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Discussion Starter #1
So I was on my way to work this morning, crawling along in stop/start traffic when I heard a huge 'clunk' from the front end followed by a loss of power steering. I managed to pull into a side road and (not being much of a mechanical expert) called the RAC who came out very promptly despite it being the rush hour. Turns out the tensioner had just fallen clean off and was laying on a panel at the bottom of the engine bay :wow: Anyone else ever encountered this?
I got a tow up to the local (ex) dealers who service it and fortunately, they think it will be covered by the RAC Gold Warranty that I took out but I will be without car for a few days.

Whilst at the gargage a noticed a message from Alfa UK recommending that my engine - 2.0 TS (along with a handful of others) should now have a timing belt change at 36,000m rather than 72,000m, I wasn't previously aware of this and am disappointed that the garage didn't think to let me know. Anyone know when this was made official by ARUK? I was going to get the belt changed later in the year when the car is at 60,000m (to be cautious) but I am staggered that the recommended change has been halved - unreal!

I have been quoted well under £400 fully inc. for a timing belt change by an independent local specialist, still waiting to hear how much the (ex)dealers want. How does this compare with anyone else's experiences?
 
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not sure that Alfa have officially come out and reduced the cambelt change, they did add an inspection at the 36k service a while back. As you are probably aware by now it is an absolute must to change not just the belt but the tensioners as well at 36k or 3 years, whichever is sooner....a reasonable price from a quality indie should be around the 250-300 mark and anything upto and over 500 from a dealer, whilst you are there it would be very worthwhile to inspect/ change the water pump and variator

all the best


:)
 

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No, the 35K belt change is official. Fairly recent.
But you know how effiecient AR at informing their customers of anything, other than extortionate bills
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Much obliged for the info.

I could have done without the expense (couldn't we all at this time of year!) not just for the belt change, but *gulps* using Bristol's public transport services for the next few days - wish me luck!
 

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if you're reasonably handy with the spanners it's quite an easy job to replace the belts....costs only about 120 in parts.
 

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Prowler166 - If you are getting tensioner changed as part of RAC warranty it is probably worth getting the belts done at same time and seeing what cost can be palmed off on the RAC, maybe all of it!

I don't think that any reasonable mechanic (or RAC advisor) would suggest changing only the failed tensioner!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Cheers for the tip Dougie. I have since been informed that the cam belt cover (?) has been damaged by the aux. belt tensioner bolt breaking off and therefore, the whole shooting match will need to be replaced. Thankfully, no major engine damage though. I am hopeful that the lot can be done on the warranty and should find out today. Looks like I have actually had a lucky escape here!

Niall - I would love to think I could have a crack at it myself but I am more of a keen observer when it comes to mechanics, not yet confident enough to attempt anything like this though.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
The plot thickens.... When I purchased the car through my local Alfa Dealer they supplied a 3 month warranty of their own and I also took out a 12 months RAC Gold Mechanical Breakdown Warranty to follow-on when the 3 months was up. Therefore, a total of 15 months cover. I got the policy documents and though and all appeared to be well.... until last week's breakdown when it transpires that the garage somehow started the policy from the date I bought the car and not after the initial 3 month warranty was up. This contradicts the details on the policy document I have, which does not match what the RAC have on their system. The garage have (after countless phone calls) admitted the error and have offered to pay most of the cost of the work but not all of it. It is not the RAC's fault (as they were given the wrong info) but I have involved them and am awaiting a call from their Claims Manager to confirm whether or not the work would have been covered if my policy was still active. If so, I will be expecting the garage to be footing the entire bill. If not and only part of the work would have been covered I will probably accept the garage's offer, but drag them over the coals for their f***-up!

Either way, the situation is absolutelty unaccetpable but I will hold back to see whether it is resolved satisfactorily before doing any naming and shaming or taking the matter to the FSA. The whole affair has reaffirmed my view that car dealers (with a few exceptions) are crooks and liars and should not be trusted. I sincerely hope that Alfa chooses carefully when (and if) it reorganises its dealer network.
Watch this space.....
 

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Prowler, whatever the outcome over the aux tensioner bill, it appears that even officially, it is well overdue for the cambelt. It sounds to me as though you've a good case for this at no cost.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Yeah, I had planned to get it done later in the year but this incident has possibly been a but of a blessing in disguise in getting me to do much sooner and also bringing my attention to Alfa reducing the change to 36,000m. Could have been a lot worse had a left it longer.
 

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Prowler, watch the lible words there matey, you never know who reads this. But I would also add that they are also plain stupid and incompetant.
Don't accept ANY ****e or BS from the dealer. They should pay ALL the costs. The cam assembl;y damage was consequential and directly caused by the aux belt tensioner fault. Just start throwing words around like Sale of Goods act, small claims litigation, Trading standards (FSA are a bunch of clueless and toothless monkeys, dont bother) etc
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Well my baby is back from the garage but my wallet is a few hundered quid lighter. I have not given-in to them entirely yet but I could not do another day without my car. The garage have admitted their error by paying the majority of the bill for a new cam belt and water pump and this, they mainitain, is what would have been covered by the RAC Warranty. I am adamant, having spent ages reading the smallprint, that there is a good case for the entire cost to be covered though and I shall persist until it is proved otherwise.

That aside, the car feels and sounds a lot smoother but would I be wise to let the new belt etc. wear-in a bit before taking the revs too high?
 

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Glad you got it back - I am sure all is fine to give it the welly!
 

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You were lucky, my belt snapped at 50K on Sunday. I was also unaware that the interval is now 36K.
 
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...and 3yrs.

Prowler...might be worth sending them a carefully worded letter with a mention of small claims court if they mess you about. Good luck.

wrinx
 

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Garage is still picking up the peices. Looks like a complete rebuild of the head.
 

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alfakiller said:
Garage is still picking up the peices. Looks like a complete rebuild of the head.

sorry if this has been mentioned before and to labour the point but I, and a good few others, consider it imperative to renew the big end shells following a belt failure...

sorry to hi-jack your thread prowler.
 

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Hi Prowler166. I heard a thunk last Sunday, accompanied by battery light and loss of power steering. On investigation tensioner pulley was at odd angle, belt was lying at the bottom. I drove home from Weston S Mare to Taunton, removed tensioner, it had fractured across the pivot arm. A call to Mangoletsi and £50 for a new tensioner and belt to be sent, 15 minutes to fit then i'm on my way again. Guess i should have changed all tensioners when changing ing belts at 61,000 (previously a lease car!) not just the cambelt one.
 
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