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Would you replace cam belts after 4 years and only 3,800 miles? - Engine/Ancilliaries - The Lotus Forums Jump to content
LotusEspritMike

Would you replace cam belts after 4 years and only 3,800 miles?

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Hello to everybody!

Please, give me your opinions and advice on the issue below as I really don't know what to do in this matter! Any information would be a great help for my decision-making and is highly appreciated indeed!

The cam belts of my V8 were replaced for the last time in January, 2008, and have done only 3,800 miles since then. According to the Owner's Manual the cam belts should be replaced after 24,000 miles resp. after 4 years.

Do I really take any risk of failing cam belts, if I have them just visually checked and, if necessary, have them properly tensioned at an authorized LOTUS service centre, or is a replacement really totally unnecessary in my case?

Here are more details:

I bought the ESPRIT V8 GT from a private seller in June, 2011 (MY 1999; 42,000 miles at that time; 43,700 miles now), who had owned the car for 8 years (third owner). It has an almost complete service history, just the 2010 service is missing. According to the pre-purchase inspector the car was in a very good condition.

In 2008 (39,900 miles), the cam belts were replaced and an "A" service was carried out at LOTUS headquarters in Hethel.

In 2009 (40,900 miles), an "A" service was carried out at a specialist.

The 2010 service is missing.

In January, 2011 (41,900 miles), the last service ("A") was carried out at a specialist.

Thank you very much for your replies!

Best regards,

Mike

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yes yes yes


hindsight: the science that is never wrong

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The fact your asking the question would suggests it worrys you enough, so for peace of mind yes!

Would you rather spend a few hundred than several thousand......unless your into Russian roulette ?


1982 DeLorean DMC 12 #16327, 1999 Lotus Elise, 1998 Lotus Esprit GT3 #2272, 2011 Lotus Evora S, 2013 Lotus Exige S,2016 Lotus Evora 400

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Equation, cost of replacing belts Vs cost of engine rebuild.

Or how to run an expensive Esprit by scrimping on service.


Life is like a sewer, what you get out of it, depends on what you put into it. (Tom Leahrer)

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So what manual is it that says 24Kmiles/4 years? My V8 service notes say 72K miles/8 years. What gives? :huh:


1995 S4s

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I obtained a "Lotus Cars USA" printout from a Lotus dealership (handed directly to me by the UK ex-pat 20 years+ experience Lotus mechanic) in California several years ago that states...

Check/reset tension at 12,000 miles or 18 months, whichever comes first.

Change belts at 36,000 miles or 4.5 years, whichever comes first.

My understanding is that the U.S. cars were placed under more stringent rules, owing to a federal requirement that timing belts (in general) were supposed to last for 90,000 miles. Lotus elected to provide a one time free change of belts before that milestone was reached, and the feds signed off on that compromise.

I think the European sales were allowed extended service intervals, but I'm not certain of this.


Being second is to be the first of the ones who lose.

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Thanks for the info John. I was aware of the free belt change as a concession to meet the federal guidelines but in the 93-97 Service Notes it still lists the same 72K miles/8 years for the Non USA V8's in section OF (Maintenance and Lubrication).

Was there ever a TSB or other official publication after that for Europe or other parts of the world stating a change? Other than the US, did anyone else get the free belt change?


1995 S4s

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Good question, Jim. My gut feeling is that the freebie was a U.S. perk only.


Being second is to be the first of the ones who lose.

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I think that a question that often gets overlooked is how old was the bely before it was fitted on a car?

It could have been sitting on a garage shelf for deteriorating years before it's fitted to your car.

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Just to add to the confusion.

Mine is currently at GST Performance in the UK for a major wallet emptying exercise.

When I talked to Gerald he said that he has just been informed that the cambelt service has now been stated as being 8 years!

Maybe someone can check with the factory and get an official update?

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I think that a question that often gets overlooked is how old was the bely before it was fitted on a car?

It could have been sitting on a garage shelf for deteriorating years before it's fitted to your car.

I think Ralph who knows a great deal on the subject of belts explained to me belts don't really suffer much deterioration on the shelf. Its more once they are installed and under tension with the addition of heat which weakens them. IIRC

Buddsy


 

"Belief is the enemy of knowing" - Crrow777

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The last TSB (2000/18) I can find on this subject is dated 2000 and is for non USA V8's. It drops the replacement requirements down to every 24000 miles (from 72000 miles) or every 4 years (which every comes first). Tension is to be checked every 12000 miles or every 2 years.

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I know it's a PITA but for my 2 cents change it.

You'd kick yourself if you chanced it and it snapped.

I think I used up our collective quota of luck when Sue's cambelt snapped recently and the valves were unscathed.

We only had potentially 16 bent at £50 a pop, you could be facing 32!!

Of course the other factor is , do you plan to keep it?

If you are going to get rid in the next 6 months make it the next owner's quandary. If you plan to keep it for the next ten years buy yourself some peace of mind for the next 4 years?

John

Edited by Mr_John111

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"We only had potentially 16 bent at £50 a pop, you could be facing 32!!"

Pedantic observation for our 4-pot bretheren: the V8's odds of both belts snapping at once are fairly low, thus "only" 16 valves face the possibility of a thrashing.

I've kept my belts "completely in the dark," and they don't know if they're residing in the U.S. or Europe. Enjoy living on the edge, I say... :D


Being second is to be the first of the ones who lose.

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You could have a really good chance of one snapped belt taking out the other belt John. That's a pretty sharp edge you're living on there. :shock:


All we know is that when they stop making this, we will be properly, properly sad.Jeremy Clarkson on the Esprit.

Opinions are like armpits. Everyone has them, some just stink more than others.

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Belts just don't snap without huge neglect or interference. Follow the manual on time or mileage and you'll be fine.

Trevor.


I'll get around to it at some point.

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I had my cam belt changed when i bought my GT3. A few months after that the belt shredded but didn't part.... i was very lucky!

Bad belt perhaps or improperly fitted, who knows but no problems since then.......perhaps that was an old belt when it was fitted????

I only do about 4000 miles a year in the car but i change the belt every 2 years regardless and i always use a Lotus belt....ok, its probably a marked up standard belt but for a few quid extra i am happy to buy a Lotus one.

I would far rather be ahead of schedule rather than on time with an item that can cause carnage if it fails.

Everyone to their own of course but i prefer having the comfort factor of a new belt every 2 years.

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Hi there,

I have done less miles in my car and it's coming upto 4 years for a cambelt. I think I have only done between 600-800 miles a year but I will still change mine as it's age rather than mileage. I can afford to get cam belts replaced but right at this moment, probably couldn't afford a full engine rebuild. I suspect there's many people on here in a similar boat, so my advise would be to get it done.

Regards,

David Walters

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as far as I know 'free of labour/parts charge' belt changes are offered only fot the US market in this period of time.. so 'we' on the not so customer friendly parts of the world have to act with the more strictly rules of 'tension check' after 20.000km and changes done every 60.000km (in some notes it says just only 40.000km -wht me wounders by the way)

anyway -Mike, I would first just inspect the 'base area' of the tooth profile, if you see any sighns of age/cracks there it is a dangerous situation, even if the low overall mileage means it is way of from the limit left.. as the belt-material (mainly the rubber used there on vulcanising/building up the theeth) can degenerate over time. Know this, as I have ignored my change and were *caught by murphys law..* -but it was serious 'over distance' on miles problem there (story is known in our German scene/LCD)


*********************************************************************

to name the things if I see them, that's what I call integrity..

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You could have a really good chance of one snapped belt taking out the other belt John. That's a pretty sharp edge you're living on there. :shock:

Hey, someone has to be the "control group" in any statistical study, Michael. :lol:

Just kidding. I wake up with night sweats at least once a week from bad dreams about snapped belts. The biggest issue for me is not the R&R costs, it's finding a mechanic who knows WTF they're doing. So few mechanics have ever performed the V8 procedure.

FWIW (and it's an "apples to oranges" comparison, I freely admit), my boat's V belts (no "teeth," hence the poor comparison) are original from when I purchased it new 22 years ago. No cracks, and still flexible as ever. Granted, it's a "low time" motor compared to most (less than 300 hours), but I have to wonder if belt age alone is that great a culprit.

And yes, I realize it's silly not to replace them (the boat's, that is), but it's become almost a "game" of sorts to see how long they'll last. And I carry an "adjustable length" spare "emergency replacement kit" onboard. If they become visibly distressed, they're headed for the bin.

I'd carry spare timing belts in the Esprit, but I've not yet figured out where to store the lift. :sofa:


Being second is to be the first of the ones who lose.

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I'd replace them and FWIW I get the tension checked every 12 months on mine. I know of 2 V8's that experienced belt failures and the bills came in ~$12K!


Paddle Faster, I hear Banjos!

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Any details you might provide on the failures? One belt, both belts? Time in months since last tension check prior to failure? Lotus dealer or independent shop did last service prior to failure? Mileage numbers (both total and since last check or R&R)? High RPM or low at time of failure? Cold engine, warmed up engine? Lotus belts or Gates? Etc?

TIA


Being second is to be the first of the ones who lose.

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No idea of the details other than both were high rpm during the failure and the valve carnage was impressive (I saw then while they were being rebuilt at Viking Motorsport's).


Paddle Faster, I hear Banjos!

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it's a 1998 , and factory fit last up until around 38.000km-40.000km (previous owner) :

..fault on the intermediate drive pulley lock srew (as some of the engines in this period..see also workshopbook details for recomendation on Nm & glue for exact thightening ), notable piston marking, liners nearly 1/10mm reshaped, severalvalves and most engine parts were reused, as far as I could see

engine/car running mileage on second fault (my time ) : no shops, DIY-services

..111.019km , one side (LH) , a serious overrun in mileage compared with actualized owners manual notes by factory (as I've belts & tensioners not changed, even knowing parts are in the garage and just waiting to get used -only tension checked 'free hand' every around 15.000km )

moderate speed 'uphill' on the Autobahn (100km/ -120km/h) , warm engine, 10% pitch/inclination on the road


*********************************************************************

to name the things if I see them, that's what I call integrity..

*********************************************************************

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Assuming you can verify that the belts do not appear cracked, worn, or glazed, then NO.

No, no, no, no.

3800KM and 4 years: that's a nice 1000 KM/year which should have kept the belts supple enough, assuming regular intervals between use.

People screw with these things waaaaaay too much.


"At home, I have a King Sized bed. Now, I don't know any Kings, but I would imagine if one were to come over, he would be comfortable." -Mitch Hedberg

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