SaturnFans.com
what's new (beta) - classifieds - forums - photos


Go Back   SaturnFans.com Forums > Models > Saturn S-Series > S-Series Tech
Register FAQ Members List Groups Calendar Chat Room Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Closed Thread
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 06-08-2001, 09:47 AM   #1
hugh
Senior Member
hugh will become famous soon enough
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Canada
Posts: 1,553
Default Timing Belt Replacement

For the Techs.....

The 4 cylinder engines in the S Series and in the L Series cars use steel timing chains and do not have a specified replacement interval.As these engines are all 'interference' type,the failure of a timing chain while on the road could spoil your whole day,to say the least,but I kave always been assured that the steel timing chain is much more reliable and long-lasting compared to a rubber timing belt,provided that the engine is not abused and oil changes are done on schedule.I have also been told that increased engine noise(guide 'clatter'?)gives more than sufficient warning to get the car into the shop whenever the timing chain needs replacing.

I must say that my 1993 SL2 never had a problem and I personally have never met anyone who has.I have heard of two cases of early Saturns that had chains break but in both cases the engines had been terribly abused.In one case,the oil was so low that the engine probably would have seized up if the chain hadn't let go first.

Things changed with the introduction of the V6 engine in the L Series.The steel timing chain has given way to a rubber timing belt and it is replaced at 100K miles.As this infers that the rubber belt is not as reliable or long-lasting as the steel timing chain,and,as the V6 is also an 'interference'type engine,it begs the question as to how do you know if the belt requires replacement prior to 100K miles? Does engine noise increase as in the case of the steel chain(unlikely)or is there an error code somehow generated that causes one or a combination of warning lights on the instrument panel to come on?

REWARD EXCELLENCE!

Add to hugh's Reputation
Rate the quality of this post and help hugh reputation points. Click the reputation button near the bottom left corner of this message box. Thank you!
hugh is offline  
SaturnFans.com Sponsored Links
Old 06-08-2001, 10:58 AM   #2
dieseljack
Advanced Member
dieseljack is on a distinguished road
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Posts: 567
Default

The whole timing belt / chain scenario has been very interesting. Regular oil and filter changes go a long way in getting decent chain life. My '95 SW1 is at 222,000 with the original. There's nothing proactive about belt maintenence outside of keeping an ear open for a failing idler, and changing when specified.

There are benefits to both systems - quieter operation with a belt, and, in theory, longer life with a chain. Oil leaks from camshaft or crankshaft seals can destroy a belt, as well as improper replacement procedures, especially in initial tension settings.

Saturn had a great selling point with the chain from the beginning, but I always had a feeling their chain system was a little on the skinny side and reliant on an uncompromising service schedule. The Toyota 23R engine, put in the mid- eighty Celicas and small trucks, had a relatively beefy chain that gave few problems with 7500 mile oil change intervals.

The 3000 mile oil change interval, as well as protecting the chain, is certainly beneficial to engine life overall. Failure of belt or chain in an interference engine, and the big bucks roll.

REWARD EXCELLENCE!

Add to dieseljack's Reputation
Rate the quality of this post and help dieseljack reputation points. Click the reputation button near the bottom left corner of this message box. Thank you!
dieseljack is offline  
Old 06-08-2001, 11:46 AM   #3
BobL
Master Member
BobL is on a distinguished road
 
Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Raleigh, NC
Posts: 4,559
Default

You may want to read Joeybags' editorial on this at www.saturnusedparts.com.

REWARD EXCELLENCE!

Add to BobL's Reputation
Rate the quality of this post and help BobL reputation points. Click the reputation button near the bottom left corner of this message box. Thank you!
BobL is offline  
Old 06-08-2001, 08:56 PM   #4
hugh
Senior Member
hugh will become famous soon enough
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Canada
Posts: 1,553
Default

Thanks for the info gents.I read Joey's editorial some time ago.Certainly agree with what he says although there are a lot of cars out there that have recently increased the timing belt replacement interval well past what used to be the norm of 60K.

However,the point of my question is that regardless of what I think about the pros and cons of steel chain vs.rubber timing belts and their replacement intervals,I now own a car with a rubber timing belt and I would like to know if there is any advance warning that I might have a problem before there is a loud booiinnggg!!!followed by the sound of expensive piston heads meeting equally expensive valves.

REWARD EXCELLENCE!

Add to hugh's Reputation
Rate the quality of this post and help hugh reputation points. Click the reputation button near the bottom left corner of this message box. Thank you!
hugh is offline  
Old 06-08-2001, 09:51 PM   #5
ssicarman
Super Member
ssicarman is a splendid one to beholdssicarman is a splendid one to beholdssicarman is a splendid one to beholdssicarman is a splendid one to beholdssicarman is a splendid one to beholdssicarman is a splendid one to beholdssicarman is a splendid one to behold
 
ssicarman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Western Canada
Posts: 10,389
 
Default

Unfortunately the only advance warning that you will get is the lights on your dash coming on as the engine is no longer running. Chances are that you will not even hear anything from the engine. Just did the t-belt on an Impluse the other day, the owner said that the SES light came on and the engine just died. Replaced the t-belt and the car was on the road once again (non interferance engine). What actualy happened (I think) is that the engine died and they didn't notice until the lights came on. On the good(???)news side of things the pistons will likely come out ok but some of the valves will be bent if your belt breaks. At least this is what we see on the SAABS with these engines.

REWARD EXCELLENCE!

Add to ssicarman's Reputation
Rate the quality of this post and help ssicarman reputation points. Click the reputation button near the bottom left corner of this message box. Thank you!
ssicarman is offline  
Old 06-09-2001, 01:06 AM   #6
hugh
Senior Member
hugh will become famous soon enough
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Canada
Posts: 1,553
Default

dieseljack;
I'm not trying to be funny here....honest....but you suggested that it might be worthwhile to "keep an ear open for a failing idler". OK,here it comes..what sort of sound does it make?

REWARD EXCELLENCE!

Add to hugh's Reputation
Rate the quality of this post and help hugh reputation points. Click the reputation button near the bottom left corner of this message box. Thank you!
hugh is offline  
Old 06-09-2001, 01:30 AM   #7
hugh
Senior Member
hugh will become famous soon enough
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Canada
Posts: 1,553
Default

ssicarman;
Thanks for the reply.In the case of the Impulse,did the belt actually break or did the teeth shear off?Was there a tensioner/idler problem involved?

On the Saabs that had belt problems,do you recall why they failed and what the approx mileage was? Had any of the owners involved ignored the Saab 60K miles replacement interval?

REWARD EXCELLENCE!

Add to hugh's Reputation
Rate the quality of this post and help hugh reputation points. Click the reputation button near the bottom left corner of this message box. Thank you!
hugh is offline  
Old 06-09-2001, 07:00 PM   #8
dieseljack
Advanced Member
dieseljack is on a distinguished road
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Posts: 567
Default

Hugh:

Noise could be similar to that of a serpentine belt idler or tensioner going bad - whistle, moan, or even a rattle. Bottom line is that if one of them seizes, the belt fries. I heard that Honda had problems along these lines a few years ago.

If you're in doubt and are reasonably handy, it can be worthwhile to remove the belt cover (top cover in split systems)and check belt condition against wear patterns illustrated in appropriate shop manuals. Signs of splitting or damaged cogs along with small cracks or tears means it's replacement time. Also, if anything such as fasteners, small rags,or dirt fall into the cavity and you start the engine, you've just bought the farm.

Belts used by all manufacturers are tough. They're almost always Kevlar, similar to the rear drive belts that have been hauling 800 pound Harleys (not including rider(s)) around for the last twenty years. They're good for 60,000 miles and see stresses that far exceed those on a timing chain or belt. I just feel that belt or chain failure is a result of good old fashioned neglect.

REWARD EXCELLENCE!

Add to dieseljack's Reputation
Rate the quality of this post and help dieseljack reputation points. Click the reputation button near the bottom left corner of this message box. Thank you!
dieseljack is offline  
Old 06-10-2001, 12:11 AM   #9
hugh
Senior Member
hugh will become famous soon enough
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Canada
Posts: 1,553
Default

dieseljack;

Many thanks for your comments/suggestions.

I'm not skilled eneough to play around with things like removing the timing cover plate.However,if I need to take car to dealer for something(leaking water pump?)that requires removal,I would automatically replace timing belt,regardless of its condition,particularly if car is around 60K or so.

Re your comment on the role of neglect in chain/belt failures,I can accept that failure by the owner to change oil on a reasonable schedule can be a major and direct factor in the failure of steel timing chain,regardless of mileage on car.However,the rubber timing belt runs"dry"as it doesn't need lubrication,so it would appear to me that the only major factor of owner neglect with regard to a belt failure would be to ignore the replacement of the belt as required at 100K miles.Are there any other factors that you would see as owner neglect?

REWARD EXCELLENCE!

Add to hugh's Reputation
Rate the quality of this post and help hugh reputation points. Click the reputation button near the bottom left corner of this message box. Thank you!
hugh is offline  
Old 06-10-2001, 06:52 AM   #10
dieseljack
Advanced Member
dieseljack is on a distinguished road
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Posts: 567
Default

Hugh:

Correct. Following manufacturer's replacement guidelines is the best thing you can do.

I was talking to a guy the other day with over 150k on his Accord's original belt. Talk about skating on thin ice. I told him to do something about it, or plan on walking out of his Honda dealer about three thousand bucks lighter.

REWARD EXCELLENCE!

Add to dieseljack's Reputation
Rate the quality of this post and help dieseljack reputation points. Click the reputation button near the bottom left corner of this message box. Thank you!
dieseljack is offline  
Old 06-10-2001, 08:32 PM   #11
TheRayMan
Member
TheRayMan is on a distinguished road
 
Join Date: May 2001
Posts: 64
Default

Hi dieseljack!

I agree compleatly!
I've known a few people that ran the belt way past recomended service, so it is save to assume the the service interval is consevative but indeed very safe and wise.

Personally, I think I would rather change a belt than the chain, it is a lot less ripdown.
Also, I would imagine thay any chain with 150,000 miles should probably be changed too, although we keep hearing about 200,000 miles plus!

Rayman

REWARD EXCELLENCE!

Add to TheRayMan's Reputation
Rate the quality of this post and help TheRayMan reputation points. Click the reputation button near the bottom left corner of this message box. Thank you!
TheRayMan is offline  
Old 06-11-2001, 11:28 PM   #12
dieseljack
Advanced Member
dieseljack is on a distinguished road
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Posts: 567
Default

RayMan:

Saturn has always hyped the chain as being superior to the belt. Some on this board have alluded to changing the chain at 100,000 miles, but if you can do the same with a belt at a fraction of the cost, what's the benefit? Chain work is an invasive procedure with associated costs and risks. The belt is still quieter, has no lubrication requirements, and has a change interval regardless.

I wonder if there is any improved longevity with the later style chain on the S engine. Also, how are the chains in the 850 engines (2.2 L series) holding up? I think the internal balancer on those engines has its own chain along with the one for the camshafts. Bet the replacement bill for that one would be a dandy.

REWARD EXCELLENCE!

Add to dieseljack's Reputation
Rate the quality of this post and help dieseljack reputation points. Click the reputation button near the bottom left corner of this message box. Thank you!
dieseljack is offline  
Old 06-13-2001, 09:17 PM   #13
TheRayMan
Member
TheRayMan is on a distinguished road
 
Join Date: May 2001
Posts: 64
Default

dieseljack,

I think what they mean by the chain being better, is that the valve timing is more accurate than with a belt.
A timing belt streches a little when it is loaded with the tension from compressing the valve springs. This is added time in rotation and changes the timing just a little. ( time in rotation = degrees of timing)
This effect is much less with a chain.
The better the valve timming, the better the engine runs.
The chain technology has been improved over the years by the motorcycle companies. They run these chains on engines at 15,000 RPMs! You won't se any belts doing that. Also, with those kind of conditions valve timing is critical. Just get a little off time and valves and pistons meet!

I think the belt is better for the "daily driver" kind of engine that we need to be dependable and affordable to maintain.

Rayman

REWARD EXCELLENCE!

Add to TheRayMan's Reputation
Rate the quality of this post and help TheRayMan reputation points. Click the reputation button near the bottom left corner of this message box. Thank you!
TheRayMan is offline  
Old 06-15-2001, 11:15 AM   #14
dieseljack
Advanced Member
dieseljack is on a distinguished road
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Posts: 567
Default

RayMan:

1. The chain has service limits (length) that vary considerably from the time it was new depending upon oil changes. It has the advantage of being enclosed in a clean environment, is constantly lubricated, but still relies on adjustment through a hydraulic tensioner.

2. Once the belt is installed and initially tensioned, it stays and needs no further adjustment. With the cover in place, a 100,000 mile service life would result in practically no change in valve timing.

Take a look at an old belt and you'll see what I mean. The Kevlar material is impregnated with a stainless steel mesh making it super strong. Longevity and performance should be more than acceptable.

REWARD EXCELLENCE!

Add to dieseljack's Reputation
Rate the quality of this post and help dieseljack reputation points. Click the reputation button near the bottom left corner of this message box. Thank you!
dieseljack is offline  
Closed Thread



Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
timing belt replacement marathoner Vue Tech 29 09-28-2011 09:17 PM
Log: Timing belt replacement s3nfo L-Series Tech 20 04-06-2009 12:50 PM
Timing belt replacement. VueGuy168 Vue Tech 15 03-03-2009 09:17 AM
Timing Belt Replacement jsdailey Vue General 9 11-17-2007 01:57 PM
Timing belt replacement-help- t3junkie S-Series Tech 5 03-08-2001 02:43 AM


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 01:17 AM.

Advanced Forum Search | Advanced Photo Search


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
SaturnFans.com. The Saturn Enthusiasts Site.