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2000 Volvo S80 T6 with 95k miles

@BillRussell, Gates sells timing belts for both the 2.8L and 2.9L engines, and they were the only motors available for the S80. Cavell is correct.

" wouldn’t be at all surprised if there are manufacturers that don’t even mention the timing belt at all, in the owner’s manual or maintenance schedule"

While I agree with you about 99% of the time, I think that you are off-base with this one.
If you can give us an example of any car manufacturers that use timing belts, but fail to mention anything regarding their maintenance, then I will concede that I am wrong and that you are right.
Can you cite any examples?

A lot of Volvo owners would ante up for those repairs as long as they liked the car and couldn’t afford to buy a new one. The timing belt is just a scheduled maintenance item after all. As long as the failed heater core doesn’t indicate a general cooling system corrosion problem, as long as you’re willing to have no heat in the passenger compartment … brrrrr now … but summer’s coming … you could just bypass the heater core at the fire wall temporarily. That will stop the heater core leak. And it’s possible the heater core itself isn’t leaking, just a connection leak.

However, if you don’t like or want the car, now’s as good as time as any to get rid of it. And the cash offer from the state helps toward this end

These days we are gravitating BACK to the beloved T Chain. I guess with the prices of vehicles rising ever more…the least they could do was give us back the original drive method of the cams…being Gears or Chain.

When I was a Younger Buck…I thought the switch to the belt was a performance thing…or at least it was suggested to me back then…and i just accepted it.

It wasnt until a few years back that I found out that I was misled…it was a Bean Counter decision…I was honestly Furious over this fact…and still am.

No other time in I can recall has a mfg of vehicles built in such a potentially devastating time bomb of a device. Normal people do not understand the magnitude of that belts importance nor do they understand the damage that can occur if ignored. I still dont feel like that is right. I see Beautiful cars ALL the time in the yard or on the way to the yard because of a T Belt and the huge repair estimate that I am sure got the car to that position. An expensive machine like todays cars should not have such an Achilles Heel semi-hidden in wait. People dont care to look or know…cause they dont want to know…this is yet another topic of discussion.

I know if I ever have kids…they will understand what is going on under the hood…and will be able to drive a manual. Both make better, safer, drivers who think.

Sometimes the T-Belt is a boon for me, to be honest, Ive owned and sold many vehicles because of this fact…but its hardly 100% ethical in my opinion and is fodder for another post…

These days you never know until you look…at which method the mfg chose for the cams… You can tell from a glance at any engine, in seconds if its a belt driven style or something else. There needs to be a little closer inspection to tell apart a Chain from a Gear system though.


Timing belts, while frustrating to a lot of owners, maybe aren’t quite as evil as you portray @“Honda Blackbird” … lol … they do the job ok, and rarely fail as long as the recommended service intervals are held to. And they weigh less than timing chains , that would be my wild guess anyway. There’s lots of gadgets in a car engine that can fail and ruin the engine, without much in the way of warning to the owner. For example on my Corolla if the engine overheats due to a leak in the radiator, or water pump failure, there’s no audio warning chime or light on the dash; instead the owner is required to notice the dash gauge is at the top of the scale instead of where it should be, in the middle. And who’s looking at the coolant temp gauge all the time?

And TB changes are very expensive and easily prone to problems.
I never liked timing belts for those reasons. Manufacturers used them because belts are less expensive than chains. I believe they’ve gone back to chains because belts developed such a negative image. Or perhaps because belts contribute to the total amount of non-recyclable materials in a car… chains don’t. The feds might have influences on design that the public isn’t generally aware of. These are just guesses, you understand.


Lexus used timing belts from 1989 to 2009. On smaller, less expensive models this is an understandable cost savings however the with LS430 and LX470 one would not expect such a compromise.

Overhead cam timing chains during the eighties were noisier and less reliable than a timing belt that is replaced every 60,000 miles. A noisy timing chain is unacceptable on a luxury car.

Today’s overhead cam timing chains are not without fault, chain guides fail and people complain about noise during the winter when things are normally quiet.

I’ve heard complaints about timing chains on some newer cars – GM I think I recall, but admittedly that’s just a guess – that the way they are positioned in the engine compartment, they can be very expensive to service.

This isn’t addressed to anybody specific . . .

Complain about timing belts all you want

They’re not perfect, and it can be expensive to replace them, and all the associated seals, tensioners, water pump, etc.

But timing chains are not a silver bullet

A timing chain setup on a modern dohc engine often has 3 chains, multiple tensioners, lots of guides, etc.

Doing a timing chain job on such an engine will be many times more expensive, versus a timing belt job on a typical dohc V6

I prefer a chain but have no problem at all with belts. Belts are only a problem if someone allows them to be.

As to the trend back to chains I would suspect that is due to car makers hearing multiple times each year, “I’ll never buy another POS (fill in the blank) again because the belt broke”.
Not reading the owners manual or ignoring a belt recommendation is not their fault of course…

Imagine the complexity and price quote on this one…

“as long as the recommended service intervals are held to” George…That is a weighty statement. The problem is that people not in the know…or ones who dont want to know… DONT KNOW…or care. To them a car is an appliance and treated as such.

It may sound like T-belts are the stuff of Nightmares for me…in fact they dont bother ME much at all. As many have said above…they DO work just fine, they dont trouble me much. I guess what troubles me is when I see the people who dont get it…snap the belt due to all sorts of silly negligence… I wind up seeing the thought process they go through to understand why they now have catastrophic engine damage without warning. “Man it ran perfect…always” Yup…it sure would have…till the belt broke.

Me personally…I do more belts than I care to recall…they arent that bad to do usually and are a good time to commune with my engine and spot other problems. It brings me closer to my car…

Its the other crowd I try to cheer for I suppose. Like OK44 said…belts are only a problem if allowed to be… Couldnt agree more. I guess I just happen to see people go thru the shock n awe of discovering they have a belt, that it snapped or failed due to other items…and now their perfect running car is in need of massive repair. OK44 also hit the nail on the head again with the idea of why mfgs are using chains more now… I think. Can you imagine the reports given to dealers about the T-Belt issue…the damage it caused… the pain, the cost…the inconvenience. Of course they are at fault…but…try explaining that to irate people. They wont bite. Then if they hear that there is another more reliable way…they get more angry. Or they might say…my fathers Chevy truck with a 350 V8 Ran until the body rusted to dust and there was nothing left to drive…and it still ran and drove it to the junkyard with 323K on the clock. Why should my engine be doomed at 97K…sometimes more…sometimes less ? THAT is what they are thinking…and if not…they will if they talk to more people…

Almost everyone has an Uncle Bob 350V8 high mileage story in their family…haha

We all know chains arent a silver bullet by any means however…the time when we need to deal with or think about a chain…Is a LONG way down the odometer…and when it starts to go…there usually is a long warning time for those denser than most people to finally admit that their vehicle may need attention.


It is right amazing how many interference engines are trashed solely because the timing belt wasn’t replaced as specified . A lot of these vehicles are otherwise still nice vehicles & would have been good to go for many more miles .
I was guilty of this once myself . Luckily the car was sitting in my driveway idling when the belt broke & nothing else was damaged .
As for those old 350’s that ran forever , I knew a guy who ran one until the timing chain was so loose it wore a hole through the timing cover . He cleaned the cover up around the hole & applied a bunch of liquid nail for a patch & kept running it . I don’t know how long it lasted that way .

I would hate to be the person paying for the timing set replacement in that link you provided .

Does anyone else remember the 4-cylinder engine that GM installed in the original Pontiac Tempests? It was–literally–one half of a Pontiac V-8. Score one point for being innovative and being able to use “old” engine components in this “new” engine.

However, the engine was inherently so badly balanced that it was ridiculous, IMHO.
And, those engines had a disturbing habit of needing new timing chains every 60k miles or so. Luckily, the racket of the timing chain inside the housing provided enough of a warning so that most owners had their chain replaced before it broke.

I can distinctly recall riding in a few of those old Tempests that made an incredible racket with their loose timing chain.

Funny you mentioned that Job OK44… I had to buy the special tool that enables one to complete said job when a similar Audi engine used belts for the job. I would like to think that the original owner would never see the miles on the clock to have to deal with that job. Hopefully anyway. JEEZOO…look at all those plastic guides on there…yipes.

Fun Question…looking at those T-Chains… Can you tell me which way that engine rotates ? I can easy enough… This is one of the questions I ask guys all the time…when they are learning to do T-Belts. Makes them think a little bit…and most never forget the lesson.

My 1.8 Turbo in my GTi uses a single belt AND a Chain to drive 2 camshafts and 20 Valves…yes…5 valves per cylinder.

Somewhere along the line I am guessing that there must have been a Coolant leak which forced this owner to address…His address? Was adding water… A fine stop gap measure to get you home till you can source the problem. What did he do ? Nothing… Kept adding water. I found the car sitting forlornly in the back lot of a Bar in Collegeville. With a Seized water pump, a snapped T belt and 19.5 Bent Valves and nothing but rusty WATER in the rad and engine. 77K on the clock. This happened to be a very limited edition 03’ 20th Anniversary GTi an expensive vehicle at the time and something to be considered special then…and now. What a shame…this guy dropped almost 30 Grand on a new car…only to get 77K out of it. He drove it into the dirt.

Avoidable for certain… Whats my point here? I think I lost my point but… Belts definitely do their job properly when serviced properly they are rock solid. I guess my point is…that these types of people are all over the place out there. If this car used 2 chains instead of One belt and one chain…I would never own my beloved GTi… so there is an upside to belts…for mechanics.

If mfg’s are going back to chains…there is still service involved and Prev maintenance…but this maintenance needs to happen much much further down the odometer than a belt would and I believe this would go a long way toward ensuring that original owners of said vehicle will have a favorable health report card for the vehicle bec they will sell or buy new BEFORE they have a Cam drive failure. Maybe mfg’s are aiming at this now. I can only imagine the reports from original owners to the dealer…when the new car they bought blew up just past 100K and before they bought a new car. A chain usually will provide an owner with a long and noisy warning prior to total failure.

I now need to do yet another T-Belt service on my VW…I am pondering whether or not to address that T-Chain and its hydraulic tensioner as well while I am in there…I think I may have to or should. This is now at 147K so…its getting time to start thinking of that chain under my valve cover.


Following on @ok4450’s comment, I think a lot of people say they won’t buy another car with a surprise $700 bill at 60,000 to 100,000 miles for the timing belt replacement. Add coolant, water pump, pulleys, and engine seals to that and the cost is well over $1000. Sure, it will cost more to replace a timing chain eventually, but most people don’t keep their bought-new cars and trucks long enough to have that worry.

@“Honda Blackbird” Blackbird

“Collegeville” . . . Collegeville, PA, or some other Collegeville?

I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s a common name for a town

I had a Mazda once, similar setup as yours. DOHC 4 banger. Timing belt drove one cam. There was a chain connecting the 2 cams to each other

But it was “only” 4 valves per cylinder, and I believe the chain tensioner wasn’t hydraulic. Very low tech, compared to your car

DB…Yup…Collegeville, PA. Right down the road basically. I think its about 12-15 miles down 422W from me thereabouts?