'99 Honda LX broken timing belt - shop recommending partial engine repair

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  #1  
Old 10-26-12, 10:53 AM
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'99 Honda LX broken timing belt - shop recommending partial engine repair

Hi all,
A friend's Honda LX broke its timing belt on start-up while parked. Shop where he had it towed says they can replace the timing belt for around $300 but they recommend a further partial engine teardown to repair 'unknown damage' done when he was cranking the engine to get it started - not realizing the timing belt had broken.
We've found out that his engine is possibly an 'Interference'-type engine though we do not know what the difference is between that and a standard engine/timing belt replacement. In a 2003 post here, it indicates that the '... if running and the timing belt breaks, it can run up to and over $1,000 to repair.'
Can anyone explain what an Interference engine is and why so much more expensive on the replacement of the timing belt 'when running'? Since he never actually got the engine running - does the same damage result by crank starting?
Thanks,
greynold99
 
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Old 10-26-12, 11:00 AM
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LX is not a Honda model name, it is a trim level. Can you provide the model name and displacement on the engine?

Short version is interference engines suffer damage when the belt breaks, often enough to make the car no longer worth repairing.
 
  #3  
Old 10-26-12, 11:03 AM
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It means that on some engines, when the belt breaks the valves can come in contact with the pistons, bending or breaking them and possible piston damage. It's not the belt replacement that costs more, it's the engine damage or checking for engine damage that will cost extra.
 
  #4  
Old 10-26-12, 11:18 AM
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In all honesty, I'd do an engine swap or look for another vehicle.
Your friend could get lucky and swap the belt and have no issues, but if a valve touched a piston... The time and effort to check and repair would be more then a used engine.
An engine swap or repair of the original engine might be more then buying another vehicle.
 
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Old 10-26-12, 11:27 AM
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Thanks guys... Apologies for not posting the 'Civic' with the trim version.

I'm not able to provide the engine displacement but it sounds as though my friend is looking at an expensiver repair. It also sounds that there's a better-than-even chance that the larger repair will be needed since he likely damaged something else when cranking the engine before realizing it wasn't going to start.
We were hoping that by not being actively driven at the time or under load condition that might make a difference.
Thanks again,
greynold99
 
  #6  
Old 10-26-12, 12:11 PM
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The engine has to be turning for the belt to break - whether it's running or cranking makes no difference.
 
  #7  
Old 10-26-12, 01:55 PM
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It's basically a head job. Pull the head, verify the piston tops aren't mangled. If the valves aren't obviously bad then pressure-test the combustion chambers, replace any valves as necessary. Depending on the mileage or wear, do a valve job even if the valves are otherwise okay.

If the pistons are messed up then it's an engine rebuild.
 
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Old 10-27-12, 05:04 AM
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Agree with twx. It kind of depends on the condition of the rest of the vehicle and how much life it still has in it. I would expect to pay between $1200-1500 for the job. In many cases an aftermarket brand new head is as cheap as repairing one with damage. I don't know of any shops that would replace a timing belt on a known interference engine unless it was to verify bent valves and the customer was informed ahead of time what was involved and the possible outcomes.

I don't know that a used engine would save any money. You could easily spend $1200 just for the engine. On top of that would be installation labor AND you would replace the timing belt on the used engine before installation. Plus even though most used engines come with a warranty, it's for replacement with another used unit and does not include the labor for a second R&R.
 
  #9  
Old 10-27-12, 07:46 AM
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I am dead smack in the middle of Honda-Toyota community. Repairs are not feasible on this car - IF THEY WERE REQUIRED, which is everyone's guess.
community buys engines from Japan, certified low mileage. they come with less than 40 000 miles on them, and used to cost below $600 for the car. plus time/labor to drop it in. Head job itself if done by a shop will cost him more.
It's a serious DIY dilemma. Either they know what they doing, and will pull head off and assess possible damage/repairs (which if valve seats/guides are damaged, that head is pretty much bust), or have to pay someone for all the labor and parts, and you know how goes it - you touch it open, and broken stuff keeps piling up on you.
They run about $3500 on craigslist. I'd have sold it as is, for about $1500 or so, and simply buy a different one. unless they are true DIY guys and want to mess with all this.
They as in 99 Civics.
 
  #10  
Old 10-29-12, 08:47 PM
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spend the 300$ the odds of bending a valve during cranking is unlikely as long as the belt is broke, and not just jumped out of time, or slowly broke as he was cranking. the cams will naturaly rest with none of the lobs in the fully open position. so i would say unless he heard the motor start for a split second go for it, if not your used engine should have a new one put on first.
 
  #11  
Old 10-29-12, 08:58 PM
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Theoretically one could pull the cam(s) to let the valves all shut and then perform a leakdown test. I'd pressurize an air tank to around 100psi and hook a line from it up to the spark plug hole and then open the valve. Watch the gauge on the tank until it normalizes, then leave it and check it a couple minutes later. If it's moved, repeat for a few times until it normalizes. Note that and repeat on each cylinder.

Theoretically bent valves will result in immediate depressurization of the tank, as there wouldn't be anything to stop the pressure loss. Obviously other things can cause leaks, like bad rings, bad head gasket, etc, but any of those will be expensive repairs, which could be the deciding factor in choosing to repair or not.

Yes, it apparently is true that the Japanese have some weird engine law where a lot of otherwise fine engines are pulled and replaced, and end up sold overseas. It would probably be an excellent way to breathe fresh life into a car like this, IF that car is otherwise in excellent condition. If it isn't then one will probably spend more than it's worth to do that.
 
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