Psst... Ready to join TalkBass and start posting, make new friends, sell your gear, and more?  Register your free account in 30 seconds.

Car troubles - drive belt

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by Petebass, Sep 29, 2005.


  1. Petebass

    Petebass

    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    Can I get someone to verify this. My car just broke down. I got a dash full of warning lights and a second later, clunk! No Drive. The car won't start but it will tick over. According to the roadside mechanic, the drive belt is broken and I'll have to be towed to a repairer.

    From here the news gets really bad. They're saying that when a drive belt breaks, the piston rams into valves and a whole bunch of other things and damages them quite badly. Their initial estimate almost made me faint. I'm waiting for them to have a look and call me back with a proper quote, but they're were saying it would likely be in the vicinity of AUS$3,000.

    Am I being taken for a ride? The car is a Holden Combo mini-van with a 1.4 litre Opel engine.
     
  2. Warwick player

    Warwick player

    Dec 31, 2002
    Bucks, UK
    Are you saying the car will tick over as in Idle?

    If by the drive belt they mean the cam belt then yeah it can make the pistons go into the valves and is expensive to repair, but if it idles then the engie is fine. Which would make it sound like a clucth/gear box problem.
     
  3. canopener

    canopener

    Sep 15, 2003
    Isle of Lucy
    Well, the only way to tell for sure is to take apart the engine and check out the pistons, head, and valves. You'd be better off getting an estimate to confirm this. What are the other 'symptoms' (coolant on the dipstick, etc)?
     
  4. We call them timing belts here. If that's what's broken, you could be in for a big bill. What they said is very true for timing belt. It's a toothed belt that ties the pistons and valves "together" keeping them in sync, so valves open/close precisely when they should depending on where the pistons are. Cause on many engines the pistons will hit the valves if the valves are open when the piston is at top dead center.

    If you were idling, it probably died fast, maybe you'll get lucky with minimum damage. IN my case that was US $1500, but the dealer covered it under warranty, thank God. Otherwise, if many pistons and valves are involved, its more expensive.

    They usually recommend replacing them every 60,000 miles, its expensive maintenance, so people skip it often. The first time anyway.

    Randy
     
  5. Petebass

    Petebass

    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    No the car won't idle. "Tick over" is the noise your car makes when it's trying to start. Sorry I sometimes dip into Aussie slang without realising it.

    Canopener, the car is with a mechanic right now for the purposes of getting an an estimate. I didn't look at the dipstick so I can't say if there is any coolant on it. I can say that the car definitely did not drop any fluids onto the ground.

    Other symptoms. Well when the dash lights came on, I quickly depressed the clutch. When the car went "clunk"a second later, I was rolling and the engine was not spinning at high RPM. Hopefully this might save me.
     
  6. You know how fast your car normally turns over when you're trying to start it? Is it turning over much faster now? Like its really easy to turn over, but never starts?

    That's because its only turning half the engine (pistons or valves, not both) and valves are open so its not fighting the cylindar pressure. That's what mine did.

    Randy
     
  7. Warwick player

    Warwick player

    Dec 31, 2002
    Bucks, UK
    Sounds like you lost the cam/timing belt. Hopefully theres not too much damage. Probably belt valves top fuel drag racing style!
     
  8. Petebass

    Petebass

    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    Actually no. If anything it sounds like it's turning over marginally slower, like there is some added mechanical resistance.
     
  9. Mike N

    Mike N Missing the old TB

    Jan 28, 2001
    New York
    If you have an interference engine, you more than likely bent some valves. The shop could confirm this without pulling the cylinder head by unadjusting the valves (so they close) and doing a cylinder leak down test. Pull the spark plug and put compressed air into the cylinder. If air rushes out either the intake or exhaust, you have a bent valve that isn't sealing properly.

    If all is well, the shop could put a new timing belt on and away you go.

    If all isn't well (as I suspect) the head will need to come off to inspect/repair the bent valve(s). If this is the case it may be cheaper to get a reconditioned cylinder head versus reapiring yours.

    Good luck.
     
  10. Petebass

    Petebass

    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    Well they tried simply replacing the belt and sure enough, the car ran rough. They eventually removed the cylinder head and were surprised to see that not all the valves were bent. I might have saved myself some trouble by hitting the clutch so quickly.

    The car is fixed now, and the price came in at $1500. Steep, but not as steep as the $3k originaly quoted. Apparently I shoud get 120,000km's (75,000 miles) out of this timing belt. Does that sound about right? I don't want to have to go through this again.
     
  11. Ívar Þórólfsson

    Ívar Þórólfsson Mmmmmm... Supporting Member

    Apr 9, 2001
    Kopavogur, Iceland
    Yep, that sounds about right.

    This happened to a friend of mine, he basically had to replace the engine with a used one, it wasn't worth it to fix the old one. So I guess you were lucky :)
     
  12. Mike N

    Mike N Missing the old TB

    Jan 28, 2001
    New York
    Should be no problem getting 75K from the new belt.

    Out of curiosity, did they also change the timing belt tensioner and the waterpump (assuming the waterpump is driven by the timing belt)? These are things I like to change while I'm there, since it usually requires very little extra labor, it's only the additional cost of parts.

    I wouldn't like to see an old part fail and wipe out a new timing belt.
     
  13. +1 on the water pump. As long as you're in there anyway, replace it. Labor is the majority of the cost, and you've done all that work to get the timing belt. Not doing it is like going to Paris and not visiting the Eiffel Tower. Then making another trip to Paris to see that in a month.

    75K sounds high, the cars I've had recommended 60k (honda, mitsubishi). Check the owners manual. with my luck, the mechanic made a mistake, I'd plan on a change at 75K, it should be changed at 60k, and then it would of course break at around 65k.

    Randy
     
  14. Petebass

    Petebass

    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    I'm not sure if they replaced the water pump, but it's too late now. The repairs are done. With any luck they replaced it, but I'll have check the invoice when I go collect the car. I've been so flat out with work/gigs/family, I haven't had time to go pick it up yet, and I probably won't until Friday. Luckily I able to get around in my girlfriend's car in the meantime.