Right here goes
My 147 will be 3 years old in March so the cambelt issue is currently doing the rounds in my head. The thought of it failing fill me with horror!! Trouble is my 147 has only done 15000 miles and is very well cared for. (Its on its third oil and filter change!) Changed every 5000 miles. No variator noise at all when starting up etc. However, i might as well have a new variator put on for peace of mind.
As i live in Swansea the choice of who i trust to do this job are limited. First of all i rang Ashmoles the local dealer who quoted £550 just for the cambelt, when i asked about the variator the girl on the phone did'nt know what it was and could'nt tell me!! At that point i said thanks and put the phone down. Next i rang ***** & Yapps in Cardiff. The bloke i spoke to on the phone was very knowledgeable and knew all about Alfa Romeo cambelts but he was sceptical about changing a belt with only 15000 miles on it. He said he had never heard of a belt snapping with so few miles. He said that age does have a influence on the belt but only after about 5 years. He said mileage was more important!! He also said that alfa never said to change the belt at 36000 but it was a recommendation to change it??
By the way they wanted £600 for a belt change(no variator).
After doing more esearch on the net i then discovered that twinspark engines from 05 onwards have different cambelt tensioners. If the tensioner is white its a newer stronger one. Apparently the old black coloured tensioners are engine wreckers. Often its not the belt that snaps but the tensioner fails and throws the cambelt off the shaft pulleys!!
Finally i found a couple of independant Alfa specialists who will change belt and variator for almost half the price of a main dealer.
NJS in Worcestershire will do the work for £285 plus Vat. Alfa workshop will do the work for £320 inclusive of Vat. I also found a firm called ********* based in Rugby who will visit you and do the work on your drive for £349 inclusive of Vat.
Anybody heard of the last firm and any experience of them? Having someone come to me and do work would save me a lot of travelling and waiting for half a day in a workshop!
I dont want to sound tight because i dont hesitate to spend money on the Alfa but being quoted over £600 for 4-5 hours work on a four cylinder engine sounds excessive(Rip off)!!
Would you change a belt with only 15000 miles on it?