Broken timing belt

HI, How can I tell if the engine has been ruined on my 1992 toyota corolla when the timing belt broke?

check this web site…

Are you a skilled mechanic? If so, an inspection of valves and pistons will tell you the outcome of this mishap. If you are not a skilled mechanic, you will have to get one to perform this inspection for you.

Just out of curiosity–How many miles are on your odometer? Was the timing belt ever changed?

If it’s a NON-INTERFERENCE engine…then no inspection is necessary.

Agreed. But I personally am unsure about that car.
One way to tell is…OP, what happened when the car died? Was there lots of banging and knocking, or did it just seem to fizzle to a stop?

Don’t know when or if the timing belt was changed. The car has 135,000 miles. The car was brought to a shop by my sister. The shop first said it would be like $600 to fixed the timing belt. Then the next day he said it would be $2000.00 because the head was broken.

According to my sister it just died and there was no bad noises or anything.

Yeah, bad news. My Gates Timing Belt Guide shows all engine options for '92 are severe damage, meaning interference design. Also, this belt needs to be replaced every 60,000 miles. It should have been on it’s second belt by now. Only you and your sister can determine if the car is worth the $2000 repair bill. Personally, I’d put the 2 grand into another car. This one is 15 years old, and other stuff is bound to break.

I was pretty sure that Corollas of that vintage have interference engines, so it is interesting to have that verified by Gates. Since this vehicle was purchased used, and apparently without maintenance records, this illustrates something very important when buying a used vehicle with a lot of miles, namely:

Assume that the timing belt has never been replaced. Factor the price of a timing belt replacement into the purchase price, and have the belt replaced soon after purchase.

Otherwise, the buyer may wind up losing his “investment” fairly quickly. Unfortunately, the OP has learned this the hard way.

This Gates reference does not show it as being a interference engine. I would get a second opinion. The Garage isn’t by any chance offering to buy the the car?

That’s a good sign. There seems to be some differences of opinion here regarding whether that’s an interference engine or not. I don’t know the answer myself, but a quiet event would indicate that it’s probably non-interference.

Just as an FYI, “interference” means that when the piston is at the top of its stroke it occupies some space in the cylinder that’s also required of the valves when they’re fully open. The timing belt keeps the two in synch such that the valves are never fully open at the same time the piston is at the top of its stroke. When the belt breaks, the “synch” mechanism disappears, the two happen simultaneously, and…if an engine is interference…the pistons bang against the valves. If the engine is not an interference, it just putters to a stop.

When the Gates Timing Belt Guide says “SEVERE” it refers to the mileage interval listing. It means it is for severe service. So in this particular application the Toyota recommended service interval is 90,000 miles and the Severe service interval is 60,000 miles.

OP: Your vehicle is a non-interference motor. This means that a broken timing belt will not cause cylinder head damage.