Why Some Cars Have a Timing Chain Instead of a Timing Belt

Why Some Cars Have a Timing Chain Instead of a Timing Belt


rev up your engines, today I’m gonna talk
about timing belts versus timing chains
inside your car’s engine, now for most
internal combustion engines the
crankshaft which the Pistons are
connected to spins around and that’s
connected to the camshaft which opens
and closes the valves, and there’s
various ways you can connect it, now a
long time ago in my grandfather’s day
the early engines they didn’t even use
timing belts or timing chains, they had
timing gears, the bottom crank had a gear
and then gears went to the camshaft
which spun the camshaft and then push
rods open and closed the valves, now that
was a solid reliable system, you had
gears connecting them, but that two main
disadvantages, one it costs a lot of
money to make good gears to put that
together and the gears themselves had a
tendency of making whiny noises that
people didn’t like, so then instead of
having gear on gear to spin it
they decided to use a timing chain and
these engine designs the crankshaft
sprocket teeth on it, then a timing chain,
then another sprocket with teeth that
ran the camshaft all the old American v8
engines were made that way and some of
them are still that way, you can see
these are thick hardy change this one
came off a 350 Chevrolet they’re really
strong they lasted off a long time but
of course it costs money to make hard
steel sprockets and expensive chains
so they gave the idea of the timing belt
instead of a timing chain, the pulley on
the bottom of the crank and the pulley
on a camshaft was connected using a
rubber base timing belt and contrary to
what people might try to tell you, the
only reason they went to tiny belts it’s
cuz it’s cheaper to make them when you
have a sprocket that uses a timing chain
it has to be really strong steel, but the
sprockets that run these rubber base
timing belts they can be a lot softer
because they’re just pulling rubber
they’re not steel, so most of the
manufacturers switched over the timing
belt, now with a car like this Toyota
that’s well designed a 94 Celica, those rubber timing belt sometimes could last
hundreds of thousands of miles they’d tell
you to change them every one
thousand or 90 or so, they were pretty
reliable in the Toyota engine and
there’s one big advantage of this design
almost every Toyota engine ever made is
a non-interference engine, so off the
timing belt breaks the Pistons don’t hit
the valve and do any damage, but when you
take cars like many of the Nissans, they
were a faster engine racing design, so
the Pistons went higher and the valves
came lower, so if those rubber belts ever
broke when you’re driving on the highway
the Pistons hit the valves
they break the engine and destroy the
engine, I’ve seen many people in the past few
decades with these timing belt Nissan’s
have the belt brake ruined the engine
and they said, you’re telling me that this
$30.00 belt broke made out of rubber and
it destroyed my engine, I’ll never buy
another Nissan, well then respond to this
Nissan was one of the early companies to
go from timing chains on their cars, to
timing belts and then back to timing
chains, so that they wouldn’t have this
problem and unfortunately for Nissan and
the people who bought them, a lot of
those early switchover that went from
timing belts to timing chains had
problems with the timing chains cuz
Nissan made them kind of poorly, but the
idea was correct and now many
manufacturers have switched back to timing
chains and the main reason for that is the
higher design capacity of smaller
engines, they’re making smaller engines put
out more horsepower, putting variable
valve timing and other things inside and
that strains the timing belt so much
that the rubber timing belts would have a
tendency of breaking too often and to
get added horsepower to these smaller
engines, a lot of the manufacturers had
used to make non-interference engines
are now making an interference engine
but since they have a sturdy steel chain
that’s driving it, they don’t have the
problems of a rubber belt snapping, take
this matrix it’s twelve years old, it’s
got a timing chain inside the engine
never had a problem, as quiet as can be,
and runs just as good as it did when it
was brand new,
because really steel chains, they beat
the heck out of a rubber base timing
belt
any day of the week if the chains are
made correctly, and I know some guys maybe
motorcycle guys are gonna say, but Scotty
chains need lubrication well guess what
timing chain is inside the engine, it’s
coated with the engine motor oil it is
inside the engine, so as long as you
change your engine oil regularly this
chain is lubricated with nice clean engine oil and
it can last a really long time, rubber hey it falls apart it’s over time, it’s going
to stretch over time and yeah a chain
stretches a little over time but it
takes a lot more time and mileage to
stretch solid steel than it does rubber
and sure costs a lot more money to
manufacture a chain and build an engine
that way but hey, they’re not giving away
modern car so you’re paying enough money
you really want one that’s got a solid
timing chain in it, because I doubt
they’ll ever go back to making gear
driven cams, that just costs way too much
money and as I said earlier it does
make a reasonable amount of whining
noise and people want quieter cars, they
don’t want louder ones, now of course the
rubber base timing belts were really
quiet, but in a modern engine they just
wouldn’t hold up, with all those extra
cams and variable valve timing and GDI
direct injection, there’s a lot more
pressure, a rubber belt can’t take it but
a chain can, so if you’re shopping
around for a new car hey, I’d make
sure it had an engine with a timing
chain and not one of these flimsy rubber
base timing belts, so if you never want
to miss another one of my new car repair
videos, remember to ring that Bell!

100 Replies to “Why Some Cars Have a Timing Chain Instead of a Timing Belt”

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  2. heres a good question. is it possible to change from timing belt to chain – and how hard is it

  3. Change your timing belt every 70000 miles and you'll be perfectly fine. They have kits so you replace the water pump at the same time. 300 bucks will save your engine. I learned the hard way and had a Kia Rio engine destroyed at 60000 miles with these rubber band belts.

  4. Really enjoy your informative and no nonsense approach to the car industry. You are an asset to your viewers. Rest assured, you have saved decent folk alot of money and un necessary hassle who've watch your content. This is from an ex Mercedes Technician. Keep up the great service Scotty. 👍

  5. I can tell you now the diesel Mk2 Toyota Rav4 were interference engines – I think most diesels are actually – my cam belt snapped going 70mph down a motorway and fucked my engine. Wrote it off (unless I put a whole new engine in). Next one I got was the Mk3 where they switched to a timing chain.

  6. I just put in my search “Why some cars has timing belt and not chain. First thing come up was scotty face… I smile 😎

  7. 2:06 that image right there tells that Scotty is just epic accurate with ur reaction 😂😂😂🙈👍🏼

  8. Adding this detail for those wondering what their car have on.
    Timing belt will have a plastic cover attached to the side of engine, timing chain will not have that plastic cover, you have no easy access to the chain.

  9. Scotty, I just watched your video on Suburu. The only car i'd buy is one with the 2010+ gen Toyota V-6 or 2007 Lexus V-8. Life's too shirt to deal with timing belts, oil dilution, head gasket failure, and carbon buildup! Buy a modern Toyota!

  10. Thanks for your amazing and honest videos Scotty! The only thing worse than a timing belt, is a defective timing chain system. In this regard, what is your opinion dear Scotty on the timing chain system in EA888 engines? In my humble opinion they warrant special attention.

  11. I had pontiacs in the 60s with a timing chain and fiber gears high failure rate. Then replacements were always steel.

  12. Scotty, I have a Hyundai and the dealer told me I have 31,000 miles on the car and it needs a new timing belt. Cost over 1,000 dollars.Bought the extra 100,000 mile insurance and they tell me it’s a wear item and it’s not covered. Not only cheap made but they don’t last and charge you a small fortune to replace. I will never buy a Hyundai again. Thanks for letting people know.

  13. hey scotty, I have a question about warming up your engine when idling. some technicians say that warming up your engine when idling is bad. I don't understand why, can you explain?

    Greets from Holland

  14. I did some minor research before I bought a Mazda 3 w/2.3L DOHC. Timing chain! Non-interference! But it turns out it has solid lifters. Sigh……..

  15. Had this exact problem on my 2005 Honda Civic! The timing belt snapped and it damaged the pistons. Had to scrap the car since I didn’t want to swap the Engine. So much better now with my civic that has a timing chain! Wish I watched this video beforehand ☹️

  16. Give me a timing belt any day, yes sure you have change them at certain intervals but they are a lot easier to replace and silent operation, chains get clattery after a while and sound like tractor engines I did one once a few years ago and cost me a flipping fortune in parts as it's not just the chain you have go buy it's new sprockets and chain guilds and hydraulic tensioner as well which is pretty hearty price for oem and oem is usually the only ones that will work right as aftermarket never tension right or don't last long, timing belt on the Other hand, cheap as chips and that's all you have go replace along with water pump providing it's timming belt driven.

  17. Cummins still uses timing gears for the 4 and 6 cylinder inline engines to this day. Timing geared engines still exist in modern society even though it's not common.

  18. My buddy's 2008 Jeep Compass is scap metal now because of the cheap timing chain. Thanks Scotty. Your videos rock

  19. Every bmw owner disagrees with your timing chain haha because they broke all the time and destroyed the engine completely. But that is only in 2.0 l bmw and such. Didn't hear about that kind of problems in other engines or manufacturers

  20. My 92 nissan 240 sx had double row timing chain, it also had 460 000km on it , it would rattle a little at idle but only because of a worne temsioner , problem was that the floor rotted out but the kid who bought it put the engine in his 240 body

  21. Cool vids I subscribed. I've heard about timing belt horror stories from the 90's. No thanks on that timing belt crap. Our two cars have chains. Hey! You didn't mention that crappy Buick 3.8 engine with the plastic/nylon timing gears! I bet you saw quite alot of those GM penny pinching lemons in the 80's!

  22. You just gave me a little confirmation bias. I always look into any vehicles before buying… and never get one with a belt either!

  23. 2:45 thats why there is a service interval on the Nissans but people are stupid and don’t service the belt. I drive a Diesel engine with a timing belt and has never snapped and guess why? BECAUSE I REPLACE IT WITH THE RECOMMENDED INTERVALS.

  24. Scotty’s channel is so much better than all those other car review YT channels that only talk about power and performance while not focusing on long term dependability and reliability which is much more important to consumers!

  25. When I had a 2005 Nissan Maxima, I had to repair the timing chain…Maxima was fast and fun to drive but gave me too many problems.

  26. I think they also made the belts rubber just to keep people from buying used cars down the road plus making you have to buy another except it backfired on them and they didn't get what they wanted (Nissan)

  27. I am glad about the move back to timing chains. one less thing to have to worry about. I even don't mind the electric water pumps

  28. best solution for timming was with gears , practicly indestructible….i think it was a lie fact that they made noise or cost a lot of money they gave up on them only because they did not fail and we all know car manufacturers-service shops must earn money ….i woud prefer spending more money but having timming gears ……..

  29. 2005 Lexus LS430, timing belt, interference engine, changed it in 2015, 86K miles, was about to break according to the mechanic, whom I trusted. Changed the tensioners and water pump too. Beware buying an older car, 10 years and 90K miles and the timing belts need changing, can be $1000 to $2000 job. Beware.

  30. Most cars with timing chains have chain guide failures now. Go for pushrods. Hemi 5.7, 6.4. GM 5.3, 6.2. Really nothing on a small scale that I can think of, not one 4 or 6 that I know of without them. Someone correct me if I'm wrong. I'm talking about in a new car too btw.

    It all might not matter soon anyway with electric cars coming up.

  31. I mean now everyone thinks the “belt” is bad but remember this was the only thing they had at one point and yes it was a little pricey. But now we have the chain. However, there’s a mix of both obviously just remember the belt was FIRST. Don’t expect it to disappear so fast. My 98’ Camry got one.

  32. Scotty you are right absolutely. I leave in Europe, and here ALMOST ALL the cars engines have a timing belt, all brands. I think BMW are the only one who still use chain, maybe i'm wrong. With that said, if one should only buy a car with a timing belt nowadays most probably he will need to buy an very expensive car, most peoples can't afford it. Luckily we still drive manual transmission 🙂
    Thank-you a lot for your efforts and time to offer us so short and informative videos, some one talk for an hours to deliver less than you.

  33. Even dumber are water pumps driven by the timing belt. If the water pump fails, goodbye valves. Despite that, I did love my Nissan Turbo Z. One of my favorite engines ever.

  34. Hey Scotty, I have a good question for ya. Wha is the process of removing a timing chain from a 07 Camry 3.5L? Hopefully u get this. Thank u for reading my concern.

  35. Blew a timing belt on a ‘86 Mercury Lynx doing 80+ on the highway. The model year before the ‘86, Ford Escorts/Lynx were interference engines.

  36. any car that has a timing belt I stay away from, only buy cars with a chain in my experience, every car that I have own that had a chain lasted way over 200,000 miles.

  37. My 1978 Ford Pinto has the 2.3 ltr engine with the original Motocraft timing belt and original Motocraft V belts… however it only has 32,700 miles on it and drives pretty sweet…. The timing belt looks just as good as when Ford put it in.

  38. So I guess the takeaway here is that squeezing more horsepower out of smaller engines caused timing belts to be phased out in favor of chains. That’s a good thing. But you can bet good money that if things change in the future and timing belts will hold up for a 100K miles the car makers will switch back faster than a car jumps when it sees a cucumber.

  39. Gear drives are the way to go….you can get loud or quiet ones. It's been so long since I've been into building hot rods that I can't recall the name of the manufacturer.
    I hateeeeee timing belts.

  40. Timing belts are a thing of the past and were mostly used by the Asian cars and needed replacing well before 100K on many. Virtually nothing has used them the past 20 years or so. We used to replace them on most of the older foreign stuff years back regardless if it was a Toyota or Honda or Nissan/Datsun

  41. I never understood why people always make fun of the stag for having a chain instead of a belt. Everyone here in England makes out like all new cars have belts and claim that chain slip teeth all the time and break. It's probably just that poorly put together Triumph.

  42. I have a 99 corolla ve. Finally changes the timing belt at 220k miles lol. Does anyone know if its a non-interference engine? thank you

  43. Problem is, instead of making poor quality belts, nowadays car manufacturers are making poor quality chains that stretch, tear and fcuk up your engine.

  44. This and all of your mechanic advice videos are excellent informative, Thank you for your humble and knowledgeable dedication. I own a 2002 Nissan Frontier SC (VG33ER) with 185,000 miles. After listening to this vid, I'm considering doing an engine swap and, if needed or required, transmission swap. I'd like a bit more horsepower and torque and an engine that would give me at least 24 MPG – Maybe, I'm being ridiculous. Would you have any suggestions of engines (not necessarily Nissan engines) but good quality responsive engines with Timing Chains and tranys? Or, is it always best to continue buying OEM engine type like VG33ER? Or educate me to your best experience, please. Thank you in advance.

  45. Seems to me that the commenters who are ragging on the belts and praising the chains simply don't ever change either the belt or the chain.

    Sure, if you don't change anything, the metal chain lasts longer. OTOH, changing the belt at the recommended intervals is a 2hr job that I can do, while changing a chain that sits inside the engine means dropping the engine before starting work on it.

    I've never had a belt snap. I have had to junk entire engines because the cost of taking the engine and doing the chain-replacement was almost as much as a low-mileage import.

    So, yeah, won't buy another car with a chain. Too much hassle to change the chain.

  46. Yeah, I guess it's about time to change my timing chain.
    But not because I think the chain is bad because I have 252,000+ miles on the engine, the plastic (Nylon?) chain guides might be worn or brittle by now, and this is Florida.
    About hardened timing gears…
    GM and Ford cars used aluminum cam gears with nylon teeth in the 70's.
    I practically put myself through college, changing out chains and gears in other kid's cars!

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