It’s time to change the cambelt

9 Jan

Having been a little disappointed lately with my usual maintenance Garage Chain. They would not, could not, quote for a cambelt change. Plus my favourite mechanic there has left. I got a recommendation from a close, respected friend and he pointed me towards a local, family run garage. The premises were pristine. They specialised, in part, in Mazda MX5 work but also had a thriving MOT station. They were the only garage I visited, out of three others, which mentioned the importance of changing the water pump at the same time as the timing belt and pulley(s) etc., which I was waiting to hear. Their all inclusive quote was equal to the other less impressive garages, so it’s booked in for later this week.

In the past, I would have done this work myself but with other , more pleasant things to keep me busy in this cold spell, I decided to pay up and enjoy my day elsewhere. Indeed, in the past, I replaced the timing chains, hydraulic tensioners and guides on a Porsche 911e 2.4 boxer engine, as part of a total engine rebuild I carried out.The tensioners on the old aircooled engine were known for failure and it was false economy not to do a proper job (to use Cornish parlance!). So, don’t cut corners on this important work on the NV200.

So far as I can judge, the recommendation is to change the timing belt every 5 years or 75,000 miles. So, at 56,000 miles but with 5 years looming, I felt uncomfortable NOT getting it done. I had also been advised at my last major service to get it done as soon as convenient.

I am hoping to feel much more relaxed once it’s done and will report back again with costs etc later. I am probably in for longer term ownership of Dinkum’s Kampa and so it makes sense to keep it maintained to as high a standard as I can. Let us see how we go on. I don’t fancy doing the NC500 or heading for France with a question mark over the timing belt.

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6 Responses to “It’s time to change the cambelt”

  1. Marc February 18, 2018 at 11:26 am #

    How did you get on with the timing belt change from a financial point of view? I’m still looking for a suitable NV200 and I’m planning to buy a 3 year old model. I found out that the interval between cambelt changes is 48 months/4 years (?!) so something to think about when buying.
    Changing a cambelt is something I would never venture into myself and I bow to your superior skills and knowledge.

    • Dinkum February 19, 2018 at 10:00 am #

      Hi Marc, in total the cam belt change including a complete “KIT” with toothed pulley and other belt (s) was just under £300 inc VAT. This price was almost exactly what everyone else quoted. The recommendation for my 5 yo van was 75,000 miles or 5 years whichever came first so I would check on your figures. ALWAYS use the lowest, more frequent change interval. Although I have changed belts and rebuilt many engines, including a 1973 Porsche 911e from bare components , setting up the timing chains and tensioners, with a workshop/garage and the correct instructions it is not that difficult to do if you have the tools and patience. No need to bow to me , my friend LOL a pleasure to help people if I can.

      • Marc February 20, 2018 at 7:18 pm #

        Hi Dinkum,
        Great to hear it wasn’t THAT expensive. I just had the one on my Ford Fiesta changed and that cost me a lot more, would you believe. I’ve seen someone change a cambelt by cutting the old one in half length wise and removing the cut off half, sliding the new one on, and then removing the other old half which was still on. Very clever I thought. Though I doubt whether he changed any of the tensioners or waterpump, which is less clever.
        This is the .pdf I got the 4 year information from. I’ve often found that with cars, different pieces of advice on different official materials. Best thing is to go with your actual manual methinks.
        I had a cambelt snap once, on a car… £1500 or therabouts and quite a while out of the running! Ouch!
        Good to hear you’re still enjoying your NV200.

  2. Dinkum February 20, 2018 at 9:24 pm #

    Marc, that is really interesting and a useful tip if you get caught out somewhere with a nicked or stone damaged belt. In my collection of “antiquities” I have a piston from a 3 litre Porsche 911 Turbo which has a deep dent from a valve (or two) and cracks following a timing chain tensioner which was quite common on neglected boxer engines at one time. That was expensive for my mate LOL Great to hear from you. I appreciate people taking the time to comment. Please do so again!

    • Jon February 26, 2018 at 8:24 am #

      Timing belt changes recommendations are usually pretty conservative for obvious reasons. I am sure you would be OK to go the full interval. I changed one on a ford focus with 190k kms on the clock and I am sure it was the original and that was in a very hot country! Timing is very crude on those engines after working on jags & porkers. You just put a bar in a tapped hole and back the crank web onto it! I could not get the crank nut undone even with an inch drive air gun and had to cut the head off. As for the stretch belts on the engine ancillaries no tensioners…..most modern cars are throwaway toys, as they age the bills get bigger.

    • Jon February 26, 2018 at 8:24 am #

      Timing belt changes recommendations are usually pretty conservative for obvious reasons. I am sure you would be OK to go the full interval. I changed one on a ford focus with 190k kms on the clock and I am sure it was the original and that was in a very hot country! Timing is very crude on those engines after working on jags & porkers. You just put a bar in a tapped hole and back the crank web onto it! I could not get the crank nut undone even with an inch drive air gun and had to cut the head off. As for the stretch belts on the engine ancillaries no tensioners…..most modern cars are throwaway toys, as they age the bills get bigger.

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