Motoring Discussion > Cambelt vs chain Miscellaneous
Thread Author: legacylad Replies: 11

 Cambelt vs chain - legacylad
I’ve often bought cars not knowing which it was, and don’t think it’s ever bothered me. In recent times, about 9 years ago, I bought a short term Focus diesel from a pal in the trade, think it was 11 reg, but very high mileage and cost me £2k. Belt and water pump change cost me £350, but said pal did it in his garage workshop ( where he was senior tech) on a Saturday afternoon.
I only had the car 6 months, and didn’t lose any money on it.
Just curious but does belt/ chain make any difference in this era ?
 Cambelt vs chain - bathtub tom
I've been around long enough to remember when they were 'modern'. My first experience was a Cortina MK3, which was fortunately non-interference, because it broke. I suppose there were accounts of timing chains breaking, but I don't recall any. An earlier Triumph wore grooves in the chain cover due to wear, but it was simple to replace, including a new tensioner.

I later had a Nissan that reputedly had a timing chain made of cheese due to the number that had problems. I don't recall any breakages, just timing issues due to the thing stretching.

I've currently a chain drive, but have no intention of buying anything with a 'belt-in-oil' due to the apparent problems.
 Cambelt vs chain - Terry
The original benefit of belt vs chain was much reduced noise and (I assume) cost - one long component vs hundreds that needed to be assembled with each a potential wear point.

No major manufacturer wants to sell cars with potentially faulty components - they not only cost money to fix when they fail, it damages the brand.

There may have been problems with belt in oil but apparently this has stimulated research into better belt tooth design and improved more resistant materials.

Main takeaway IMHO is don't be an early adopter of anything unless you like increased risk.
 Cambelt vs chain - smokie
Hope it doesn't become a problem in my car!! :-)
 Cambelt vs chain - Zero
Chains stretch, tensioners fail, belts break. Pay your money, take your choice, its all a potential PITA since they did away with cog driven cam shafts and push rods.
 Cambelt vs chain - legacylad

>> Main takeaway IMHO is don't be an early adopter of anything unless you like increased
>> risk.
Exactly that
 Cambelt vs chain - Bobby
This is very topical for me!

Missus’ 2013 Beetle was down at the indies for some work and he has pointed out loads needing done Inc replacing the front subframe.

I also need 4 new tyres with the rears being the originals I’m sure.

I was sitting last night thinking it’s never had timing belt done either so better get that done. Some googling later and it appears that her car is a chain.

But not just any chain. It’s a super - duper improved chain because apparently the earlier 1.2 tsi came with a very problematic chain and so there was a modified version introduced around late 2012.

There is no suggested maintenance or replacement schedules for it so fingers crossed!
 Cambelt vs chain - Rudedog
On many VAG chain engines (like mine) there should be a 'visual inspection' of the plastic tensioner at 100K - and I guess replace where needed. Often one of the first signs a chain may have an issue is a change in sound at tick-over - could be a warning that the plastic tensioner is on the way out.

 Cambelt vs chain - Bromptonaut
PSA diesels mostly had belts which were changed at, IIRC, 48,000 miles on the XUD and the later HDi on my Xantia. The latter one failed, never got wholly to the bottom of it but I suspect the crank pulley failed - they split in two. The first Berlingo had a near miss where one of the idler wheels in the cambelt/water pump drive caused the belt to fray. Fortunately I twigged that what sounded like a nail in a tyre related to engine and not road speed and it was caught.

More recent ones are around 100-120k and I'm religiously observant of that in, most recently, the Berlingo.

My Fabia is something like 60k or 5 years. That on a petrol engine. Not got to 60k yet but well past on time. I think my nerve will fail before the belt does!!
 Cambelt vs chain - Mr Moo
I believe that VAG have recently changed their recommendation for cam belts from something like 5 years or 60,000 miles (whichever comes first) to 140,000 miles and no age limit!

Surprisingly, this appears to apply to all of their engines (petrol and diesel) and assuming that you still have the OEM cam belt fitted, or have had a new VAG replacement done at some point, the new rules apply to your vehicle from late 2023. So there’s seemingly no change / improvement to the cam belt, idlers, pulleys, water pump etc. I’m led to believe that the situation in mainland Europe was different and that VAG UK put in place their own regime of more regular changes. Conveniently for fleets, the earlier approach meant that most cars would have been disposed of by the time a new cambelt was due, but any private owners who were loyal to VAG and their local dealer would have been relieved of >£500 every five years or so for a new cambelt and water pump.
 Cambelt vs chain - VxFan
Makes me laugh when some car manufacturers suggest the cam chain will last the lifetime of the engine.
If the cam chain does fail, it usually means the engine's life is over, unless you're willing to throw loads of money into having it rebuilt.
 Cambelt vs chain - Clk Sec
Mine has lasted over 21 years so far. Fingers crossed.
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