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2005 Kia Amanti - engine issues

A friend replaced timing belt on my 2005 Kia Amanti - he didn’t have timing tool and started car, which caused bent valves, melted wires. He replaced valves, wires, spark plugs and head gaskets. Car idled very rough after I got car back and eventually died and needed battery replaced. Took to Kia dealer who replaced spark plugs (wrong ones were put in) and timing belt replaced and timing set. Diagnostics revealed throttle body bad so that was also replaced. Errors from beginning have read engine misfires - now in cylinders 4, 5 and 6. Mechanic at dealer is taking engine apart. Any ideas what could be wrong? Dealer also ran compression test - back came back with very high pressure reading - 240 - front pressure readings normal. Dealer is convinced guy who damaged my engine milled back head or replaced it with a different head. If that isn’t the issue, they are out of ideas. What about a bad crankshaft sensor? I spent $960 on throttle body, my friend paid $950 for spark plugs and timing at dealer and now my friend who damaged my car is looking at a $2,750 bill.

You need to get a new car. If you decide to keep your friend, don’t let him touch or ever even offer an opinion on your new car. Your new car should not be a Kia anything.

I’d hate to even make a guess at this one. The compression pressures are way too high and until that problem is figured out nothing is going to work right. Pressures too high are just as bad as pressures that are too low.
Pressures like that usually point to a camshaft that is out of time but one would assume at this point that has been verified.

I would say forget about replacing anything else, including a crank sensor, until that pressure problem is figured out.

Did your friend have that head milled or did he actually replace it? I’m having a hard time seeing a head being milled enough to jump the pressures up that much.

Friend denies milling head or replacing head. Dealer is CONVINCED it’s the head. They ordered new head and are going to compare it to the head on car. I don’t remember if the dealer has looked at the camshaft being out of time. I feel like they are going with the most expensive repair and being as we’ve already had them replace timing belt, spark plugs AND throttle body, I’m getting very exasperated. My friend is paying for this last repair as it is their responsibility. My car is worth $6,000 in excellent condition, I owe $7,800 so I’m upside down in payments so I can’t trade in the car. I have to get it fixed. I feel like the dealer really doesn’t have a clue and they’re just sort of assuming it has to be the head.

Do you know if the valve clearances were set after the valve work was done to the motor?
Chances are, they are out of spec, and that is causing the issues you are having.


Just spoke with dealer and he says it is now the timing belt tensioner and head gaskets were not sealed. At least it’s not the head.

I tend to believe your friend and I’m beginning to agree with you that the dealer may be on the wrong track with this. They should not have to order a new head just for comparison purposes anyway. Cylinder heads have casting numbers to verify the application.

Even if for the sake of argument the head was different, I don’t see either that or milling being the cause of cylinder pressures that high. My first suspect would be the camshaft on that side being out of time by a tooth or two.

I’m not a Kia expert but a throttle body seldom ever goes bad enough to warrant being replaced unless it’s an electronic TB with drive by wire. A normal TB may get grunged up, throttle plate stick, etc, but cleaning will solve this.

At this point I have an uneasy feeling about the process behind the dealer repair and I sincerely think they’re going about this all wrong.

How is the friendship holding up? If he is really paying for all that damage hopefully it weathers through.

It was my friend’s husband who damaged my engine - relationship is holding up and they’ve been very gracious thus far about paying for any repairs that were as a result of what he did to the car. They have agreed to pay for this last repair since it was his responsibility since he didn’t set the timing right and damaged the engine. Thanks for asking!

So how does a timing belt tensioner and non-sealing head gaskets cause compression to be abnormally high on one side. It can’t in my opinion and I still think there is trouble brewing with this vehicle. (car, not your friends)

Along those lines and in reference to the “normal” readings on the front bank, what are those readings? Many times what is called normal is actually not so normal.
And if the head gaskets are not sealing then where does normal come from?