Timing Belt Broke – Now Runs Bad

My wife was driving to work when her car just
cut off completely and she had it towed to an Independent Auto
mechanic (ASE mechanics) where I had recently taken the car for a Brake job. They stated the timing belt had broken (89,000 miles) .

So I had the timing belt replaced, the water pump and the belt
tensioner as well as another pulley from the lower engine block that was
rusted and a part of the camshaft as well. When the repairs were completed we picked up the car and the next day upon cold start up the car shut off immediately after start up and shuddered as if to shut off.

The next day it was worse shut off three times and shuddered , until she gave it gas and got it going, so the problem was that every day when cold it either shuts off repeatedly or shudders as if to shut off and also when warmed up in bumber to bumper traffic. I took the car back to the establishment and they first said they cleaned the mass air flow device and that it was running fine, got it back and the next day it was the same again.

I returned the car and they stated theychecked their installation of the timing belt and said it was perfect,the mechanic claimed that the gas pump wasn’t puttin out the required pressure at start up and also when warmed it was several lbs. less than factory specs, since I had the gas pump replaced in 8/06 at a local Ford dealer I then took the car to Ford because of the warranty,they claimed the gas pump was fine and working perfectgly, but that the Idle control motor was shown in the computer as not functioning properly, I oked that repair hoping to resolve the problem finally $400.00 later.

Took the car home and you guessed it NO CHANGE. I kept calling them back and they kept telling me they were consulting with ford engineers,
Since they hadn’t resolved the problem, they decided to install a new gas
pump under the warranty to see if it would resolve the problem, but
it did not.

I then told the Ford dealer that I had recently had the
timing belt, and other parts replaced and they then said that it was
possible that the independent mechanic had improperly installed the belt and that i would have to pay them another 200.00 to check the belt for
proper installation, but wouldn’t guarantee that it was the cause of
the problem, they claimed that they have specific tools for the
alignment of all the components for the proper installation of the timing
belt and doubted that an independent would have said tool or tools for
this specific ford.

I opted to return the car back to the mechanic that did the timing belt since I had paid dearly for the job. I am at my wits end, the independent repair shop calims their mechanic is a fastidious detailed mechanic and they are sure the belt was properly installed , they were insinuating that the engine may have suffered valve damage from when the belt originally blew and were going to check the engines compression , however thay now have had the car for 3 days and I am sure had it beem the compression they would have told me so.

At this point I don’t know what else to do , I feel that I have been ripped
off in that they replaced the Idle control motor and also the gas pump (no charge ) but to no avail . Any suggestions or advice you might offer me will be greatly appreciated. I filled out the insurance quote, but the quotes given were 500. + more than I am currently paying.

Sincerely
Jorge

Howdy There Jorge,

What a mess! My first thought is that the timing belt is not
installed correctly; it might be off one tooth on the timing gear
BUT…….usually there are other symptoms that are noticeable when the timing is not correct, like:

1. A check engine light that is ON

2. Lack of power and engine performance 3. Extended cranking time when starting 4. Rough idle or vibration at idle

You did not mention any of these other symptoms; if you have
any of them I would highly suspect a problem with the timing belt
installation.

My other thought would that there is a vacuum leak somewhere
under the hood causing the engine to run lean….thus start and die cold like your complaint. I would check for a vacuum leak in the air cleaner
box installation, check the fresh air inlet hose coming from the
Mass Air Flow Sensor to the engine and check for any loose or broken vacuum
hoses on the engine.

My very last thought would be to clean the throttle body. A
dirty throttle body can cause rough erratic idle and dying at idle
complaints. It’s very easy to do and inexpensive, I would rule this out as a possibility.

I posted more about dirty throttle body problems on my blog here

If you have ruled out the possibility of a vacuum leak and a
dirty throttle body, I would pay another shop to remove the valve cover and check the timing belt installation and camshaft timing.

Keep me posted will ya?

Blessings,

Austin Davis

Hi Austin, I thought I had mentioned it in my earlier e-mail.
The problem my wife is having is that when the car is cold it could shut off 1-3 times before staying on and when she goes to pull the car out of the driveway it shakes and shudders as if it was going to go off, she has to gun it to get it going , once she is moving the car is fine, however should she get caught in bumper to bumper traffic the car shudders and vibrates as if it was going to shut off.

The independent mechanic that installed the belt calims that they re-checked its installation and claims it is on the money.
They have sinced checked the compression of the engine , ruling out any valve damage when the belt originally failed.

However when I took the car to the Ford dealer and when I told him of the newly installed timing belt, he too said it could be the result of an improperly installed timing belt, off course they wanted to charge me $ 200.00 for the labor to re-check.

What he did state was that Ford had specific tools for the proper alignment of the engine for the install and doubted that an independent garage would have these specific tools, because they would not get much use out of them as a ford dealer would.
Do you think there is any truth in that statement ?
Thanks for your help
Jorge

Hey Jorge,

If you have ruled out a vacuum leak and a dirty throttle body….yes, pay Ford $200 to re-check the installation.

Yes, this is a somewhat true statement:
However when I took the car to the Ford dealer and when I told him of the newly installed timing belt, he too said it could be the result of an improperly installed timing belt, off course they wanted to charge me $ 200.00 for the labor to re-check.

What he did state was that Ford had specific tools for the proper alignment of the engine for the install and doubted that an independent garage would have these specific tools, because they would not get much use out of them as a ford dealer would.”

Blessings,

Austin Davis

About the Author:

Austin Davis, consumer car repair advocate. "Hi there! I love to help people solve their car repair problems and I hope my site was helpful to you today. Thank you for stopping by."
  • James

    Austin,

    The problem was the inline fuse between the altenator and the battery. It checked good with a meter but I thought if the contacts had corroded it could load up when power was applied, which would explain charging at first then dropping to nothing. When I removed the fuse the fuse blades moved independant of each other. I was getting readings from .3ohms to over 10K ohms.

    Thanks for responding to my inquiry. This just shows that a good meter reading doesn’t always mean a good part.

    Thank You,

    James

  • austin

    I think I would try a new battery, you might have a bad cell in this one. You said the engine was running badly, do you think this was due to lack of battery power or is there an engine missfire or something?

    If the engine is idling too low, like from a dirty throttle body or idle control motor, the dash lights will come on because the engine is now turning over fast enough at idle to keep the battery fully charged. Just a thought.

  • James Leach

    My 1996 Ford Contour started running bad and some of the idiot lights were on dimly. I checked the battery and it read 11.5 volts. I checked for loose connections and charged the battery. The battery load tested good. I started the car and checked the voltage. I read 12.5V(It read 12.75V not running), so I replaced the altenator. When I started it I read 14.1V, then it started dropping until it hit 12.5V. I shut the engine down and again checked for bad connections.
    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank You,
    James