Timing gear of modern passenger car engines

Chain drive timing mechanisms have a longer history of use, but timing belts are being used more and more frequently and are being installed on more and more engines. If it doesn’t make sense to repair your car, then come here: Any car can be recycled, and for a lot of money: https://scrapcar.cash.

Global auto giants such as Volkswagen and Toyota are even using timing belt drives on their V six and eight cylinder engines. But the chain drive of the timing mechanism does not give up its position either. Chain is traditionally used on German Opel and BMW. Let’s find out the difference.

Chain drive timing, pros and cons

Chain drive in timing mechanisms has been used for a long time and successfully. However, there are nuances. This type of transmission often gives itself out with a metallic “rattle” when working. This is a small disadvantage, as, the current engine manufacturers pay quite a lot of attention to both the noise reduction of engines, and the sound insulation of car interiors.

In the vast majority of cars from reputable manufacturers, engine noise in the cabin of the car is practically not felt. The installation of single-row chains has recently come into vogue. This reduces the noise, but it also reduces the reliability. A broken chain can lead to quite unpleasant problems.

The advantage of a two-row chain is that if one branch breaks, the engine will continue to run. Diagnosis of the state of the chain is sometimes quite difficult to make only by the noise level, as, the noise of the chain merges with the work of other systems and mechanisms of the engine, but the repair can be quite comparable with an engine overhaul.

Often for replacement it is necessary to remove both the engine itself and the cylinder head. Therefore, when buying a car that is not new, you should pay close attention to diagnostics. However, the chain also has quite serious advantages.

It is not exposed to the influence of atmospheric factors, it is not afraid of neither moisture nor sand. Metal chains do not stretch practically during operation – this, in turn, guarantees precise observance of valve timing even at the extremes of the engine operation.

Timing Belt Transmission

When considering belt-driven engines, it is worth noting that timing belts are made of high-quality elastic materials. As a result, the torsional vibrations that occur during engine operation are sufficiently dampened. This prolongs the life of the camshafts. The engine is said to run softer.

It is also easy to diagnose the belt. Its condition can be assessed even visually. If signs of wear are detected, the belt is simply replaced. It is also recommended to change the timing belts when they reach a certain resource.

With a fairly small price, both the belt itself and its replacement, it has long been in the category of consumables. The use of belt transmission allows the engine itself to be both smaller and lighter. There are, however, also obvious disadvantages.

Under the influence of temperatures it loses elasticity, water, oil, dust, reduces the resource and leads to the so-called aging. Belt breakage can lead to a rather complicated and expensive repair.

What’s better?

Making a comparison, unequivocally answer the question, quite difficult. Manufacturers widely use both the first and the second option. Volkswagen began to put the belt on almost all engines, while BMW has remained largely committed to the chain transmission.

On some Audi engines, the manufacturer uses both chain and belt at the same time. The belt controls one of the camshafts and the chain synchronizes them.

What type of timing belt your engine will have is not that important. The main thing to remember is that the belt is an expendable material, so you should change it in time and use only quality ones from well-known manufacturers. The condition of the chain should also be monitored, and if the question of replacing it, then change it. In any case, the choice is yours, or rather the manufacturer’s.

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