https://www.alfaowner.com/Forum/engin...ange-cost.html

Further to this, what Alfa Romeo specialist/garage in Kent would be best to use?

Finally, I'll be driving the 156 around a little bit before the cambelt change. I presume it should hold out for 50 miles before I get it done?

Thanks

Charlie
everyone on here will always recommend to do everything, because if your told not to and it later goes you will only come back and moan

when i did my 147 ts, i changed the timing belt and tensioner only, the water pump and variator both original and currently @ 106k still fine.

and it depends when the last belt change was done... it could snap the next time you turn the key.....
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When I did my 147 ts, I changed the timing belt and tensioner only, the water pump and variator both original and currently @ 106k still fine.
Equally, the water pump and/or the variator could fail 1000 miles after the cam belt change.

IMO its false economy not to do the whole lot in one hit.


Last edited by Roswell; 30-07-13 at 07:47.
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Equally, the water pump and/or the variator could fail 1000 miles after the cam belt change.

IMO its false economy not to do the whole lot in one hit.
Of course, but equally they could last another 36k to the next belt change
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Of course, but equally they could last another 36k to the next belt change
Fair enough, but I believe in preventative maintenance.
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I'm not convinced that the T/Spark cam-drive area is all that bad.

I changed my '45 belt at 96,000 as the s/history showed it had last been changed at 60,000... The belt I took off (a Gates) was almost indistiguishable from new, apart from the pulleys had shined up the back a bit and taken most of the printing off... though I could still see it was a Gates belt. The teeth were untouched and the ribbing marks only partly worn.

I put a new Alfa parts water pump on it then, since it looked like the original one was still in there. Again, the old one was a little dirty but otherwise the bearings were tight and there was no hint of any leaks.

Come 132,000 and I swapped the cam-belt again. The 96k (Alfa part) belt was in even better condition than the Gates belt. It seemed almost criminal to throw it away. The same goes for the pulley and the tensioner.. all nice and tight and if you couldn't see the dirt on the old ones you couldn't tell which was which. Without a doubt they would have run to 60,000 miles rather than the 36,000 I changed them at.

This time I left the variator. It was my plan to change it at 132,000 and then alternate changing it and the water pump at cam-belt time.... (so each one does 72,000 miles) but the variator is still hanging in there, and I've left it alone. It's the original variator out of the factory.

I should add that my belts do 36,000 miles in around 2 years.. so they're not in there for ages. If your belt is anything less than 3 years old, it'll look like new, even if you've done 48,000 or even 60,000 miles on it, I'll bet.

T/Spark looks splendid for cam-belt, as far as I'm concerned. Dunno how anyone else has problems with them honestly.


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Last edited by Ralf S.; 31-07-13 at 12:00.
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from improper tensioning, I believe... and the old idlers with plastic wheels
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147 Collezione

Hi and welcome to JTS ownership. Keep the oil topped up with the correct 10w60, stick a bottle of injector cleaner in the tank every now and again, and spraying a can of Wynn's Direct Injection Power 3 down the intake at service time helps too.
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from improper tensioning, I believe... and the old idlers with plastic wheels
The new idlers are still plastic in the OEM cam-belt kit. I dunno if the old ones were white but the latest are black. My old (36,000 miles) pulley looked indisnguishable from the new one.


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there have definitely been white idlers...
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The variator and idlers need the cambelt to be removed to change them.

The general recommendation is to change them when the cambelt is changed if their condition is remotely suspect. If good quality oil and regular use have been the cars history, the variatior will probably never fail. My last TS car had done 92k on the original variator with no noise or issues. it had been serviced religiously and averaged 12k a year though. The same goes for the idlers. They don't do anything. As long as the belt is properly tensioned the idlers are the more recent parts, they will be fine.
The tensioner however plays a vital role in keeping the belt at the correct tension so should be changed with the belt.

The problem is that many people find that the act of changing the cam belt and therefore disturbing parts near it, can cause the idlers or tensioner to fail soon after a change requiring another BIG lump if money to fix it.

I'd say, have a talk with yourself about how long you will realistically keep the car. Over 3 years, get it all done now. Next cambelt change then needs only the basics. If only 6 months, maybe a year, do the minimum needed. Let the next owner spend the money.


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(Post Link) post #12 of 17 Old 07-08-13 Thread Starter
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Thanks all for the advice.

The 156 survived the drive home, and a few other trips so far. Waiting to hear back from Mobitech, so I can book the car in next week (hopefully).

Scared to drive it anywhere though.
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If it makes you feel any better, I've been driving TS engined cars for 10 years, (a variety of different ones) never changed a belt, and have only had one belt failure - and that was on a 155, fitted with the early white plastic tensioner, which I'm tolerably certain was the cause of the failure......

I'm not saying that you positively won't have any problem before getting the belt changed....just that I wouldn't be too paranoid about it......
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Variators don't fail as such - they just just get noisy and will stay like that for many tens of thousands of miles before it becomes a drama.
Cam belts are kevlar reinforced - its impossible to see any damage or wear just by looking at them as the carbon fibres are internal. when they do fail it tends to be catastrophically and with no warning.
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If it makes you feel any better, I've been driving TS engined cars for 10 years, (a variety of different ones) never changed a belt, and have only had one belt failure - and that was on a 155, fitted with the early white plastic tensioner, which I'm tolerably certain was the cause of the failure......

I'm not saying that you positively won't have any problem before getting the belt changed....just that I wouldn't be too paranoid about it......
The new metal tensioners do chew the belts up a lot worse than the old plastic ones did though, thats something to bear in mind. We've noticed a lot of the belt failures that come in to us already have the metal tensioner these days, and usually there is peeling teeth on the belt etc, I think this is probably down to the tensioner. I wouldn't want to run a TS much past the 36k mile mark if I knew it had a metal tensioner fitted.
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The new metal tensioners do chew the belts up a lot worse than the old plastic ones did though, thats something to bear in mind. We've noticed a lot of the belt failures that come in to us already have the metal tensioner these days, and usually there is peeling teeth on the belt etc, I think this is probably down to the tensioner. I wouldn't want to run a TS much past the 36k mile mark if I knew it had a metal tensioner fitted.
I dunno though... my tensioner is metal and the 36,000m belt looks brand new. It'd do 60,000 easy, I reckon...

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Are you gonna change it or see how much more than 36,000 you can get out of it?
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