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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello guys.
My beloved 147 has started to sound like a tractor for the first 5 seconds of start up in the mornings, or after leaving it for a couple of hours. Does this mean the variator is on its way out?

Thing is, the cambelt and water pump was changed at 96k it is now on 101k (previous owner change)
So I doubt very much the variator was changed hence the tractor noise.

The car is due a major service in october, so would I have to have the cambelt and everything changed if I ask them to do the variator?

If the variator fails will it destroy the engine? (should it be fixed sooner than oct?)

Any help will be appriciated.
Thanks in advance.
 

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Yes, it's the variator. Yes, it involves a cambelt change. The diesel sound at startup doesn't equal failure, but rattling all the time does. It (almost certainly) won't destroy the engine, but you will lose low down torque.

It's an option when changing the belt - you save your money, you take your chances.

When and where was your belt last done?
 

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Variator rebuld kits are available,but I believe it depends what part of the variator has failed as to weather they will work or not.
a quick search should help (I'm new to all this & read about the kits on here)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Yes, it's the variator. Yes, it involves a cambelt change. The diesel sound at startup doesn't equal failure, but rattling all the time does. It (almost certainly) won't destroy the engine, but you will lose low down torque.

It's an option when changing the belt - you save your money, you take your chances.

When and where was your belt last done?
The last cambelt change was done by the previous owner, at 96k earlier this year. Its now on 101k just started rattling. So looks like one heck of an expensive service coming up then?

would you say get everything replaced including the water pump again?

Dont really want to spend a fortune on it until I know it has got a full MOT, (incase of a big fail) hence was going to have the big service at the same time as the MOT in oct.

:confused:
 

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Dave. Don't bother with the water pump and just do belt and variator. Last belt change was it the full kit or just the belt ? . If it was just the belt then do full kit or if it was full kit then do the belt . Upto you at the end of the day . If the rattle is only on start up then I would personally leave it until it's been mot'd and do it afterwards ;) .

Personally I would not even bother until the belt becomes due or the rattle is there all the time ;) . But that's just me ! .

When I bought mine I did full service and only had the belt changed as last change it had full kit and I changed it more because it was over 3 years but still under mileage hence just the belt change. I checked the water pump as well whilst the belt is off and as long as no noise and roughness and everything feels ok then whats the point ;) . But at the end of the day this is just my personal preference and others might say different ;) .
 

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I'd agree with Mike above.....milady's 156 sportwagon had the starting rattle for the last 2 years...didn't get appreciably worse and its almost unheard of for it do any real damage. Certainly wouldn't splurge a few hundred quid on full belt change just for that. It is worth checking what was done at the last belt change, tho, just in case it was a cheapo "belt only" change...
 

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Dave,
If it was done earlier this year try contacting the previous owner (if you can) to see if the works done are still under warranty. If it's not affecting the performance and you can live with it then don't be in any rush to fix, I usually wait until a problem gets alot worse before shelling out unless advised otherwise.
 

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It will not cause damage to the car. All the variator does is retard / advance the inlet camshaft by 24 degrees. All it means is the so called variable valve timing on the engine will not work. I believe you loose mid range becasue of this.

It will eat up a little more fuel. It will be noisey on start up. It won't hurt the engine.

When getting it fixed make sure you get the new variator, New belt and tensioners.
I wouldnt bother with water pump or Aux belt.

This will keep the cost around £170 + Labour.


Please dont worry though. Its probably best to use the car untill MOT then take a call on what you'd like to have done based on whether it passes or fails.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Dave. Don't bother with the water pump and just do belt and variator. Last belt change was it the full kit or just the belt ? . If it was just the belt then do full kit or if it was full kit then do the belt . Upto you at the end of the day . If the rattle is only on start up then I would personally leave it until it's been mot'd and do it afterwards ;) .

Personally I would not even bother until the belt becomes due or the rattle is there all the time ;) . But that's just me ! .

When I bought mine I did full service and only had the belt changed as last change it had full kit and I changed it more because it was over 3 years but still under mileage hence just the belt change. I checked the water pump as well whilst the belt is off and as long as no noise and roughness and everything feels ok then whats the point ;) . But at the end of the day this is just my personal preference and others might say different ;) .
Yeah I think I will go with what you said Mike, I like your way of thinking.. lol.
Best to wait for the MOT just incase it needs mega bucks spending on it.
That way I can use it as an excuse to get my next Alfa. :)
If it goes through the MOT then I will have the work done.

Last owner changed the belt and water pump.

After all I bought it as my first Alfa to test the water (addiction wise etc) so I didnt pay a lot for it for that reason. However it is very tidy and has been looked after. :thumbs:
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I'd agree with Mike above.....milady's 156 sportwagon had the starting rattle for the last 2 years...didn't get appreciably worse and its almost unheard of for it do any real damage. Certainly wouldn't splurge a few hundred quid on full belt change just for that. It is worth checking what was done at the last belt change, tho, just in case it was a cheapo "belt only" change...
Last belt change it had just belt and water pump, I will leave it until the MOT in OCT and if it passes without mega bucks needing spending on it I will have it all done. Thanks for the reassurance. :)

I've come across this on another forum ..........additive...........no idea if it works but worth a shot maybe. Also I think I read on here that the make of oil you use can help.


Anything to get rid of that rattle 'till the belt change. ;)
Alfa Romeo forum: Stop Variator Noise - oil addative
Thanks I might give it a shot :thumbs:

Dave,
If it was done earlier this year try contacting the previous owner (if you can) to see if the works done are still under warranty. If it's not affecting the performance and you can live with it then don't be in any rush to fix, I usually wait until a problem gets alot worse before shelling out unless advised otherwise.
Yeah it was just the belt and waterpump, so I can live with it until Oct at least or even sept and mot a month early. ;)

It will not cause damage to the car. All the variator does is retard / advance the inlet camshaft by 24 degrees. All it means is the so called variable valve timing on the engine will not work. I believe you loose mid range becasue of this.

It will eat up a little more fuel. It will be noisey on start up. It won't hurt the engine.

When getting it fixed make sure you get the new variator, New belt and tensioners.
I wouldnt bother with water pump or Aux belt.

This will keep the cost around £170 + Labour.


Please dont worry though. Its probably best to use the car untill MOT then take a call on what you'd like to have done based on whether it passes or fails.
Thanks for the reassurance, good to know. I am still in my early Alfa days so just been careful by asking you guys before I do anything. I will hang it out until MOT and see what happens. I can cope with the few seconds of the rattle in the mornings. :thumbs:
 
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