2001 Suzuki Death

My wife was pulling out of the driveway and her 2001 Suzuki Vitara (2.0L) just died on her. She says it didn’t sputter out and was not idling rough. When we try to restart, it turns over but does not run. The car has about 140K mile on it. Could this be a timing belt issue? What other sypmtoms would I have had if it was the timing belt?

Sounds like it could be a timing belt. Hope it’s not an interference engine.

A timing belt is one of many possible culprits, I would not bet on it. What leads you to think this?

You should be able to easily tell if the belt broke. An engine with a broken belt will sound different while the starter motor is cranking the engine over.
It will turn over much more easily than an engine with an intact belt. Smoother or more free-wheeling so to speak.

If it is a 2.0L then it has a chain not a belt. Did you happen to check the owner’s manual to find out if there was a recommendation about the timing belt?

So going on the assumption that it has a chain - which would very rarely break, esp. without warning - then you likely suddenly lost the fuel pump or spark. Turn the key to on so the dash lights come on but not all the way to crank. Listen for a 2-3 second hum somewhere behind you. That will be the fuel pump. If you don’t hear it you may have a dead pump.

At an auto parts store get a spark tester and some starter fluid. Hook up the spark tester to check for spark. If you have it then blow some starter fluid into the intake. If the starter fluid gets it to fire briefly then you need to trouble shoot the fuel system.

I can hear what I think is the fuel pump as mentioned. If the timing belt/chain was broken, would the accessories, such as the fan and pumps turn when the motor is cranked?

Since this has a timing chain, which normally don’t break, it’s probably something else, as Tester said. Sure it has gas?

o.k. I have been to three auto part stores flooking for a spak tester, and they azll say that they haven’t seen one in a while. Is there an alternative albeit less desireable, method to check for spark?

I’m not sure why you can’t find one - maybe you mostly visited “big box” stores that specialize in lots of “stuff” but not too much auto knowledge?

Anyway, there are a number of testers that you can actually find - here is an assortment: http://www.toolfetch.com/spark-testers.shtml

Or, if you’re really careful you can pull one of the spark plugs or buy a spare plug at an auto parts store. Put the free plug into one of the coils, ground the threads, have someone crank the engine while you look for spark. The “really careful” part is b/c these things produce a lot of volts and you can hurt yourself. The key is not to be holding any part of this thing while it is being cranked or use a set of insulated pliers: http://autorepair.about.com/od/troubleshooting/ss/coiltest-manual.htm

You can get one at Harbor Freight very cheaply.

Well…I replaced the camshaft position sensor based on the error code I was getting, based on the error code I was getting, but that didn’t do it. I pulled the sensor off. the sensor housing and cranked the engine while a freind looked to see if it was turning inside the sensor housing…it wasn’t. Pulled the valve cover off, and the small tioming chain, and the top guide are in peices. Not sure what happened first, guess it doesn’t really matter.

Thank you to all those who posted advice.

I’m sorry to hear that. Just don’t crank the engine over any more. You may not have ruined the engine yet. You may just need timing chain and gears. Good luck and post back.

It’s nice that you found the problem; but, WHY did you want to see if the parts inside the camshaft position sensor housing were rotating?
It really doesn’t bring very useful knowledge to the task of troubleshooting to know the corrective action taken, such as, “changed a part”, or “saw one thing”. Troubleshooting is a PROCESS. Put another way, now when someone has an engine which stalls, should they remove the camshaft position sensor to see if its drive is turning? If so, why?
It didn’t help the collective “us” to give advice (which you were asking for), by NOT answering ok4450’s question on HOW EASILY does the engine rotate. (Yeah, I know that he didn’t put a question mark on it.)

Now, you need to ascertain whether, or not, the engine has BENT VALVES. The valves can get bent, in an interference fit engine, when the timing chain, or timing belt, breaks. Perhaps, an automotive machine shop, or an engine re-builder, can tell you if the Suzuki 2.0L engine is an interference fit. The Gates catalogue only shows THAT information (of interference fit, or not interference fit) for timing BELTS; not timing chains.
To determine if valves are bent a LEAKDOWN TEST can be performed (by someone). This test, done before any other tear-down, could save a lot of unnecessary tear-down and reassembly.