When you say "gone" do you mean broken? A broken camshaft timing belt
usually mean a wrecked engine and the car simply won't go.
If it is merely due for replacement, £300 seems excessive. It can cost
£150 if the tensioner and other bits and pieces are replaced at the same
I will second this. Most newer models of Fiats and Alfas (possibly even
Ferarris?) use non metal tensioners and static belt stretchers/pulleys.
This is certainly true post 2000. Pre 1993 was all steel. 93 to 99 one
could have either.
It is the plastic components that become noisy and fail prematurely. This
is definitely true of the toothed wheels (excluding crank and cams which I
believe are all still steel).
The tensioner on the 55S is metal and contains a bearing in the centre
that is protected using side seals. Eventually, the lubication dries
out. The tensioner makes a whirring, high pitched squeal that can
occur on and off. It does not always make the sound on a continuous
basis. There are no other guide wheels. Replacement is about £10
from a motor factors.
If the belt does break, it does no engine damage in the 55S. When
fully open, the valves only reach the level of the cylinder head
gasket. Furthermore, they open directly above cylinder and not in at
an angle, so even if they do hit the piston, it will push them up and
not bend the valve shaft. The gap in the valve shims will take up any
additional upward push.
Belt replacement is very easy - just follow the manual. Twist the
tensioned belt and it will rotate moderately easily through 90o only -
but remember you do not do it at the longest part of the belt (as I
have seen in several places) - this makes no sense as the crank pully
is pulling down on the belt as it goes over the cam wheel. So this
part is always under full tension. You should test it as it leaves
the crank on its way up to the tensioner.
Think yourself lucky mate. £130 for a timing belt change is superb. I've
got a 20v Turbo Fiat Coupe and Fiat want £1200 to change it!! Specialists
can do it for £400 though.
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