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Scurfield

Cambelt Failure

9 posts in this topic

I had the cambelt changed on my 2010 1.8 Mondeo Zetec TDCI six months ago at 87,000miles (well short of the 125,000 recommendation in the manual). It was done at a garage which I've used and trusted for over 20 years. Last Wednesday and less than 20,000 miles later, it failed and a new engine is now required.

Was this just extreme bad luck or should I be thinking about changing garages? Comments welcome.

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Hmmm, my two cents on this are

  • there must be an element of bad luck in this...if only the bad luck of choosing a poor supplier
  • it is possible that the garage damaged the belt when installing it...if so, technically the garage would have some liability, although how you'd do anything to pursue that is a bit of a mystery; could you prove it, at this time?
  • if the belt that the garage installed and supplied was of a poor quality, and that lead to a failure, the garage would have some level of liability; it would only be necessary to prove that the quality was poor, and that had lead to the demise of the belt and that demise had occurred before a 'reasonable' period of time; this would take a bit of doing, but, given that the standard periods are something like 125k/ten years, you might get a bit of an easy ride on this
  • it might be more practical to aim to get them bad publicity based on this incident; the difficulties of proving anything are such that you may not want to go down that route

If you had supplied or selected the belt, or instructed them to work in some non-standard way ('cut corners'), then your chances of compensation more-or-less disappear.

In any case, you wouldn't expect to be all that friendly with the garage in question afterwards, and that might be too high a cost, unless the garage offers some kind of compromise position.

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Thanks BOF, you've more or less confirmed my thoughts, in that fighting for compensation or attempting to create bad publicity would cause stress and bad feeling on both sides, with no guarantee that the desired outcome would be achieved. Time to switch garages, I think.

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Time to switch garages, I think.

Given that perspective, you wouldn't lose anything by having a friendly chat with them that goes along the lines '...been a customer for years, and now I am unhappy...it may be that we've both been unlucky, but I'm not happy with the outcome where you did stuff that didn't work, and I pay the total price for it...'

Even if they say "sod off and die...", you aren't in any worse position than you are now and they may offer something or another, such as a reduced price to fix the issue (I'd think that was the least they could do, but that's another matter).

In some ways, I'd like to advise you to pursue whatever legal rights you have, etc, etc, and ensure that the bad garages get weeded out, but, pragmatically, the costs of going down that route are likely to make it less than the best course of action for you.

Under the sale of goods act, goods and services have to be of 'reasonable' quality; against a minimum expectation of 125k miles life (and you get the feeling that a typical life would be twice that, or more, just Ford have set the limit for safety, rather than have a few very angry customers wandering around) something must be very wrong for the outcome to be 20 k miles life. They'd probably have a defence if they could argue that you mistreated it (how?), or that they could argue that you knew that you got an inferior one for a cheaper price and that it was made clear to you, at the time of decision that this was the case. Otherwise, I can't see that they have a leg to stand on, but even so, if they had a good lawyer and were determined to fight, they could make it difficult to prove to the satisfaction of a court.

Technically, someone further up the chain of supply (the manufacturer, the distributor) could be liable to them, and one of the things that they might suggest is that you prosecute, eg, the manufacturer. This would be hopeless as you don't have a legal contract with them, but if they do try to push you down this route, it could be hard to resist without deploying your own lawyer or solicitor.

There might be some mileage in just getting a solicitor/lawyer to write to them, but, if they call your bluff and say 'Well, let's go to court then' you are back in the same, not very good, position.

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Any idea of brand of parts fitted? Also what parts were changed?

On your paperwork/receipt. Do you have any warranty on the work carried out?

Has the belt itself failed or was it a tensioner, or pulley that's shifted?

For them to say a new engine is required the damage must be very extensive. Normally the damage is limited to the valves/cylinder head but it has been know to cause damage to other parts.

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Stef - what I know about mechanics could be written on a postage stamp, so everything was left to the garage. I don't know the brand and there is no warranty. I do know that the garage changed the pulleys and tensioners at the same time (they explained that it is pointless replacing the cambelt in isolation).

As regards the part that failed, I was initially told (by the garage that did the job) that the drive chain had broken, but I thought this model was not chain driven? Perhaps it was their way of trying to wriggle out of responsibility? Hopefully I'll find out more when the car is picked up from the company that's fitting the new engine.

As you'll appreciate I'm somewhat confused by all this, which is why I came to this forum seeking a few impartial views.

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As regards the part that failed, I was initially told (by the garage that did the job) that the drive chain had broken, but I thought this model was not chain driven? Perhaps it was their way of trying to wriggle out of responsibility? Hopefully I'll find out more when the car is picked up from the company that's fitting the new engine.

The situation with belts and chains can be confusing, but the belt is not the chain and the chain is not the belt. Some engines have one, some the other and some have both. And some even have a belt that is bathed in oil, and looks, from the outside like a chain, but it is really a belt.

In any case, if they changed the belt and what is failed is the chain, I can't see how they can be held to account for that. It is not the part that they supplied and fitted.

That said, a chain failure that early in its life would be an unusual thing. Has anyone expressed an opinion as to why it might have failed so early?

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The situation with belts and chains can be confusing, but the belt is not the chain and the chain is not the belt. Some engines have one, some the other and some have both. And some even have a belt that is bathed in oil, and looks, from the outside like a chain, but it is really a belt.

In any case, if they changed the belt and what is failed is the chain, I can't see how they can be held to account for that. It is not the part that they supplied and fitted.

That said, a chain failure that early in its life would be an unusual thing. Has anyone expressed an opinion as to why it might have failed so early?

If the case it may be the chain was actually ok but the tensioner has failed or caused the chain to jump. The tensioners normally use oil pressure so it could be that pressure has not built up quickly enough.

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Think on the 1.8tdci has a cambelt and a chain cassette for the fuel pump. There normally changed every ten years.

They can snap ive saw 3 so far. But in all 3 cases the engines were fine

Sent from my GT-I9195 using Ford OC mobile app

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