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Old 04-07-2010   #1
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Cam belt or chain?

Just recently been looking at cars, and somehow come across debates on what's better: a cam belt, or cam chain?

What are the main advantages and disadvantages? What's the best?

Sad for wanting to find out, I know.
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Old 04-07-2010   #2
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Re: Cam belt or chain?

In general chains are more reliable and trouble free however this isn't always the case...ask a nissan micra owner.

Alot of cars also use a combination of belt and chain however if buying secondhand proof of a recent belt change is always a bonus (and belt changes can be very costly)
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Old 05-07-2010   #3
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Re: Cam belt or chain?

Chains often never need changing.

Mum's 1.0 Yaris is timing chain controlled and is a 2001 with 125k on the clock and chain hasn't ever been touched (as per service recomendation).

I think Panda MJ's have chain? But I've heard of one going at 70k.

I'd recomend Chain ftw if it won't ever require maintenance.

Failing that belt, as easier to change.
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Old 05-07-2010   #4
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Re: Cam belt or chain?

Chains are fitted during manufacturing and are generally a "fit and forget" for hopefully the life of the engine. Chain replacement can be expensive depending on the particular engine design. In the Hilman Imp engine (Coventry Climax engine based) then the chain is easily replaced by opening up the existing chain, attatching the new to to old and then hand cycling the engine to thread the new chain through.

On other engines the chain and drives can be buried deep within the block.

Cam belts are generally cheap and very efficient. They are also very suited to high RPM applications and have less mass implications. They do however require routine replacement. Belt replacement is normally very easy and straight forward. However in some engine/vehicle applications, such as the Fiat Coupe 20V & Marea 20V, there is little belt access because of the engine bay width and Fiat recommend engine removal to change the belt(s).

Belts and chains have their merits.
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Old 05-07-2010   #5
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Re: Cam belt or chain?

Quote Originally Posted by Most Easterly Pandas View Post
Chains often never need changing.

Mum's 1.0 Yaris is timing chain controlled and is a 2001 with 125k on the clock and chain hasn't ever been touched (as per service recomendation).

I think Panda MJ's have chain? But I've heard of one going at 70k.
extremely rare for chain to break but they do stretch and suffer tensioner issues.
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Old 06-07-2010   #6
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Re: Cam belt or chain?

Quote Originally Posted by T14086 View Post
extremely rare for chain to break but they do stretch and suffer tensioner issues.
Exactly- especially if not maintained correctly and with the correct spec oil. There's been several cases of Alfa 2.2 JTS (159/Brera) timing chains stretching due to customer's/non-Dealer's using the wrong oil at a service.
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