Cambelt Concern

All general chat and questions relating to the BX 16valve.
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Cambelt Concern

Post by Jack » Fri May 22, 2009 3:37 pm

Space constraints have kept my low mileage silver 16valve trapped in the garage and it hasn’t been started for a while. Cost of the other valvers and a tale of woe re local garages mean the cambelt hasn’t been changed yet. It now needs to be started again and moved a couple of lengths to access the garage space.

I’ve been told most cambelts go on startup. Any advice about how to check if this is a dodgy cambelt before it is started please? Tickover is all I need in the next few days. But if I drive it to a garage to have it done, does it matter how far? What precautions can be taken? Our nearest Citroen garage refused callout to change it without driving it (not on a 16v mate). The guy at the last BXclub listed garage I went to for an MOT said he hadn’t seen a valver for at least 10 years. So I'd rather it went somewhere where they could remember valvers, but that might be quite some distance.

I last drove it about a year ago, 40 odd miles, so it had to work then and I'm not asking anything like as much of it now. It isn't falling apart by any means. It's a bit tighter than the 2 year old belt on another valver but it seems to me that is tension rather than stiffness. Anyway, please let me know your thoughts on (a) moving the car and (b) getting it to a garage.

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Post by Vanny » Fri May 22, 2009 5:13 pm

a) tow it out with the red valver, unless you need to get it right out onto the road?

It strikes me that you are answering your own question, if your in doubt, don't do it! Although, you do have plenty of spares.

There is no way to guarantee it wont snap other than fitting a new one in situ, when was it last changed? what is the total miles done since it was changed? These days i wouldn't let mine get past 25k on a single belt and tensioners every 75k/3 years, mostly because i dont find it difficult to change the belt without taking anything off much more than the covers and crank pulley.

b) If you really must drive it then check it for visual signs of deterioration (fraying, discolouration, cracking, splits, total lack of directional/brand markings). Age is a big factor of deterioration, as is use, occasional use is much better than none.

When driving the car, your looking to reduce the torque in the belt. Keep a constant speed, DO NOT STALL, use higher gears/change earlier. I would stay below 3,000revs, definately below 4k. DO NOT engine brake. If you've got to go up hill, try to hit the bottom with a little extra speed and use that to propel up the hill. Keep the distance to a minimum.

Likely hood is that you will be perfectly fine, i've driven cars that havent started in upto 14 years, started fan, ran fine, probably chain driven :D

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Post by Timmo » Fri May 22, 2009 9:14 pm

Its Not actually that bad a job to do your self if your reletively handy with the spanners, all you need is the correct pins to lock the cams (igf you dont have them then many members do) and the crank, and the usual tools (read most of garage floor covered int hem what with it being french and all!;) )

with the right pins etc its not that complicated a job to do! (i removed the upper engine mount from mine to make access easier with the aid of a little lowering and raising for the tensioners etc. that and my cover wouldnt come off any other way!!)

if i were closer i'd more than happily help you out wiht it but alas, am a bit of a trek!
Timmo 8)

After all i am the Cornish one!

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Post by Jack » Sat May 23, 2009 2:33 pm

Timmo that’s very kind but we are 242 AA miles from Bodmin! Mind you the prospect of passing half of England gridlocked on the other carriageway might have some appeal. Regarding spanners, it’s probably safer for me to drive it to the garage with the old belt rather fit a new one myself and then try and start it.

Thanks Vanny, I think it must be within your limits on age and mileage. As the first owner had this new to 46,000 miles, averaging annual mileage from FSH (31156 miles Oct 97) this belt would be 10 years old and have done 25,000 miles.

If second owner changed the belt then 4.5 years/15,000 miles.

Apologies for quality of the pic but in real life, markings are very clear. Although there is a little fraying this is only visible right at the extremities (outside corners) of the belt. There is nothing approaching a crack across the belt in the part I can see and the structure of the belt seems sound.


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Post by Simran » Sat May 23, 2009 5:22 pm

Isnt that the Hydraulic Pump belt? cambelt is on t'other side.

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Post by Jack » Sat May 23, 2009 6:24 pm

:oops: As I was saying, I think it would be safer if the garage did it...

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Post by surjit25 » Sun May 24, 2009 12:36 am

Just go ahead and start it, should'n be a problem, and send it for changing
at yr local garage. I have started some even after some years without any
major issues.

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Post by Toddman » Mon May 25, 2009 12:30 pm

It is a tricky one.
Cambelts are actually very strong and IMHO tey only seem to let go if something has upset them be it a bit of damage or oil or some other mechanical part failing.

So long as I was happy that nothing had gotten to the belt I would happily start up a 5 year old belt to drive it to the garage.
An older belt I would be crossing my fingers but chances are you will be ok.

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Post by Mandic » Mon May 25, 2009 4:13 pm

I'd me more worried about main and big end bearings and piston sealing rather than cambelt.

Turn it over by hand while having plugs out and injectors/ignition off.

Then crank it the same way for a minute or two. Prior to turning it over I'd also spray some WD40 into cylinders and leave it a bit.


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Post by thanuttiscotsman » Mon May 25, 2009 8:18 pm

hi man, in my opinion if you suspect the timing belt may be as much 10 years old then driving the car is pretty much asking for problems in the form of bent valves. i think if you want to avoid major problems and with these cars being so rare, i simply wouldnt risk it. as they say, the only way to avoid getting burnt, is not to play with fire. surely it can be arranged to have the belt done where the car is, is there no-one on here that is near by????, i wouldnt mind helping out at all but i think im probably the furthest away member there is, being in edinburgh lol

1989 BX 16v ph1 Big project chipped, k+N, scorpion s/s, weber throttle body, Nitrous injection

1990 BX 16v ph2 (now scrapped)

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