Timing belt grief

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  #1  
Old 08-17-11, 05:44 PM
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Timing belt grief

I'm at 106K miles on my '03 Mazda Protege5, 2.0L, 4 cylinders...

Had the timing belt changed in Portland at an outfit called Brake Team. Afterwards, I drove the car from Portland to San Francisco the day of the install. It drove fine in and around Portland. About 200 miles down the road, the car starts to jerk. This at 65MPH on the I-5. It does this a couple times, I switch off the cruise control and it goes away. I get to San Fran and am driving around the city and the darned thing starts hesitating every time I'm at a stop light. It idles low. It wants to stall on me. I called the shop, but what can they do? They vouch for their work, say they check all the marks and alignments twice before they close up on timing belt installs. I'm assuming they pop out the spark plugs when they take off the valve cover, so I'll tighten them a bit tonight (that I can do).

They company that did it has some shops in Reno, NV. If I get them to okay the shop in Reno to look at it and perform a fix, would it be stupid of me to drive SF to Reno? Should I just bite the bullet and find a shop here in SF to perform a fix?

What would you suspect? What should I specifically ask a shop to look at/try?

I'm living out of the car, working around the entire state of California. It's pretty imperative I get this to work right; that's why I didn't wait to get my timing belt swapped out when the replacement interval lapsed on me.

Thanks!
 
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  #2  
Old 08-18-11, 10:17 AM
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they can vouch all they want to, but there's no telling if the belt was installed right, was correct belt for the car, or a sensor or something was not loosened/unplugged during all this.
I had my wife's RX300 belt replaced, by a personal friend, mechanic, and that belt even has marks ON THE BELT for proper alignment, yet, 2 days down the road, IVVT light came up and they had to re-do it. He still has no idea what went wrong. They took it off, put back on, and it was fine thereafter.
No, they do not take plugs out for this.
Do VERY THOROUGH inspection under the hood. Look for any loose connection, loose wires, etc. It might be something as simple as loose engine ground. They do disconnect a lot of stuff to do the job.
Is it safe to drive that far? NO.
But go to any parts store and have error codes read.

Btw, you did not know that Portland is one of the largest chop shops in the country?
 
  #3  
Old 08-18-11, 07:34 PM
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I know Portland is bat-$h!t crazy, but no, I didn't know the place was a chop-shop mecca.

So here's what's happened thus far. The service writer called back to tell me the tech said that valves 1 or 4 was misfiring. That does not sound right now, does it? Why wouldn't they say this when I came to pick up the car? They only recommended a tune up, which I did in April or March.

I pulled 4, it was the first one I checked. The prongs on the plug were gone!!!! I walked to an Auto Parts store and bought a new coil/boot and plug. I do the install and it doesn't fix a thing. I drive to a Midas. The tell me they got no codes. I go there to get some things out of the car (they told me to leave the car while they do a compression check the next morning). I get there and I see # 2 written on a clipboard on my windshield. I tell the service writer I saw it and I took the car and replaced the plug and boot on 2. I drove the car for about 20 miles so far and everything is honky dory (the prongs on 2 were fried and gone too). Last night I checked 1 and Midas said they pulled and checked 1 too. Today and pulled the boot off 3 to inspect the top of the plug (the top of 4 last night was bent and broken). The slot of both 4 and 2 were filled with carbon. 3 looked fine, so I didn't piddle with the plugs. Tomorrow, I'll go and have Midas clear the code and see what happens. If all seems fine, in about a week, I'll buy 4 new plugs and just change the plugs with cheaper ones (these bosch platinum +4 plugs have 4 prongs, cost at least $5 each and may be defective)... unless you guys see any red flags in my reasoning and I have cause for further alarm. BTW, I know, the prongs are gone! They could very well be in the valve, but I can open it up and get them, the shop would charge me no less than $1200 to go in shop the valves, and get them perfect, and in the meantime, it may not even be necessary if the compression and fuel economy are still there. If it ain't broke...

Thanks
 
  #4  
Old 08-18-11, 08:42 PM
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ahem, you know what it sounds like? you have so called interference engine, and plugs were hit by pistons. unfortunately, THAT is direct sign of timing being off. it might have happened before they had belt replaced, as you did have some reasons to replace it, right? or, it might have happened during replacement.
or, it might have just happened - everything eventually goes bad. personally, I am staying away from Bosch product, they do not have good reputation. otherwise, it also sounds like as if you seriously neglected regular maintenance, what resulted in badly worn out ignition system components.
why would you go muffler place to read ENGINE codes?
yeah, Portland sells tons of cars fixed after wracks. say, craigslist is flooded with those. we, also, have several areas up here, in Seattle area, that are known for same. that's why I have no trust in any car business people there. it's just me, pay no attention to my preferences.
 
  #5  
Old 08-19-11, 09:28 PM
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That's bad news! I only replaced the timing belt because it was time. There were absolutely zero symptoms.

I replaced plug number 2 and the car is driving fine. It's getting compression. The check engine light even fixed itself. I will observe and keep my fingers crossed that it isn't out of time. And yes, it is an interference engine.

Fingers crossed!!!!
 
  #6  
Old 08-20-11, 05:58 AM
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Well...Uhhh...even if it were out of time...that would affect the valves not the plugs I think. The piston can only go so far in the cylinder in or out of time. Unless really oversized/long plugs were installed, the rod would have to break for the piston to hit a plug.
 
  #7  
Old 08-20-11, 10:24 AM
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Yeah, it is pretty nonsensical to believe that the rods are beating up 2 and 4. It could be bad plugs or bad coils/boots. It seems fine. I think the idle is a little low and it looks like it wants to hesitate but it hasn't quite. Engine light is still off. It could just be my imagination that it wants to hesitate and it may just be fine...
 
  #8  
Old 08-22-11, 05:04 PM
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yep. you are right, pistons can hit valves. I simply can not imagine spark plugs rotten so bad, even Bosch product, that electrodes fell off.. I have seen some goofy chit before, but none like that.

An interference engine is an engine design that has been avoided by some manufacturers for well over 80 years. General Motors, Chrysler, etc., typically use a metal chain-type timing belt on push-rod engines (often called a timing chain) to transmit torque from the engine crankshaft o the engine camshaft that opens the valves that admit air and fuel. (Note: on some new cars the fuel is admitted not through the valves but through injectors in the top of the cylinder. Rather than use a steel timing chain, interference engines may use a rubber timing belt with its limited life, whereas steel timing belts typically last 150,000 to 200,000 miles or more.

Valves open further in an interference engine and project further into the combustion chamber than in a 'free-running' engine. This allows outside air at atmospheric pressure flow faster into the combustion chamber through the larger valve opening. The engine can therefore inhale more air, be a little smaller, and still create as much power while reducing its manufactured cost and also guaranteeing future repair business for its dealer. If a rubber timing belt breaks by not being replaced soon enough, some of the valves stuck in their open position will collide with the top of the pistons, thereby breaking or irreversibly damaging one or the other or both. To make matters worse, it is not possible to measure the wear on such a rubber belt so that it could be replaced when there is some indication of imminent failure. Failure in these belts is catastrophic, without warning. This will require a whole new engine be installed. Woe to the owner. Finally, the rubber belt may have to be replaced long before 60,000 miles solely due to its age. This is really playing a bad poker hand. Interference engines are like a time bomb waiting to explode unless replacing the timing belt at the recommended interval. Be aware of that guaranteed future expense before buying a new car, or especially a used car, " with such an engine.
 
  #9  
Old 08-22-11, 05:49 PM
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Is the consensus on Bosch plugs really that bad? These things really ramped up my fuel economy. I was getting mileage I didn't get when the car came out of the shipping container from Japan. I was elated.

I took it into a Goodyear service station in San Jose today and they took me to the cleaners. Struts, tires, tranny fluid swap, everything. The reason I went in was because the battery wasn't holding a charge and I had no reason as to why. I felt it may have something to do with the shot ignition system? Or off timing? So far, no one has said anything about the timing being off. They haven't even begun to assess my battery. The guy at the counter said it was old. It is 3 years old. It's a Die Hard, so it's pretty reliable. Makes me lose my confidence in shops. While I never touched my struts in the 107K miles and nearly 8 years I've owned it, I still don't understand why I needed the strut mounts near the top of the car changed? Oy!! Money pit.
 
  #10  
Old 08-23-11, 07:53 AM
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this is what Bosch is trying to copy:

Halo Spark Plug - Increase Gas Mileage & Save Gas

so why bother with copy cats, if you can have original? besides, Bosch never had any proof their plugs did improve mpg, HALOs had extensive research done by Ontario government, that confirmed this.

We'll prolly start a fiery discussion on Bosch, so to clear it all, PERSONALLY I had very bad feedback about their product and never saw any betterment coming from using them. As of their plugs, I have tendency to trust my senses, and they even look cheap made. Once again, this is my opinion, personal, so please, do not turn this into a lengthy discussion. This is to be said, that I believe, there are 2 Bosch products - one for high end applications, mostly in high end vehicles and racing, and in Europe, and one for O-Riley's and Autozones of the world. Stuff we buy. There's always (not good) reason it costs what it costs.

Even best batteries go bad. 3 yo DieHard should be rocking, but life happens. Most likely, it was never caressed by this little tool here, though:
Amazon.com: Metal Battery Post and Terminal Cleaner: Automotive

How to Clean Car Battery Terminals | Cleaning Guides
 
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