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Why an engine out service every 15K miles?

Discussion in 'Technical Q&A' started by notoboy, Dec 19, 2003.

  1. notoboy

    notoboy F1 Rookie

    Jul 8, 2003
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    David
    Why do Ferraris need new belts every 15k miles? I've asked this question and received different answers. The answers have been:
    - Factory says so
    - High revving engines need new belts sooner
    - Hi Performance engines need frequent surveillance
    - Ferraris engines are junk (I'd personaly like to think not, however)
    What is the real reason? Other high revving engines have belts that don't need changing this regularly (Porsches, Hondas, etc), so why is it necessary on Ferraris?

    I'm asking because its been 4 years and 16k since the last engine out service for my TR, and its time again. The car runs great, and I have recently changed the accessory belts, and everything else that needed/s changing. Do I really have to spend $6500+ to change the cam belt now??? I am definitely not comfortable doing this by myself, and even if I was, I don't have a place to do it - my 66 MGB is sooo much easier to work on.

    The TR has 42K on it presently. Can I realistically wait till 50k, or do I honestly risk blowing the belt (and engine) if I don't? I would love to have answers...

    Thanks,
    David
     
  2. Dave

    Dave F1 Rookie

    Apr 15, 2001
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    The short answer is... A Ferrari does not need an engine out belt service every 15k miles.
     
  3. notoboy

    notoboy F1 Rookie

    Jul 8, 2003
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    Dave,
    Please elaborate, bc I'm told that the belt cannot be changed on a TR without removing the engine.
    Thanks again,
    David
     
  4. Doody

    Doody F1 Veteran

    Nov 16, 2001
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    Mr. Doody
    there is no mathematically correct answer as to when the belts need changing.

    it depends on many variables such as how you drive, how you rev, time, climate, temperature, type of belts, etc. etc.

    the factory has to list SOMETHING, right? and they have to list something that is conservative, lest they get beat up. for example, i don't know a single human being who's done their first major (30K w/belts) on a Maranello in what is now the prescribed THREE YEARS. so that's 3 years or 30K miles, whichever comes first. most folks do it in five at the earliest, some as long as seven or longer.

    the older belts were not reinforced like the new ones. so that's a factor too.

    you can find examples of nightmare stories for most models here and elsehwere when some unfortunate soul had a belt blow. remember, these engines are generally not engineered to withstand such a thing (they expect you to replace it conservatively). if you do have a belt go you might end up crashing your valves and that'll cost a lot of money.

    but "entropy happens". belts won't last forever. you have to use some common sense too. i have NO clue how the TR belts are engineered - perhaps someone more clueful than i can chime in on that topic.

    fwiw, i've NEVER heard of a 15K belt interval.

    doody.

    edit: my understanding is that the belt cannot be reasonably changed on a TR without dropping the engine. the 456 and 550 were the first models of recent note to stop that silly behavior.
     
  5. Steve Magnusson

    Steve Magnusson F1 World Champ
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    Jan 11, 2001
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    Well you'll never get THE "answer" because there isn't one. The general (US) rule is 30K miles/5 years (but I think it's come up here that in the UK 2~3 years for the mono-belt 348 is status quo). If you check the TR OM I believe it shows the first belt change at 52.5K miles (and no time limit given). I was at ~30K miles and 6 years on my TR and was going to push it for another year (and another ~5K miles), but a cam seal leak made the decision for me. IMO if you did the service at 5 years (and say 20K miles) you'd be living a very pure (conservative) life (being inside the 30/5 rule) -- JMO (it can blow up anytime ;))
     
  6. Mitch Alsup

    Mitch Alsup F1 Veteran

    Nov 4, 2003
    6,353
    - faster reving engings need belts sooner
    - Ferrari engines are hideously expensive if you break one
     
  7. TOM B

    TOM B Formula 3

    Jul 24, 2003
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    Thomas Buckley

    AMEN !!!!!!

    Dave, Don't get sucked into the "Ferrari cam-belt Bogeyman Syndrome." A belt can last 12 years / 50,000 miles (mine did) or it can break the day after it's installed. Trust your owner's manual. Mine said 52.5M miles. Assume a REASONABLE mileage of 10,000 / year, that's over 5 years. If the car is a garage queen, all bets are off. When a car sits , the belts take a "set" and are severely weakened.

    By the way, my belts looked like they could go another 50,000 miles when they were changed. And this from an authorized, Ferrari dealer's mechanic named Enzo ! Seeing as how I put 20,000 miles / year on the car, some would have me change the belts every six months. Not in this lifetime ! :)

    My plan is to change belts every 50,000 miles.



    Tom
     
  8. jimangle

    jimangle Formula 3

    Nov 5, 2003
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    I think the Ferrari dealers came up with the idea making the 15k service the same as the 30k service because it ultimatley saves them a lot of grief. If the car has been sitting for 8 plus years and has 15 thousand miles on it, then I would advise changing the cam belts. If it's been driven regularly and has 15k miles on it, I personally wouldn't change them. I'm sure back in the day, dealers just inspected the belts and called them good if they didn't look old. Then as the customer drove it about three hundred miles and got on it a little bit, the belts snapped and then all hell breaks loose between the dealer and the customer. I had my water pump belt snap on my 308 and the dealer said that it looked good and that it didn't need replacing. Just imagine your cam belts doing the same thing.
     
  9. PeterS

    PeterS Three Time F1 World Champ
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    Jan 24, 2003
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    As with any component, a belt can leave the factory with a defect and go endetected. I am not a mechanic, but there is no cheaper component on the car that can cause such devistation to ones wallet. Changing a belt every 10-12K miles is sure to give you great piece of mind.
     
  10. Wayne 962

    Wayne 962 Formula Junior

    Nov 27, 2003
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  11. notoboy

    notoboy F1 Rookie

    Jul 8, 2003
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    Thanks for the replies! Haven't decided what to do yet, because my mechanic says that its time, not even having looked at them... hmm.

    The car has 43k+ on it since 91, so I'll probably wait another 6 months to a year before doing it, in hopes of finding a place to try it myself :D

    David
     
  12. NYJETSFAN

    NYJETSFAN Formula 3

    May 11, 2001
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    Jr
    Having 22000 miles on my 348 and having the 15000 dones years ago, would this fall under the same service?

    thanks.
     
  13. racedecknc

    racedecknc Karting

    Nov 24, 2003
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    Ed
    why don't they use chains? Are they deliberately engineering something to keep their service departments busy?

    Ed
     
  14. Octane116

    Octane116 Rookie

    Nov 3, 2003
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    Cliff M.
    I have an 86 TR and am now replacing the "original" cam belts. There is 31,000 miles on the odo. I bought the car with 22,000 on it 4 years ago, so who really knows how many miles are truly on the car. In any event the cam belts were absolutely fine that I removed. Not a single crack, tear or blemish or sign of embrittlement. Kind of a waste of time and money. But I too caved into the stories about how the high rev and engine compartment temps do the belt in. Not to mention the stories I heard about the "aging" damage to them. When I hit 7 grand I would conjure sounds of the pistons kissing the disabled valve train. I will say that you should replace the belt tensioning bearings and the cam seals as well as the front crank seal, because they are not expensive, and like an eariler response, if they are not already leaking will leak before someone has to change the belts again. By the way, your mechanic, that recommended changing the belts is probably thinking Ka ching, a $10,000 plus service job.
     
  15. NYJETSFAN

    NYJETSFAN Formula 3

    May 11, 2001
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    OK, has anyone here ever had a motor let loose cuz they didnt do there 15,000 or 30,000 mile service??? or maybe know anyone that has??
     
  16. Dino

    Dino Karting

    Nov 3, 2003
    116
    San Diego
    ...and has any F-Chat'r had a 355 belt break causing all the piston & engine damage we fear? Has eanyone even heard of such an event? If so, what was the mileage on the belt??
     
  17. f355spider

    f355spider F1 World Champ
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    Dino,
    I think it would be equally important to know the years as well as the mileage, but good question.

    There are plenty of examples of 308/328/Mondial and TR's snapping them over the years on this site and Ferrarilist.

    I think someone here made the great point that there is some sort of distribution of when belts break....and that a very few will break early...but as age and miles accumulate, the propensity to snap increases, so the belt manufacturer and car manufacturer have to come up with a timetable that minimizes the risk of one breaking, while at the same time (one would suppose) of not being unreasonably soon.

    One is free to extend the replacement..but the risk increases...My own thought is that 6 or 7 years is probably not at all unreasonable with the current belt technology used on a 355 or 360...but one must consider that time table is entirely contrary to factory recommedation. For me, these are not of much concern as I drive suffiently to change the belts on my previous 308 and current 328 based on miles (10k per year), time is not a consideration.

    BTW, I bought a 78 308 GTS a few years ago, it had 15k miles on it (garage queen) and the never had a major service...They were 21 years old! You can bet the first thing I had done was a major, along with replacement of all coolant and fuel hoses.
     
  18. ricrain

    ricrain Karting

    Nov 1, 2003
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    Waiting 17 years to change the timing belt sounds a little cheapo to me. FWIW, I've seen several Ferrari motors that suffered the ravages of belt failures (308's, a Mondial QV, a 355, to name a few). All of the belts appear fine on the outside, just as you describe. That was of no consolation to the QV owner that had to pay $13K to have the heads reworked, or the 355 owner that ended up selling the car, because the repairs exceeded his means.

    I will admit that many dealers frighten their customers into the servicing the cars too frequently, but IMHO 5-7 years should be the realistic limit.

    Also, IMHO, anyone charging $10K for a simple TR, 3x8 or 355 belt change is simply screwing you.
     
  19. TOM B

    TOM B Formula 3

    Jul 24, 2003
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    Dave,
    I have a lot of respect for you and feel that we have become Internet friends over the last couple of years but I must call you on this. I fear you are perpetuating an Urban Myth. I've been on this board for 6 mos and Ferrarilist for 3 years and don't recall seeing any thread of a cam belt breaking.

    Tom
     
  20. 355f

    355f Formula Junior

    Nov 1, 2003
    305
     
  21. f355spider

    f355spider F1 World Champ
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    TomB,
    I think I would agree that the term "plenty", may be a bit overblown...
    :) Please excuse. But I can recall at least two instances of individuals discussion their personal instance of breaking a timing belt on Ferrarlist (others were the "I have a buddy who..."). One was definitely a Mondial, the other a 308. On this list, most of the instances have been the "I have a close friend", rather than the actual individual fessing up, but again, probably 8-10 that I have heard discussed, including recently a TR timing belt incident, in which the person discussing it mentioned he was a close friend and would post details of the service history of the car...I don't recall the result of that one.

    My own experience is from dropping by Alfa of Tacoma (local independant Ferrari shop) and seeing at least one or two cars a year (in person) that Carlo is fixing cause the belts broke. He has a 308 in his shop right now. You got me curious now....next time I see him, I'll ask him on average, how many cars he sees a year with a broken timing belt, and what the typical service history is...that is; serviced on time, or way over.
     
  22. AnotherDunneDeal

    AnotherDunneDeal F1 Veteran

    Jun 2, 2003
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    I believe that if you check the owners manual it says that the belts should be inspected at 15k miles or three years. It recommends changing them at 30k miles and implies that it is almost mandatory at 45k miles. 30k or 6-7 years would be an appropriate time because the belt may not look worn but it is getting old and the materials begin to diminish in elasticity and quality over time. You do not want to wait until one breaks and say "I was just trying to get another six months out of it". That is a very expensive six months.

    Agree that 15k is too soon to change them unless the car has been sitting for a prolonged period and that 15k takes 5-6 years.
     
  23. f355spider

    f355spider F1 World Champ
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  24. MS250

    MS250 Two Time F1 World Champ
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    Dec 10, 2003
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    Hi Notaboy and all,
    Great discussion. I have talke dot many Ferrari mech. and some that actually worked in Moden. The major problem with the belts as with other ferrari systems is a mjority of the older cars(pre 355) are and were cream puff gargage cream cars. They all recommended to start the car every 3 weeks and pump brakes...even take it for a quick spin around the block in 1st gear to keep everything moving. This help in the belts and all the bearings form worpping. If done you should be fine with the 6/7 yr rule. As long as the car ran regularly would would probably find other things working better as well. I asked about carbon build up and they said abit of carbon build up was easier to get rid of than paying for expensive repairs due to sitting around.
    my 86 had orginal belts when I purchased in 99 at 20,000miles. Guy let it sit for 4 yrs because he couldn't afford to change then or keep the car. Did them and should be good until 2005.
    Hope this helps !!
     
  25. racerx

    racerx Guest

    Nov 23, 2003
    879
    This same problem is not restricted to ferrari's. My porsche 928 has what was the longest cam belt in use at the time and may still be, some 8 feet. My cars records show that the original was changed in 98 some 14 years and 56k miles after it was first strapped on. So they can last awhile.
    T
     

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