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Discussion Starter #1
First thing I noticed about the GTV I was looking at tonight when I started it was how diesel sounding it was.

Is this just how these engines (t spark) sound or should I be worried?? :eek:
 

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There's a mountain of posts/threads on variator chatter in tech forums. Some cold start noise can also be associated wih piston slap, until the skirt has expanded.
 

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The diesel sound on a twin spark engine means that it needs a new variator - the device that varies the inlet valve timing. Usually changed as part of a cambelt service.
 

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No, it's normal in most pistons to allow for the expansion of the aluminium alloy in the steel cylinder/liner depending on the type of block.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
The diesel sound on a twin spark engine means that it needs a new variator - the device that varies the inlet valve timing. Usually changed as part of a cambelt service.
The seller told me the cambelt had been done in the last year so I'm begining to doubt that since the variator was so noisey.

Hmm... Think I might need to reconsider this car as I'd have to spend a fair bit of cash on it as soon as I got it...
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Bummer! was really looking forward to getting it!

Oh well, the search continues...
 

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Rico, the cambelt could have been done, sometimes it gets changed without the variator being done - false economy though :( However, it's not a fatal problem. and shouldn't have casued any damage...
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Yeah thats what I was thinking and to be honest I can't afford to do all that work as soon as I get the car and I'd worried about driving it incase it did some serious damage to the engine.

Is the cambelt a dealer only job or can it be done by a small non Alfa garage?
 

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May not be all that bad. Sometimes people change the belt but not the belt tentshioner. This can cause a deisel sound on start up also.I am not sure but i think that from about 2000 the variators were replaced with better ones which dont seem to give any problems.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
This one was noisey the whole time it was running which would lead me to believe the variator is on its last legs from the info I've found on here.

So unless the seller offered to have the work done, then I'm not going to go for the car.
 
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I would ask for a discount to get the work done yourself, get a quote from a decent local specialist for a full cambelt service with a variator change and ask for that off the asking price. That way when you get the car you'll know all the tensioners have been changed and it shouldn't give you any more bother.

As for the variators being puny, the variator usually fails due to low oil, the dipstick should be at the max line all the time to prevent this happening. Also if you change the oil and filter more frequently this will help prevent the variator failing. The reason they fail is that the seals inside the variator are supposed to keep oil inside the unit but when the oil level drops or the seals get contaminated with crud, the oil sinks back into the sump when the engine is off, hence the diesel noise at startup (once the engine is running oil is pumped up into the variator, stopping the noise).
 

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I know it could be 'psycho-schematic', but I'd swear changing the variator on ours imporved it's performance, suggesting even when it had shut up, it still wasn't working properly; possible??
 

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These variators Gary, seem pretty puny devices, why are they a common failing factor?
I think they're just a part that some garages overlook when servicing to cut corners...
 

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So in theory guy's as I'm fanatical about oil/filter changes, and I mean fanatical, always maintained it's level never used a drop in fact. Variator doesn't sound noisy to me. Should it then last the life of the car? Or will it require replacing, because they do fail, in spite of fastidious ownership?
 
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