Frequently asked questions about FIAT Tipo 16V

When should the cambelt be changed?

If you don't read anything else in this site please make sure you read this. The scheduled cambelt replacement for the Tipo 16V is during it's 63,000 mile service. Never ever leave it that late. My cambelt snapped at 60,900 miles. At it's previous service (54,000 miles) I was getting nervous about the belt being on the car for so long. However I was assured by the service desk that it would be okay to leave it to the next service (if only I'd got that in writing!!!). Brian Chapman's cambelt failed within 60,000 miles. Jorge Santoro's cambelt broke taking with it all 16 Valves. Karim Kassir's cambelt jumped whilst he was starting the car. Cleiton Krause's cambelt tensioners failed causing the belt to jump and Steve Whiteside's cambelt snapped requiring a upper engine rebuild. Andrew Edwards' cambelt snapped at 52,000 miles three days before it was due to be replaced. David Abel's cambelt snapped costing him £1700 to fix.

Of course cambelts are one of those strange items that can last forever or fail relatively quickly. I'm not the only one that believes that they should be replaced at least every 36,000 miles and possibly every 24,000 miles. This should hopefully reduce the chance of it failing again. It will probably cost about £200 to replace both the cam belt and the
balancer shaft belt. This is because the balancer shaft belt alone costs £70.

The cambelt tensioner bearing should be checked and replaced if necessary (usually a good idea given the small cost of the part), at each belt change. See the FAQ below on tensioner bearings.

How do I replace the cambelt?

I strongly advise getting an expert to do this as the consequences of getting it wrong will be very expensive. Belts Auxiliary Belts


Special Tools

Special Precautions Removal
  1. Support engine.
  2. Remove:
    • Auxilary drive belts.
    • Engine stabiliser bar/mounting (5).
    • Timing cover (1).
  3. Turn crankshaft in a clockwise direction to TDC on No.1 cylinder.
  4. Remove crankshaft pulley (3) by undoing bolts (11).
  5. Check balancer shaft timing marks (6 & 7) are aligned.
  6. Check marks on rear of camshaft sprockets align with cut-outs in rear belt cover and lugs on camshaft bearings (2).
  7. Remove water pump pulley (4).
  8. Slacken balancer shaft belt tensioner (9).

  9. NOTE: If balancer shaft belt is being reused, mark position of belt on sprockets before removal (6, 7 & 8).
  10. Remove balancer shaft belt.
  11. Remove crankshaft sprocket (8).

  12. NOTE: Crankshaft sprocket bolt has LH thread.
  13. Check crankshaft mark (12) aligned.
  14. Slacken tensioner nut (10) and remove timing belt.
  1. Ensure timing marks aligned (2 & 12).
  2. Fit timing belt, keeping belt taut between sprockets.
  3. Install tension gauge tool No. 1860745100/200 (13) into holes on timing belt tensioner (10).
  4. With scale bar horizontal set tension gauge weight (15) to 100mm mark.
  5. Turn crankshaft two complete revolutions clockwise to TDC on No.1 cylinder, check timing marks align (2 & 12).

  6. NOTE: If scale bar moves from the horizontal, reset bar amd repeat tensioning operation.
  7. Tighten timing belt tensioner nut (10) to 44 Nm.
  8. Recheck alignment of timing marks (2 & 12).
  9. Refit crankshaft sprocket (8).
  10. Tighten sprocket retaining bolt to 190 Nm.
  11. Ensure crankshaft sprocket TDC mark (12) and balancer shaft marks (6 & 7) are aligned.
  12. Fit balancer shaft belt.
  13. Install tension gauge (14) No. 1860745100/400, (with gauge weight removed), onto balancer shaft belt tensioner (9).
  14. With scale bar horizontal set tension gauge weight to 205mm mark.
  15. Turn crankshaft two complete revolutions clockwise to TDC on No.1 cylinder, check timing marks align (2 & 12).

  16. NOTE: If scale bar moves from the horizontal, reset bar amd repeat tensioning operation.
  17. Tighten balancer shaft belt tensioner nut to 23 Nm (9).
  18. Install remainder of components in reverse order of removal.

Should the belts squeek on my engine?

The belts should definately not whir or squeek.

Mike Jukes' had his cambelt replaced and got the car back with a nice new whirring sound. This got worse, and worse and worse. He took the car back and had the cambelt tensioner bearing replaced just in time before it seized. It makes sense to have both the cambelt and tensioner bearing replaced at the same time.

Even after fitting both a new cambelt and tensioner bearing you might get a slight squeeking. However this should only be for a short time until the belts seat themselves.

The noise might just be the alternater or powersteering pump belts which may be too tight or too loose.

When should the cambelt tensioner be changed?

Nigel Gladstone spoke to Barry WaterHouse Engineering who said that as a precaution the cambelt tensioner bearing should be replaced every time the cambelt is replaced. Getting it changed whilest the belts are being changed obviously keeps the cost down. The part number is #5997325 costs a reasonable £34.29 including VAT.

As the cambelt tensioner bearing wears it loses it's ability to spin as smoothly. This gradually puts more strain on the cambelt. This can cause, over time, the cambelt to stretch. In the worst case the bearing seizes up completely and either snaps the cambelt or strips the teeth off it. This is what happened to mine. Either way you end up with a mangled engine head.

What is the double sided toothed belt?

Mike Jukes asks what purpose the double sided toothed belt serves as it came off when his engine hit the rev limiter (he was very lucky for it not to foul the cam belt). This is the belt that drives the twin counter rotating balancer shafts. These rotate in the opposite direction to the engine and are designed to make the engine feel smoother.

The garage that rebuilt my engine removed the belt and locked the shafts. This is because they did not trust the belt to withstand high revs. As a side effect the engine is also slightly more responsive but not as smooth at high revs. It can also release about 5 to 6 bhp.

I get bad vibration through the gearbox at high revs, what's wrong?

Alex Wakefield's car developed a serious vibration problem, which manifested itself in a nasty shaking through the gearbox at high revs, and a horrible sound through the dashboard from behind the engine.

It turned out that his balancer shaft belt had snapped. He was very lucky for it not to get caught up in the cambelt.

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