In December, I took my 2001 Ford Escape (123,000 miles) to my mechanic to find the source of a burning odor that I’d been smelling after driving. My engine light had also gone on several times and the engine ran rough, especially after very wet weather. They attributed the engine light to a cylinder 4 misfire, and the smell to oil leaking from my valve cover gasket. They strongly recommended, due to the proximity of my coils and spark plugs to the valve cover gasket, that I have my (still original) spark plugs and coils replaced in all 6 cylinders. Considering that one coil had already been causing problems, they said that it would save labor to do them while they were so close in proximity. Considering the age and mileage of my car, the fact that I’d like to keep it for a couple of years, and the fact that this is a trusted mechanic, I took their advice. I had all of these repairs done to the tune of 1800.
Following this repair, I still smelled the burning odor. I gave it a couple of weeks, thinking this may be recently-leaked oil burning off, and then brought it back to my mechanic. They could not easily identify the location of the leak, so they injected dye, and I returned a few days later.
Now I’m being told that the oil leak is from my timing cover gasket. In addition to that, they say that the oil pan gasket will need replacement, because of its proximity to the timing case. My valve cover will also have to be removed and possibly replaced, but they said that they can possibly reuse it since it was just replaced in December. These repairs will total $1300 - $900 of this is labor. There was some discussion of replacing the timing chain while they were in the case, which would add another $1000.
Here are my concerns. What is the likelihood that they fixed the wrong problem in December? Does this $900 labor quote seem very high for this work? And, how in the world could a timing chain replacement add another $1000 when the mechanic would already be in the timing case? As an aside, I have had no indication that my timing chain has any issues.
I’m taking the car to a dealership this week for a second opinion. In the meanwhile, I would greatly appreciate others’ thoughts on these matters.