Lifetime timing belt - I don't think so!

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Lifetime timing belt - I don't think so!

vexorg

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Aug 14, 2021
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Lifetime fitment means long enough so that there's no comeback on the manufacturer when it does fail.

My citroen timing belt is 10 years or 150k miles, which is more than most.
 

chris3234

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Oct 22, 2017
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Thanks Jack. Just went out and had a look at mine:

View attachment 220251

Halleluja, looks like I've got one! It's the black plug at the back of the tank. Looking inside the tank I can see the two probes extending vertically downwards but didn't come out well on a picture. Just need to identify which of the dash lights identifies it now.

Just googled it and I see it looks like a wee thermometer floating in some coolant. Also it displays a written warning on the wee mini panel between the dials. Level has never budged since she was new so presumably Ok. I would hope she needs to get a few more miles on her and a bit more "geriatric" before these sort of problems start kicking in but nice to know she's got this wee feature.
Just be glad you don't have one of the more modern ones with with silica gel packets that Burst open blocking up the cooling system and heat matrix
 

s130

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What I find interesting is that those Harley Davidson and other makes with huge 1.5L high torque engines use cam/drive belts as final drive delivery mechanisms.. Not chains, not direct drive but rubber/Kevlar/synthetic composite belts and they seem to be reliable.
 

vexorg

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In general belts are quieter and more effeicent that chains.
 
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Pugglt Auld Jock
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What I find interesting is that those Harley Davidson and other makes with huge 1.5L high torque engines use cam/drive belts as final drive delivery mechanisms.. Not chains, not direct drive but rubber/Kevlar/synthetic composite belts and they seem to be reliable.
Yes I've wondered about that too. I notice the rear sprocket is quite large diameter but I've not yet seen the one on the gearbox output shaft. My guess is it too is going to be much larger than a typical chain sprocket. Also there's a reasonable width to them so when you think about it the much larger diameter plus width must add up to a significant surface area of tooth in contact and that's applying to all the teeth for half the diameter of the sprocket. Even so there's going to be a lot of torque to handle during a quick take off in a low gear. I've not see a serious Harley drag bike with a belt drive?
 

DaveMcT

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The failed belt on my Fiat twin cam has not separated, the back face looked perfectly good. The teeth however were cracking and a section had stripped out leaving me with a load of bent valves. The working side of the auxiliary belt was also cracking (probably as old as the cam belt) so could be a clue when checking an engine.
 

DaveMcT

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In general belts are quieter and more effeicent that chains.
Roller chains are only noisy when the tensioners and/or the slipper guides have failed. However, a worn chain will cause the timing to retard which might be enough to affect engine efficiency. A worn chain will also take out the slipper guides with predictable results.

Chains running in oil are are also extremely efficient.

The issue for cam drives is the shock loading at low revs as the valves are opened. This is why twin row chains are so much longer lasting.
 

RalphM

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I've seen 2 or 3 Harleys with broken belts but it seems more to do with
stones flicked up from the road and getting between the belt and pully
than anything else.
 

RalphM

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The early Ford over head cams were fun, at first they said it would last
the life of the engine, but they were snapping between 30 and 40 thousand,
not only that but they were doing cam followers as well, you got a kit, a cam
set of followers a can of SPT oil treatment and a new spray bar with bigger holes
for the cam, but the cam had to be taken out from the back of the head due
to that having the biggest bearing, so it was head off or boar a hole in the bulkhead
and slide it out into the car, such fun.
 
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Pugglt Auld Jock
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The early Ford over head cams were fun, at first they said it would last
the life of the engine, but they were snapping between 30 and 40 thousand,
not only that but they were doing cam followers as well, you got a kit, a cam
set of followers a can of SPT oil treatment and a new spray bar with bigger holes
for the cam, but the cam had to be taken out from the back of the head due
to that having the biggest bearing, so it was head off or boar a hole in the bulkhead
and slide it out into the car, such fun.
You're talking about the Pinto I'd guess? Think it used to come out towards the bulkhead? I helped build a mildly "breathed on" version which we installed into a Mk2 escort. However as it was a long time ago and built up out of the vehicle I don't remember any particular problems. It was built too a sort of "fast road" spec and we purchased a cam kit from Kent Cams if I remember correctly. Might have been very similar to this: https://www.burtonpower.com/kent-ca...mHKQRcnAt3VTnpu5-jZ7DlbZEuwlx0rAaAizzEALw_wcB
Never had any problems with the followers and lobes wearing but I daresay they are more careful with hardening etc compared to the standard item. The owner bought a couple of side draught Dellortoes for it - probably an overkill for the state of tune but it made an absolutely glorious sound!

Although we were a BL dealer, renewing cams and followers in these engines was a very common job in our workshop and It's just coming back to me that after a wee while the new cams started coming with a dark finish on the cam lobes rather than being highly polished. These cams seemed to last much better. You could also get roller follower kits for them but I've no experience of them. I think one of the big contributors to the cams/followers wearing out - apart from people not doing oil changes when needed - was that the clearances were a bit of a faff to adjust, especially getting at the locknuts on the adjusters that were obstructed by the standard fit downdraught carb, so people just didn't do them. It was very common to hear them knocking away on Cortinas as they went past!
 

Popitinpete

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Messages
273
You're talking about the Pinto I'd guess? Think it used to come out towards the bulkhead? I helped build a mildly "breathed on" version which we installed into a Mk2 escort. However as it was a long time ago and built up out of the vehicle I don't remember any particular problems. It was built too a sort of "fast road" spec and we purchased a cam kit from Kent Cams if I remember correctly. Might have been very similar to this: https://www.burtonpower.com/kent-ca...mHKQRcnAt3VTnpu5-jZ7DlbZEuwlx0rAaAizzEALw_wcB
Never had any problems with the followers and lobes wearing but I daresay they are more careful with hardening etc compared to the standard item. The owner bought a couple of side draught Dellortoes for it - probably an overkill for the state of tune but it made an absolutely glorious sound!

Although we were a BL dealer, renewing cams and followers in these engines was a very common job in our workshop and It's just coming back to me that after a wee while the new cams started coming with a dark finish on the cam lobes rather than being highly polished. These cams seemed to last much better. You could also get roller follower kits for them but I've no experience of them. I think one of the big contributors to the cams/followers wearing out - apart from people not doing oil changes when needed - was that the clearances were a bit of a faff to adjust, especially getting at the locknuts on the adjusters that were obstructed by the standard fit downdraught carb, so people just didn't do them. It was very common to hear them knocking away on Cortinas as they went past!
Yes remember them and the vauxhall J type engine, early 80s to mid 90s had the cams knocking their heads off too, Ford pintos and the vauxhalls
 
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Yes remember them and the vauxhall J type engine, early 80s to mid 90s had the cams knocking their heads off too, Ford pintos and the vauxhalls
I think the Vauxhalls were one of the first to move away from 20w50 oil and specify 10w40 for those engines. A work colleague bought a brand new Belmont (Astra with a boot) and immediately changed the oil for 20w50. "I'm not having any of that thin stuff in my engine." Had it serviced at the dealer while under warranty, then each time, took it home and immediately changed the oil again.
At about 2 yrs old, the camshaft seized. The thicker oil failed to get through to the head until the engine was quite hot, leaving the cam unlubricated on every cold start. Vauxhall took an oil sample, and said no to any out of warranty help.
We cruelly laughed. He vowed to never buy another Vauxhall.
 
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Pugglt Auld Jock
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Yes remember them and the vauxhall J type engine, early 80s to mid 90s had the cams knocking their heads off too, Ford pintos and the vauxhalls
If that was the OHC with the hydraulic followers then I had a 1.8 SXI estate with that engine and I too remember hearing them with the follower problem knockings. Knowing this I changed my oil more frequently than Vauxhall recommended and never had a problem. Owned it for about 6 years and it was quite a rapid wee beastie. Until I unfortunately set fire to the carpet and nearside front seat when trying to take a short cut welding the floor (chocked the carpet away from the floor with wooden blocks instead of removing it). The seats in the SXI were very nice seats and I couldn't find a replacement so sold the car to a friend who'd been pestering me for years to buy it from me. He fitted a set of Corbeaus to it and very nice it looked too.

Another engine I remember of "flawed" design was the slant 4 Vauxhall used in the Victors and CF vans. The oil pump was located right under the distributor, quite high up on the block and, I think, had problems sucking the oil up from the sump at first start - especially if left for some time without running. I remember hearing slight big end knock on sales cars which had maybe been lying in the back yard for a while when you first fired them up and from time to time there'd be one in the workshop with it's sump pan off, although I never worked on that engine, not even to do a cam belt. I also remember the muttered swearing you'd hear when one of "the lads" was trying to get the plugs out, 'specially on the CF van, as they "hid" down on the N/S due to the slant and the engine being tucked partially under the bulkhead. They were small diameter taper seat plugs with long threaded portions and quite well known for snapping off at the taper leaving the threaded portion behind in the head.
 
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Another engine I remember of "flawed" design was the slant 4 Vauxhall used in the Victors and CF vans.
When running properly, that was a nice engine, but as you say, potential problems always lurking.
A neighbour had a Victor with this engine. Arriving home one Friday, as he turned the engine off, there was a 'clunk'. Cleverly, he decided to investigate before attempting a restart. Opening the bonnet, he saw the cambelt hanging and broken. I suppose the shock of the stop was the last straw for it.
Next day he got a new belt, popped it on, and tried to start the engine. Some slight engine movement and a thud. Assuming a low battery, with the aid of a friend, they attached a rope and towed it along the street, up came the clutch, rat-a-tat and lots of bent valves. He had just popped the belt on as was, without thinking about aligning any timing marks. Oops!
 
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Pugglt Auld Jock
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When running properly, that was a nice engine, but as you say, potential problems always lurking.
A neighbour had a Victor with this engine. Arriving home one Friday, as he turned the engine off, there was a 'clunk'. Cleverly, he decided to investigate before attempting a restart. Opening the bonnet, he saw the cambelt hanging and broken. I suppose the shock of the stop was the last straw for it.
Next day he got a new belt, popped it on, and tried to start the engine. Some slight engine movement and a thud. Assuming a low battery, with the aid of a friend, they attached a rope and towed it along the street, up came the clutch, rat-a-tat and lots of bent valves. He had just popped the belt on as was, without thinking about aligning any timing marks. Oops!
Oops indeed PB. It was a "flat" head I seem to remember? (no combustion chambers in the head?) so I'm sure it would make a good job of bending them! - hope you had a nice time over Christmas. I remember being quite surprised when Lotus developed a version of that engine. I had a sneaking longing for the Mark 1 Ventora with it's silky smooth straight six. which I thought it was a bonny looking car even if it didn't handle too brilliantly. Thinking back to Cortinas Do you remember doing rear axle bushes on the MK3 and 4? They seemed to need done at every MOT. I remember that was the first proper bush extracting and refitting kit the boss reluctantly bought for us!
 

Popitinpete

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Messages
273
I think the Vauxhalls were one of the first to move away from 20w50 oil and specify 10w40 for those engines. A work colleague bought a brand new Belmont (Astra with a boot) and immediately changed the oil for 20w50. "I'm not having any of that thin stuff in my engine." Had it serviced at the dealer while under warranty, then each time, took it home and immediately changed the oil again.
At about 2 yrs old, the camshaft seized. The thicker oil failed to get through to the head until the engine was quite hot, leaving the cam unlubricated on every cold start. Vauxhall took an oil sample, and said no to any out of warranty help.
We cruelly laughed. He vowed to never buy another Vauxhall.
Yes I remember now manufactures started to focus on oil viscosity a lot more, only seemed to effect the 1.3 and 1.6 engines I think, the bigger 1.8 and 2.0 never seemed to suffer, my 8v astra GTE was a brilliant engine, very quick
 

Popitinpete

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Messages
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If that was the OHC with the hydraulic followers then I had a 1.8 SXI estate with that engine and I too remember hearing them with the follower problem knockings. Knowing this I changed my oil more frequently than Vauxhall recommended and never had a problem. Owned it for about 6 years and it was quite a rapid wee beastie. Until I unfortunately set fire to the carpet and nearside front seat when trying to take a short cut welding the floor (chocked the carpet away from the floor with wooden blocks instead of removing it). The seats in the SXI were very nice seats and I couldn't find a replacement so sold the car to a friend who'd been pestering me for years to buy it from me. He fitted a set of Corbeaus to it and very nice it looked too.

Another engine I remember of "flawed" design was the slant 4 Vauxhall used in the Victors and CF vans. The oil pump was located right under the distributor, quite high up on the block and, I think, had problems sucking the oil up from the sump at first start - especially if left for some time without running. I remember hearing slight big end knock on sales cars which had maybe been lying in the back yard for a while when you first fired them up and from time to time there'd be one in the workshop with it's sump pan off, although I never worked on that engine, not even to do a cam belt. I also remember the muttered swearing you'd hear when one of "the lads" was trying to get the plugs out, 'specially on the CF van, as they "hid" down on the N/S due to the slant and the engine being tucked partially under the bulkhead. They were small diameter taper seat plugs with long threaded portions and quite well known for snapping off at the taper leaving the threaded portion behind in the head.
Yes same here my 1.8 astraGTE had no problems.
Another bad vauxhall to suffer was the viva 1.3, my mates first car, he bought it to me because it "sounded tinny", took the rocker box off and found the pushrods had bored through the pressed steel rockers.
The parts bloke at the dealers just got them off the shelf and said " we sell thousands of them" think I had to set them with engine running or was that my ascona 1.9 🤔
 

Popitinpete

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Messages
273
When running properly, that was a nice engine, but as you say, potential problems always lurking.
A neighbour had a Victor with this engine. Arriving home one Friday, as he turned the engine off, there was a 'clunk'. Cleverly, he decided to investigate before attempting a restart. Opening the bonnet, he saw the cambelt hanging and broken. I suppose the shock of the stop was the last straw for it.
Next day he got a new belt, popped it on, and tried to start the engine. Some slight engine movement and a thud. Assuming a low battery, with the aid of a friend, they attached a rope and towed it along the street, up came the clutch, rat-a-tat and lots of bent valves. He had just popped the belt on as was, without thinking about aligning any timing marks. Oops!
Oh no! 😁
 

Popitinpete

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Messages
273
Oops indeed PB. It was a "flat" head I seem to remember? (no combustion chambers in the head?) so I'm sure it would make a good job of bending them! - hope you had a nice time over Christmas. I remember being quite surprised when Lotus developed a version of that engine. I had a sneaking longing for the Mark 1 Ventora with it's silky smooth straight six. which I thought it was a bonny looking car even if it didn't handle too brilliantly. Thinking back to Cortinas Do you remember doing rear axle bushes on the MK3 and 4? They seemed to need done at every MOT. I remember that was the first proper bush extracting and refitting kit the boss reluctantly bought for us!
Mk3 cortina void bushes on the front too
 
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Oops indeed PB. It was a "flat" head I seem to remember? (no combustion chambers in the head?) so I'm sure it would make a good job of bending them! - hope you had a nice time over Christmas. I remember being quite surprised when Lotus developed a version of that engine. I had a sneaking longing for the Mark 1 Ventora with it's silky smooth straight six. which I thought it was a bonny looking car even if it didn't handle too brilliantly. Thinking back to Cortinas Do you remember doing rear axle bushes on the MK3 and 4? They seemed to need done at every MOT. I remember that was the first proper bush extracting and refitting kit the boss reluctantly bought for us!
Never had to do any MK3 cortina bushes, managed to keep well away.
The Ventora 3.3 6cyl was a great engine, so much torque. Quite an old engine, all iron, so very heavy. We had an early Ventora with that engine as a workshop hack for a time. Was traded in, not a retail prospect, but no trader wanted it. We used it to tow the car trailer. Could put anything on the trailer and it would pull it without any trouble. 3-speed manual box, column change, and a front bench seat. The passenger door seemed so far away.
 
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