Should a chain cam on a Corsa need changing?

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kujar | 13:33 Wed 16th Nov 2005 | Motoring
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My wife drives an 8 year old (late 1998) Corsa 1.2 16v, which I am told has a chain cam. The Corsa has only done 29,000 miles. Does the chain cam on this Corsa need replacing? If so when? She only drives between 3 and 4 thousand miles a year.


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Your vehicle has a cam belt, not a chain, which I would suggest you change if it has not already been done. The mileage is low but the belt will deteriorate with age - if the cam belt breaks it will do some valve damage at the very least. Safest to change belt according to manufacturers recommendation on either age or mileage.
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I'm sorry but you are WRONG. Check the honestjohn site as recommended by this site. The 1.2 16v Corsas have a chain-cam. Also I have asked two different garages in year 5 and 6 of this car's life to actually change the "cambelt" and they both confirmed iti was a chain.
ok I stand corrected. if it is indeed a chain drive to the camshaft then you can relax - it wont need bothering with
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If the car is properly serviced ( annually in your case ) you shouldn't need to worry about the timing chain - by the time you would need a new chain you would need an engine rebuild.

On a car of this age with such low mileage it's would be better to concentrate on corrosion damage limitation tactics as I am assuming you want to get the longest possible life out of the vehicle. If the body is still sound, and Corsas tend to be ok on this, then you should consider waxoyling it. You could do this yourself as the kits are widely available and I can vouch for the effectiveness of such a treatment. On the mechanical side, with such low mileage and use, you should have minimal worries.

Question Author

Thanks for the advice.

On a different but related matter I drive a Vectra SXi which I bought recently with 35,000 miles on the clock. Again I enquired about the cambelt prior to buying and was told it was a chain-cam that needed to be changed a 60,000 miles. Are things different for Vectras and chains?

Waxoyling? Do Halford's have such kits?

On the matter of timing chains - a chain will begin to rattle when the wear become too much for the tensioner pulley to compensate for. A chain will not break which means that you will not suffer cylinder head damage as with a belt breakage which generally comes 'out of the blue'. I wouldn't worry about the Vectra either, just keep it well serviced with good quality oil and filters. Halfords do sell the waxoyling kits.

PS I thought that I better qualify my statement 'A chain will not break'. If the timing chain becomes noisy on either vehicle then you must have it changed as it CAN break but you will have plenty of warning - unlike the belt drive which is a 'silent killer' LOL. Premature timing chain wear is generally caused by poor servicing. A worn chain will produce a rattling noise on tickover which disappears when the engine is revs are increased. Use good quality oil and filters and relax in the knowledge that it is unlikely for you to have problems and if you do you will have plenty of warning to prevent catastrophic damage. You seem to be a careful owner - most people I know don't even know they have a timing belt or chain !!

Good luck

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Thanks again, you've put my mind at rest and I will be on the lookout for a chain rattle if one appears.
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Oh and the reason I am aware of cambelts is that I had an early Vectra which I bought at a year old with a year's guarantee. On the last day of the guarantee the cambelt tensioner went. It was a known fault in the early Vectras.

Everything was repaired free of charge but the car was never the same and I had to top it up with oil every week. I managed 140,000 miles in it all told but the incident taught me to be careful.

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