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B

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Discussion Starter #1
Hi guys,

My 2.0 16v Twin Spark with rattling noise from the engine has just been looked at by a Subaru and Saab specialist (because they are right next to my house). Unfortunately they can't do any more than look because during diagnosis they found they don't have all the right tools for the car, but they tell me the noise is due to two things:

Whine coming from balance shaft belt idler

Rattle from auxiliary drive belt tensioner

Not being a mechanically minded person, can anyone tell me whether (assuming diagnosis is correct) the car is safe to drive. Is the second problem putting the timing belt at risk or not??? The Alfa garage can look at it on Friday, but in the mean time should I avoid driving it? The Saab/Subaru guys seemed to think it was reasonably safe to drive, but should be done within a month or two. Is this correct or are we talking emergency here? I don't fancy shelling out for 16 bent valves as I've only had the car for 2 months!

cheers,
Ben
 
W

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Discussion Starter #2
Could be very wrong here but it sounds like the usual variator problem, plenty of posts about this on here. Get the tensioner replaced at the same time. Should be about £200 including belts from a specialist.

wrinx
 
J

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I don't know about the whining noise, but the rattling can well come from the aux belt tensioner. I think you should be able to drive with the rattle untill you can get it replaced. Interestingly my car had the same fault. Replaced it with a new part, but the rattle re-appeared after a month. I am currently experimenting with a modified tensioner, which seems to work very well so far. You let the spring take up the slack in the belt, but then tighten is manually so as not to move and rattle. Very much like the alternater belt tensioner on my Giulietta. I has been in 12 months now. Must remove it now and check it over.

Jacques
 
B

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Discussion Starter #4
I thought it might be that variator problem at first, but then I wasn't so sure because the rattle is somewhat intermittent and usually goes away when the engine is warmed up. Also the noise is present at all revs. The saab people suggested it's a broken bearing in the tensioner.

My main problem is I don't know enough about the mechanics of cars. i.e. is the drive belt the same thing as the timing/cam belt? I went through the snapped timing belt nightmare with my Escort - it took 2 weeks to fix and cost shed loads, so don't fancy that again if this tensioner thing decides to cease up eek!

It's going to the main dealer on Friday. I'll get them to look at the variator too then.

thanks dudes
 
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Discussion Starter #5
Hi
It would be interesting to here what the dealers said.
It was wise to get it looked at. The balancer shaft belt can cause the timing belt to come off if it comes off, as it can then easily get under the cam belt. Balancer shaft belts are expensive compared to even the cam belts. The earlier cam belt tensioners were a problem but yours should have the modified version being a 97 model. I paid £300 for cam belt,tensioner wheel, balancer belt, & air con drive belt from BLS the Alfa specialist in Lincoln last year
 
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Discussion Starter #6
Went to the main dealer on Friday. They took a 5 minute look and said it's the variator.

Have quoted £375 for that and timing belt at the same time.
 

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£375 isn't too bad a price, but I would look around to see if there's and independant Alfa specialist in your area - you could save up to £150 off that price... it would also be worth getting a second Alfa opinion (no offence to the Saab guys...). However, I have heard of cases where either the balancer shaft idler or aux drive belt tensioner has failed and the now loose belt has whipped the cambelt off it's path and crashed the top end! (someone on here I think) If you want details of AR Specialists in your area, let me know as I'm an AROC member and have the AROC directory.
 
B

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for the advice.

I did see that there's a specialist guy in Nottingham - AC Trofeo. Think I found that on the 155.co.uk site. Gave him a call and he quoted about the same price, but no loan car available from there so a bit tricky. I'd be grateful if you could tell me of any other specialists in the Nottingham/Loughborough/Ashby area though, cheers.

The Alfa garage (well, Fiat mainly, but they do Alfa too) in Kegworth say they've had people in 155's who've driven with the variator rattle for months with no probs before deciding to have it fixed. I still want to get it fixed as soon as poss, but they can't even fit me in til the end of the month, so if I could find somewhere else to do it quicker it would be a bonus because I need to use the car every day, thus increasing the chances of disaster!

cheers,
BW
 
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Discussion Starter #9
Hi BW
No harm in driving on as far as the variator noise goes, it won’t break only getting worse. I did 25k+ miles with a slight variator noise and sold it on as such. The tensioner and belts are a different matter, they can break and damage the engine seriously – bent valves and broken pistons and/or balancing shafts colliding with the crank.
You shall insist on original spares for the job so the only savings using a different garage will be on labour. As you say, your local dealer is close by and might loan you a car, I wouldn’t go far to save a few quid for a lot of bother.
Alfisti regards
Erik
 

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What a great title for a song!
Come on Wrinx - get the guitar and sandals out, put on your aran sweater and put that to music wink
 
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Discussion Starter #12
"balancing shafts colliding with the crank"

Not true with 2.0 TS 16V engine. My 155 Super has been two years (about 40 000 km) without balancershaft-belt and only negative thing have been more noise on higher rews (5000+).

But then again the engine sounds a lot better between 1000-5000rpm since the WHINING from balancershafts are gone ...and removing the belt release 5 more horses.
 
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Discussion Starter #13
Concerning the Whine... take a look at my post "A warning to you all"... may be of interest!
 
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