Broken Timing Belt
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This is a discussion on Broken Timing Belt within the General Maintenance, Troubleshooting & Accidents. forums, part of the Tech & Modifying & General Repairs category; Hey guys. I just joined this forum today. The timing belt broke on me yesterday. I only had 82,000 miles ...

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    Broken Timing Belt

    Hey guys. I just joined this forum today. The timing belt broke on me yesterday. I only had 82,000 miles on it. It must have broken when I tried to start the car. It was sitting in my driveway and I tried to start it and it made a horrible noise. I had it towed to a local mechanic. He doesn't even want to try and fix it because of the complexity of the engine. He also said he has no idea how much it will end up costing because he would need to take out the engine to see the extent of the damage. He did say that it doesn't look good and I'm probably looking at 2 to 3K. Obviously I can bring the car to Subaru to fix it but they're going to charge me more than anyone else would to fix it. It's a rough situation because I can't really call around to get estimates because no one knows the extent of the damage. If I bring it to Subaru what would be the best case and worst case scenario of what I might end up paying?

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    Registered User Thug Nasty's Avatar
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    Since you aren't under warenty anymore, subaru would charge way more than 2-3k to replace an engine (assuming it's toast).
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    When the timing belt breaks then you would normally need to replace the entire engine? Does it make any difference that the belt probably broke when I tried to start the car as opposed to it breaking while I was on the highway?

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    Registered User Hotwire's Avatar
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    Just out of curiosity, is the boxer 2.5 an interference motor?

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    Quote Originally Posted by dwagner77 View Post
    When the timing belt breaks then you would normally need to replace the entire engine? Does it make any difference that the belt probably broke when I tried to start the car as opposed to it breaking while I was on the highway?
    one of the functions of a timing belt is to control how deep the valves open in the combustion chamber. when the belt breaks, the valves tend to open all the way, and the piston can end up smashing the valves.

    but the valves are in the cylinder head, not the motor. however, one thing leads to another, and if bits and pieces of broken metals enter the cylinder, it's not going to look good.

    that's still only half the story, because the timing belt also wraps around the crank pulley. who knows what could happen down there, you just can't tell.

    your mechanic is right; there's no way to tell until he opens her up.
    embattled, we prevail...only victory exhaled.

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    Registered User rickyh's Avatar
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    You are more than likely looking at a few bent valves and possibly a piston or two. You may get lucky because you were only starting it so it is not like the engine was spinning at 3 or 4k. it is an interference motor. Either way the motor would have to come out and the heads need to come off to check. As far as how much it is gonna cost, a new shortblock is around 2k, then it depends on how much work your heads need. You ARE gonna need some valves.

    If you cant do any of the work yourself, bring it to the dealer and be prepared to pony up at least 3k. If you can do some of the work, you can probably find some used heads for around 400 or so.

    What year is your car? The cheapest way to go would probably be to buy a used motor and swap that in.
    Last edited by rickyh; 10-17-2008 at 08:00 PM.

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    Registered User teflon_jones's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dwagner77 View Post
    The timing belt broke on me yesterday. I only had 82,000 miles on it.
    Only 82k miles? The timing belt is supposed to be replaced at 75k miles max. You should also pay closer attention to the maintenance schedule for your car and be more aware of things like the timing belt that are relatively inexpensive to replace in comparison to the cost of failure.

    Quote Originally Posted by dwagner77 View Post
    When the timing belt breaks then you would normally need to replace the entire engine? Does it make any difference that the belt probably broke when I tried to start the car as opposed to it breaking while I was on the highway?
    As the mechanic said, it's impossible to say what needs to be replaced without pulling apart the engine. Normally if the car was shut off relatively quickly after the belt broke, only the bent valves and scored pistons will need to be replaced. How long did the car run after the belt broke? The longer and/or harder the car was run after it broke will directly equate to the amount of damage to the following components:
    1. Valves
    2. Valve springs
    3. Head covers
    4. Headers
    5. Pistons - may be damaged from impacting with valve(s) and depending on extent of the damage, it may require complete replacement.
    6. Spark plugs
    7. Connecting rods
    8. Cylinders and/or cylinder liners
    9. Turbo - only if you let it run very long and/or hard
    10. Intercooler - only if you let it run very long and/or hard
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    Quote Originally Posted by teflon_jones View Post
    Only 82k miles? The timing belt is supposed to be replaced at 75k miles max. You should also pay closer attention to the maintenance schedule for your car and be more aware of things like the timing belt that are relatively inexpensive to replace in comparison to the cost of failure.
    105k miles according to subaru.com for my '03.

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    Registered User rickyh's Avatar
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    Maintainance schedule for an 02 SUBARU.COM : OWNERS : SCHEDULES: include/2002myfed.html

    I checked all the way until 06. It is the same. His was just a fluke.

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    Registered User teflon_jones's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DUB View Post
    105k miles according to subaru.com for my '03.
    Quote Originally Posted by rickyh View Post
    Maintainance schedule for an 02 SUBARU.COM : OWNERS : SCHEDULES: include/2002myfed.html

    I checked all the way until 06. It is the same. His was just a fluke.
    You guys can feel free to run your belts to 105k miles. Mine will be getting replaced by 75k miles at the latest and I recommend everyone else do the same unless you like living dangerously and risking expensive repairs. The majority of drivers on this site have also modified their engines which puts more stress on all of the engine components, including the belts, making them wear faster than they would otherwise.
    Scott
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    Registered User Suby160's Avatar
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    Wagner I feel your pain man. I will share my similar experience, info and lessons I learned. The timing belt on my 1990 Mitsubishi Eclipse GS Turbo broke on the highway at about 80 mph. Mitsubishi wanted $4000.00 for a new engine. I didn't have it so I took it to a local shop. To cut down on costs I ordered a refurbished head ($450.00) and had the local guys install it, for $1850.00. The timing was off though and it never made full boost psi. I finally decided to take the head off myself and try to fix it. I finally found out that on the cams there is a little nub that keeps the cam gear seated so it doesn't spin on the camshaft itself. That nub was broken on the exhaust cam which caused it to be off on the timing. So I ordered a new exhaust cam and yet another refurbished head. Slapped it together and yipee she was running again. It ran for 3 years before I finally traded it in.

    Now for all the stuff in between. When the belt broke it smacked all the valves against the pistons puncturing one. two valves broke and fell in the combustion chamber and scared up the insides, the rockers arms broke apart and all the pins came out and circulated through the entire engine. And the valve guides were scored up.

    My serious advice to you is this:
    1.You may be able to get the engine to run right if you are good with a wrench.
    2.If you absolutely have to get it fixed by someone other than Subaru you run the risk that they may never get it right. And they still are going to charge you a boat load for labor.
    3. If subaru says it is shot and they are really pushing you to get a new engine. Read into in. They know what happens in these cases. And they probably don't want to rebuild it cause they know the other problems that can occur, making you one of those "oh here comes that car back again customers".
    4. If they tell you it definitely needs a new one SEARCH your local junkyards and auto recyclers./salvages And you first stop should be your local yellow pages book. I guarantee one of those shops can get you a used engine. Hey, it maybe used, but it is a hell of a lot cheaper than buying it new. I hope this help you out. IMHO do not try to rebuild that engine.
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    Quote Originally Posted by teflon_jones View Post
    you guys can feel free to run your belts to 105k miles. Mine will be getting replaced by 75k miles at the latest.
    +1
    embattled, we prevail...only victory exhaled.

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    Registered User powder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by teflon_jones View Post
    You guys can feel free to run your belts to 105k miles. Mine will be getting replaced by 75k miles at the latest and I recommend everyone else do the same unless you like living dangerously and risking expensive repairs. The majority of drivers on this site have also modified their engines which puts more stress on all of the engine components, including the belts, making them wear faster than they would otherwise.
    I ran mine to 105k.
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    Registered User indytruckboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AngelBoy View Post
    one of the functions of a timing belt is to control how deep the valves open in the combustion chamber. when the belt breaks, the valves tend to open all the way,

    The timing belt only keeps the camshafts and crankshaft in proper timing, hence the name. When the belt breaks you aren't turning the cams anymore and the valves stop where they are. The crank, which has more momentum continues moving until it gives the valve a nice hit. Bending the valves, usually. And scoring the piston usually.
    (A non-interference motor usually has a huge dish or small valve lift so if the belt brakes, they don't touch.)


    Normally what happens at a reputable shop, they will have to pull the heads. See what you have. 9 out of 10 jobs, I usually have to just replace a few valves. The pistons are tougher than you thing. Take off the sharp edges, if there is a crater. No reason for a full engine replacement. Sure it's probably easier, and you can make more money selling a customer a entire engine. But here in PA we don't like waste. And remember that there are A LOT of prof. mechanics out there that are afraid of your "weird Jap boxer engine". If that mechanic says it looks to complex, then you need to find another mechanic. Like a old, wise mechanic that I worked with for years told me: "Just because you own a set of tools, don't make you a mechanic."
    I work on vehicles that make 650hp and 2400ft/lbs.

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    DUB
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    Quote Originally Posted by indytruckboy View Post
    :..."weird Jap boxer engine"...
    sketch

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