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Timing chain set with sprockets and tensiomer

Hi everyone. I own a chevy 2005 cavalier. I took it to pep boys and was told that replacing the timing chain set with sprockets & tensioner would be around $900.00 ( just labor!). I am sure that if I shop around I can get a better price , labor wise. Would a corner mechanic charge less? Should I buy the parts I need and then take it to a mechanic to have them take car of the labor? About how much would a corner mechanic charge for this job? Would they even do it if I bring in my own parts? Thanks.

First of all you will have to get your own estimates as that is the only way you will know what you are looking at. Second buying parts and having them installed is a bad idea. They will not warranty the parts and if there is a problem you will pay labor charges again.

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Enter your information here.

This will give an idea of what the labor is for replacing just these components.


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I’d stay away from PepBoys. I’ve personally heard lots of horror stories, and dealt with a couple myself.

$900 doesn’t sound out of line for the labor component, that’s a pretty big job. No harm to ask around at other well-recommended shops for a better price though. Me, I’d prefer to use an inde shop rather than a chain shop w/this problem. Not b/c the price would be lower so much, but b/c I think I’d probably get better overall service.

BTW, are you certain this needs to be done?

FWIW, Tom and Ray addressed a similar question recently, Best of Car Talk show 1631.

Call 5

Serig Schneider (Leesburg, Virginia) - 1994 Nissan Altima

Segrig’s Altima has an oil leak. Mechanic said would cost $742.30 to fix [a leak in the timing chain cover area]. The leak is pretty slow now, so can she not fix it and just keep adding oil? Tom and Ray say she should probably get it fixed, because the leak will only get worse. Tom suggests trying “stop leak additives” but says they probably won’t work.

You might pay a small amount more for the local indie mechanic to change the timing set but it will be worth it. I would not take a car to Pep Boys even for a tire balance.

A good indie mechanic knows which brand parts to avoid (and there IS a difference) and will choose a brand his experience tells him won’t cause you problems in 6 months. He wants repeat business, not warranty work he has to do for free.

Exactly what is wrong with the timing chain?

Why did “they” tell you the timing set needs to be replaced?

+1 to db’s post.
What exactly are the symptoms and what exactly did to do to diagnose the cause?

The car makes a grinding noise after start up and then goes on to a rattling noise. The mechanic at pep boys popped the hood and listened to the noise and said it was the timing chain. That was it as far a diagnosing.The estimate was upwards of $800.

As far as I can recall the car has never made that noise before. I really don’t know if it needs to be done - maybe it is something else. But I don’t know enough myself to know what it is.

Find a real service shop and pay about 100.00 to determine just what you really need. Most shops will waive the diagnostic fee if they get to do the repair.

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Depending where you are $900 for the labor might be a little high but not crazy, especially if it includes a few extra odds and ends like replacing the water pump, which is in there and run by the timing chain. Parts will be another several hundred dollars though.

I’d be sure the noise is from the timing chain set and not from the water pump, which is driven by the timing chain. If it’s just the water pump making noise, it can be replaced without replacing the chain set for much less money.