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Discussion Starter #1
What is it with Alfa's and its tendency to bend people's valves? My machie in Cape Town, George La'Batte, had numerous 145's and 156's with bent valves...when asked why this happens so much, he simply replies "stupid owners!"

Now is this the owners fault or what? I know of a couple of people owning Alfa's and don't seem to worry about the service history of the car, they don't even have the service book!

In my understanding, the cambelt service should be done way before it brakes, not so? So by it braking or snapping, this leads me to believe that the car was not taken for its cambelt service then?

Why was it not taken? Did the owner know about this? Was the owner informed? What about the people who did the services before, did they not tell the owner that in 20 000kms he/she should come and have the cambelt changed?

My car has a new engine in it, 18 500kms on the clock and pretty soon, in the next few weeks it will grace the floors of Alfa Omega for a regular service...but how do I know the timing belt was changed? It says so on the invoice when the previous owner had the engine rebuilt...I'll just ask Chris to make sure.

But, how is it possible that people could drive Alfa's and not worry about the cambelt possibly snapping at 80 000kms when they've never changed the cambelt?

People buy 145's with 120 000kms on the clock and never had the cambelt changed!!!

People please, I've emphasised this in the club meeting and thankfully people know that cambelts can become a problem. How, other than the service history and the km reading, can one tell when the cambelt needs changing???
 

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What is it with Alfa's and its tendency to bend people's valves? My machie in Cape Town, George La'Batte, had numerous 145's and 156's with bent valves...when asked why this happens so much, he simply replies "stupid owners!" Your Machie is spot on, "Stupid owners." To be alittle far as well, some dealers/mechanics are not to bright either. As in why they bend valves? Simple, belt snaps, timing goes out, while valves are closed and piston is meant to be down is actually up and then smacks the valves, result = bent valves or futher head damage. You single out 145's and 156's, I am sure 147's would be in this as well?

Now is this the owners fault or what? I know of a couple of people owning Alfa's and don't seem to worry about the service history of the car, they don't even have the service book! If someone is not worried about the cars service history, then they are rather stupid in my opinion. That is the only real source of evidence that the car has atleast been looked after a little.

In my understanding, the cambelt service should be done way before it brakes, not so? So by it braking or snapping, this leads me to believe that the car was not taken for its cambelt service then? The reason they snap is, 1) They generally over three years old. 2) They usually done 60000kms or more. 3) They were not fitted properly in the first place.

Why was it not taken? Did the owner know about this? Was the owner informed? What about the people who did the services before, did they not tell the owner that in 20 000kms he/she should come and have the cambelt changed? What I have found is that most people "don't really know". They almost ignorant to these sort of things. The average knowledge about these cars is very very poor. Some don't have the money, and many times the people buying these cars don't know much either.

My car has a new engine in it, 18 500kms on the clock and pretty soon, in the next few weeks it will grace the floors of Alfa Omega for a regular service...but how do I know the timing belt was changed? It says so on the invoice when the previous owner had the engine rebuilt...I'll just ask Chris to make sure. Really difficult to know, If I show you my old belts they still look brand new....

But, how is it possible that people could drive Alfa's and not worry about the cambelt possibly snapping at 80 000kms when they've never changed the cambelt? Very easy, they don't know. Most people don't know these sort of things. When I bought my 145 it had 77000km. It had been for all its services, but when I made some enquires about the cambelt being done at 60000km, no one could tell me for sure. Hence the very next day it went into the shop and had it all done, some R6500 later.

People buy 145's with 120 000kms on the clock and never had the cambelt changed!!! Perfectly believeable. Remember, these cars came out with the cambelts only to be changed every 120 000kms or every 5 years as per the service schedule, they were only to be inspected at 60 000kms. It was only after many failures did they bring those values down to 60 000kms or every 3 years. It was a mistake by Alfa Romeo. This is were the problem is, if your machie was any good, he would know this sort of thing.


People please, I've emphasised this in the club meeting and thankfully people know that cambelts can become a problem. How, other than the service history and the km reading, can one tell when the cambelt needs changing??? Some say by looking at the belts and seeing if they still look new and blah blah blah, I don't believe it. As I have said, I will show you my original belts, they still look brand new. Very difficult to really know Guili. The only real way is to get them replaced if you worried about it.

Hope this helps to answer some of your questions :thumbs:
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Yes thank you...a very "brief reply:p "

I cannot agree with you more...NO ONE KNOWS about Alfa's but everyone wants to drive them!!!
 

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Also what u guys forgot to mention is that most Makkies only replace the belt and not the tensioners,this WILL lead to premature failure even after a new cambelt,hence replace the cambelt kit(variator cambelt etc)not just the belt!
 

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Ok, well having gotten caught out by this very devil, I feel the need to defend myself as I'm not a idot or dumb or mechanicaly ignorant.

I've been through the cam belt failure in 3 cars now.
1. 78 VW Golf 1500 in 1998. My fault totally - Didn't know about these things.
2. 97 Opel Astra 180IE in 2000. Km's at 75000. I had done about 3000Km in the car since I got it. Cam belt service is at 90000Km.
How was this my fault be being a "Stupid Owner"?
3. 2001 Alfa 147 in 2008. The car was sold with a "Full service history"
However the dealer lied to me and there is know way that it has one.
I was still trying to get the service book out of the dealer to check when the next one was due when I snaped on me.
How was this my fault be being a "Stupid Owner"?
 

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Hi Mystic...LOL woah!

Sounds like all that cambelt snappin has got you ALL in a rage!

Don't take offence but there ARE stupid owners out there. I don't think your stupid as in both cases it was not your fault but the DEALERS who keep on robbing us. Moral of ever story, don't believe dealers and get the car checked out asap when purchasing it.

Now...hows the selespeed gearbox treating ya?:cheese:
 

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We all see lots of Alfas for sale in the papers, just about due for a cambelt service. Gonna be in the market for a second hand Alfa pretty soon and will only buy from a dealer. Will insist that cambelt service is included in price and that the dealer garauntees the job.At the moment they are all desperate for sales. However in answer to your question, you just dont know and the route mentioned above is the only way to go. Saves a lot of heartache,tears,dented bank balances and/or alienated bank managers.
 

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Hi Mystic...LOL woah!

Sounds like all that cambelt snappin has got you ALL in a rage!

Don't take offence but there ARE stupid owners out there. I don't think your stupid as in both cases it was not your fault but the DEALERS who keep on robbing us. Moral of ever story, don't believe dealers and get the car checked out asap when purchasing it.

Now...hows the selespeed gearbox treating ya?:cheese:
Oh yeah, there are no words to explain it. My luck with cars is now ledgendary. I didn't mention the 2 engines I lost due to cooling system failure. :cry:

The silispeed? oh aren't they all the same. Though I do seem to have goten a handel on it. Heating of the ECU is a issue. :cool:
 

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Ok, well having gotten caught out by this very devil, I feel the need to defend myself as I'm not a idot or dumb or mechanicaly ignorant.

How was this my fault be being a "Stupid Owner"?
No need to defend yourself mate, I listed a number of other reasons why these things fail. I reckon you fall into one of those.

If we had to look at the average person who has had there cambelt fail, I think you would agree with some of our comments. Its very difficult as a first time buyer, to know all these things.

I must add, it would appear that its a trend that is following you, buy a bicycle next to try break that trend :thumbs:
 

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Ok, I will admit that the whole thing just touched a nerve. There are lots of ppl out there that don’t know these things and don’t care either. Well until it breaks that is.

As to the trend with my car’s. The Astra and Alfa belt failures were, in terms of length of ownership, 1 week apart.
I must have the worst luck ever. The next car I buy, I’m taking home on a trailer and then having it serviced by an independent workshop.
They will do:
1.) A full cam belt service, including oil, plugs, filters, pulleys,tensioners, and belts. All the belts not just the Cam belt.
2.) A full cooling system service, including a radiator overhaul, new thermostat, system flush and finally a pressure test.
3.) All brake pads and disks will be replaced.
 

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Aye! The T/Spark's tensioner is the real culprit. Not the belt.

I suspect many people don't even know they have to change the belt and even when they do get it done, I bet a proportion of mechanics don't change the tensioner too.

It's probably more confused by people (traders?) losing the service book and owners changing belts early. So you get into a situation where nobody is quite sure if a car has had a belt and tensioner changed - some will be changed way too soon and others won't get changed at all.

My advice is change them yourself (tensioner too) and make sure both are done. Take the mech' the parts he needs and ask for the old parts back so you can see for yourself that he "must" have changed them (though beware of mech's who give you "a tensioner" that may or may not be your old one.. :eek:)

This doesn't help the uninformed or the mechanically ignorant. Some people just aren't interested in cam-belts and when to change them.. so the mech's should be more vigilant too... but that's really a non-starter. So, just look after your own and spread the word to anyone who seems unsure!


Ralf S.
 

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I bought my baby from the dealer - and there she will go for all major services at least - and hopefully all services full stop.
expensive, yes, but at least i can get my missus to sue their socks off if anything kak's out before it's due to.

in my mind, i see the dealer's inflated prices as a sort of insurance. probably just fooling myself there.... but it makes me feel warm & fuzzy knowing that whoever works on my car only works on other alfa's day in & day out.
 
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