Timing belts, why?

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Old 04-12-06, 12:46 PM
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Timing belts, why?

With all the issues with timing belts, and the hassle associated with replacement (required to prevent massive engine damage in an interference engine), why on Earth do they continue to use them? It would seem like the good ol' timing chain would not be that much more expensive to use and could save consumers a few dollars to boot.
 
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Old 04-12-06, 02:51 PM
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from a manufacturer point of view why wouldnt they save a few dollars if the vehicle cost less to build using a timing belt versus a timing chain which they probably cost about the same. plus some of the vehicles are returned to the dealer for maintence and repairs so they continue to profit from a vehicle long after its been sold.
 
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Old 04-12-06, 04:20 PM
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I know

Well, manufacturers have never been known to design planned obsolesence (sp), I believe it was the old chevy 250 transmissions that had a neoprene seal, that cost more than a more reliable seal, that would degrade and would barely last 100k.

I know the reason why interference engines were designed (more power, smaller engine), however, I think it should be a crime to purposefully design a component, that is designed to fail before the engine fails, that will destroy the engine when it fails when there is a component that will do the same job for about the same price and is far less likely to fail.

(FYI, I lost a timing belt several years ago and bent 15 of 16 valves, dented the pistons (thank goodness they did not have a hole in them) and cost well over 1K to fix (a low number, I guess you could say we were "lucky").
 
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Old 04-12-06, 04:24 PM
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Timing chains wear out too!
 
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Old 04-12-06, 05:15 PM
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The engines run quieter... big selling point.
 
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Old 04-12-06, 05:32 PM
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Takes a good bit longer to wear out a timing chain and they rarely break and cause catastrophic engine damage. I personally will never own a valve-bender engine.

I hate arriving at a tow job on a Honda when the owner says "I was just driving along and suddenly the engine quit; now it just turns over when I turn the key [weeweeweeweeweeweewee]". Quick glance at the odometer and it says 115,000 miles. "Ummm, have you ever had the timing belt changed". "What's that?" "Ummm, I'll let your mechanic explain it". Quickly change subject before they can ask if I know about how much that will cost to fix.
 
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Old 04-12-06, 05:33 PM
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A Few Reasons

I think the biggest reason they continue to use rubber timing belts is they are quiet and then another reason is cost of part and the fact that most people will go back to the dealer and have them replaced.
I had two timing belts fail one on a old plymoth Horizion and another on a 86 chevy nova both times nothing major happened.
(both engies were not self destuctors).
Now when I buy a new car I weigh a timing belt engine as a big negative in my choice to buy the car or not.
All my 3 cars have chains and I like it that way yes they wear but they will let you know in advance before they let go such as slapping.
Honda makes some fine cars do not get me wrong but I do not want to shell out big money every 60-90 thousand miles to replace the belt.
If they would make it super easy to replace I would have a Honda.So for now I will stick with Toyota.
 
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Old 04-12-06, 06:20 PM
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Quieter?

The engines on the Toyotas and Nissans we have recently owned with chains have been pretty quiet.

I have no problem with a belt on a non-interference engine, if it breaks, a tow truck and a garage can fix it up in a day. Like oil and water, rubber and interference shouldn't mix.
 
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Old 04-12-06, 06:32 PM
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that is right

You are right the chains are plenty quiet for me I think it has to do with the tensioner they use.However even if they were not as quiet I would still take the chain over belt.
 
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Old 04-13-06, 04:57 AM
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This is a toss up question. I had a Mercury Topaz with belt(s). When one belt went bad, 5 belts had to be changed. I understand that all the belts must be changed at once but it didn't help my wallet any. My 93 Saturn had a chain. The lubrication hole for the oil was not large enough and the chain exited through the case. Luckily I only had to replace chain and case cover.
 
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Old 04-13-06, 05:10 AM
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The real fix is a timing gear system. Unfortunately they make a bit of noise so are used pretty much only on racers.
 
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Old 04-13-06, 05:17 AM
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Last time I checked the manufacters recomendation was to change the belt at 60,000 miles. People never do and run it over 100,000 and when the belt breaks they whine about it. Now there may be an exception out there of one that breaks before 60k but not usually. And I also know that although the chain might last longer go ahead and factor in how much it cost to change a Chain, usually more than the belt and as mentioned before it will wear out too.
 
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Old 04-13-06, 10:24 AM
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Well, the biggest problem, really, is that so many people don't KNOW the consequences of ignoring that particular item on the scheduled maintenance chart (if they even know there is one in their owner's manual). Frankly a nice big warning sticker on the valve cover wouldn't hurt (wouldn't help the ones who don't even know how to open the hood, much less what's under it, of course).
 
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