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Could it be the timing belt?

 
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Old 11 Jan 2009, 06:03 pm
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Default Could it be the timing belt?

Hello all,
This is my first time on this forum and boy was I happy to find it today!
I have a 2003 2.4L non turbo PT Cruiser. Up until today, I have loved it and have had very few issues with it. I bought in 2004 and it had 20k miles on it.
Hubby is great about keeping up the maintenance on it, we change the oil, filters and such as we should. (Hubby is a car nut that has rebuilt many a cars and engines over the years, I have rebuilt a VW super beetle, which I know is VERY different, but still taught me the basics years ago, so neither of us are car ignorant.)
This morning I got in the car, started it, gave it the obligatory few minutes to warm up, put it in reverse, backed out of the driveway, put it in drive, made it down the hill, around the corner, around another corner, up the next hill to the stop sign (about 2 city blocks worth of distance). Went to pull out from the stop sign, pushed on the gas, nothing. Had to turn the radio off to listen for the engine, realized it was dead. No, radio was not blaring, but there were no stutters, coughs, chugs, nothing. It just died a quiet death. Lights were still on, radio still on, blinker still working. Turned off the radio and tried to crank, starter was working but not catching. I put it in neutral, turned the key to AC so the steering wheel would stay unlocked, rolled it back down the hill and backed into a neighbors drive. Neighbor said it was fine to leave the car there, walked back to the house, got hubby's car and went to where I was headed. Came back a few hours later, hubby thought for sure there was a bad cell in the battery as he read that was sometimes a problem with the Cruiser. Lights and radio still work but not enough juice to crank it over. SO...I bought a new battery. Not it. We have OBDCII reader, hooked it up, no codes. But then again the car won't run, but even with the key on AC, 0 codes.
I know, I know, it is probably the timing belt, but could it be ANYTHING else?
Anything we should check out before we have it towed to a shop and spend almost a grand to get the timing belt replaced?
160k miles on the car, auto transmission. So yea, I know I should have it changed anyway, but hubby is going in for knee surgery tomorrow morning and we have to be on a plane to CA in 15 days. We just have NO time for this right now. Also, even though we MIGHT be able to fix this ourselves, we know it is very hard to get to, basicaly take the whole darn engine apart just to get to the belt, we just are not able to do it right now. So we would have to bring it to the shop, the grand is gonna hurt too.
So if we have missed something that we can check and fix in a neighbors driveway I would sure appreciate any advice to find that thing to avoid this major mess of an issue right now. Then I promise I will have the timing belt replaced next month!
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Old 11 Jan 2009, 08:01 pm
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Default Re: Could it be the timing belt?

Welcome to the forum.

Sorry, but without any codes that the computer saw to pinpoint a problem, it sure sounds like the timing belt gave way. 160K is WAY past the time for the belt to be replaced. Luckaly the PT is a non-interference engine so hopefully there's no other damage to the internals.

Your right about the difficulty of the timing belt change and even the mechanics on this forum say it's not easy and it has to be done perfectly to align everything back up. We also tell everyone to change the water pump as they also wear out and it's in the same place and the labor involved in changing just that is expensive so it might as well be changed at the same time.

The dealer will want about $1000 for the belt and pump because of the expensive labor that they have. You can save a few hundred but finding your own mechanic with labor a lot less expensive.
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Old 11 Jan 2009, 10:51 pm
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Default Re: Could it be the timing belt?

Well Poop! Yea, that is what we thought, but one can hope right?
After my husbands surgery tomorrow, I will call the tow truck, have it brought over to the shop, have the timing belt, water pump, a new air conditioner compressor with pulley we recently bought to replace to get rid of the squeak (haven't had time to put it in yet) and the other belt all done at the same time. My car is going to end up getting an overhaul I guess.
Any suggestions for anything else while they have it apart?
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Old 12 Jan 2009, 06:06 am
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Default Re: Could it be the timing belt?

Don't forget, this is only a guess on my part but most other problems set off some sort of computer code, the timing belt just stops you dead in the water.

The "other" belt you talked about is the Serpentine belt that runs just about everything else except the Alternator which has it's own belt (that should be replaced) and there's a tensioner for the Serpentine belt that Chrysler re-designed in 2003 (you haven't said what year your PT is). The Serpentine belt, tensioner and cover all come in a "kit". It might even have the Alternator belt too.
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Old 12 Jan 2009, 09:01 pm
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Default Re: Could it be the timing belt?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mbmouse View Post
.
Any suggestions for anything else while they have it apart?
Not while they have it apart, but if you haven't, you ought to get the auto transmission flushed. A drain is cheaper, but won't get all the oil. Be sure they have a flushing machine and be sure they use ATF + 4 fluid - costs under $200.
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