Is a variator a variator? - Alfa Romeo Forum
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(Post Link) post #1 of 35 Old 24-08-11 Thread Starter
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Is a variator a variator?

With the starting signs of my Variator letting go every second morning with 1-3 seconds leaving me wondering if I hopped into my wifes diesel by accident, im keeping any eye out for parts as they come up cheap.

There is a Variator on ebay currently that a guy bought, but his car was stolen going cheaper than normal, might save me 30-40 in the long run.

Its marked as a Fiat Stilo / Alfa Variator, are they all the same?

Keeping my eyes open for a Timing Belt Kit & Inlet Cam seals too while im at it. WP done not too long ago.
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cant imagine buying a seconhand variator is a good idea, if thats what your thinking. From early/mid 90s onwards a lot of FIAT and Alfa bits are the same but I wouldnt know about the variator, I thought it was specific to the TS engine, which FIATs dont use. Throw a thread up in the 156 lounge aswell.
I suppose to answer your question - I dont know!
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Fiat / Alfa do repair kits for the variators, only cost a few quid. And once the variator is removed at belt-change time it only takes a few minutes to overhaul the variator.
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The Fiat Barchetta engine was fitted with a variator, dont now if the same as the Alfa part.
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I fitted one of the repair kits to my Variator last weekend, cost me 20. But I must say it's a very fiddly job. I fitted the kit without removing the camshaft or the Variator, I disassembled it while it was still in the car. Time will tell if the kit is a good job or not, its just I'd be a lot more confident if I had replaced the complete Variator.
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Ya I wouldn't be rebuilding the variator if you hadn't done one before they do seem to be a bit fiddly from reading your thread Kiki
 
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Rebuilding a variator is not 5 min's work. I takes me an hour or so, so imho its not worth it
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(Post Link) post #8 of 35 Old 25-08-11 Thread Starter
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The variator is brand new, never installed.
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Rebuilding a variator is not 5 min's work. I takes me an hour or so, so imho its not worth it
Fair enough, each to their own.

But a variator retails at nearly €200, and a repair kit is less than €20.

So which would I pefer -- to give up a *small* extra amount of my time and have €180 left in my pocket, or to just shell out the guts of 200 notes and save a small amount of time when it comes to a t-belt job.

I think I'd keep the €180 in my pocket; it'd be handy for things like susp arms, or petrol.....

Even if you had to pay an extra €40 to a garage on top of the t-belt job you've still saved something in the region of €120.
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Another (lazy) option is to just ignore the noise the variator makes. It causes no harm to the car even when it sounds like a machine gun all the time.
Personally I dont bother changing them anymore, the kit or a new one will be rattly by the next belt change anyway in my experience.
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Give me a shout and i can show you how to do it as it is a simple enough job
 
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Another (lazy) option is to just ignore the noise the variator makes. It causes no harm to the car even when it sounds like a machine gun all the time.
Personally I dont bother changing them anymore, the kit or a new one will be rattly by the next belt change anyway in my experience.
Read somewhere that a faulty variator will reduce power by 5-10% is there any truth to that ?
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Read somewhere that a faulty variator will reduce power by 5-10% is there any truth to that ?
Not in my experience. I've also read this on the internet and that it can also cause increased fuel consumption and big end failures.

TBH there are lots of things that can cause these problems and I think it's crazy to put them all down to rattly variators.
Eg if a car has a rattly variator for 30k miles and the big end fails how can it be possible to blame the variator. It's much more likely to be something else like low oil or bad maintenance.

Anyway I drove one for 60k miles after it started rattling. It eventually sounded like a machine gun all the time, but I noticed no difference when I replaced it, and the engine is still going strong.
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There's lots of nonsense on t'interweb.

The variator isn't doing anything at idle, it only needs to work when you come to the cam-change point, and most of them will always continue to do that, despite rattling like a ba$tard at idle.

My sheddy-looking old 2.0TS 166 I had a few years back had to have one of the noisiest variators I've ever heard.

Even after fitting a new one or fitting a kit to your existing one it'll probably be starting to get noisey 15000mls. later anyway.
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sorry lads but the 147 i had with 101k miles on it never had the Variator replaced , so 15k miles is a no no . I have mant Alfas since 99 and never replaced a variator in any of them .. 15k miles on a new one ? I'm not sure
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Almost 85K km on my current 147 with it's original variator & no problems, 30K km on my previous 147 & no problems with that one either
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I have 95k miles on my one and the only reason I changed the variator was because I was doing the belts. I dont think there was anything wrong with the one I replaced.
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The variator on my old 2.0TS 156 never made noise either. Except for when you'd open the driver's window, open the bonnet, and start it from cold, then you could hear it for maybe a second or two after the initial startup.

Couldn't be heard with the bonnet closed and window up. Pop the bonnet and you knew it was there for a split second when stone cold.

I never touched them in any of my own cars, if they were noisey when I got them they stayed noisey, and they continued to do their job.

Some were quite, some were loud ba$tards....
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(Post Link) post #19 of 35 Old 26-08-11 Thread Starter
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And now the dope on ebay has decided that he wont ship to Ireland as its "too complicated". Oh dear.

Im not in a big rush to do this job, but if bits come up cheap I will put them aside. It seems it doesnt make anything more than a bit of noise if its banjo'd. So its just a bit noisier at startup and harder to sell if its constant.
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And now the dope on ebay has decided that he wont ship to Ireland as its "too complicated". Oh dear.

Im not in a big rush to do this job, but if bits come up cheap I will put them aside. It seems it doesnt make anything more than a bit of noise if its banjo'd. So its just a bit noisier at startup and harder to sell if its constant.
You're not getting rid of it already?
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(Post Link) post #21 of 35 Old 26-08-11 Thread Starter
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Ah no, but say next summer at bonus time I got a few bob and wanted to upgrade, a rattly variator that I've lived with for a year will either need replacing anyway (so i should have just done it earlier) or will need a good chunk taken off the price.
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Ah no, but say next summer at bonus time I got a few bob and wanted to upgrade, a rattly variator that I've lived with for a year will either need replacing anyway (so i should have just done it earlier) or will need a good chunk taken off the price.
Just buy another as well (keep the current one)...
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1. Repair kits don't last , waste of time & money, imho

2. 'New variator or do nothing' is the best approach, if you truely love your Bella treat her to a new variator.

3. Noisey variators, when very badly worn, WILL effect idle, fuel economy & even perfomace. They will not break the belt or damage 'big ends'
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The kits do work but like all operations there is a procedure to adhere to as i have done 100s at this stage during my time in a dealer under the instructions of Alfa and never had an issue
 
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If thats all true how come is Alfa policy not to fit these kits to customer cars any more?

They now will only fit new variators to customer car's when doing timing belts. if they use kits & when those kits fail they have to replace variators for free.

You ring any Alfa garage with the repair kit part number & most will say they have not ordered one in years, there is a good reason why ...... they don't work in the long term.
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