Disaster averted... just
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