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Timing Belt Woes

 
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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 26 Apr 2012, 01:34 pm
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Default Timing Belt Woes

My car suddenly quit working on the interstate last night (I was going 70-75). Had it towed to a shop I have use once before. This morning they called, said it was a "slipped timing belt", and had an estimate of $1400, and that is if the engine is fine. He also said it is an interference engine which cause more damage. At least that is what I think he said since I became a blubbering idiot.

Backtrack to last night after I got home - I researched my car's ailment on the forums (as I always do when something goes wrong with it.) I read several references to the engine being a NON-interference engine. and that valve damage is rare.

I am a female, intelligent, just not with cars, so can you all educate me please? BTW, I had over 120,000 miles (yeah, I know, should have replaced the belt awhile ago), was driving 70-75 mph on the interstate, and live in the midwest (in case that matters for cost). And I have called for estimates from 2 other places. One is a shop I have used several times, and the other is a place that I understand trains men work on cars.

Thanks,
Beth
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  #2 (permalink)  
Old 26 Apr 2012, 01:46 pm
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Default Re: Timing Belt Woes

Beth,

Good news, bad news. The PT 2.4 ltr engine is a Non-interference engine which means when the timing belt breaks, the valves won't hit the tops of the piston (good). When the timing belt does go south, the engine is spinning freely and at your speed the valves can hit each other (bad). That's a lot less damage than hitting the pistons. At lower speeds it is very rare that any internal damage happens. Not to say you might get away with no damage BUT, the timing belt has to be replaced (along with water pump and new tensioner for the belt) and it runs about $800- 1000, give or take depending on the hourly rate of the mechanic. Parts are on top of that and run somewhere around $250 for everything.

More bad news. You can't tell if any internal damage was done until after the timing belt is completed. A compression check of each cylinder will tell if there was any valve damage. The engine has to be running for the compression check.

I would go with somebody that has experience with the timing belt. we've had owners come to us with a rough idle after a belt change and it turns out to be the timing is off and the whole job has to done over again to fix it.
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Last edited by CREWZIN; 26 Apr 2012 at 01:48 pm.
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  #3 (permalink)  
Old 26 Apr 2012, 01:56 pm
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Default Re: Timing Belt Woes

Everything CREWZIN said is 100% true( It always is)

All I can or will add is

Wherever you take your car
Make sure they give you a warenty
The PT is a HUGE PAIN to get the belt back on and in time
and 1 tooth off will make the car run like crap AND 1 tooth off is the same amount of work as it was to replace the belt
SO when i did Mine i talked to the guy explained this to him and asked him for a garentee that it would be in time and that id only pay for the first time

They will look at you like I KNOW WHAT IM DOING but truthfully most of them dont relize the amount of work and the tight spaces
SO for me I can deal with the "LOOK" to get my car right
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Old 26 Apr 2012, 02:00 pm
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Default Re: Timing Belt Woes

CREWZIN is spot on as usual with his info.

Unfortunately there's no way to tell if there has been any internal damage until the timing belt is done or the head is removed. Most people have be fortunate to not have any other issues besides the belt breaking/slipping...
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  #5 (permalink)  
Old 27 Apr 2012, 01:25 pm
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Default Re: Timing Belt Woes

Thanks everyone.

I got another estimate from a place that has worked on my car before, and the mechanic is a former Chrysler mechanic and has done a lot of work on PTs. Their high-end estimate is $1100. I am still waiting on the estimate from the third place - the place that does the training. The man I spoke with told me he is a former Chrysler mechanic. And they had a PT in the shop when I called.

Wherever I go, I will keep all of the advice in mind. Especially the advice given by Cruserdad to get a warranty.

Thanks!
Beth
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Old 27 Apr 2012, 02:09 pm
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Default Re: Timing Belt Woes

it sounds simple but when they have to go back and get it in time it comes off there profit and will take as much time as the job did so its for sure worth talking about
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Old 27 Apr 2012, 03:08 pm
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Default Re: Timing Belt Woes

It would help if you post where you live, that way maybe we can send you to a " good known mechanic "
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Old 27 Apr 2012, 03:52 pm
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Default Re: Timing Belt Woes

Got 2 more estimates:

One is $740 with tax - $226 parts (includes pulleys in case they need to be replaced) and $477 for 6.5 hrs labor.
Or $925 if water pump needs replaced. This is a man I have known for a long time. He said he usually does not suggest replacing a water pump until the 2nd belt replacement. He said he has seen problems where a new pump went out not long after it was replaced with a pump that had no problems (as in they replaced the pump since they already had the engine pulled.)

Other estimate is $825 - This is the place that trains men to be mechanics. Price includes 6hrs labor and hydraulic tensioner. timing belt, idler pulley, tensioner pulley, covers (back, lower, top) since tensioner is a "new design", thermostat & gasket (because another place suggested it since already in engine?), coolant, and water pump. He said these are all Chrysler parts.


Oh, and I am in St. Joseph, Missouri.
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Old 27 Apr 2012, 04:10 pm
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Default Re: Timing Belt Woes

Just spoke to another place. Again, "interference engine" was mentioned. When I told him that the guys at the forums said it was not an interference engine, he said that he used my VIN# to pull part info and that is what it told him. So, do I have an interference engine????? Yikes!

I have a 2001 Limited. I was told by someone else that the turbos have interference engines - or is that another misconception? As far as I know, I do not have a turbo.

Oh, and the above mentioned place quotes $950-1000

Thanks for putting up with me.

~beth
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  #10 (permalink)  
Old 27 Apr 2012, 04:19 pm
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Default Re: Timing Belt Woes

You DO NOT have an interference engine whether it be Turbo on not.

When the timing belt breaks, the valves can not hit the piston tops which means heavy internal damage, The spinning engine (when the belt breaks) has the chance of the opposing valves hitting each other but it rarely happens.
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