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September 2009

Cam Belt Problems

Or how I almost wrecked the engine.

Whilst at the Stamford Car Show I got asked by a fellow Tiger Owner how I had rigged up the plumming on the pinto engine. Being an obliging person I lifted the bonnet up and found the front of the camshaft cover covered in black rubber. The cambelt tensioner had failed causing the belt to become loose and then run out of true. A result of this was the belt shredding on the drive cogs and then ending up trying to jump off the cogs. If I hadn't taken the bonnet off then there was a fairly good chance the belt would have escaped on the drive home.

A bit of bodging later and I had the engine in a position where it was hopefully safe enough to get me the 10 miles home. It managed this and then I went to buy a new belt and tensioner and do the swap.

Everything started easily - as I stripped the alternator belt off without any issues. I then went to remove the crank pulley. Now as anyone who has worked on Pinto engines knows the crank pulley just slides onto the crankshaft. Not this time....

The pulley wouldn't slide off - after an hour or so of persuation I went and got a puller and attached this to try again.

Disaster - it broke the cast pulley into three pieces. At this point I now had two problems - 1. A broken pulley and 2. The remains of the stuck pulley!

I sourced a new pulley from a local engine builder and then asked Niall Turner to give me a hand getting the stub off.

When Niall came over we spend 3 hours getting the pulley off followed by another hour refiting the cambelt. Once everything was finally done we tried to start the engine and we found another problem.

When we had been turning the engine over to allow us to hammer the stub of the crank pulley off, the pickup in the distributor had blown depriving the engine of the speed signal that it needed to fire the ignition system. So it couldn't run. It took a further 2 weeks to track down and get a replacement distributor delivered at which point we finally had a running car again.