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***Need advice on 1979 308GTB Timing Belt inspection***

Discussion in 'Technical Q&A' started by christopher, May 29, 2004.

  1. christopher

    christopher Formula 3

    Nov 29, 2003
    1,131
    Ontario California
    Full Name:
    Christopher
    Hello "F"-Chatters,

    I was wondering if there's a visual inspection that can be done to ascertain whether the timimg belts are ready to break? After reading the "horror" stories, I'm scared to death to start my car after 4-5 month of non-op.

    a.I have no record of them ever being done.

    b.I haven't started the car for about 4-5 mos. (because of services I'm
    perfoming).

    c. I need to use the engine motion to perfom a coolant sytem clean-
    out/flush.

    After your guidance (on inspection of the t-belts), and a promise not used high RPMs, could I run the engine with out problems?

    Thank you, Chris.
     
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  3. davehelms

    davehelms F1 Rookie

    Jan 3, 2004
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    Dave Helms
    Dave
     
  4. christopher

    christopher Formula 3

    Nov 29, 2003
    1,131
    Ontario California
    Full Name:
    Christopher

    Dave could you please explain??

    Thanks, Chris.
     
  5. yelcab

    yelcab F1 World Champ
    Consultant

    Nov 29, 2001
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    Mitchell Le
    No comprehensive visual inspection possible, unless you take them out. And then, you're there. On earlier cars, you can reach in and feel the tension on the belts to see if they are tight. That is about all you can do. On later cars with a back cover, you can't even do that.

    if you belts are not years years old, and over 30K miles, I would not worry to death.

    By the way, you do not need the engine running to do a coolant flush. You do need a "coolant system pressure tester" pump.
     
  6. ShanB

    ShanB Formula Junior

    Jul 9, 2003
    547
    Tejas/Europe/Desert
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    shanb
    You really can't always tell unless the belt is so worn that it's past its useful life (but you don't want to wait that long, right?) The other thing is that it's not just the belt that gets replaced. "Belt change" usually means inspection/replacement other components besides just belts that tend to wear just as fast. 308 experts please chime in.
     
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  8. christopher

    christopher Formula 3

    Nov 29, 2003
    1,131
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    Christopher
    Mitch & Dave as well as all that replied,

    Thank you for the "feed-back"!!

    Situation, I don't know if the t-belts have ever been replaced. I was able to get the t-belt cover off and inspect the belt, the forward belt is difficult to see, but I can peek from the inside fender well (took fender well cover off) and by using a flash light, I can get a fair look.

    They appear to look fine, I just want to warm the car after sitting for 4-5 mos. or so.

    Am I being too scared??

    Additional thoughts?

    Thank you,

    chris.
     
  9. GavC

    GavC Formula Junior

    May 9, 2004
    492
    Lincolnshire, Englan
    Full Name:
    Gavin Culshaw
    You could take the camebelts covers off and have a look at the belts. If they look perished or have cracks in them near the teeth or the pulleys have any corrosion on them be careful and consider replacement. Belts can break at any time but have a large load put on them at the initial turn of the key. I would suggest that you take the spark plugs out and crank the engine over first to get the oil circulating. Then start the engine let it warn up gently then do your coolant change and also an oil one at the same time. If you don't know the last time the belts were changed get them done then you will know they have been done.
    good luck
    Gavin
     
  10. Glassman

    Glassman F1 World Champ
    Silver Subscribed

     
  11. christopher

    christopher Formula 3

    Nov 29, 2003
    1,131
    Ontario California
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    Christopher
    Ferrari "Gurus"

    Thank you to everone that replied to my thread, I very much appreciate your feed-back and expertise! Very much appreciated!


    Thank you, Chris L.
     
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  13. thecarreaper

    thecarreaper F1 World Champ
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    Sep 30, 2003
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    hmmmmm i can see the top of one of my belts, i wonder if something is missing. i need to get all the serial numbers off the car today anyway, will post pics later. great thread Chris!!!
     
  14. Steve Magnusson

    Steve Magnusson F1 World Champ
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    Jan 11, 2001
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    You're probably not "missing" anything michael -- the earlier cars (I think before early~mid 80's) didn't have the added flat cover to better completely enclose/protect the cam belts.
     
  15. Spasso

    Spasso F1 World Champ
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    Feb 16, 2003
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    I can see the tops of mine too. Nothing is missing.

    When I bought my car the old timing belts were included and they looked brand new. No cracks etc........just preventative maintenance.

    Start your car. Sitting 4 to 5 months IS NOT gong to cause belt failure. If they DO fail then it was from something else than sitting and they were ready to go anyway.If that were the case then we wouldn't be hearing about belts that haven't been changed for 12 years (or more), 22 years in the case of a Testarossa I know of. From previous threads it seems it's seized up idler bearings that are a principle cause of the teeth stripping or belts jumping sprockets.

    Letting a car sit is not good for the belts. It causes a 'set' where the belt goes around the pulley so turn it over once a month.

    Pull the rear cam belt cover off and inspect the INSIDE of the belt. Look for cracks where the teeth meet the belt. Look for rounded tooth profiles. Check for contamination from oil or antifreeze, discoloration etc...................

    Have a little faith in the design of the car. 308's are one of the toughest out there and from what I have read on this site have taken huge amounts of abuse and keep on running.
     
  16. christopher

    christopher Formula 3

    Nov 29, 2003
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    Christopher
     
  17. dakharris

    dakharris Two Time F1 World Champ

    Jun 7, 2001
    29,441
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    The belt probably won't break. However, the teeth will break off, causing the belt to slip. The result is just as disastrous. I'm told that valves are $150 each (plus gaskets and other misc. parts and maybe a piston or two) and almost that much per hour to install. My mechanic, with an obvious bias toward service, recommends changing belts every five years on cars that sit most of the time. For daily drivers, 10 years or 30K miles. I recently had my belts done while the engine was out for other reasons. The belts were five years-old and had no more than 5K miles. The teeth weren't breaking off or anything, but they were more brittle than the new belts. I wouldn't have changed the belts at this time, but it was a "no-brainer" to change the belts while I was doing everything else.
     
  18. yelcab

    yelcab F1 World Champ
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    Nov 29, 2001
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    Not quite that bad. $30-$35 a valve of modern better material too. $8 for SI-Valve guides. Gasket set is $750.
     
  19. dakharris

    dakharris Two Time F1 World Champ

    Jun 7, 2001
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    Actually, Sodacom's lists intake valves for $53 and exhaust for $80. Ferrari UK on the Owner's site lists them at approx. $45 and $95, respectively. I'm rounding pounds to dollars. However, if valves are hitting pistons and the head has to come off, there is a good chance that one will need (or want)to replace valve guides at $30, valve seats at $20, valve seals at $7. You can do new springs at $20 each. I think that's where I got the idea that it was $150.
     

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