Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Replace engine or buy another used car?

Sorry to hear… if you live near Philly I would help you. I feel bad about your car troubles.

In this instance I do not think the water pump is driven by the T-Belt…which is to say it is external and driven with the same belt as power steering…which is actually good news.

I would have to double check that though…I believe I am correct off top of my head. This is not a major situation if i am correct about the external water pump.


a board full of people saying "BS, you're lying and so I'm not gonna help you" would not be a helpful place to go

OP may well be unaware of this personality trait, that has resulted in sub-optimal outcomes in his life for some time. If we make him self-aware of such tendencies, isn’t that “helping?” “The Emperor’s New Clothes” and all that: sometimes, the most caring thing you can do is be brutally honest with somebody.

Folks, I consciously dropped out of the thread because I was having difficulty connecting the dots and I thought others might better be able to do so, however that doesn’t mean the OP is being dishonest or unrealistic. I believe he’s simply having difficulty comprehending a complicated situation in which he lacks knowledge and is uncomfortable.

The OP openly admitted to suffering with aspergher’s, and this could easily make dealing with complex situations difficult. He’s reaching out for help with his car problem, and I believe we should do our best to help him. I urge those unfamiliar with Asperger’s to read the attached link. This is not just a personality trait, it’s a form of autism.

If someone here has familiarity with this particular vehicle, I make a personal request to please reach out and help. I believed this vehicle to have a timing belt, and further believed the TB drove the water pump. Honda suggests otherwise. If it did(does) have a timing belt driving the water pump, a leaking pump could cause the belt to fail and together they’d answer all the symptoms described. I lack the links to formal repair databanks to find out for certain.

I urge you, please do your best to help without any comments about the OP. Asperger’s is difficult enough for those who suffer with it.

Ugh, sorry, folks, I missed the Asperger’s diagnosis. I see now it was in his second posting. I still stand by my conclusion…but I could have come at it from a more gentle angle.

I suspect you’re not the only one who missed it. :smile:


I didn’t miss it . . . pretty important detail

Puts a whole different spin on things, versus if OP didn’t have it

The water pump pulley is outside the timing belt cover and driven by a drive belt but the timing belt must be removed to remove the water pump, that is why the timing belt was included in the original estimate.

The OP openly admitted to suffering with aspergher's, and this could easily make dealing with complex situations difficult.

An estimated 1/5th students at MIT and Caltech have Asperger’s (although I think that might be high). Some people with Asperger’s have very very high IQ’s and are very good at very complex problem solving. They just can’t socialize. My daughter new a few kids at MIT with Asperger’s. Extremely poor social skills…but got near the top grades of every class they took.

The engine @Navada_545 shows is like the engine(s) I had in my 90 and 98 pathfinder. The waterpump was behind the timing belt. To replace the water-pump the timing belt had to be removed. I replaced the water-pump every other time I replaced the timing belt.

Re: water pump replacement.

Maybe all that’s needed timing belt-wise is to remove the timing belt from its pulleys temporarily. That might be enough to give the needed access to replace the water pump. Then the timing belt – if still good – could just be put back on the pulleys. If so, that might save quite a bit of hourly billing .

The water pump and timing belt estimate was only 3.6 hours, $503 total. There won’t be much saved by reusing the timing belt.

I just can’t imagine any mechanic reusing a timing belt and leaving their self open for breakage problems.

I didn’t mention this part but we did apologized and had a little talk with the truck driver when he brought my car back to the shop.

I honestly thought the thread died, and I want to thank you all for taking the time to help me.

I can’t afford to dump all my money on this vehicle if it’s not worth it, but unless the engine is really dead, I really want to avoid calling the junkyard. That’s why I am here, because I was desperate for a second opinion. We felt (not only me) that our mechanic didn’t want to help us.

My car is still in there, I asked for a quote for engine replacement before leaving the shop but he hasn’t called back. I don’t know how long does it take to get a quote for something like this. I am willing to wait.

I am also thinking of towing the car home and call a mobile mechanic to check if the engine is really dead. What do you guys think? or should I tow it to another shop?

I read on Mazda forums that this vehicle has a non interference engine, so does it mean that there is a chance that the engine is not dead? Can you start a vehicle without belts though? I just heard a snap, but nothing similar to a knock or whatever. The car started overheating when I pulled over and shut the engine. The fumes came from the side where the water pump and the belts were.

If the engine no longer starts this suggests that the engine lost coolant and overheated a few minutes before you stopped the engine. It only takes a short time without coolant to damage the engine.
Those that are talking about interference/non interference engines are talking about a timing belt failure, not a water pump failure and overheated engine.

Towing companies in the state of California are permitted to charge a winching fee, doubtful this could be identified as a “scam”.

Well… sounds like all hope is lost then.

You could seek a second opinion but this would cost more in towing. You could ask the shop that has the car for a further explanation as to what the failure is.

Let’s see, after my problem with the tow truck driver. My mechanic asked me if the car starts. I said no. He then took off the radiator cap, and poured some water. We noticed that the car was leaking very badly. We then saw that the water pump was all lose and the belts were gone.

While he was pouring some more water, he asked me to crank the car. We kept trying but he said that the engine was gone because of no compression. I never saw him using any tools to do a compression test. That was his compression test. He explained to me that once you see water coming out from where he took the cap off, that means the engine has lost compression.

Since I was inside the car, cranking the engine… I asked my wife if she ever saw anything “moving” on the engine. She said the area where the belts was supposed to be, was rotating. I am not sure if this is an indication of the engine working, or if this ever happened.

Is my mechanic right? or should I get a second opinion? I need to tow the vehicle away from the lot anyways… If I leave it there any longer he will start charging me. I also want to take out my stereo, speakers dashcam and all the stuff off the vehicle if its really dead.

From what you stated about the problems you saw with the engine it sounds like the bearing for the shaft of the water pump has given out and that is why you are leaking coolant. It also seems that the head gaskets have a problem or there is a crack in one of the cylinder walls that is allowing pressure from the piston compression to get into the coolant and that is why coolant is blowing out of the radiator when the engine is cranked. If there is a broken timing belt then the engine won’t run but if it is a non-interference design at least the valves wouldn’t be damaged if that is the case.

There are a lot of honest towing businesses around but there are some that take advantage of situations that people find themselves in with breakdowns. If you feel that you have been charged unjustifiably then your best alternative is to take them to small claims court and report them to the Better Business Bureau.

Nevada…good on you for looking that up… I thought I imagined correctly about the external water pump. Usually if its external the pumps removal is not dependant upon t belt removal…sort of defeats the point. But nothing surprises me under hoods these days…

I swear I have asked to meet the person who designed things so many times…So that I could put my Foot Up his A$%#


Then the timing belt -- if still good -- could just be put back on the pulleys. If so, that might save quite a bit of hourly billing .

On every engine I replaced the timing belts on the hardest part is getting to the timing belt. Once exposed it’s a very easy job. No reputable mechanic I know of would put the old timing belt back on. The savings is minuscule.

I would strongly agree with Mike here. No mechanic worth his salt would ever touch a t-belt and not replace everything under that t-belt cover…its how things are done if you are a thinking person. Only exception is if you just replaced it like a year ago…then again…if that happened…again if you’re worth your salt…the pump would have been done also…and the situation would never present itself.