1st t-belt service (free) on V8's ? - LotusTalk - The Lotus Cars Community
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post #1 of 28 (permalink) Old 11-01-2009, 10:42 PM Thread Starter
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1st t-belt service (free) on V8's ?

Could someone detail for me the scoop on the factory provided timing belt services for the V8's? I've heard that the first belt replacement was offered free of charge and that subsequent tension checks were also free.

What are the details and restrictions?
What model years were covered?
Is it still in effect / being honored by the Dealerships?
Does it matter if the car has changed owners (i.e., is it only valid for the original owner)?

Thanks
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post #2 of 28 (permalink) Old 11-02-2009, 09:34 AM
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Finnerty,

My information which I will be taking advantage of in January is the following.

The belt and labor is covered by Lotus for the 1st belt change, the tensioners and idlers are not and based upon various conversations are in the $700 to $800 range. The dealership is recommending I change the water pump at the same time but I don't have a price from them yet. The change should be done very 4 years or I believe 36K Miles (from Lotus dealer) although I have heard 24K miles.

The tension is checked for free every year up to the 8 year mark on the V8's.

I believe all the V8's were covered for the 1st belt due to federal requirements on cambelt life. Lotus in Atlanta will be able to verify whether the vehicle has had its 1st belt change already.

Its is still being honored by dealers although some may deny this until you get a letter from Lotus as I did.

Does not matter if the car changed owners, I am the third on my 04 and its still covered.

Hope that helps.

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post #3 of 28 (permalink) Old 11-02-2009, 09:59 AM Thread Starter
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Indeed it does! Thank you
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post #4 of 28 (permalink) Old 11-28-2009, 02:31 PM
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I have also checked at Lotus Boston and they are replacing my 2003.5 Esprit for free.
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post #5 of 28 (permalink) Old 11-29-2009, 06:42 PM
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Espritfinalrun I would verify with the dealer EXACTLY what they will do for free. As I understand the policy they can agree to replace and or adjust the timing belts for free. I do NOT believe they will do a full blown "C" service gratis. Or the tensioners. They can (and should) be able to give you a very close estimate on what they will do and what it will cost you (if anything). Expect to pay something and don't be too surprised at the cost. A full-blown "C" service can cost between $3K-$5K or more if they find a lot of other things to do. You may decide not to do everything they recomend. At least not at this time and maybe not by them.
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post #6 of 28 (permalink) Old 11-29-2009, 07:20 PM
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Thanks David, this is good advice. Ill let you know what they come up with and the costs. The car has now 17,000 miles and I would like a timing belt change and change of fluids.

I have been told that they are pretty expensive at Aston Martin New England


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Espritfinalrun I would verify with the dealer EXACTLY what they will do for free. As I understand the policy they can agree to replace and or adjust the timing belts for free. I do NOT believe they will do a full blown "C" service gratis. Or the tensioners. They can (and should) be able to give you a very close estimate on what they will do and what it will cost you (if anything). Expect to pay something and don't be too surprised at the cost. A full-blown "C" service can cost between $3K-$5K or more if they find a lot of other things to do. You may decide not to do everything they recomend. At least not at this time and maybe not by them.
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post #7 of 28 (permalink) Old 11-29-2009, 08:59 PM
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Lotus will only pay for the belt & the labor involved to replace your timing belts. You should pay for the pulleys & tensioners & ask them to replace those while performing the belt replacement.

Alan

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Originally Posted by Espritfinalrun View Post
Thanks David, this is good advice. Ill let you know what they come up with and the costs. The car has now 17,000 miles and I would like a timing belt change and change of fluids.

I have been told that they are pretty expensive at Aston Martin New England
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post #8 of 28 (permalink) Old 11-30-2009, 04:39 PM
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Thanks, I will do everything needed to have the car 100% ready to action.

Please, every how many years do you recommend the cam belt + pulleys + tensioners replaced? I expect I will not put more than 1,000 miles per year in this car.


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Originally Posted by E5PR1T View Post
Lotus will only pay for the belt & the labor involved to replace your timing belts. You should pay for the pulleys & tensioners & ask them to replace those while performing the belt replacement.

Alan
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post #9 of 28 (permalink) Old 11-30-2009, 07:30 PM
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This topic has been discussed many times & there were a lot of different opinions.

What I stick with is what's recommended by my mechanic...

adjustment every year
replacement every 4 years

Hope this help.

Alan

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Originally Posted by Espritfinalrun View Post
Thanks, I will do everything needed to have the car 100% ready to action.

Please, every how many years do you recommend the cam belt + pulleys + tensioners replaced? I expect I will not put more than 1,000 miles per year in this car.
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post #10 of 28 (permalink) Old 03-05-2010, 11:15 AM
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Cambelt service on the V8 is different for the US market due to EPA regulations. If memory serves me correct, EPA requires manufacturers to ensure emissions stay in spec for 8 years or 80K miles. As a result, LCU will cover cambelt service for 8 years or 80K miles at intervals of 12K miles or 18 months with a complimentary belt/tensioner replacement at 36K miles or 4 years. All you need to do is contact any authorized dealer and schedule the service. There is no charge. Also note that turbos and catalytic converters are also covered... again, 8 years or 80K miles.

I bought a full set of cambelt tools from Lotus... sans the Clavis gauge as it's not really necessary if you can tune a guitar ;-). I changed the Lotus recommended service interval for my own V8. I do cambelt tension adjustments every 10K miles and replace the belts and tensioners every 40K miles. The car now has 82K miles... no issues. On the down side, one of the cats imploded and blew ceramic dust into the muffler and one of the wastegate capsules popped from sitting (while I was living in Europe for a year)... of course, outside of the 8 years... bummer.

Regards, KM
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post #11 of 28 (permalink) Old 03-06-2010, 06:23 AM
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Is there enough room to replace the belt w/o too much trouble? Also what sort of cambelt tools do you need? I've done several Nissan V-6's - you just get engine at TDC and cams have marks also. We've all heard stories but has anyone actually had a belt failure/idler pulley failure and at what miles. My first Nissan went 140k miles before I learned a valuable timing belt lesson.
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post #12 of 28 (permalink) Old 03-06-2010, 08:23 AM
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First of all, and most importantly, you have to have the manual. There is not much room but there is enough. You need the "special" tools which for the most part make sure the engine is in the right position and all of the timing is set. The most exotic tool is the Clavis gauge which measures the vibration frequency of the belt to determine how much tension is on the belt. All of the special tools can be made on a lathe and you can use the Tune-It program with a good microphone. There have been engines damaged from improper service and lack of service due to the belts. This is not for the faint-of-heart or inexperienced mechanic. It is not Rocket Science but you do need to know what you are doing. Get a manual and read the procedure and decide for yourself if you have the skills to do it. There is also a good explanation on Esprit World. Checking and adjusting the belts is worth between $350-500 depending on who and where. This is ONLY checking and adjusting, NO PARTS. The consequences of doing it wrong or not doing it can cost THOUSANDS. Are you a gambling man? Maybe a better approach would be to have it done and watch (if you can) and maybe try the next one.
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post #13 of 28 (permalink) Old 03-06-2010, 11:54 AM
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Cambelt service on the V8 is not for the faint of heart, but it's not that difficult. I've done 5 cambelt tension adjustments and two cambelt replacements. Note that there are two belts and two tensioners. The tensioners are not self-adjusting which is why you should check them every 10-12K miles.

At minimum, you need the check timing pins, the timing disc, the crankshaft position lock tool and the tensioner adjustment tool. For tuning the belt tension, I use a pre-recorded cassette tape in a portable player with a 110Hz note (which is two octaves below middle A) recorded. You can tune the belt with the tensioner just like tuning a guitar. It works flawlessly... it's doubtful too many software programs will be able to lock on the short note that you will get when tapping the cambelt to make it ring.

As noted previously, get the service notes and read thru them several times before you even think of attempting. As a side note, don't crack the camshaft pulleys unless you absolutely have to as that's where more risk comes in if you don't get them tightened properly, and it requires more special tools to get them tightened properly without slipping position. Good luck if you decide to go ahead.

Regards, KM
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2008 Elise EC
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post #14 of 28 (permalink) Old 03-06-2010, 06:37 PM
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Cambelt service

Funny this came up then it did. I will be doing the cambelt service on my 1999 V8 Esprit starting tomorrow. I have made all the tools except for the Clavis gage that I got off eBay for a great price. I have all the parts and I am not going to rush this service. I do all the service on my Lotus as I donít trust the local dealer as I have seen the quality of their work. I will be changing the coolant at the same time. What do you guys recommend as a replacement brand of coolant?

Thanks Bob

1999 Esprit V8 Twin Turbo (box stock except for 02 OZ 16 spoke nova wheels, Lotus Evora steering wheel, HKS blowoff valves and LED headlights)
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post #15 of 28 (permalink) Old 03-07-2010, 02:49 AM
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I can sympathize with you on dealer issues.. in Palm Beach county, the dealer has done much damage to my car during warranty work... never again will any of my vehicles shadow their establishment.

For coolant, I started using the Mercedes-Benz coolant which performs well. Another V8 owner did some research and switched to Zerex G05 HOAT and noted a 7C drop is temp.... it's suppose to be lifetime as well.

I would strongly recommend replacing the coolant pressure cap... these are really poor quality. Mine popped during an acceleration run a few years ago... cylinder liner sealant blew. This is the Achilles' heal of the V8 as the sealant will melt at around 110 C... if you loose pressure, the coolant will boil at the liner base almost instantly, it's impossible to prevent liner sealant issues with one pressure loss.

Good luck on your cambelt service... if you've not done it before, take your time and check the tension a few times before considering it done. If you're replacing belts/tensioners, do another tension check in about 5000 miles as they initially stretch a bit.

Regards, KM
2000 Esprit V8
2008 Elise SC
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post #16 of 28 (permalink) Old 03-07-2010, 05:28 AM
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Time Interval

I purchased my 97 about a year ago. The car records show the timing belt was replaced March 2006 by a Lotus dealer in Boston. The car now has about 1,700 miles since the replacement in 2006. Is there a time interval between replacement and/or tension inspection?

FYI - My Ferrari timing belt/tension bearings is to be replace every three years or 18K miles. I have to change it on regular basis because of time.

Thanks,
Alan
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post #17 of 28 (permalink) Old 03-07-2010, 05:38 AM
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Scroll up a bit....

Cambelt service should be done every 12K miles or 18 months. You're overdue based on time, not mileage.

Regards, KM
2000 Esprit V8
2008 Elise SC
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post #18 of 28 (permalink) Old 03-07-2010, 08:47 AM
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Any premium national brand anti-freeze is good. I prefer Prestone. Mix 50/50 with soft water. I also suggest you take the header bottle apart and clean it out and make sure the low coolant level sensor is not gunked up and will work. Also check the hose from the header to overflow bottle. Some owners have had success using a tuning program called "Tune-IT". It requires a good microphone. Not many of us have or will spend for a Clavis gauge. Take your time and let us know how it turns out! For 8kredracer, you should get the manual and do an "A" service, at the very least you are supposed to change the brake and clutch fluid EVERY YEAR.
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post #19 of 28 (permalink) Old 03-08-2010, 04:41 AM
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My timing belt doesn't need changing yet but brake fluid does - what kind is best and about how much is needed?
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post #20 of 28 (permalink) Old 03-08-2010, 05:44 AM
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Most shops that service British cars swear by Castrol GTLMA Dot 4 brake fluid. It is supposed to be the most compatible with the rubber compounds used in the seals by Girling. You will need 4-5 pints for the brakes and another 1 for the clutch. If the fluid hasn't been changed for a long time and it's really dark and gunky you might want to flush longer and with with more fresh fluid. Remove as much of the old fluid as you can from the reservoir and wipe it out with alcohol before adding fresh stuff. Be careful not to spill any on the paint, it will soften and remove the paint. Always use the freshest stuff you can get, it absorbs moisture from the air. I buy it just before I need to use it and try not to store much more than 1 pint for topping off.
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