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Discussion Starter #1
Going to replace a variator on a T-spark.

Wanted to ask what method people have used for loosening them. I know Laser do a tool for it but was wondering can you use the cam pulley to loosen it or is this a no no. This image from the Alfa workshop site seems to show a tool that uses the cam pulley for leverage.

http://www.alfaworkshop.co.uk/images/407-9-800.jpg


Also is the cam lock safe enough to hold the cam still while loosening it without damaging cam lobes etc.
 

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If the cam lock is alloy then I guess it will be ok to follow the procedure shown, if the locks are some of the cheapo fleabay type then they will split. I made a very simple tool similar to the one shown to undo my variator. It came apart remarkably easily.
 

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As far as I was aware, you're supposed to remove the cam, put it in a vice (being careful not to bend or damage it) and remove the variator using the tool that fits on the front of it. The cam locks are just to ensure the cam timing is correct when you put it all back together. And yes, the fleabay ones can be rubbish.
 

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DO NOT under any circumstances attempt to remove the variator using the cam clamps as a vice. it wont work. you WILL pull threads out.
I had to take the cam out and put it in a padded out vice and attack it wit a pair of 18" stillsons with a 4' bar on them.....:eek:

I imagine that it had never been off in the previous 9 years of existence though, so it may have been tighter than a tight thing.....
 

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I did mine with a huge pair of adjustable pliers, came off fairly easy.

Wish I'd bought the tool to put the new one on like.

I padded the vise jaws with the old cambelt
 

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Discussion Starter #6
When you see quotes for changing the variator at the same time as a belt change garages charge very little extra labour for doing the job. I would have imagined they remove the variator with the cam in situ to save labour time.

Off to the garage to make a tool.
 

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Its very little labour becasue all it actually involves is removing the bearing caps from the camshaft on the intake side. Putting the cam in a vice and unscrewing the variator off the cam.

Installing is the reverse of the above.
so for a Mechanic is might be an extra 20 mins max it would hardly seem worth charging for when you would make a little bit on the variator itself.

Which reminds me mines starting to make a noise.
Sometimes ive got around it by buying a new camshaft with a variator already on it.

As I change the belts myself it seems cost effective even if they only last 15k miles.
 

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When you see quotes for changing the variator at the same time as a belt change garages charge very little extra labour for doing the job. I would have imagined they remove the variator with the cam in situ to save labour time.

Off to the garage to make a tool.
:rolleyes:
DO NOT try to remove the variator from the camshaft with the camshaft in the engine.
As you've already been told above, remove the cam from the engine and hold it in a vice.
When you actually come to try to unscrew it, hopefully you'll understand why trying it with it in the engine is a bad idea...!
 

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Well even if you manage to make a mess of it a new camshaft and variator can be had quite cheaply.
I made a tool from a socket and welded on a couple of lugs to make a tool to undo the variator.

Then as I don't have a vice I just used a pair of mole grips and my foot.

Not the most scentific way but it worked.
 

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I remember car mechanics magazine did a feature on a TS engine variator change, and the Alfa "Specialist" that help write the article was shown unscrewing the variator with it held by the cam locks.

I wouldn't advise going to that particular specialist, but I can't remember who it was now.
 

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Well It all depends on how tight the variator is on the cam.
The article might have been done on a car with very little much and grime and wear on making it quite possible to do so.

On the one I changed it felt like it was stuck solid.

Its like Haynes manuals. Its all nice and easy when they all have fresh bolts where they don't round off or its nice and clean to work with.
They never take into account 12 years of rust and grime.
 

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On the one I changed it felt like it was stuck solid.
Mine too......
It came off eventually, but there is no way the cam locks would have held it and they are not designed to be used like that either. They are a precision setting tool, not a vice. Would you use a micrometer as an adjustable spanner...?
 

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Depends how narked off I am at the time I guess. But I wouldnt want to helicoil the camshaft bearing shells for the additional 5 mins it takes to undo them and take it out.
 

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Using longer bolts in the camlock will prevent
destroying the threads....
 

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Can't find the guide I used, but there is a mark that the arrow points to.

I used some mig welding wire to get mine into the correct position, tightened it up ans snipped the wire.

Edit: On having a look, I seem to remember it points towards the hole?
 
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