Dis­as­ter averted... just

Classic Cars (UK) - - Our Cars -

The im­pend­ing need for a cam­belt change had nagged me ever since I picked up the Peu­geot last month. Buy­ers’ guides for 205 GTI 1.9s (the near­est thing you can find for 405 SRI ad­vice) warned of cat­a­strophic con­se­quences should the belt snap. Even a pe­riod Park­ers Guide I have pointed out that the then-new 405 re­quired reg­u­lar cam­belt changes. Although the belt was last changed ten years ago just be­fore the car was con­fined to a barn by its first owner fol­low­ing a mi­nor ac­ci­dent, it had cov­ered fewer than 3000 miles since – well within the rec­om­mended change in­ter­val. But the rub­ber could have per­ished un­seen over time, so cau­tion won out and a re­place­ment belt was sourced via Mar­shall Peu­geot. Then it was off to the Bourne Citroën Cen­tre thanks to a rec­om­men­da­tion from

Prac­ti­cal Clas­sics’ James Wal­she, whose DS it’d re­cently re­stored.

‘You got it to us just in time,’ BCC’S Peter An­nells con­firmed af­ter com­plet­ing the work. ‘Who­ever put the old belt on didn’t tighten the camshaft pul­ley’s lo­cat­ing bolt prop­erly be­fore fit­ting the plas­tic hous­ing. It had worked loose and fallen off, caus­ing the belt to fray un­seen in­side the hous­ing. It was lit­er­ally just about to snap – then you would’ve had a scrap engine.’

Bodgery was found too. ‘We had to change the al­ter­na­tor belt,’ said Peter. ‘Some­one had used a longer one from another car and just loos­ened the ten­sioner to its max­i­mum set­ting to get it to fit. It was slip­ping and had it come off, it prob­a­bly would’ve taken the cam­belt out.’ Thank­fully, there was bet­ter news else­where; the car was gen­er­ally in great con­di­tion. Sev­eral key weak points had been rec­ti­fied dur­ing pre­vi­ous owner Ben’s recom­mis­sion­ing process, and the few scruffy edges – a patch of rust on a rear whee­larch and a dent in the front off­side wing – would be rel­a­tively easy fixes. All points con­firmed in a star­tlingly ear­ly­morn­ing text from Wal­she. ‘I can also con­firm it’s very com­fort­able,’ he added.

How did he know? ‘Well, I was over at Bourne be­cause we had to get the DS fin­ished in time for the Prac­ti­cal Clas­sics show at the NEC, and that wasn’t sorted un­til 3am. So I sat in it as I fan­cied a proper look at the in­te­rior and just ended up nod­ding off. Hope you don’t mind…’

The camshaft pul­ley had worked loose on its spin­dle and was gnaw­ing away at the cam­belt Cam­belt re­placed in the nick of time

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