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What causes this type of damage?

I recently took my car to a local shop for a certain job, they completed the job, I had the car towed home and when I started it up it sounded horrible. I’ll attach pics. The car sounded fine when they started it up at the shop. I got a 6 month warranty on the work and had the car home overnight only then towed it back. They are saying the damage isn’t related to the work they did. So I just need some confirmation, what do you fine mechanics and mechanically inclined people think would cause valves to lodge themselves in pistons?

The only thing I can think of, and this is a stretch, is a botched timing belt replacement, or something related to the timing belt.

I’m really curious what this “certain job” is you mentioned. That would seem to be key to helping you with an opinion. Also what year/make/model/engine.

'01 Eclipse with a 3.0 interference engine. And the “job”… well what do you know, they replaced the timing belt, and related pulleys/seals. Also they did an axle, which is clearly unrelated. I was told “this only happens when you rev the engine too hard.” To which I responded “this only happens when the timing is off and by A LOT”. Thank you for your input, greatly appreciated.

Hmm. Yeah, I think you have a strong case here for a botched timing belt job. Good luck.

I agree.

why did you have the car towed home from the shop after the timing belt was replaced???



I am at a loss to figure out why the OP would decide to pay extra money to have the car towed to his house after it was repaired, rather than just driving it there himself. This leads me to suspect that there is more to this story than is being told to us at this point.

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The engine may have run just fine at the shop… until the belt came off and blitzed the valves.

It is definitely timing related. Either is was put on out of sequence or it broke shortly thereafter. If it was just one valve then there could be argument that it was a single valve issue. When all the valves hit the pistons it is 100% timing related.

If it was put on out of sync, the noise would be immediate. If it ran fine for a short period of time, then the belt likely broke. If this is the case, it could in fact be a faulty timing belt and not the mechanics fault. if the belt broke, the noise would one last as long as it took for the engine to stop rotating. if you could rev the engine while it was making the noise, it would definitely be out of sync.

Was it only on one side of the V6?

So they had to remove the (newly installed) timing belt to pull the heads, and must have checked the timing. If they say the timing was correct at that time, you’re in a tough spot.

So you would trust the same idiot that put it on incorrectly to tell you that the belt was installed correctly? Of course he thinks he installed it correctly the second time because the thought he did it correct the first time.

Where did I say I would trust anyone?

My gut feeling is this . . .

The shop owes OP a used engine, installed, and at no additional cost

On top of that, that used engine should get a fresh timing belt job before installation, because OP already paid for it

It sounds like the shop is not honest enough to admit its own mistake. Nobody’s perfect all the time. The way you handle your mistakes says a lot about you


He didn’t say that, he said he had it towed back to the shop

Yes he did. He had it towed home and back to the shop.

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Correct, I missed that part.

I have never heard of someone who opted to tow a car back home AFTER it was repaired.
Even if the OP couldn’t pick-up the car immediately, I can’t imagine that a day or two of storage at the repair shop would cost more the cost of towing.

What am I missing here?

Valves crash into pistons immediately after a timing belt replacement? And nothing like that has ever occurred to this engine before? I guess a coincidence is possible, but it would be really hard for the shop to make that case believable to an impartial third party. For the shop to make the “coincident” argument for this event, I expect they’d have to show that the owner of the car had a history of rev’ing the engine hard. Absent that sort of evidence, I think the owner here holds the top of the bat, provided they have a good explanation why they towed the car from the shop back home rather than driving it. Still, if the shop can produce engine-abuse kind of evidence, hard to say which way the decision would go.

On the owner’s side of the equation is the results of the tear down analysis.

The best solution of course is to forget the blame game, and the shop simply stepping up and giving the owner a used replacement engine. With a new timing belt job, as mentioned by db above. That’s a better way to spend both party’s time and money. As a compromise the owner might have to agree to pay for some of the labor or some of the cost of the used engine.

One curiousity, I notice we seem to get more unusual posts about Mitsubishis than you’d expect given the % of the car market they hold in the USA … anybody else notice this?

I have free towing with my insurance and there was nobody at the time to drive with me to pick the car up. I had to multi task so I went to the shop saw the car start, paid and went to work, so the tow seemed to make sense.