CarTalk.com Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Contitech Timing Belt Kits?

Did a search on this product and didn’t come up with much on Contitech timing belts, so thought I’d post this up!

I just had the timing belt, water pump, and pulleys replaced on my '02 Tacoma 3.4L. I asked for a quote to have the job done solely with Toyota parts. They gave me an estimate to replace the timing belt and quoted me on a TKT-025 kit which looks to be made by AISIN- the supplier for the Toyota OE, and also very popular with the Tacoma DIY timing belt crowd. In the past, I’ve had some major failures with non-OE aftermarket parts. The timing belt and water pump is critical, so it isn’t where I’d ever want to skimp especially since I use this vehicle primarily for long, remote trips on and off road…

So I dropped off the truck, and short of writing it down I stressed again that I wanted everything to be original equipment- best of the best. Told them I’d be more than happy to let them keep it for a week and a half to two weeks if they needed extra time to get the right parts. The next day, the tech who did the job called me to tell me he replaced the timing belt, with a Contitech kit (PP271LK1 made by Continental). This includes the water pump, pulleys, belt, and tensioner. I was initially puzzled since it didn’t sound 100% OE as far as I could tell but figured it probably had OE parts like the pump and pulleys, but with the Continental belt. Picked up the truck and finally had some time to do some research. The Contitech kit looks like the European counterpart to Aisin (which was what the tech told me). Pricewise it’s about the same, however, I’m also unable to find any feedback from those who have used these kits and how good they actually are. Comparing the estimate to the receipt, the shop also charged me more for this kit than the AISIN (OE) what was originally quoted. I called to ask why they didn’t use Aisin and their response was that the Aisin would have taken longer to arrive- which was the reason why I was fine with leaving it for an extended time…

So my two-pronged question is since I’m probably stuck with it, has anyone around here has had good experiences with Contitech timing belt kits? From what I read, their belts are great, but what about the water pump, pulleys, etc?? Also, I’m probably going to ask the shop to provide an extended warranty since it wasn’t the part I requested and needs to last 90K miles before being replaced again. A little disappointing…

Either way, I’d love to hear other people’s input on this. I do a majority of the maintenance myself and haven’t had to deal with a shop in some time. Overall, I liked the work they did and their honesty, but wish they had followed my request.

Thanks!

I tend to think you are over-thinking this. While I understand your preferences, I think you need to trust your shop to choose the right parts if the delay would be unacceptable to them. In the future, if you want a particular brand part, pre-pay and have them order it beforehand. Keep in mind that the shop has a vested interest in not getting this repair returned, so they choose parts from trusted vendors. Sometimes the supply chain for a particular item doesn;t work out, so they go with a trusted alternative that suits the need. I would let it go. You might ask for a reduction to agreed upon original estimate, but I wouldn’t go any further. I tend to believe that you will see any problems with the installation within 12K miles/12 mos, so an extended warranty is not needed.

Will be interested to see what others have to say on this…

Continental is a major brand of tires and belts, I wouldn’t give it a second thought. Had this been some ‘white box’ no-name kit, then I’d be concerned.

It seems that the Contitech company is not a fly-by-night operation so I’m going to assume that they make top notch products. The shop should have ordered the OE parts from AISIN and installed them on your vehicle if you did not mind the wait. Since they did not I would just keep all the receipts in case you have a failure in the future. I don’t think the parts will fail however because the Contitech company is legitimate. I would drive with confidence because the shop has evidently used these same parts before and I’m sure they want to remain in business for some time to come.

No worries. The only time to be seriously concerned is ANY order off of ebay.

I tend to agree that this is much ado about nothing.

But at least part of the reason is that it becomes less and less possible to tie parts to brands. For all you know a timing belt in a box labeled “AISIN” might be identical to belt in a box labeled “Contitech” because they both came off of the same line of some third party supplier. This could, perhaps, not be true for the belts but might be for other components in the kit. Or it could be true for the whole kit.

I’m not saying this is probably the case. I don’t even know how likely it is. But it seems to be how things work these days more often than not.

I had fun once trying to track down where a couple of sway bar links came from. I needed two. Two different parts stores each had one. Each were in two different branded boxes. When I opened them they were each identical, down to the pattern left on the plastic bag by the bag sealer. Neither was in a MOOG box, but both were supplied by MOOG. However, MOOG doesn’t make them. They just get them from some no name manufacturer (no name because it isn’t a “brand”) and you’d be hard pressed to ever find out who it was. I’m sure even that wouldn’t have been the end of the line as the links contain multiple parts. I’m sure that the company “X” back there wasn’t making anything either, but just ordering bolts from one place, bushings from another…and packaging them.

That’s just one example. But its quite routine now. Certainly the “brands” with their names on the boxes do quality control and selection, and some of them will still maintain their own production operations. AISIN might for some things, I don’t know. But even then the complexity of global supply chains is so intense that even they have a hard time knowing what they are getting. When things do go wrong (because they will) we end users do end up stuck holding the bag. Auto shops often end up in that category - the ones holding the bag.

Almost any time the customer has his own way to do things a business finds a way to change it back. There are too many team members blocking the goal line. The usual business motto is “This isn’t Burger King; you get it our way”. Oh no! Now I remember the KFC commercial that said “parts is parts”. Where’s the OE?

If you’d dug even deeper in your research you would have seen that Toyota doesn’e even make the Toyota numbered belts.
Ford doesn’t make belts.
GM doesn’t make belts.
etc.

They all come out of rubber company factories. The OE branded belts just go through a different printer for numbering.

So the result for you to rest easy is that you DO have OE quality parts.

Mr. Green is correct and this applies to many other components on a car also, from suspension and electrical parts to seats and complete transmission assemblies.

Even parts like the OEM water pump you mention are often farmed out to a supplier and there’s nothing wrong with Contitech parts.

Thanks for the input!

I did some research today and found that CRP distributes this kit. Asked them about the product and was able to get some more info on it. The belt is made by Continental while the pulleys, water pump, and hydraulic tensioner is made by GMB (I’ve heard of GMB but have no experience with them). The tensioner itself is a Toyota part (aisin? not sure). It does include a lifetime warranty which is nice. It was interesting to see where they source the parts for this package. At the end of the day, I guess we’ll see how it holds up. Glad to hear there was some positive input on them either way. I’ll probably have a chat with the shop about them providing the requested part next time- especially since the quality of their work looks to be very good and I’d like to stick with them for the major repairs. I’m going overboard on the manufacturer information, but that’s a byproduct of being burned by unknown branded parts in the past, while the OEM components have never let me down. Only difference is I had a surplus of patience and time back then to learn by trial and error!

Your surplus of patience doesn’t necessarily give them a surplus of room on the lot for keeping your truck around. Some places will start charging you a storage fee if your vehicle hangs around too long.

So…what I would do is chat with the shop and, as jayhawkroy suggested above, ask them if the best way to make sure your get the exact parts you want is for you to come in ahead of time, order and pay for the parts and then bring the truck in for the work when the parts arrive. I’ll bet they’ll say “Yep!”

Yeah, I’ll definitely ask to order the parts in advance from here on out. It was my first experience with that shop and that would be a surefire method to get the parts as requested. I did show up there two weeks in advance to get the estimate and schedule an appointment right then and there while requesting the OEM parts with the quote. Thought we were all on the same page, but I’ll be sure to get it in writing next time. Just used to ordering my own parts I guess- live and learn!

I work for a major automotive supplier. You’d be surprised at how little on your car is actually produced in house by the ‘manufacturer’ Oh they designed it (some of it), do the assembly and make some major parts, including engines and trannys in most cases (though not all the parts in the engine or tranny), but some don’t even make their own frames or subframes on all vehicles. Belts, hoses, seats, electronics, drive train components, brakes, steering and suspension parts, radiators, trans coolers, a large percentage of the car you drive was NOT made by the company you purchased it from. If it’s cheaper and/or easier to subcontract the job, you can bet that’s what happens.

To add to what Oblivion said, the car manufacturers’ specifications for most of the standardized parts such as belts and spark plugs don’t even come from the car manufacturer. Typically, they’ll either select to meet their requirements from a belt manufacturer’s catalog or spec their requirements and let the belt manufacturer provide the belt. When they select from the catallig, they’ll transfer the belt manufacturer’s specifications onto their design drawing (to “lock in” the specs), assign their own part number, define the belt manufacturer as the “approved vendor”, and order to their own part number. These are called “specification control drawings”.

In ahort, not only don’t the car manufacturers make things like belts, they don’t even design them.

And to add to that, it could be that Continental (or Aisin) doesn’t even make the belt. But that’s ok with me, I put some trust in them specifying it to meet factory specs or better, because their name is on the line.

MountainBike,

I’m going to call “BOOOOOGUS!” on your post. I know that for tires it is exactly the opposite of what you have stated - and I suspect that it is the same for other things. I can guess there might be some back and forth as far as the technical specifications, but I’ll bet a dollar to a donut that the vehicle manufacturer calls the shots.

1 Like

but I’ll bet a dollar to a donut that the vehicle manufacturer calls the shots.

Some things yes…but many things (like belts) no. Manufacturers are trying to keep costs down. If they can buy an off the shelve part they will. Lot cheaper. In fact they may change their design a little to accommodate an off the shelve product. It’ll save them money in the long run.

Capri, having been involved in the design and development of products for numerous industries including the car industry, I can tell you that with components such as belts and spark plugs the engine designers work with the piece-part manufacturers to the extent possible and when no catalog listed product is available they clarify the interface and performance requirements and let the piece part manufacturers design the part. I’ve way too many years of experience in this area. My post is not a theory, but a statement of fact.

You’re in the tire design buisiness. Has it been your experience that the auto manufacturers design tires? Or do they tell the tire manufacturers what they need?

In a related field, I remember my mech. eng. dad, who designed product packaging machinery, with catalogs of various components for use in his work. Much preferred to use an ‘off the shelf’ gear, pulley, etc.

In a similar vein, I had to work once with a design package for a commercial producxt wherein the designer (not the sharpest tack in the drawer) had designed his own thread instead of referring to the Machinists handbook. Good lord, what a mess that was! Try getting go/nogo gages for custom designed threads! Got money?