Best cleaner for slight oil on cam belt
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Thread: Best cleaner for slight oil on cam belt

  1. #1
    1000+ Posts Beano's Avatar
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    Default Best cleaner for slight oil on cam belt

    I like to err on the side of caution so I'm wondering how much care I need to take in cleaning a very thin coat of oil which has wept past oil seals and onto a cam belt. (After which I will be adding a good quality oil leak stopper to swell the oil seals slightly).

    I don't know how sensitive cam belts are to hydrocarbons, so I don't want to just flood the area with degreaser, even though I would be washing it off pretty quickly.

    As far as I know, cam belts are just rubber with cable embedded, and for all I know it might be best to use something benign, like brake cleaner.

    Can someone with prior experience here please give me the low-down ?

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  2. #2
    1000+ Posts driven's Avatar
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    My industrial experience is that all bets are off once the belt has been contaminated by oil or antifreeze compounds.
    Just need to lose one block off the cam belt and it is all over for the engine

    Cheap insurance, change the belt and seal.

    Avoids a major rebuild

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    Fellow Frogger! Roland's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by driven View Post
    My industrial experience is that all bets are off once the belt has been contaminated by oil or antifreeze compounds.
    Just need to lose one block off the cam belt and it is all over for the engine

    Cheap insurance, change the belt and seal.

    Avoids a major rebuild
    I assume the belt is still on the engine otherwise replacement is the obvious solution.
    So, I agree with what Driven says, but if the belt is still on, then spray can degreaser and wash off quick!!
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    1000+ Posts Beano's Avatar
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    Ok...will do, and keep my fingers crossed.

    Trouble is, although I own 2 Peugeots (one of which is the wife's), this is my 3rd car and it's a Mitsubishi Magna (TJ model, 3.5 litre V6, TJ, from 2000) and they seem to have inbuilt oil leaks.

    It's only a very light smearing of oil, and it seems to be on the outside of the belt...not on the blocky inside part.

  5. #5
    1000+ Posts robmac's Avatar
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    Try a kitchen spray cleaner Nifti, Ajax spray or similar

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    Hi
    I would not be overly concerned about a "bit of oil" on the cambelt. I have seen worse than that out on the islands and it takes quite a lot of leaking and some time to rot the belt and for it to fail driving. Very obvious if you look and feel it.
    Those belts are not rubber of course. It is a synthetic compound which is oil resistant. I would wipe it and the pulleys with a solvent like diesel or kero and then wash it with a strong detergent/water mix, eg dishwashing liquid.

    The problem I observed were Jap imports that were never serviced from new, nor when they came on the island, 10-15 yr old by then, the oil was like treacle and the cam was almost siezed in the head due to the lack of lubrication up there. The belt gets oil soaked with the leaks and one day the engine gives up and the cam belt teeth strip around the crank pulley at startup. But really easily noticed if anyone had looked for years before The Jap belts seemed to be really resistant to ordinary abuse ! Only French cars and some German ones have other belt troubles IMHO !!
    Jaahn

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    given that degreasers exist to remove hydrocarbons from surfaces, and wash off with water, i personally wouldnt hesitate to use them on a cam drive belt. in addition, AFAIK, not all degreasers are based on petrochemicals anyway, so the right one avoids the problem, if there is a problem at all.

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    1000+ Posts Beano's Avatar
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    Thanks folks....I feel much better about it all now. I'll flood inside the casing and wash quickly, then put in a oil leak stopper, and see if that fixes it.

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    I would use Shellite.


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  10. #10
    1000+ Posts Beano's Avatar
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    Too late !

    I used degreaser and did it whilst the engine was idling, with the top cover off the timing case.

    Flushed with water soon after, and it looks good. It seems my oil leak was from either the sump gasket or sump plug and oil got spread around under the engine by air whooshing past, then a bit got picked up by the timing gear.

  11. #11
    Too many posts! JohnW's Avatar
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    I suspect timing belts are pretty robust and you'll be fine. The key issues are associated pulleys etc and not being ridiculously careless.

    Our "new secondhand" Scenic had, it turned out, the original belt after 8-9 years, with a recommended change period of 4 years or 100,000 km. It has done 90K km. New belt and pulleys immediately of course.
    JohnW

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