What is the max time to replace a timing belt on a very low km car.
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Thread: What is the max time to replace a timing belt on a very low km car.

  1. #1
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    Default What is the max time to replace a timing belt on a very low km car.

    Hi
    In our family there is a Mazda 323 that has only done 65000km. Going well and has no mechanical problems or issues. (just did pads and a disc !!). BUT it is a 2003 model. and still has the original timing belt. I have had a quick look but not easy to get at the belt to look at it. If we get it professionally done it is half the car's worth.
    I am trying to see if I should do something and renew the up coming rego, insurance etc, which will cost the other half of the cars worth. It has a few scrapes and minor dings but OK condition.

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    But it seems like it may not be worth the effort to keep it on the road even if it is a good car ! The owner is not here at the moment and may not need it for a while. The car came from an old rellie who passed on some years back and had only put 6000km on it. A Mazda has not much charm but they are reliable, actually easy to drive too.
    cheers Jaahn

  2. #2
    1000+ Posts cam85's Avatar
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    Its cheaper to replace than the 16valves etc etc if it brakes.

    If its bot been done since 2003 I would be looking to do it asap.
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    Ditto.

    If the car is otherwise good (as I assume it is) change the belt whatever the cost, forget what the car is worth by the book.

    Your car is very low mileage, hence you should be looking at what they cost back then. That's the value of the car (at least for you). Or think what it would cost to replace the car if you had to. I bet it would be a lot more than the belt change.
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    Just sell it and get a French Car
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    Jaahn fwiw my trusty local garage recently quoted "around $400" for S&F belt replacement of my 'to-work beater' '97 Mazda Bubble 1.3 (SOHC 16V) - maybe the same 'engine-family' as your Mazda Tarzan?

    Timing belts on mine are listed @ every 90,000 kms; however it's now done 220,000 kms with only one belt replacement @ 130,000 kms, which was 40,000 kms overdue. Nominally it's now due again but, given the virtual zero market value, I'm feeling relaxed enough to persist on for a while yet.

    Minor services are about $80, to $115 with oil filter. Still doesn't burn oil, it's been 100% reliable with literally nothing required after 6 years ownership except new Bridestones @ $50 each last year, and a new battery. Third-Party 'bomb insurance' with Shannons is $14 a month! The little bastard gives 40+ mpg no matter how sportingly it's driven, and remains the absolute cheapest vehicle I have ever owned.

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    But it is not French

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    I changed the belt for the first time on my Mums 98 Corolla in 2015 at about 50k , so well over the time. The belt I put on looked no better externally than the one I pulled off.
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    Talk to flock who has just done this, he said its a lot easier than a 16V Peugeot
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    If the car is the one I think it is (also sold as a Ford something or other) I've done a belt on one and I didn't think it was anything special.

    The most difficult timing belt job in my experience was a Honda Civic 88, which has a very tight space, the crank pulley bolt is a pain to remove (I broke a large good quality Japanese ratchet handle on it) and a lot of crap in the way, including an engine mount that can not be removed or the engine falls on your feet.
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    Quote Originally Posted by alan moore View Post
    I changed the belt for the first time on my Mums 98 Corolla in 2015 at about 50k , so well over the time. The belt I put on looked no better externally than the one I pulled off.
    Hmmm I think Alan has given me the answer I wanted to hear
    To the others that have answered I can only say that I could replace the belt, but not for free and not for no effort either. But the car is not really needed just now or wanted for some unusual reasons. But as said the rego is due soon with all those costs and I do not want to outlay money and effort to keep it going just to sell it cheap to someone else.
    So perhaps we will just run it til the rego runs out and then make a decision I did not want the belt to fail but am too lazy to pull things off to look at it just now. But I might just park it in the backyard and do something if there is a need after a while. Seems too good to sell cheap to some other punter and then find we need to buy a good car later that is nowhere as good. I am happy to do the work if I can see the benefit to us.
    Jaahn
    Last edited by jaahn; 26th December 2019 at 04:24 PM.

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    This car is very easy to change the timing belt and is almost foolproof with all the camshaft markings. I still can't believe I paid $1k labour + parts in 2012 to get it done. My water pump recently failed. I managed to change the belt, pump and seals in half a day by myself, and got everything I needed from Repco for about $300 on a Sunday. The only specialty tools you need is a deep socket for the engine mount, and something to lock the cam sprockets if you end up changing the seals.

    One problem you may face is loosening the crank pulley, but I managed to wedge a bar into the bodywork and use the starter to loosen it.

    I have the official manual if you want me to send you the PDF. You can't stuff it up as the engine is non-interference anyway, it just won't run.
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    The best and most cost effective time to change a timing belt is the day before it's due to break!
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    Quote Originally Posted by flock View Post
    This car is very easy to change the timing belt and is almost foolproof with all the camshaft markings. I still can't believe I paid $1k labour + parts in 2012 to get it done. My water pump recently failed. I managed to change the belt, pump and seals in half a day by myself, and got everything I needed from Repco for about $300 on a Sunday. The only specialty tools you need is a deep socket for the engine mount, and something to lock the cam sprockets if you end up changing the seals.

    One problem you may face is loosening the crank pulley, but I managed to wedge a bar into the bodywork and use the starter to loosen it.

    I have the official manual if you want me to send you the PDF. You can't stuff it up as the engine is non-interference anyway, it just won't run.
    Nice one (the manual offer) Flock.

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    Sent you an email Jaahn. Good luck if you decide to do it. Mine has been a very reliable daily, now with about 200k on it. I intend to run it into the ground, while parts are still cheap.
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    Belts seem to be very conservatively rated. I'd be concerned about the pulleys....
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnW View Post
    Belts seem to be very conservatively rated. I'd be concerned about the pulleys....
    Hi
    My experience O/S with mostly ex-Jap cars which were not so old and not so many Ks but extremely neglected was, the belts failed due to oil leaks on to them, the belt teeth stripped around the crank pulley. If they were dry and the engines had an oil change and service they were good. Not sure about the pulleys as generally the Kms were low, but high Km motors do need pulleys for sure.

    Having seen Jap imports that were straight from the auction to the boat, with no attempt to tidy them up or do anything you would be wary of buying one. They "never" change the oil or any service in Japan(!). Why would you if the car was not yours personally and it was to be sold after a couple of years. I have seen the average Toyota/Mazda/Nissan/ ?? with the cams worn into the head 1-2mm from lack of lube due to the "grease" that passed for oil in the sump. Motor bikes too. Never changed oil ever. Probably that wear is why the seals leaked oil, out the gap. But the extra load on the belt driving the dry cams did not help the life. Always failed at a hot start usually. Stop for some cigs or a chew and the car sh*ts itself.

    However I did buy a Jap import after that experience, gave it a good service and oil changes. Still going well in the family fleet .
    Jaahn
    Last edited by jaahn; 30th December 2019 at 11:38 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnW View Post
    Belts seem to be very conservatively rated. I'd be concerned about the pulleys....
    Jaahn, I believe JohnW may be referring to the pulleys being metal or plastic pulleys.

    I can assure you the plastic pulleys may crack, I have a photo of one I removed from my 2004 Scenic 2.0L when it was about 7 years old from new. Maybe if left in there it may have broken up - Renault engine salad! I was lucky. I believe plastic pulleys are now common in many engines. I also believe this is why Renault put a 4 year life on the belt - its the pulleys that will let you down. At the time I found the cracked pulley at about 7 years but only 60000 kms, the belt still looked new. I have since fitted a Gates set of steel pulleys in my Scenic which does very low kms so I will not have to worry about the time limit ever again.

    Going back a few years, as you are probably aware, manufacturers only ever put a km limit on the belts, not a time limit. They had steel pulleys, and the worst that could happen was the bearings would fail and get rumbly and noisy. The only belt I ever saw break in action was an early Honda Civic 1200 with a pissy little belt about 20mm wide, driven by one of my mates pulling max rpm wherever he went. They had an 80k kms limit on that belt and I think it broke about that distance. It was lucky not to bend any valves although it was an interference engine, go figure.

    So if your engine has steel pulleys in good condition, and it is a non-interference engine, maybe its worth the risk to continue.

    However, at that age, I would probably replace it, if it was mine.

    Cheers
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    if it really is a non-interference motor ..................... I wouldn't have the slightest concern. If it does eventually break, the only damage will be you must then replace the belt before the car will run again
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    Quote Originally Posted by DoubleChevron View Post
    if it really is a non-interference motor ..................... I wouldn't have the slightest concern. If it does eventually break, the only damage will be you must then replace the belt before the car will run again
    That's the correct technical answer IMHO for a low cost, non-interference car not to be kept for ever. When the belt breaks or a pulley fails, as it will, if it strands your wife on a baking hot day somewhere difficult, that might not have been the correct perspective to have applied...
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnW View Post
    That's the correct technical answer IMHO for a low cost, non-interference car not to be kept for ever. When the belt breaks or a pulley fails, as it will, if it strands your wife on a baking hot day somewhere difficult, that might not have been the correct perspective to have applied...
    Yer could mean a severe ear bashing at the least
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnW View Post
    That's the correct technical answer IMHO for a low cost, non-interference car not to be kept for ever. When the belt breaks or a pulley fails, as it will, if it strands your wife on a baking hot day somewhere difficult, that might not have been the correct perspective to have applied...
    John is spot on. The emotion will overshadow the rationale every time
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    Quote Originally Posted by FIVEDOOR View Post
    John is spot on. The emotion will overshadow the rationale every time
    Especially if she misses a long standing appointment or child collection and finds the phone is flat.... As the husband, I'd regard fixing it before it broke as the rational approach!
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    Gee's guys ..... where is your sense of adventure "She'll be right mate"
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    Quote Originally Posted by DoubleChevron View Post
    Gee's guys ..... where is your sense of adventure "She'll be right mate"
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    Sorry to put a downer on this, but according to Boyce's Auto Library, it is an interference engine. Mind you, all my years in the trade, I've never come across a Laser (same as Mazda Tarzan with different haircut) that's actually broken a belt. I think the steel pulleys help that. I always used to do just the belt the first time, but everything the belt touches the second time, or by 200 k's. Gates do a kit (belt, tensioner, idler pulleys, water pump, crank and cam seals). At the end of the day, it only takes one of the parts associated with the belt to fail to get the same result as the belt breaking or teeth stripping. These are one of the easier belts to do as mentioned, especially if you just do the belt. The standard repair time is 2.5 hours. I personally wouldn't be too fussed about doing it in a hurry Jaahn, despite being way past the recommended 6 year interval
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    cheers,

    John

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