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Expensive noise....

Discussion in 'Australia' started by Dave 456, Aug 14, 2009.

  1. Dave 456

    Dave 456 Formula 3

    Nov 15, 2007
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    OK, this isn't about an F-car, but kinda related.. Driving to work this morning in my (formerly)trusty Alfa GT 3.2 and.....bang, followed by a very colourful display of warning lights and messages.

    Cambelt failed at 61K and a few months out of warranty. The irony is that it was booked in for a cambelt change on Monday - Oh well, they will have a few other things to do as well as the cambelt now! Scored 50% on bent valves - 12 out of 24. Guess that when the book says 60K, they mean it.
     
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  3. moretti

    moretti Four Time F1 World Champ
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    that's bad luck Dave, unusual for the Italians to be so correct
     
  4. Aircon

    Aircon Eight Time F1 World Champ

    Jun 23, 2003
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    ouch!!

    a cambelt like the fcar ones?
     
  5. SPEEDCORE

    SPEEDCORE Four Time F1 World Champ

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  6. IanB

    IanB F1 World Champ
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    but what did the valves do to the piston crowns?
     
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  8. Arvin Grajau

    Arvin Grajau Five Time F1 World Champ

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    #6 Arvin Grajau, Aug 14, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017
  9. Dave 456

    Dave 456 Formula 3

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    Almost, the V6 Alfa has one long belt, rather than 2 shorter belts like most belt drive Ferrari engines - this is cunningly designed, in the event of a belt failure, to take out the valves on both banks of cylinders.
     
  10. Dave 456

    Dave 456 Formula 3

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    #8 Dave 456, Aug 14, 2009
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2009
    Some of the piston crowns have little smiley faces.......Apparently it is unusual to damage the pistons enough to require replacement - the valves are pretty small, with thin stems that bend easily. Different story if the valve head separates though.....Which I couldn't see evidence of, using a borescope.

    Yes, I know - real engines have chains or gears....
     
  11. Modeler

    Modeler F1 Veteran

    May 19, 2008
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    The Alfa forums are full of belt failures around the official replacement numbers.
    This is far from uncommon.
    Alfa belts seem to really be the way Ferraris are reputed to be.
    Doesn't make it any less unpleasant to have happen though.
     
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  13. moretti

    moretti Four Time F1 World Champ
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    my brother use to do all the Alfa tuning in Sydney's west many years ago, swore that when the service time for the belt was due to DO IT !!

    he could do the belt change in under 20 minutes and that included checking the tension on the headbolts before doing the cambelt
     
  14. Modeler

    Modeler F1 Veteran

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    Plenty of practice, eh?

    Seems they lost the plot after the 1750 and 2000GTV period.
    Tossed out all the things that were good. Gear change, timing chains etc.
     
  15. Looney

    Looney F1 Rookie

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    mate i feel for ya, sorry to hear it
     
  16. PSk

    PSk F1 World Champ

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    While Alfa Romeo did loose the plot somewhat there is no denying that their v6 engine is a fncken awesome engine, one of the all time great driving engines.

    One day I'll only a v6 75 as a family car ... to go with my 1750GTV.
    Pete
     
  17. PAP 348

    PAP 348 Moderator
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    Sorry to hear Dave! :(:(
     
  18. Dave 456

    Dave 456 Formula 3

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    #15 Dave 456, Aug 14, 2009
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2009
    Pete, indeed, the Busso V6 is a wonderful engine - one reason I bought the GT is that it was the "last of the line" Busso designed engine from the Arese factory. It sounds better than any other modern V6. Frankly, I'm a bit gun shy now - This in a car that has been very gently driven, never tracked, probably been over 5 grand on a handful of occasions.

    Oh well, company car, the company can pay for it. I did contact Ateco/Alfa, but they weren't interested, not that there would be any reason to expect them to.

    Thanks for the sympathy guys! This experience will certainly focus my attention on the 456 belts - changed a couple of weeks ago.
     
  19. PSk

    PSk F1 World Champ

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    Gee, why be so gun shy?

    Just change the belts at say 40,000 maybe instead of 61,000 and all should be good. In the end the belt did what Alfa Romeo said it would ... make 60,000 km's.

    Note also a belt only change is cheap thing for these engines ... unlike Ferraris.
    Pete
     
  20. Dave 456

    Dave 456 Formula 3

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    Gun shy of running 60k, per Alfa recommendation, on a Alfa V6 cambelt again! Changing cambelts on a DD at 40 k (obviously necessary in this case) is madness. Most sensible cars can run 100k with virtually no likelihood of failure.

    Not cheap in my book - $1500 from a dealer, $12-1300 from an independent - that's more than changing the belts (only) on a 456! I know, I just had it done - 10 hours labour + $350 in (OEM) parts.

    Modeler, I think, observed that cb failure at this distance is not uncommon - on checking around, he is absolutely correct - very common. My Alfa shop has done plenty - maybe 10 a year.

    Alfa need to do a reliability engineering exercise. Having run plenty for airlines - I'm pretty sure I know what the problem is. The 60k recommendation is way, way too close to the mean time between failures (MTBF) number, which is probably 70-80k. Depending on the level of risk associated with the failure, a reasonable service life would be 40k, as you suggest. The problem with that is that if a salesman pointed out that a prospective owner was going to have to stump up $1500 every 2 years in normal use, compared with a lot less( less than $500 for a 16v Citroen engine, at a dealer) every, say, 5-10 years, buyers would stay away in droves.

    What irritates me is that the 60k recommendation leaves no margin for normal servicing delays - I wasn't trying to stretch (pun intended) the belt for another 10k, it was booked in before 60k.

    The car was going in January anyway, a few things were starting to annoy me as a DD - lousy visibility, crap turning circle, Sydney roads are getting worse, so the ride and short suspension travel is getting tedious. Funnily enough, since going back to a C5 as a DD, the roads don't seem so bad after all! That said, I used the GT for a weekend in the southern highlands recently, open good roads, no supermarket parking - it was perfect.

    Don't get me wrong, I still love Alfas; I've had plenty and no doubt will have more - just helped my son buy a nice, 2 owner 60k 916 spider - with a fresh cambelt. However, if 40k safe life for a cambelt is typical - I'll check this on the Mito - I'll consider something else.
     
  21. PSk

    PSk F1 World Champ

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    Don't buy a Ducati ... :)

    Anyway I don't understand why changing a belt on an Alfa v6 has become so expensive ... I've done one on a 75 and it was a piece of p!ss?. Although in your car the engine would be the wrong way around.

    My comment regarding changing sooner is because I maintain my own cars/bikes, thus we are only talking the cost of a belt ... as far as I am concern worth it, although my DD has a chain and is a Suzuki m/c.
    Pete
     
  22. Horse

    Horse Two Time F1 World Champ
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    Funny thing is that when the "new" Alfas came out, the belt change was advised at 100,000 km.
     
  23. Dave 456

    Dave 456 Formula 3

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    #20 Dave 456, Aug 20, 2009
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2009
    Well, I had a couple of Dukes, many moons ago - apart from burning pistons in a 250 desmo, they were pretty good.

    Yep, the transverse V6 is a PITA to fiddle with, I think that's where the labour time goes, that and all the cr#p on modern engines. The $140/hr helps lighten the wallet a bit too.I try to avoid serious work on DD's, but do all the work(except panels) on race/toy cars. The cb change on the 456 was a "while your'e there" deal as the belts had to come off for another job that was cheaper to get a specialist for than make the tooling myself.Also, I wanted someone who knows the cars well to look it over. The 456 is pretty easy to work on, there is just more of stuff.

    As an aside, I don't think the 2 cam V6's have the same issue as the 4 cam engines. This might be because in the 12v engine each camshaft has 6 differently timed lobes, whereas the 24v engines camshafts have only 3 (pairs) of differently timed lobes. This would affect vibration frequencies.

    The problem with warranty cars is that you're stuck with the dealer and, from what I've experienced, always get bent over... with the honorable exception of a Citroen dealer that I've bought cars from for 20 years.
     
  24. Modeler

    Modeler F1 Veteran

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    Then Alfa/Ateco copped a flood of warranty belt and top end jobs. The new number resulted.

    They really need the tensioner replaced along with the belts every time.
    IMHO its the tensioner that's at fault and true cause of the problem.
     
  25. Horse

    Horse Two Time F1 World Champ
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    There has got to be more to it, you know.
     
  26. Modeler

    Modeler F1 Veteran

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    I think so. Maybe the extra sentence I added while you were posting could be a factor.
     
  27. Horse

    Horse Two Time F1 World Champ
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    Doesn't explain why they didn't last 3 years or 100,000 when new though.
     
  28. Dave 456

    Dave 456 Formula 3

    Nov 15, 2007
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    Well, I wonder why the current 2.2JTS and 3.2 V6 Alfa engines have - wait, wait for it, .........chain driven camshafts.......
     

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