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I am pulling the trigger - need advice

 
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Old 15 Aug 2012, 08:52 am
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Default I am pulling the trigger - need advice

OK so I am meeting with the owner tonight of an aforementioned 2002 Dream Cruiser (125k) that has the timing belt snapped. I am paying $1000 and going to save it from impending doom

That said I have two really important questions I would love some feedback on:

1. Dealer or "My Guy" - The dealer can do the whole job - timing belt, tensioner, drive belts and water pump for $1120. "My Guy" who runs a small town shop has always been a good mechanic and fair quoted me $850.

Now I expect the dealer to be more expensive but the question is; does this job require a level of expertise that I will only get at a dealer? Normally the $300 would not even be an issue, but the dealer is also a solid 40 miles from me.

2. I also read that in addition to the timing belt, drive belts, water pump and tensioner that I should also get the head gaskets replaced while they are in there. Anything else that I could have them do as preventive maintenance? The PT is in good enough shape that I do not mind putting some money into it to make it last. Thoughts?

Last edited by chargerrich; 15 Aug 2012 at 09:30 am.
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Old 15 Aug 2012, 09:17 am
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Default Re: I am pulling the trigger - need advice

Here's my insight from working at a dealer:

The timing belt is not a fun or easy job. A lot of people on here have replaced their own, but that's not to say they had fun. Nobody's had a blast replacing their t-belt.

That being said, there are a lot of techs here at the dealer that won't even touch one. We only have a few techs that don't mind replacing them. But those that do, replace quite a few of them.

Just look at experience. The PT's engine is a lot more compact and crammed than a standard engine. If "your guy" has experience with PT timing belts and you trust him, use him. However, for the extra $300 I'd probably go for a Chrysler certified tech that replaces these belts on a regular basis.

There's no need to replace the head gasket if they car hasn't overheated. These cars have a lot of overheating problems, but we don't replace very many head gaskets here at our dealer. If you opt to do that, though, this is the best time to do it. If it were my car, I would pass on the head gasket, unless it's been overheated.
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Old 15 Aug 2012, 09:23 am
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Default Re: I am pulling the trigger - need advice

Because you go to a dealer, doesn't mean you get expertise! Is your guy familiar with this particular job? If so you should be fine.
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Old 15 Aug 2012, 09:39 am
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Default Re: I am pulling the trigger - need advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by Busted_PT View Post
Because you go to a dealer, doesn't mean you get expertise! Is your guy familiar with this particular job? If so you should be fine.
I will certainly ask if my mechanic has specifically done "PT's" but I suspect he does not have a ton of experience with them given he is a generic repair shop.

That was the heart of my question... is a timing belt on a PT drastically different than any other vehicle?

Does this type of work require special diagnostic equipment better suited for a dealer?

If the non dealer mechanics have changed dozens of timing belts, but never a PT... should I be worried?

Last edited by chargerrich; 15 Aug 2012 at 10:12 am.
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Old 15 Aug 2012, 09:45 am
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Default Re: I am pulling the trigger - need advice

i recommend using the little guy. i support small business whenever possible. ask if he is experienced with timing belts on these motors.

i took apart/reassembled mine under mechanic supervision. there are no special tools. he slipped the belt on correctly on the first shot, and he made it look easy. even if your guy has not done the PT belts a lot, odds are he is very familiar with neons and other cars with a similar setup.
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Old 15 Aug 2012, 10:23 am
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Default Re: I am pulling the trigger - need advice

I totaly agree with everything that has been said


MY question is this
We all know it is a pain to get the timing right so if it is wrong are your mechanics willing to go BACK IN and redo it cause its no easier the second or third time its still a pain

I had mine done i made it clear that IF it was not 100% right my guy would redo it and NOT charge me

sounds simple but its a big job and a pain so which ever is more willing to fix it if its not right is where id put my money
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Old 15 Aug 2012, 11:02 am
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Exclamation Re: I am pulling the trigger - need advice

I would stick with the dealer personally.

My previous vehicle, I went local for regular maintenance items and small things, brakes, etc. But I had the timing belt done at the dealer.

When you take your vehicle to a dealer, they will have more experience doing timing belts on PT's than Fred the local dude.

It is a more complex job than just having brakes done..

Dealers give you a 12 month 12k mile warranty, what does Fred give you? Do you get that in writing, cover parts and labor??? The labor is alot more than the parts.

Just asking the local guy has he done timing belts on a PT doesnt cut it for me. He knows if you he says No, he might not get the job.

Even though some dealers are franchised, you can always go back on them through corporate for leverage. With a local guy, you dont have that same level as leverage.

Just some things to consider.

You know your local guy better than any of us, so its ultimately up to who you trust.

None of us know your mechanic or can speculate that most guys wont touch this or that, it is merely our opinion. I base it on, if something comes up down the road, who do you trust to address the issue and fix it correctly.

Last edited by Busa_Powered; 15 Aug 2012 at 11:07 am.
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Old 15 Aug 2012, 11:48 am
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Default Re: I am pulling the trigger - need advice

A lot of good points here. It ultimately comes down to experience.

The dealer replaces these belts on a regular basis. The techs are required to be Chrysler certified and pass Chrysler training. If it's a 5-star dealer (like we are) it's monitered very closely by Chrysler.

A timing belt is a timing belt. It's similar no matter what engine you're working on. The problem here lies in the fact that the working space is a lot more compact than any other car. If your mechanic has never done one in a PT, it leaves the possibility open for error over someone who makes a living working on Chrysler products.
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Old 15 Aug 2012, 11:54 am
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Default Re: I am pulling the trigger - need advice

If I were you I would take it to the dealer, because I've seen too many guys with the famous "changed the timing belt and the car is running rough"
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Old 15 Aug 2012, 12:14 pm
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Default Re: I am pulling the trigger - need advice

1 toothe off equals about $900 it wont run right unless it is dead on
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