156 V6 Cam Belt - Alfa Romeo Forum
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Darren156
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156 V6 Cam Belt

Hey everyone,

I have just bought my first Alfa Romeo in the form of a 1998 156 2.5 V6 with 79,000 on the clock.

Now, the car came with limited service history to be honest, and there is nothing at all stating the car has had a cam belt change.

Do you think it is possible that with such mileage a cam belt change has NOT been performed, because I thought Alfa said to get them changed every 36,000 or so, or is this just for the TS versions?

The car goes like a dream and doesn't miss a beat, but I have a niggling feeling at the back of my mind that I should get the belts changed just in case.

Also, if anyone knows of a good independent dealer who wont charge me the Earth to get the work carried out thats located in the Bristol area that'd be great.

I have called up Alfa Romeo and they have quoted me a whopping £840 for the work, I cannot afford that to be honest. They want to change the water pump at the same time, which i understand, but for £840??? Seems a little extensive for what is basically a belt and a pump...

Any help is seriously appreciated!

Thanks,
Darren
 
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Re: 156 V6 Cam Belt

Get it done- and quick i think that Alpfa recomend this engine to have the belts done at 70000, but the general thought on this forum is to do it at 50000
If some one had spent the money there would be a reciept for the job as it is a major selling point
If it goes it is terminal for this engine
Although it is an expensive job it is vital
Its the work involved that costs the money, rather than the bits- look under the bonnet and you'll see what I mean.
If you have spanners have a go yourself-there is lots of info on the web about how to do it- you do need special tools though- it is a major undertaking- hence the high price of a cambelt change.
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Re: 156 V6 Cam Belt

Do not drive the car until its done, Do not attempt a cam belt on a V6 yourself. Its about a seven hour job for the experienced operator. if you are inexperienced you will never get the tension right even if you get it all back together..and its VITAL its done just right or your car is scrap.

As stated its very unwise to go beyond 50,000 miles with V6 cam belts, judging by the vastly increased failure rate from 45,000 onwards.

I don't know them personally, but try Automeo (Alfa independents) 36 Gypsy Patch Lane, Little Stoke, Bristol BS 34 8LU 0117 9695771 Mobile 07802 364445 www.automeo.co.uk. Ask for Les Dufty

Even with an independent you have to budget for around the £500 mark, but don't hold me to that. Its a time consuming job that must be done spot on.

let us know how you get on

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Re: 156 V6 Cam Belt

Parts cost: new metal impellar water pump approx £100
Two new bearings approx £70
New tensioner approx £90
New belt approx £45
The rest is labour, 5 hrs is the quoted change time by someone who knows what they are doing and even then its not a nice job and as stated above very difficult to get the tension correct!
Don't neglect it or you car will be right off.
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Re: 156 V6 Cam Belt

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Originally Posted by AlfaLincs View Post
Do not drive the car until its done, Do not attempt a cam belt on a V6 yourself. Its about a seven hour job for the experienced operator. if you are inexperienced you will never get the tension right even if you get it all back together..and its VITAL its done just right or your car is scrap.

As stated its very unwise to go beyond 50,000 miles with V6 cam belts, judging by the vastly increased failure rate from 45,000 onwards.

I don't know them personally, but try Automeo (Alfa independents) 36 Gypsy Patch Lane, Little Stoke, Bristol BS 34 8LU 0117 9695771 Mobile 07802 364445 www.automeo.co.uk. Ask for Les Dufty

Even with an independent you have to budget for around the £500 mark, but don't hold me to that. Its a time consuming job that must be done spot on.

let us know how you get on

AlfaLincs
Sorry I did not intend for a novice to attempt this job- that was my point-its expensive for a reason
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Re: 156 V6 Cam Belt

my brother owns a 98 156 v6
three weeks after buying it it snapped the cambelt just as he was
going onto the motorway luckily he was taking it easy it only bent 18
valves it cost him just over £1100 to have the heads skimmed
and replacement parts supplied it cost i think £140 just for the cam timing tool i did the rebuild for him the hardest part was getting the
crankshaft pulley off so it can be done at home but i wouldnt like to have to do it again !!! the car had done 89000 miles when it snapped

ps on taking the heads off we found only slight marks on the piston crowns so took the chance and left the bottom end alone we were lucky ! 12 months later and its still running fine
by the way i also found old marks on the pistons under the carbon
build up which look consistant with it snapping the belt previously
so get it checked asap it will save you money in the long run
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Re: 156 V6 Cam Belt

I saw a specialist advertise in the back of AutoItalia magazine based in Worcester, who claim to do V6 Cambelt changes for £350 all in - bargain!
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Re: 156 V6 Cam Belt

Can't include the pulleys and tensioners though (if the 2.5 is the same as the 3.0) because the parts alone are about three hundred quid.
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Re: 156 V6 Cam Belt

When some members say you have to get the tension just right,surely there must be a recommended amount of play stated some where.I,ve just bought one myself,and am about to do the job,having done loads of cambelts in the past on all different cars,.Has no-one done a how to guide,Darren.
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Re: 156 V6 Cam Belt

Not sure, but I do know you have to get the tension exactly right. Mine had slipped a tooth on both inlet cams and had to be replaced. The garage reckon it probably hadn't been tensioned properly by the people that did it before. I think it needs a special tensioning tool.
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Re: 156 V6 Cam Belt

Quote:
Originally Posted by AlfaLincs View Post
I don't know them personally, but try Automeo (Alfa independents) 36 Gypsy Patch Lane, Little Stoke, Bristol BS 34 8LU 0117 9695771 Mobile 07802 364445 www.automeo.co.uk. Ask for Les Dufty
Having corrected some of their shocking (and very, very expensive) work on an Alfasud...........
 
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Re: 156 V6 Cam Belt

Similar thing happened with me, and i was just about to have it changed, I looked at the stamps in the book got there numbers and gave them the date it was service and found out mine was changed on the 60,000 service, Which saved me a good few hundred try that first
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Re: 156 V6 Cam Belt

Hello everybody,
I have just bought a May 2004 (Phase 3) 156 SW V6, 90,000 kms (56,000 miles). The car runs like new in every way.

I believe that for the V6's (unlike the straight 4's) Alfa have not reduced the cam-belt change periods, which, in "new money", is 120,000 kms or five years.

Given the huge cost, I am contemplating not getting the cam-belt changed until next May (at 5 years and, say, by then, 95,000 kms (59,000 miles), but the warnings on this site suggest this would be foolish.

So here are my questions, please.
(1) Why did Alfa reduce the cam-belt change periods for the straight 4's but not for the V6's?
(2) Who has personally experienced cam-belt failure on a 156 V6, and at what mileage / age.?
(3) Who has gone beyond 59,000 miles and/or 5 years before having their cam-belt belt done, and at what mileage / age?
(4) Is there any difference at all between the engines on a 2004 Phase 3 156 V6 and those fitted to the earlier ones? (I.e. did Alfa do anything to improve (or worsen!!!???) them?

Many thanks,
Tony
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Re: 156 V6 Cam Belt

You should search the forum for examples of broken cam belts and failed tensioners - there are plenty on 24V V6 engines of all types.

Alfa have not reduced the cam belt interval, you are right, probably because of potential cost implications to them. But you just can't predict when the belt/tensioner will fail and the cost will be far more if you have to pay for repairs. You didn't buy the car for its cheap running I'm sure.

Nicely resurrected thread!
 
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Re: 156 V6 Cam Belt

I'd take my chances to 72k on the v6.

I've swapped my belts at 60k and they come off looking like new. The tensioner I last changed was starting to look rather shagged at 125,000m.. but I think it would have done the 144k Alfa charged it with.

Belt tension should be a case of pressing the tension in until the pointer on the sprung part lines up with the mark on the backing plate (12v) so... I dunno why it's difficult.


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Re: 156 V6 Cam Belt

I did my 156 v6 timing belt and water pump this time last year,setting the tension was fairly easy as Ralf says,line up the pointer and the notch to set the tension,but getting to that stage in the proceedings is a lot of work and if you haven't got the right tools or confidence, forget it.

The water pump impellor is plastic and cracks,allowing the impellor to slip on the shaft so upgrading it to a metal impellor is a must if your changing the belt anyway.

One thing to bear in mind is that your car is ten years old,age affects belts as well as milage,so if the belt has only been changed once in ten years then it definately will need done again.

I would definately get it changed or sell it on for a newer 156,a decision that you should make fairly quickly because the risk of belt breakage will,due to the cost of repairs,effectively write your car off.

I had quite a nice 1998 156 2.5v6 this time last year with 58,000 miles on it,I paid £1600 for it,I spent I think £1300 pounds on parts alone(all my own labour) and it still needed more,I quickly made a decision to p/ex it early this year to get shot of it.
It was one of those decisions I made with my head not my heart but someone got a brilliant 156 after I was finished with it.

If you are planning keeping the car then pay someone to change the belt , but be prepared to spend more money.
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Re: 156 V6 Cam Belt

I wouldn't want to leave a V6 belt longer than 5 years or 50,000 miles. Check out the GTA section and see the number of posts with broken belts at around 45,000 miles.

The GTA does seem to snap belts more often than the other V6's for some reason though. Even though the belts and tensioners are the same.
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Re: 156 V6 Cam Belt

Aye! But the beast is chucking out a lot more bhp and torques.

Probably a bigger belt/tensioner would have been the "money no object" solution.. but engine bay space could have scuppered AR's cunning plans...


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Re: 156 V6 Cam Belt

It's always referred to as belt breakage when the engines suffer these failures,but how often is it actually the belt that has broken through old age, I honestly don't know on Alfas but on other engines most belts taken off show little sign of wear. This was also true of the belt that came off our GTV. In my experience most failures occurr through oil contaminated belts breaking, tensioner/bearing failures, badly fitted/missing covers allowing belts to chafe or objects to wrap around pulleys.

Whenever I buy a car I have look at the belt condition,listen to the engine for odd noises and if everything is ok I do the belt when I feel it necessary.
That's exactly what I would do on a 56000, 5 year old car. I know its not so easy if you don't know what to look for etc.

If you think about it some cars have been around for a while before they are even sold,sometimes 2 years or more, the last of the V6s were built and put in stock before being used. How can you put a servicing timescale on these engines?
 
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Re: 156 V6 Cam Belt

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Originally Posted by Ralf S. View Post
Aye! But the beast is chucking out a lot more bhp and torques.

Probably a bigger belt/tensioner would have been the "money no object" solution.. but engine bay space could have scuppered AR's cunning plans...


Ralf S
I think it is down to the stiffer valve springs and steeper cam profiles making it harder for the cams to be turned.

There was a guy on here yesterday that had a belt snap at 60,000 miles on a 2.5 though.

I would still get it changed at 50k if it was me. A belt change is cheaper than an engine.

Last edited by symon; 22-10-08 at 15:24.
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Re: 156 V6 Cam Belt

I have to agree but sometimes finances dictate what you can or can't do which seemed to be the case with tonycharente's original question. Sorry if I mis interpreted it.
 
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Re: 156 V6 Cam Belt

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Originally Posted by alfafamily View Post
I have to agree but sometimes finances dictate what you can or can't do which seemed to be the case with tonycharente's original question. Sorry if I mis interpreted it.
Thank you all for all the replies so far. My original question has been correctly interpretated, thank you. It's a purely a financial one... Is it worth gaining (in my case) 7 months' of cam-belt life by waiting for my full 5 years' worth? And then an extra year every five by retaining Alfa's schedule rather than pre-empting it at 4 years.

I was rather hoping that a few of the replies (ideally the majority!) would be from happy 156 V6 owners whose cams belts were changed at more than 72,000 miles and/or more than 5 years and everything was found to be in pristine condition - but so far there have been none of these, alas. Of course the problem with forums is that people tend only to post their problems, not their joys, but just ONE happy report would be nice...

Also, I asked whether there were any known differences in the V6 fitted to the Phase 3 face-lift (2003/2004/2005) 156's, but I've since gathered that you never got these in the UK, so perhaps no-one on this site knows?

Thanks to all again,
Tony
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Re: 156 V6 Cam Belt

In my particular case I changed the belt at 40000 miles. Cam belt broke at 73000 miles. The reason was the bearing in one of the fixed idlers had seized.
The moral is that the tensioner and idlers need to be changed at the same time as the belts.
Failure to do this has a very detrimental effect on the valves and the wallet. A belt, 2 idlers and a tensioner cost £200 from EB Spares - this is much cheaper than letting the belt go!

Last edited by Ken; 31-03-10 at 22:52.
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Re: 156 V6 Cam Belt

So, has it been done Darren?
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Re: 156 V6 Cam Belt

I'd hope so .. his original posting was June 2007!!
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