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Cam belt replacement


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Old 13th May 2011   #1
hardya is
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Cam belt replacement

Grand Scenic 2006 2.0 Petrol

I have a letter from a mechanics indicating the manufacturers recommended interval for cambelt replacement, which is correct.

However the main thrust of the letter indicates that from this threshold onwards replacement is vital as the car could break down without any warning and the implied the cost of the repair could be at least £2000 possibly more.

Our other more regular garage did not mention this as upcoming work at the recent service and he did not stress any urgency when we asked him to quote us for it.

1. The repair is expensive (to us at present) and I am trying to assess the level of risk in terms of risk cost ratio.
2. I am also trying to understand (not being an engineer) how an engineering design can allow a part with a known lifetime and replacement interval to cause thousands of pounds of damage on failure. Is there no way to mitigate this in the engineering design?

Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 13th May 2011   #2
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Re: Cam belt replacement

Hi there.

Having recently incurred the cost of replacing the cambelt on my van (which was reached by age, not mileage limits), maybe it would help if I explained my reasoning behind electing to get the work done.

  1. Having worked in the car industry, it is clear that paying for preventative maintenance is far cheaper than paying to fix a fault.
  2. I also had to assess the cost/inconvenience of being without a vehicle (and being unable to work/get to work) whilst parts were being sourced & the work done.
  3. I would have less ability to 'shop around' as it would be an emergency purchase for a vehicle I wouldn't be able to drive to the garage (so I'd have recovery charges also).
  4. I would also have the headache of knowing this was all preventable, and literally my own fault...
Regarding the second part of your enquiry - I used to be sceptical about cambelts, as I believed they were an inherent 'weak link' which forced owners to pay serious amounts of cash. But I'm starting to come around, as chains can fail (equally without warning), and somehow it seems 'better' to have something so vital to your engine's well-being renewed regularly, as other items (changed at the same time) can also cause the belt to fail (such as the water pump).

At the end of the day, it really is your choice & your responsibility to either get the work done or not, not the garage/mechanic's, but I would suggest searching the forum for 'snapped' 'broken' 'failed' cambelt and see the hassle, heartache & expense people have when otherwise good cars are reduced to scrap.


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Old 13th May 2011   #3
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Re: Cam belt replacement

You don***8217;t actually say if you have just bought the car? Unfortunately you must do your home work when buying second hand cars and checking the service record is important. No doubts one of the reasons for previous owners selling a car is wanting to avoid the expense of having the cam belt replaced.

The cam belt service interval is 5 years or 72,000 which ever comes first on the 2.0 Scenic.

Service interval for cam belts vary widely between cars and car manufacturers for instance on some Renault diesels the service interval can be 5 years and 45,000 miles. So I would say an independent garage who see a wide range of cars can be forgiven on not knowing all the specific serviceable data for each individual car they see every day.

I have recently changed a cam belt kit on a 2.0 Scenic the car had done 130,000 miles and was on it's second belt so was under on the mileage for it's third belt but as the last one had been changed back in 2004 was almost 2 years overdue on time. On removing the cam belt cover I was greeted with this sight a split cam belt roller guide which clearly was about to disintegrate at any time which would have caused the cam belt to lose it***8217;s tension and have the same effect as the belt snapping. The engine timing is lost and the valves then collide with the pistons.

Here is a cam belt and guide rollers on a 2.0 Sceic that had done 65,000 miles and was several years past the time service intervals

This caused all the engine valves to get bent even the ones in the back back ground are bent

Though fourtunatley on these engines the valve stems are relativley weak so bend readily out of the way causing little other damage.

I have also repaired another 2.0 Scenic with cam belt failure with only 55,000 but at 7 years old was 2 years over due a cam belt change.

I have just repaired yet another 1.4 16 valve Scenic with cambelt failure 03 reg never had a belt change with 100,000 miles on the clock so had been really runing on borrowed time which a garage had quoted £900 to repair. I bought non OEM parts to repair the engine for under £200 but it took me several days to complete the job.

I think £2000 sounds rather a lot to repair one of these 16 valve renault engines with cam belt failure though even if all the valves where bent.

I don't belive any of the above can be called design failures rubber degrades over time and bearings wear out and plastic rollers can become hard and brittle and break.

All the above IMO are all down to lack of servicing and the owners responsibilty.
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Old 13th May 2011   #4
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Re: Cam belt replacement

Whilst £2000 sounds a lot many garages just take the option of replacing the cylinder head as the cheapest option simply because labour charges have become so high. Also if you factored in the additional costs of belts, water pump, gaskets, etc, it wouldn't be too long to reach scarey figures.

I too am becoming wary about the reliability of timing chains - both Vauxhall and Toyotas ain't without their problems plus when a chain breaks the damage can be much worse than a failing belt.
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Old 13th May 2011   #5
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Re: Cam belt replacement

a full cam belt service kit, inc water pump+aux belt is usually around £60-120
garage costs will vary, starting at £100 to £250

since its due there will be other regular service bits needing to be done on the rest of the car which will push the parts and fitting costs up a bit.

dont risk driving about over this service interval, as the they dont have much tollerance for hard driving over 75k.
(i know i droive mine till 77k and the belt failed)
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belt, cam, replacement

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