Alfa Romeo Spider – Timing Belt Service Interval – 2006 to 2010

Failure to replace the timing belt (cambelt) on your Type 939 Alfa Romeo Spider can lead to some pretty nasty consequences, so in this short guide we will tell you when to replace the belt, along with some other timing belt related info as well.

Does the 2006 to 2010 Alfa Romeo Spider have a Timing Belt or Chain?

As you can see from the table below, there are three models that use a timing belt, the 1.75 TBi, the 2.0 JTDm, and the 2.4 JTDm. The two petrol JTS engines both use a timing chain (although there can be issues with them as we will discuss later in this article).

EngineYear RangeTiming Belt or Chain
1.75 TBi2009-2010Timing belt
2.2 JTS2006-2010Timing chain
3.2 V6 JTS2006-2010Timing chain
2.0 JTDm2009-2010Timing belt
2.4 JTDm2006-2010Timing belt

When Does the Timing Belt Need to Be Replaced on an Alfa Romeo Spider Type 939?

Credit: Alfa Romeo

Spiders equipped with the 1.75 TBi engine should have their timing belt replaced every 60,000 km (40,000 miles) or every 4 years. Alfa Romeo originally specified that the 1.75 TBi’s service interval was every 105,000 – 120,000 km (65,000 – 75,000 miles) or every 5 to 6 years (depending on when and where it was sold), however, many owners and experts believe this is to long between changes (especially as Alfa Romeo had a habit of overestimating the interval on previous models/engines).

The 2.0 and 2.4 JTDm diesel models have a timing belt service interval of every 96,000 km (60,000 miles), and the same time interval of 4 years. Once again, the original interval was slightly longer at 116,000 km (72,000 miles) or every 5 years, but it is best practice to change it earlier in case of a failure.

EngineYear RangeRecommended Change Interval (KM)Recommended Change Interval (Miles)Change Interval (Time)
1.75 TBi2009-201060,000km40,000mi4 years
2.0 JTDm2009-201096,000km60,000mi4 years
2.4 JTDm2006-201096,000km60,000mi4 years

What Happens if the Timing Belt Breaks on an Alfa Spider Type 939?

If the belt breaks on any of the three engines listed in the table above, it will lead to catastrophic damage when the pistons and valves collide. Fixing this will usually either require an engine rebuild or an entire replacement, so don’t forget to change your Spider’s timing belt!

To get a bit of an idea of health of both the belt and the tensioner, you can try to listen for any abnormal rubbing, squeaking, tapping, or ticking sounds originating from the timing belt area. The presence of such noises may signal that the belt and tensioner have surpassed their intended lifespan on your Alfa Romeo Spider. However, if you want to get a good idea of the condition of the belt and tensioner they will need to be physically inspected (and then it’s probably better to just get them replaced).

What Else Should be Replaced with the Timing Belt?

You should replace the following components during a timing belt service on a 2006 to 2010 Spider:

  • Tensioner
  • Idlers
  • Aux belt
  • Water pump 

What About the Timing Chain on JTS Spiders?

Credit: Alfa Romeo

While you don’t have to worry about changing the chain at a specified interval on the 2.2 and 3.2 JTS Spider models, failure can still occur, so it is important to be mindful of the following issues that can cause premature chain failure/stretch:

  • Incorrect tension/problems with the tensioner – incorrect tension (both too tight and too loose) will lead to increased strain on the chain, which can lead to premature failure.
  • Engine seizure – if the engine seizes it can lead to chain stretch or possibly even total failure. Most of the time engine seizures are oil-related (lack of oil, wrong oil, etc.).
  • Insufficient lubrication – the chain is lubricated by the engine oil, so if there is not enough of it or the oil is not changed regularly, it can lead to chain stretch/premature failure.
  • Age – Despite claims that timing chains never need to be replaced, they can eventually succumb to wear and tear over the years even if the car is serviced well.

When Do Timing Chain Issues Usually Start to Occur?

There is no hard and fast rule for this, but once a chain driven car starts getting well past 160,000 km (100,000 miles) we would expect timing chain related issues to become a bit more frequent. Another thing to keep in mind is that the 2.2 JTS is quite susceptible to timing chain stretch, especially if regularly maintenance (oil change, etc.) has not been carried out. This means that chain failure can occur quite a bit earlier than on other chain driven engines, and some owners have had issues at shockingly low miles.

The 3.2 V6 JTS isn’t as susceptible to chain stretch as the 2.2 JTS Spider, but there are still quite a few owners who have experienced the problem.

What are the Symptoms of Timing Chain Failure/Stretch on an Alfa Romeo Spider

Luckily, unlike a timing belt, chains usually give a bit more warning that there is an issue before they fail, so watch out for the following symptoms:

  • Rattling noise from around the timing area, especially at idle
  • Misfires and general rough running
  • Metal shavings in the engine oil
  • Check Engine Light (CEL) warning

If you suspect that your Alfa Romeo Spider’s timing chain is failing, get it checked out and replaced as soon as possible. A failed chain can lead to much more serious damage that can be extremely expensive to repair.

To Sum Up

For the petrol 1.75 TBi a timing belt service should occur every 60,000km (40,000 miles) or every 4 years. For diesel models this should occur every 96,000 km (60,000 miles) or every 4 years. These engines are interference, so a belt or tensioner failure will probably lead to catastrophic engine damage. Lastly, the belt should be replaced along with the tensioner, idlers, Aux belt, and water pump.

Author

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  • Ben

    From his early days playing the original Gran Turismo and with his Hot Wheels car set, Ben has had a long interest in all things automotive. His first foray into the world of automotive journalism was way back in 2009 and since then he has only grown more interested in the industry. Ben also runs and heads up the video production side of Garage Dreams, focusing on small informative documentaries about some of the world's most legendary cars.

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