Timing belt acticle | FerrariChat

Timing belt acticle

Discussion in 'Technical Q&A' started by seschroeder, Dec 11, 2003.

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, Skimlinks, and others.

  1. seschroeder

    seschroeder Formula Junior

    Apr 25, 2002
    Alexandria, VA
    Full Name:
    Steve Schroeder
    This appeared in www.VeloceToday.com yesterday. Comments?
    "Great article on the 308 cam belt replacement job. It is always important to get the word out about something that could lead to catastrophic results if not attended to. In fact, after more than a decade of having an unwritten rule of changing timing belts at least every 5 years, Ferrari recently revised its timing belt replacement cycle to 3 years or 30,000 miles, whichever comes first. This requirement has also been incorporated in Ferrari's new certified pre-owned warranty program which was recently released. The new program requires authorized dealers to replace cam belts if they have to be done according to this new timetable within the next 6 months. Therefore, a 360 that is more than 30 months old since its initial sale has to have new cam belts in order for Ferrari to allow the authorized dealer to sell the car as a certified pre-owned with a warranty.
    Werner Pfister"
  2. tifosi

    tifosi F1 Veteran
    Lifetime Rossa

    Sep 5, 2001
    Full Name:
    Tom D
    thanks, I think someone posted this last week
  3. Verell

    Verell F1 Veteran
    Consultant Owner

    May 5, 2001
    Groton, MA
    Full Name:
    Verell Boaen
    The link has the quoted post, plus a post referencing a WP rebuild.
    How can I access the referenced articles?
  4. Steve King

    Steve King F1 Rookie

    Feb 15, 2001
    Funny when I called Nick at Forza last year he told me his rule of thumb was 3 years or 30k miles. Ahead of his time.
  5. Morrie

    Morrie Karting

    Nov 4, 2003
    Does anyone have more background on this? Does it apply to all belted F-cars? Have there been failures in fewer than five years, that led to this new policy?

    I have been told by knowledgable mechanics that originally the time period was ten years, but that there were a few failures in a shorter period, which led to the five-year policy.
  6. f355spider

    f355spider F1 World Champ
    Owner Rossa Subscribed

    May 29, 2001
    Strange...but I know that Marenello Consesionaires (sp) also recommends the 3 years, 30k miles interval for all Ferraris with timing belts. The factory manual for my 87 328 GTS actually recommends a timing belt change at 52.5K miles with NO MILEAGE restriction, contrary to current recommendations. I still go with the 5 year 30k rule, which has worked fine on my previous 308 and current 328. But I always change based on miles, since I drive 10k miles a year, the years thing doesn't apply.
  7. seschroeder

    seschroeder Formula Junior

    Apr 25, 2002
    Alexandria, VA
    Full Name:
    Steve Schroeder
    www.VeloceToday.com has several articles on belts, etc. The site is free and one can sign-up for free updates. Some interesting stuff, some goofy stuff but certainly worth a look.

    Clear skies

    Steve Schroeder
  8. Wayne 962

    Wayne 962 Formula Junior
    Rossa Subscribed

    Nov 27, 2003
    Egads - do you guys think that the rubber goes bad on the timing belts every three years? Is there another car out there that uses timing belts that requires this change? I know my Pathfinder doesn't and it has an engine that is very similar to my 308 (if not 1/30th the cost).

  9. Doody

    Doody F1 Veteran

    Nov 16, 2001
    MA USA
    Full Name:
    Mr. Doody
    just 'cuz a manual doesn't have a time conversion for such stuff doesn't mean a belt will last forever. entropy happens.

    apparently FSpA is fixing the confusion now, in part related to the new aftermarket warranty stuff they're doing. three years is the stated norm i think for all the cars now.

    by all accounts werner pfister is a nice guy, but he's also an authorized dealer who stands to make good money on these, perhaps, excessive belt changes.

    there are one or two folks on this board who have had 355 belts go, with expensive repurcussions. though i don't know the particulars (primarily track cars; the belts went after six years; wahtever - i dunno).

    through diggings by myself and others with authorized service shops and independents, i have yet to find any single example anywhere on planet earth of a 550 timing belt breaking. ever. not a single one on the globe. also, unless i'm mistaken, i have NEVER heard of any owner doing a maranello belt service inside of five years. ever. the only time i've heard of them being done sooner is if it's part of a sale by the dealer.

    the 8s are kept rev'd higher than the 12s, so i can believe they might be a bit more prone to failure (a bit; maybe).

    unless someone can corner a senior engineer from FSpA and beat an answer out of him, i don't think we'll get serious scientific data on this one - it'll remain conjecture and folklore like so much of the ferrari mystique. sheesh.

    hey, the tractors use chains....... ya gotta give 'em props for that.

  10. Wayne 962

    Wayne 962 Formula Junior
    Rossa Subscribed

    Nov 27, 2003
    I agree. Unless the cars are left out in the hot Arizona sun straight for three years, I can't see any reason that the belts would need to be changed. You have to keep in mind too that Ferrari may be publishing this from a legal perspective to protect themselves against any liability that may arrise. If a timing belt blows up an engine now, and the owner did not replace it in the last three years, they now have a paragraph that they can point to.

  11. seschroeder

    seschroeder Formula Junior

    Apr 25, 2002
    Alexandria, VA
    Full Name:
    Steve Schroeder
    I agree that this new "policy" is, in all likely hood, more to protect Ferrari than anything else. I can't speak for other cars but I know that on 308s the crankshaft driven timing belt pulleys are subject to the bearings going bad. The result is that the timing belt will skip a tooth, or more, resulting in the same as a timing belt breaking. When I had the belts changed on my 82 GTSi Norwoods, (in Dallas) found the bearing bad a replaced them. Perhaps there is more to this than just changing the belts but a close inspection of the entire timing belt drive system.

    Steve Schroeder
  12. ernie

    ernie Two Time F1 World Champ
    Lifetime Rossa Owner

    Nov 19, 2001
    The Brickyard
    Full Name:
    The Bad Guy
    What a crock. Just another way for these guuys to try a squeeze more money out of owners. But they won't be getting my dough, cause I do my own work. I have just about 60,000 miles on my commuter car since it's belt was changed. It sees the red line at least five times a week, and I am not worried about it busting one bit. Why is it that almost EVERY OTHER car on the market that uses timing belts recomends changing them every 60,000 miles, and now Ferrari is saying 30,000. Are they telling us that they are charging us THOUSANDS of dollars for cheap parts that will fail? Yet other "lesser" manufactures use superior parts at an extreamly better price that last longer. I tell you what it is, it is nothing more than a scam to help the dealers make more money. Pure and simple. I wouldn't be surprised one bit if the same company that makes timing belts for, Oooooh.... lets say..... Toyota, makes them for Ferrari. Don't believe the hype.
  13. Dave

    Dave F1 Rookie

    Apr 15, 2001
    Little Rock
    Full Name:
    David Jones
    Well, I have seen a number of vehicles that have had the timing belt mishaps... Not just Ferrari.
    And it happens for different reasons, rubber rot, cord rot, seized tension bearings, a little rock stuck in the wrong place that rubs a channel in the belt letting moisture attack the cords, bad cam seals, the list goes on...
    Now I'm not telling anyone that they have to change their cam belt every three years,
    but a little common sense goes a long way.
    Some people take car maintenance seriously,
    and some people just add a quart of oil when it is low...
    In the end, It is your car, it is your decision.
  14. Mark 328

    Mark 328 Formula Junior

    Nov 6, 2003
    Orange, Ca
    Full Name:
    Mark Foley
    My $.02 on timing belts:
    I have not pesonally experienced a timing belt failure on an Fcar, but I have on other cars. The belt that failed on me was a after market (Dayco) belt with 115K miles on it. The aftermarket belt did not have cloth fibers woven into the teeth area and the factory (Chrysler) did. The factory Fcar belt (Perrelli) that I saw had fiber woven from the belt into the teeth.
    Combining my failure experience and several others, the belts seem to tend to fail at idle; this makes sense because at idle there is much less rotational inertia present in the system. Therefore I'm not sure of the effect of RPMs on belt failures? If you look at the belt while it is running, it does not move real fast.
    When my belt failed the teeth simply were ground-off around the crankshaft. Other then missing a few teeth, the belt looked good. If the cloth fibers were woven into the teeth, I'm sure my belt would not have failed at that time. It goes to show that a visual inspection cannot predict a belt failure.
    With the Fcar, however, the cost of a failure could be significant so this cost has to be included into the equation when considering durations for timing belt changes. Also, I do know a 308 owner who had over 57K miles on an original 308QV timing belt. I have not seen him for a couple of years so I don't know if he changed it yet!
    For my own edification, I would appreciate hearing from any chatters that know details of an Fcar timing belt failure.

  15. Doody

    Doody F1 Veteran

    Nov 16, 2001
    MA USA
    Full Name:
    Mr. Doody
    you pushed a timing belt 115K miles?

    man, you've got a pair, dude!

  16. Dave

    Dave F1 Rookie

    Apr 15, 2001
    Little Rock
    Full Name:
    David Jones
    "I would appreciate hearing from any chatters that know details of an Fcar timing belt failure."

    I know the details of several, but in the end its all pretty simple.
  17. parkerfe

    parkerfe F1 World Champ

    Sep 4, 2001
    Cumming, Georgia
    Full Name:
    Franklin E. Parker
    I have personally known of a 355 and a TR that had a timing belt break and cause mucho dollars in damage. The 355 happened after only about 5k miles whereas the TR happened after a little more than 30k miles. Both happened well before 5 years though. The 355 was caused by a tensioner bearing failure and the TR by a cam seal leak . The TR owner had been warned that he needed to repair the leak for months before the failure.
  18. atheyg

    atheyg Guest

    Ever had a serpentine belt or regular wp,alt, etc. belt fail on a standard vehicle?
    Belts are belts and they fail, each case is differerent due to many factors, oil leaks on belts, climate conditions, driving styles,bad luck, 30k is a long time on a belt that if it breaks causes expensive results.

    If you pay close attention to your car for unusual sounds or oil leaks it will reduce your risk for failure, something many don't do.
  19. Ken

    Ken F1 World Champ

    Oct 19, 2001
    Arlington Heights IL
    Full Name:
    As part of the chain gang, I'm glad this is a non issue to me. After reading about belts in F cars for years, I think there is a huge difference in running TO the red line and running AT the red line. On the track you're stressing the car 10 times or more what street driving does. Cars that are tracked are race cars and need race car TLC.

    Most 308 DIYers say the bearings are the weak link, not the belt itself.

    Belts seemed like a good idea at the time and also pay for your mechanics kids college, but from a street point of view they are stupid. Race car technology on a street car is not always a good thing. What you lose in power from a chain's inertia is more than offset by the lack of expensive maintainence.
  20. vincenzo

    vincenzo F1 Rookie

    Nov 2, 2003
    Mark 328 had a failure with a Dayco belt. The belt had no 'fibers' running thru the belt's teeth.

    Right now, I have a Dayco belt set for a TR (from T. Rutlands) waiting for installation. These belts have no apparent 'fiber' running through the teeth.

    Can anybody check a set of old TR belts and describe the fiber reinforcement in the factory belts?

    Thanks in advance,
  21. Dr_ferrari

    Dr_ferrari Formula 3
    Consultant Professional Ferrari Technician

    Nov 2, 2003
    Pocono Sportscar
    Full Name:
    Jim McGee
    In my opinion, If my own personal ferrari, It is best to change/check the belt drive system every 3 years, 30,000 miles. especially for the 348/mondial t engine which has a very large belt that also drives the water pump.

    The shorter belt types (ie.. 308, 355, TR...etc...) should be good for 5 years, but i would still keep the 30k mile interval.

    As others have pointed out, the belts at that interval do not appear excessivly worn, But, There have been some situations that the belt was damaged and not detected, tensioner bearings in poor condition, Oil leakage, belt tension incorrect, etc.... that will be found at the 30k interval.

    And lets face it, these are Ferraris, and they ARE driven hard by most owners, some taking them to track events, All of which contributes to timing belt drive system wear or damage.

    Best regards, Jim McGee
  22. Darolls

    Darolls F1 Veteran

    Jul 2, 2003
    Full Name:

    Someone is trying to cover their ass, and get out of doing warranty work, if prescribed service intervals aren't adhered to.

    Next thing we'll see is that belts need to be swapped every 6 days, or 6 miles. If they aren't, your warranty is void!

    The whole thing is ludicrous, unless you're tracking you car/cars.
  23. Doc

    Doc Formula Junior

    Sep 13, 2001
    Latham, New York
    Full Name:
    Bill Van Dyne
    I'm not a mechanic but I would bet dollars to donuts that the original statement in the manual is accurate--ie around 50k miles--unless a car is constantly redlined and track driven frequently. Re: time , again assuming fairly normal street driving, one of the best Ferrari mechanics I know stated that 5 years would be safe.

    Of course, the cost of a failure is so great that most , including myself, will be conservative on this issue and change the belts more frequently than the manual states.However, theoretically, I bet it would be safe to to follow the manual assuming the car is driven regularly and sanely.
  24. LP400S

    LP400S Formula 3

    May 18, 2002
    West Coast
    FWIW, I just changed my cam belts and tensioners last month. The last time they were done was in 1992 and the car has been driven around 5k miles since.. They still looked and felt like new. No cracking dry rot etc.. The bearings were in good shape also. I think changing them every 3 years regardless of miles is ridiculous. These are my old belts.
  25. vincenzo

    vincenzo F1 Rookie

    Nov 2, 2003
    #25 vincenzo, Dec 13, 2003
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017
    From the photo, it appears that there are no 'fibers' in the teeth - only in the belt itself. Is that true?

    BTW... all this discussion on 'when' to change timing belts is interesting. Thought I'd cut thru the muck & rumor.

    Included is a picture from the 1990 TR owner's manual. The manual clearly states:

    "Change timing belts every 30k miles ot TWO years.... MAXIMUM."

    Have Fun,
    Image Unavailable, Please Login

Share This Page