Timing belt

#1

My daughter drove (notice past tense) a 1998 Isuzu Rodeo until her timing belt broke while driving on the interstate, apparently causing all kinds of problems with the car. We just replaced the timing belt, using a mechanic we totally trust and we thought, never would rip us off, in 2007. In a car with 118,000, should a new timing belt last longer than a year or two?

#2

Yes it should…and if this mechanic HONEST…he should cover the cost of the engine damage. I’d go back to him and explain the situation to him.

#3

Well,probably, how many more miles were added? Was the water pump also done?

#4

Why is it a mechanics fault if the belt failed? I agree it could a bad installation, but could also be other reasons like the vehicle is 11 years old and a tensioner failed or water pump or whatever. Really hard to assess.

A good shop will warranty parts & labor for 1yr/12,000 miles. But then you pay a bit more each time to essentially cover the insurance around this. All dealers(Honda, Subaru, VW) I have used include this in their work.

#5

Absouletly,the belt is within it’s designed lifetime.We need to look for what caused the belt to fail,have you seen the belt? what kind of damage does it have?possibly oil soaked?tensioner failure(bolt came out)

What did the Mechanic do to earn your trust?

Why don’t you know the belt should last longer than “a year or two” why would you suspect that a replacement belt has a shorter replacement interval?

#6

First off…the tensioner should have been replaced with the belt. Second off…belts have a life expectancy of 100k miles. I seriously doubt he put 100k miles on in a year. Thirdly…for a belt to all of a sudden break prematurely I’m betting on the belt was installed improperly (probably too tight).

All dealers(Honda, Subaru, VW) I have used include this in their work.

All Independents I’ve used offer this warranty also.

#7

I appreciate all of your answers. I guess the problem is stickier than initially explained. The daughter lives in a city 200 miles from here, but the car was repaired here, by a mechanic who we use regularly and we do trust. He has a very good reputation around town. The car has had a multitude of problems and has cost us a pretty penny to keep it running. This seems to be the straw that broke the camel’s back. We could pay $200 to fix the timing belt (in the city where she lives–200 miles from where the timing belt was initially replaced), but then we are told that we would probably find other things wrong with the engine because the belt broke when she was travelling 70 mph on the interstate. So what came first, the chicken or the egg? Did the timing belt break and cause the engine problems, or did something in the engine break and cause the belt to break? We are told that without spending the $200 to fix the belt, we can’t know what else is wrong with the car. And the original mechanic is nowhere near the car. That’s the dilemna.

#8

You won’t know the answer to that one until someone tears the engine down. There is one possibility that hasn’t been addressed. The supplier to your reputable mechanic could have delivered an old belt, one that had been sitting in a warehouse for a long time. That may have been inadvertent. It is also possible that the belt had an internal manufacturing defect that slipped through inspection and was not visible externally.

#9

The grand total that we (and, you) know of the problem is: she was driving at 70 mph and the engine stalled. That’s it. That’s all we all know.
Now, she is faced with inept “mechanics” who can’t determine if the timing belt failed (IF it did), or not, without a partial engine tear-down. For shame!
There are several ways to determine if the timing belt has jumped timing; which, it would if the belt caused the engine to stall. To determine if the belt is very loose, or has teeth missing, one would remove the spark plugs, loosen the upper timing belt cover enough to see a bit of the camshaft sprocket, turn the crankshaft a few degrees, and watch for corresponding rotation (2 to 1) of the camshaft sprocket. If there were unrestricted rotation, stick a straw into #1 spark plug hole (to rest on top of the piston), and turn the crankshaft to 0 degrees (IF, there is no undue resistance to such rotation by hand). The straw should rise, as the crankshaft is turned, and as the #1 piston comes to TDC (Top Dead Center), stop rising, and the crankshaft should be at 0 degrees. 0 degrees IS TDC.
To determine if any valves are bent, a leakdown test can be used. And, this does not require engine teardown, either.
Definition: In time: the camshaft and crankshaft (and other components) being, during rotation, where they should be when they should be.
Again, this isn’t the time to teach practicing mechanics these rudimentary skills. Hope she finds a mechanic.

#10

Actually, if the timing belt has skipped more than a tooth or two, or if the belt has broken, it’s pretty easy to tell just by listening to the engine crank on the starter. It’ll have no compression, or in the case of the broken belt, it’ll have compression on typically one or two cylinders.

But I’m confused by your statement:
"There are several ways to determine if the timing belt has jumped timing; which, it would if the belt caused the engine to stall. To determine if the belt is very loose, or has teeth missing, one would remove the spark plugs, loosen the upper timing belt cover enough to see a bit of the camshaft sprocket, turn the crankshaft a few degrees, and watch for corresponding rotation (2 to 1) of the camshaft sprocket. If there were unrestricted rotation, stick a straw into #1 spark plug hole (to rest on top of the piston), and turn the crankshaft to 0 degrees (IF, there is no undue resistance to such rotation by hand). The straw should rise, as the crankshaft is turned, and as the #1 piston comes to TDC (Top Dead Center), stop rising, and the crankshaft should be at 0 degrees. 0 degrees IS TDC. "

What does the straw in the plug hole / piston at top dead center while the crankshaft is at zero degrees have to do with the timing belt?

#11

We know that the timing belt is broken. It’s gone. Kaput. The car does not run. We are told that in order to find out if there is anything else wrong with the engine, we have to replace the timing belt to the tune of $200. So there’s no checking the timing belt. It has to be replaced to get the car to run, but we don’t want to spend the money if there are other major things wrong. The car isn’t worth that much. And we can’t tell if there are other major things wrong without replacing the broken timing belt.

#12

???Is your certainty Re a broken timing belt based on the “the car does not run?”