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Timing belt frustration

I think I have found a bad shop, but I’m not sure, need some advice…

I have a 1999 Mitsubishi Eclipse GS, and I had it in storage for a while and wanted to start driving it again. I figured the timing belt should probably be replaced, so I found a shop and had them replace it.

After ~2000 miles, the belt burned through the housing and destroyed itself while I was on a road trip. That really sucked.

After getting the car towed 400 miles home and delivering to the shop, they have told me that the reason it failed is due to the failure of a bolt on the idler pulley, which they insist was due to age and not over tightening at the time of the belt replacement.

When I had the belt replaced, I had the full kit installed which I was told included the tensioner, belt, and water pump.

I’ve looked at a manual for replacement of the belt and it says that the idler pulley should be removed and then installed to a specific tension, and I think this it was probably over tightened.

The shop called this morning and told me that the engine is damaged and it will cost several thousand to repair it.

What do you think?

I think that the shop is absolutely on the hook for this. Document everything vigilantly and hope that you don’t have to take them to court.

Lets say - just for argument’s sake - that it was a bolt failure related only to age. They are still on the hook as the professionals who took it apart and put it back together.

Thanks! I’ll of course post about how this goes. Really not happy about the prospects, but perhaps there is hope. Very interested in any other perspectives.

I’m in agreement that the shop is at fault on this. An “aged” bolt? All of the bolts are my 1960 Oldsmobiles are well seasoned and none of them have broken.

If the bolt broke it was probably because someone used the Grunt type torque wrench instead of a real one.

Ask for that broken bolt. AFTER they hand it back to you tell them you’re mailing it off to the lab for a metallurgical analysis and you’re putting any repair on hold until the report comes back.

If they’re going to use a “hokey” aged bolt excuse then ask them why, being the auto professionals they are, they didn’t replace this bolt while it was apart. Look for some tap dancing on that one too.

That’s a great idea! Do you know where to start for such a test?


You might sort through some of these.

If you have a university nearby maybe you could get one of the people in the engineering dept. to take a look at this.
I have no idea how much a test would be on something like a simple bolt but I would think that it would not be that much; especially compared to the cost of engine repair.

You should have the bolt (both pieces) in hand first before mentioning this just in case a raccoon enters the building in the middle of the night and disappears with the evidence.

It’s called spin…they screwed up…and now they try to feed you a line of bull and hope you’re gullible enough to believe it.

They either A) never even did the belt (but charged you for it).
Or B) They put the belt on too tight. Each car there is a specific procedure for getting the timing belt to the correct tightness. They probably used the simple twist test (tighten the belt until you can just twist it to 90 degrees.). That method MAY or may NOT work…depending on the person doing the test.