[200q20v] dubious distinction?

Phil Rose pjrose at frontiernet.net
Sat Feb 2 14:16:27 EST 2002

At 10:23 PM -0700 2/1/02, Mike Miller wrote:
>When I did mine at 74K ( 8/1996) , it was cracked ( on the teeth side) about
>every 1/8 inch 1/2 way thru the belt.  I had the car towed in - cheap $100
>tow vs 3k head work I figured. No pics. No regrets. Just replaced it again a
>couple months ago. No cracks this time even tho 5+ yrs and 60k+ miles.

I guess there's quite a bit of variability encountered in t-belt
condition-- even for comparable age (and/or use). This might be due,
in part, to the wide geographical variations in ozone level.

  I suspect that mileage correlates less-well with belt-breakage than
does the belt age (unless the failure is induced by another failed
component--like the distributor gear).  Bernie, you seems to be
saying that it _will_  be OK to replace the plastic distributor gear
_before_ it breaks?  You're  not saying this to just make us feel
good, are you? To avoid a violation of principle, I guess we could
merely remove the cam cover and inspect that gear every few years to
make sure to replace only if it's about to disintegrate.  :-)

Speaking of "other" components that can induce t-belt failure, I
stumbled upon a potential "belt buster" --one I caused by the simple
act of trying to check the t-belt condition. A "self-inflicted"
wound, so to speak.  A day or two before attempting to remove the
"allen" nuts that retain the plastic (t-belt) cover,  I applied
penetrating oil to the heavily corroded  hex sockets. However, as I
easily loosened the top nut with my Allen wrench, I was unaware that
the nut actually remained frozen and that its threaded stud  was
unscrewing from the engine. Before I knew it, I had unthinkingly
pulled out the entire thing (nut with attached stud). There was a
simultaneous, metallic "clink" sound. Whoa, what's happened!!?
Duh... I then realized that inadvertant removal of the stud had
allowed a large  steel bushing--a "spacer"--to come free and fall
into the interior of "t-belt territory".  I could direct my
flex-light** into the lower regions and saw that the steel spacer had
become lodged between the T-belt teeth and the water pump gear teeth.
If this situation had been unnoticed, I don't know if it would have
caused a sudden catastrophy--or merely a disconcerting rattle.  I was
barely able to retrieve the spacer with my  "flexible claw" tool. In
any case I then decided to replace the belt.

Hey, I've saved my 11 yr-old belt, and I'll make it available  as a
replacement to anyone who decides his 15+ yr-old old belt might be
"about to break". Waste not, want not. ;-)

[**Flex Light--my advice is to get one if you don't already have
it!!!!. Costs a mere 15 bucks at Sears (slightly more at Pep Boys)
and gives you much more precise, useful illumination in hard-to-reach
areas than you _ever_ thought possible. This thing makes a flashlight
seem like a using a butcher knife when a scalpel is really needed.]

*  Phil & Judy Rose           Rochester, NY  *
*        mailto:pjrose at frontiernet.net       *

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