CAMBELT REPLACEMENT EXPOSED

Discussion in 'Technical Q&A' started by Glassman, Jun 26, 2005.

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  1. Glassman

    Glassman F1 World Champ
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    Apr 23, 2002
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    I have read with great interest all of the continuing cam belt threads that have been posted. How about we put this debate to bed once and for all? What I am proposing here is the definitive answers based on actual experience only, not contaminated by personal opinion, or I heard it from somebody etc.
    So how about a thread devoted to actual belt change intervals, listing the milege as well as the time duration. Also listing a description of the care of the car, stored inside or out, heated garage or not. How long did you get away without a belt change, were you lucky or are we overly paranoid about a three year interval no matter what. If you had an actual failure what happened. But please lets keep it to only real, personal experiences, no my mecanic told me or I read it somewhere. Lets also try to keep it to just the facts
     
  2. Steve King

    Steve King F1 Rookie

    Feb 15, 2001
    4,323
    NY
    I do a major every 15k or 3 years , which ever comes 1st. No big deal and only takes me 10 hours "go to fin" . Usually all of the belts and idlers and cam seal look new but they all get tossed for new ones. Cheap investment.
     
  3. Glassman

    Glassman F1 World Champ
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    Steve, what model and year? At 3 years what do the cam belt tensioner bearings look like? Are they rusted and making any noise?
     
  4. jselevan

    jselevan Formula 3

    Nov 2, 2003
    1,847
    My experience -

    1986 Testarossa - 1st belt change at 31,000 miles in 2003 (17 years) - belts and tensioners (bearings) looked like new.

    1983 Boxer - 1st belt change 25,000 miles in 2004 (21 years) - belts and tensioners (bearings) looked like new.

    Jim S.
     
  5. Glassman

    Glassman F1 World Champ
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    Apr 23, 2002
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    Very interesting.
    Mine is an 83 308. First belt change done two years ago. 21,000 miles on the car 950 miles in 14 years, since I've owned it. Started and run at least once a month in my ownership and stored at constant 40 degrees temperature. Belts look like new, tensioner bearings rusted noisy and looked like they could fail any time.
     
  6. spang308

    spang308 Formula Junior

    Jul 17, 2004
    887
    York, PA
    1984 308 QV.
    Original belt broke on the previous owner in 1994 at 24K.
    New engine at Algar right before I bought it in 1997.
    Garage kept always.
    Ran the car for 7 years and 10K more miles before I did the belt service. Out of shear laziness and lack of use. My bad!
    Performed the belt service last Fall mainly because I had a cam seal leaking and the length of time between belt changes was starting to keep me up at night. Replaced timing belts, belt tensioner bearings, cam seals, and any gaskets along the way.
    Tensioner bearings felt fine and probably didnt require replacing, but I had already purchased them and installed them for piece of mind. Keep in mind they were not the originals as they were part of the Algar engine rebuild in 97.
    Timing belts were destroyed from oil leaking on them. I honestly got sick once I got the cam belt covers off. I was lucky to drive the car to the garage where I did the work. The inside of the covers were covered with fine rubber dust from the belts deteriorating. They both were in a sad state.

    From now on my rule will be 5 yrs. or 30K and bearing change every other belt change unless the belts have been contaminated with oil or coolant. The water pump sits right above the belts on 308s and we all know they are prone to leaking. From my experience, I would change belts if coolant had leaked on them. Same goes for oil. Keep in mind these belts cost $40 a pair and install in less than 10 hrs. for a relatively competent DIYer.

    Other than that 5/30 and run the piss out of it.

    John
     
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  8. Glassman

    Glassman F1 World Champ
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    Apr 23, 2002
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    Are you saying that getting any amount of coolant on the belts should warrant replacement, or more like continuos longer term dripping of coolant and oil?
    For instance working on the water pump or bleeding air through the thermosat housing may get a little bit of coolant on the belts.
     
  9. Artvonne

    Artvonne F1 Veteran

    Oct 29, 2004
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    R.O.Lindsey (sp?) from the FList (havnt seen or heard from him in years now) lost his 308 engine at I believe 14K miles when a belt snapped. I do not remember now how long of time it had been, but I think it was quite a while.
    Because of the impact a broken belt could cause me both in fun as well as financial, I will probably try to service the car during winter periods regardless of miles, if possible, so the car will be trouble free all summer long. Broken belts kinda stop the fun. In Lindseys case it was permanent, he sold the car.
    I would suggest adding to the post the potential damage that can be caused or real damage if your car broke a belt.
     
  10. spang308

    spang308 Formula Junior

    Jul 17, 2004
    887
    York, PA
    If careful you can bleed the thermo housing without getting coolant on the belts at all. You would have to be extremely careful to replace a water pump and not get any coolant on the belts. I feel if some dripped onto the belts during service and was promptly washed off with water, you should be fine. If you have been driving around with coolant leaking out the weap hole of the water pump or oil dripping off of bad cam seals or other source, REPLACE THE BELTS NOW. Rubber belts do not like to be exposed to oil and grease.

    If you have to replace a water pump, you might as well throw cam belts on while you are right there! Again, the belts cost $40 or less.

    John
     
  11. spang308

    spang308 Formula Junior

    Jul 17, 2004
    887
    York, PA
    Regarding your last sentence, the answer is simple. Broken belt=toasted motor. Ferrari engines are interference engines in that a belt breaking will cause the valves to become intimate with the pistons. A torn cam belt will require new valves, valve guides, probably pistons, and lots of head work. That is if you are lucky. A torn belt at high RPM could completely detroy the engine.
    These are not VW engines where a belt tears, you slap a new one on and motor away unharmed. There are serious repercussions to not changing belts on these cars. Thus the belt paranoia.

    Again, 5yrs. or 30K is timely enough providing nothing else impacts the belts.
    Rubber left to its own is more time sensitive than mileage, especially if the belt sits in the same position for long periods of time without being run.

    John
     
  12. Glassman

    Glassman F1 World Champ
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    Apr 23, 2002
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    Another thing of great interest to me is this. If the belt did fail, was it the belt breaking or the bearings seizing and burning the belt.
     
  13. Glassman

    Glassman F1 World Champ
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    Apr 23, 2002
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    Like everyone I hate the idea of belt failure, but if anyone actually has experienced a failure personally what happened. How many miles since the last change, upkeep of the car etc. Has anyone personally had a belt fail?
     
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  15. chrismorse

    chrismorse Formula 3

    Feb 16, 2004
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    chris morse
    All of us would like to sleep well, that is, not lay awake wondering if the belt will let go this week.

    I would like to know how many miles and years to belt failure. Without leaks or bad bearings, how far will the belts go. We could develope a spread of failure freequency/miles, maybe yielding a bell shaped curve, (wild speculation).

    It is equally important to understand contributory causes, oil leak, coolant leak, failed bearing, or demonic possesion.

    From the 4 liter thread, it looks like a lot of belt failures were really bearing failures. If the belts are relatively reliable BUT the bearings are somewhat unpredictable, then maybe the safe course is to look to the weakest or least reliable link.

    This needs failure data to be meaningfull, not an average of miles or years service untill preventative replacement is done.

    I really am not a tight fisted old Phat Fugger, but would like to see data to demystify the real life expectancy of the cam drive belts.

    While i was a service writer/manager for a dealership that sold Fiats, we porbably had a fiat get towed in once every two months with a failed belt, so we did a lot of 30k belt changes. Our cars cost a great deal more to fix than their cousins, so i would like to try to gain a better understanding of miles or months.

    Still Phat,
    chris
     
  16. Glassman

    Glassman F1 World Champ
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    I'm not sure what you mean, but the purpose of this thread is to document real experiences and time intervals, as well as milege, and the care of the car, in an attempt to establish the potential as well as the real lifetime of these belts. I think we all question a three year interval.
    Once again I think that real documented failure is something that I want to hear about. What happened exactly. Was it too long of an interval, too many or too few miles, abuse? And the nagging question is, has anyone on this board ever had a belt failure. I would like to know.
     
  17. tbakowsky

    tbakowsky F1 World Champ
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    Sep 18, 2002
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    Howie Felterbum
    Maybe we should all pitch in, buy an old 308 throw a new set of belts in it, then drive it until they break..track it, go to work with it etc..basicly don't do any thing to to it..maybe the odd oil change but thats it. Lets see how tough these things really are.
     
  18. Glassman

    Glassman F1 World Champ
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    Sure we could do that, or we could have a rational discussion about what intervals people are actually doing, and what seems to be working. Then maybe a person can make an educated descision based on real input from owners rather than what someone was told by someone who new a guy that was maybe a Ferrari mechanic.
     
  19. LSU348

    LSU348 Formula 3

    Dec 19, 2003
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    Mike
    If I remember correctly, doing what you suggest is an unpardonable sin regardless of your religion and will result in a sentence of perpetual "death by Ruru". PM me if you do not know the "Death by Ruru" joke. Also called "Death by Bugbug, Zoom Zoom and Wack wack".

     
  20. No Doubt

    No Doubt Four Time F1 World Champ
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    May 21, 2005
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    Mr. Sideways
    Like the Ferrari 348, the Porsche 928 is supposed to get new timing belts every 3 years, but 60,000 miles. I've never seen a 928 break a belt, but I guess it happens (to someone, somewhere).

    Interestingly enough, the 928 has tension *sensors* that light up a dash light if its timing belts are too loose. If our 3x8 series cars don't all have such a sensor, then we should also investigate what it would take to add such a beast. If I remember correctly, it's just a $15 part for the Porsche; that's cheap piece of mind.

    A small sensor could also probably be added to detect bearing failures in the tensioner pulley/water pump. Acoustic, vibrational, something.

    Lets face it, without sensors monitoring our timing belt, tensioner, and waterpump, we're really just wildly *guessing* at when to replace all of the above.

    Naturally, the factory and dealerships err on the conservative side; whereas threads such as this one want more detailed information in order to make a more accurate, more realistic maintenance schedule.
     
  21. judge4re

    judge4re F1 World Champ

    Apr 26, 2003
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    Dr. Dumb Ass
    Anyone else on Fchat have one of the valves from that incident? Rick sent me one right after the engine was rebuilt.
     
  22. Llenroc

    Llenroc F1 Rookie
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    Two 348's one 93SS and other 94 Spyder. First belt change was in '00 at 30,000 miles on the SS. I checked the belt frequently and it looked new when I changed it. This car was driven often, several times a month from Apr. to Oct. each year and rotated the engine in winter months. Garage was heated over the years I owned the car '96-'03 the SS was from southern climate and 14000 miles on it when I bought it. The spyder had 9000 miles on it when belt was changed for the first tme in '03 this belt looked new also. IMO I think Ferrari had problems with garage queen cars, not driven and the belts sitting in the same postion for very long time, maybe the belts acquire a shape when they sit. This constant sitting I think is the key issue of premature breakage and I don't think this breakage it is that common but it only takes one time for the rumors to fly that every cars' belt will break in three years. From the research I have done no other manufacturer reguires a belt change in less than 60,000 miles some are at 100,000. I am sure there are not many other makes that experiance the garage queen problems that Ferraris experiance so they haven't needed to change their postion on belt changes for their cars. On the Audis I have owned over the years I have changed the belt at 60,000 to 70,000 miles and have not had any problems. Just my thoughts guys hope this helps. Regards, Vern
     
  23. Llenroc

    Llenroc F1 Rookie
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    Sounds like a great idea. We could just pass it around the country to each other at a couple of months each untill it broke. LOL.
     
  24. No Doubt

    No Doubt Four Time F1 World Champ
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    Mr. Sideways
    I'd bet money that the belt problems are primarily on garage queens as you say above, but the purpose of this thread is to accumulate real-world data rather than just making bets. It's a noble cause.
     
  25. tbakowsky

    tbakowsky F1 World Champ
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    Sep 18, 2002
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    Sure why not? But the person thats wants to drive it..must drive it from the pick up point and then return it, or somebody else in the area picks it up and drives it..the rotating 308. Heck in a year I'll bet 100,000 km gets put on the car. and remember oil changes are an option...just add oil when needed. If the water pump leaks add some stop leak. Lets treat it like you would an old Ford.

    Look..I'm play devils addvocate here. But this timing belt issue is really getting old.

    How about this..change them when YOU feel it is needed..don't worry about what Ferrari says and the techs on this board have to say..do it by "feel". Maybe you'll win, maybe you won't. But obviously this topic will continue to come up because nobody wants to listen to anybody. Everybody thinks they know better. Well..then find out for yourselves the hard way.

    Regardless of what people post..even first hand experiance will be discounted as "fluke" or "unlucky" etc. Any excuse in the book. You will hear the stories "yea but my friend drove his for 20 years on the same belts..so if he can do it so can I"..Or..Honda says to change the belts at 100k. But do you know that even Honda has a 5 year change rule?

    This topic will forever go unsolved because too many people have too many opinions about whats "right". but I can garentee you one thing..once you have a failure, you will not want to go with out changing you belts again.
     
  26. Llenroc

    Llenroc F1 Rookie
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    I have to agree we have ran this into the ground but the opinions are interesting to me. Of course you know opinions are like a$$holes we all have one. LOL. anyway about that community 308.......sorry about getting off topic there.
     
  27. 911Fan

    911Fan Formula 3

    Apr 15, 2004
    1,291
    Southern California
    imo, skipping scheduled maintenance, especially the belts, is a certain path to becoming yet another Ferrari garage queener. If only out of the sheer terror of knowing that the belts could snap during the next drive.

    I wouldn't want to drive my Ferrari either if I had to constantly worry about that! :)
     

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