Is the engine toast?

We had our local mechanic change the timing belt in out '93 Olds.

24 Valve/DOHC.

Soon afterward, the “Service Engine” light came on.

The car was running a bit rough on start up.

We took it back to the mechanic & they replaced a vacuum hose or 2, cleared the code & everything was fine for a while.

Then the light came back on & the rough idle came back.

So, back to the mechanic & more vacuum hoses & cleared code.

It did it AGAIN this weekend!

Husband was going to drive it to work & then to mechanic after work.

He got about 3 miles from home & the temp gauge spiked!

He turned around & took our other car to work.


Is it possible the mechanic didn’t quite get the timing belt/timing right & messed up the engine?

If so, who pays?

Can You Say, “Fresh Bread” ?

Is this a Cutlass Ciera, Cruiser, or Supreme? Is it an Achieva, 88, or 98?
Which engine … 3.1, 3.3, 3.4, or 3.8?

I cannot find any evidence, so far, that this is an “interence engine” that would sustain damage from improper valve timing.

Give more info, please.

Was the water pump also replaced at the same time timing belt was replaced? My info shows that in 93 the engine (only Cutlass Supreme 3.6L engine had a timing belt) was not interference, but the timing belt operates the water pump. If it broke or the water pump failed, it could cause the overheating you had.

Take it back to mechanic; let him diagnose problems and then post back with his explanation. There are folks here who can help you evaluate his explanation and have quality recommendations about who should pay or what did not get done during the initial repair and service.

You want a diagnosis? That’s what the check engine light code does! I ain’t akidding! When the engine computer (ECM) detects an engine problem, it sets a DTC (Diagnostic Trouble Code) in its memory, and turns on the check engine light (mil).
Use a scan tool to see what diagnostic trouble code is set in the engine computer. Use this code’s definition to determine what engine system to troubleshoot further.
The use of the diagnostic trouble code definition decreases the many possibilities to much fewer. Fewer is very good…saving time, money, and expensive parts. Did I say, “Saves money.”?

Bring the engine DTCs here for the definition and troubleshooting advice for your mechanic. Yes, here be mechanics.

Too Early To Lay Blame

I like older cars, too. However, we’re talking traveling automotive museum, here (16 model years of history). The chances for things to be coincidental and not consequential, are great.

We hope that the over-heating (if it was actually running hot and not just indicating hot) did not damage head gaskets or other things. Whether this had anything to do with what the mechanic woked on … it’s too early to tell.

Work with your mecahnic and he/she will probably work with you to solve the mystery.