Broken timing belt and bent valves please help!

The timing belt broke on my Volkswagen 2001 Jetta. The dealer called me and told me they would replace the timing belt and as long as there were no other problems it would cost $500. They called me two days later to tell me the valves were bent and this would cost another $3500 to fix. I called other shops and they said they could fix the cylinder head (with a used part) and replace the timing belt for $2,200 all together. They also told me the dealer should have done a compression leak down test before installing the new timing belt. When I asked the dealer about this the mechanic claimed that the timing belt had to be changed in order to then determine if the valves were bent and wanted payment for the labor and parts they had already invested. Who is right? Another shop I called recommended replacing the whole engine with a used one rather than trying to fix or replace the valves. What would you recommend??? I am a student and don’t have a lot of money. Is it okay to have repairs done with used parts??

The valves can be checked with a simple compression gage. If they can hold pressure, they’re good. If not, they’re bad.

If they’re good, you need only do the timing belt and it’s accessories…the tensioner and the water pump.

Damage to the pistons can only be checked with the head off. If the head needs to be pulled, than the belt needs changing…and the tensioner needs testing, and the waterpump shoudl be changed, and on and on. Expect a big bill.

BUT…my impression is that the valves have already been determined to be bent. If you take the car elsewhere, you’ll need to pay for the first shop’s time & labor. Plug the tow. Find out how much that would cost. Tell them that the cost may force you to take it elsewhere and perhaps thay’ll negotiate or suggest and alternative. The final total cost may help your decision.

Oh, and unless there’s damage to the pistons from the valves hitting them, Id’ avoid replacing the whole engine. The replacement just may need a belt too and you’ll have no idea what problems you might be putting in.

I bet if the VW dealer had something similar to this's+Top+Tool+Choices they could have seen the damage by unscrewing the spark plugs and viewing the damage with a scope. They cold have even Emailed you the pictures of the damage.

Great. Just great. WHY did you have to show me this 2 months before Christmas???

I want I want I want!

For me it all boils down to what you were told. Were you told that your engine is a inteference engine and the chances of your engine escaping damage were slim? or were you told that your engine is not a inteference engine but there was still a chance that your engines valves could be damaged and the damage would be so hard to determine that the belt would need to be re-installed for a routine compression check,not a compression check performed with the belt off? What were you told?

It is very difficult to determine if the valves are bent without replacing the belt first…The cam must be turning and be “in time” in order to perform a reliable compression test. So you do owe the dealer $500 for their vastly overpriced belt…or walk away from it and buy a $3500 used car…One that does not use a rubber timing belt…

Sure it’s ok to put used parts (cylinder head(s)) on a USED engine. They match, don’t they?
Does your car have over 100,000 miles? A timing belt usually (though, not always) lasts over 100,000 miles, before failure.

Yes Americar, but they would not have made a $450 profit on an unnecessary job.

Cristy, read your other thread too.

A bent valve is not easily identified even with the head off. With most OHC engines replacing the belt and attempting to start is the standard procedure.

Both of the 4-cylinder engines that were available on this model are interference engines. In the case of an interference engine, the possibility of escaping a broken timing belt incident without bent valves and/or damaged pistons is similar to the chance of jumping out of a 6th floor window without sustaining any injuries. Possible, but highly unlikely.

So, for the dealership personnel to tell you that they are not sure if you have bent valves reveals either a lack of knowledge of the cars that they work on or–more likely–an attempt to make you a “captive” once they have the engine disassembled and they reveal what they knew all along, namely that there is internal damage to the engine.

While it would probably not be in your financial interests to take the car to a different mechanic at this point, I would strongly suggest that you not use this dealership again. They sound like either incompetents or–more likely–a larcenous bunch.

On the interference engine with timing belt that I have the most experience (BMW M20) the chances of escaping a timing belt breakage incident without valve damage are absolutely zero. The real question would be if we could save the head.

Myself I would have wanted to keep you as a customer so I would have explained all right upfront and not have gone the “lets put the belt on and try it” idea. That is unless I personaly had seen these engines escape timing belt breakage without damage.