VW needs expensive repair


#1

2.5 months ago I bought a 99 VW 4cyl. Passat from a used car dealer. It had 68,000 miles, only one owner. My timing belt just went and a mechanic says my engine is shot. I bought a limited warranty, which doesn’t cover this kind of damage(of course). Now I’m being told it will cost $4k to fix. Is it worth salvaging this car? Or will more issues follow? Need VW feedback.


#2

I always disagree with this “engine is shot, trashed, junked” diagnosis that is thrown out there when a timing belt breaks.
It has an interference engine and yes, the damage is complicated and fairly expensive, but you do not need a new engine in about 99%+ of all cases.

When the valves contact the pistons due to a broken timing belt often the pistons are nicked up a bit and this hurts nothing.
Usually the intake valves in the cylinder head will bend a bit from the valve/piston contact. The exhaust are seldom affected.

It should be a simple matter of pulling the cylinder heads, replacing the bent valves along with performing a complete valve job at the same time, and gently filing any sharp edges off any nicks that may exist in the pistons.
Sharp edges that are allowed to remain may create a detonation problem when those sharp edges start glowing red on a running engine.

A complete engine is seldom ever needed when this happens. It’s fixable and I would think, for a lot less than 4 grand. You might price the job around in this manner.
Now you know why the original owner traded the car off. It was due for a belt and the cheapskate did not want to spend money on a maintenance item. :frowning:

Another option is to possibly locate a used, low miles engine from a salvage (add a new belt before installation). Some salvage yards will install what they sell for a nominal fee and guarantee it.
Hope some of that helps anyway.


#3

Call the VW shops in the area and see how much they’ll rebuild it for.

I gotta say, it strikes me as crappy that the dealer didn’t check the timing belt in the course of inspection. Unless it looked fine before it broke. For only 2.5 months of use, they should split the difference or something to that end.


#4

Like OK said, installing a “re-built head” will NOT cost $4000…Find a shop that has done MANY of these and can do it quickly and efficiently.

At least have the head pulled so the damage can be accurately assessed. If one or more pistons have suffered meaningful damage, then install a low-mileage engine from a salvage yard. Still MUCH less than $4000…


#5

I agree with the first 3 posters, and additionally note that the German engineers wouldn’t have designed this timing belt/doomsday device to blow the motor if you fail to follow the recommendations for replacement. On other cars (like my Neon), the water pump locked up (driven by the t/belt), and bent some valves…but didn’t “junk the car”…
jeff