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Help please- mechanic changed timing belt, now engine is shot

Posted by Maryshannon, Jul 1, 2020

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  1. Maryshannon

    Maryshannon Probationary Member

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    Syracuse, New York
    As briefly as possible... *I admit I don't understand half of what I'm talking about- I'm telling what I believe to be true*
    1997 Spyder GS with 140k on original timing belt. Took it to my regular Midas mechanics in NY (please no general Midas insults- the dealers were just as bad). They changed the timing belt [$1000] but afterward it was misfiring intermittently. Misfired worse at low RPMs. They changed the plugs and wires $300. They said it was old gas, it would clear, and it seemed to clear. Still had an intermittent misfire on cylinder 2. Drove 600 miles or so.
    Car suddenly ran very rough, tach was jumping. Towed to dealership, I was in VA. They found that Midas had allowed the crankshaft position sensor wire to rub the timing belt. It wore through the casing and shorted out. They replaced the timing belt and the CPS. Said slightly reduced compression in cylinder 2stoll some misfire, and recommended having coils changed when I got back to NY. $1200.
    About 100 miles later in PA, car died on the highway, wouldn't restart . Dealership in PA said timing had jumped 6 teeth and found pieces of old belt inside the cover.
    At this point the service manager told me they wouldn't know if there was more damage until the timing was reset. Reset the timing, scoped the cylinders, saw no damage, removed the lower cover and realized the balance belt had broken. Mechanic said the balance belt was very old and worn and looked like the original. He replaced the balance belt, then told me the car wouldn't start and they assume the engine is shot. $700.
    Thoughts? Midas and the VA dealership changed the timing belt without changing the balance belt! Is that malpractice? I believe Midas will cover the $1200 for their CPS error. I could forgive Midas for not knowing to change the balance belt (they should have, of course). But the dealership certainly should not have known to replace the very old worn balance belt! Wouldn't they have seen the balance belt? It was 140k old and didn't last another 100 miles! Do they owe me a new car? Thoughts?
    I know that what I ask for and what I'm going to get are not necessarily the same, but I am not sure what is reasonable for me to ask. I could replace my beloved Spyder for $2700. You gotta start somewhere. Thanks guy . 5604.jpeg balance belt wrapped around ?
     

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  2. XTurbodTalonX

    XTurbodTalonX Proven Member

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    Joined Sep 7, 2010
    Lompoc, California
    Sorry to hear about your car troubles.

    This same exact issue happened to me, albeit 20+ years ago on a 1994 Talon. Fortunately, my balance shaft belt broke and simply sat there. It didn’t get into the timing belt.

    If you’ve got some paperwork or other proof stating that the shop was supposed to change both belts, you may have a case. If the work order states that they were only changing the main belt for the valve timing, you’re probably going to have a tough time getting anything out of them.

    A compression check will be the true test of whether or not a valve hit a piston. Someone else may chime in here, but I’ve skipped quite a few teeth and still limped home with no major engine damage. Your absolute best bet would be to find a mechanic in your area who is familiar with the 4G63/420A engine. I’d help you out, but I’m in Cheyenne Wyoming.
     
    Maryshannon likes this.
  3. CAM280

    CAM280 Supporting Member

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    BRISBANE, Australia
    That sucks balls big time! If it was me I would complain till the cows came home. 99% of the time when you're doing a timing belt, you change balance shaft belt, the water pump and tensioner and pulleys as well as the timing belt, that's standard practice. You only have to look on EBay to see the timing belt kits that are for sale, usually if you did it your self you should get out of it for less than $300 to change everything. The bottom line, you were taken to the cleaners....
     
    Maryshannon likes this.
  4. pauleyman

    pauleyman DSM Wiseman

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    Sadly many mechanics only change the main belt. As stated above unless you have paperwork that states change both you may be on your own. If you haven't found members in your area please reach out and see if you can find somebody that knows what they are doing. I'm so untrusting of most mecahnics anymore it's simply a shame. Seems they aren't trained to think anymore.
     

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  5. motomattx

    motomattx Proven Member

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    To put it simply you were overcharged and under served, the job was not done properly, technically both belts are timing belts, one times the cams the other times the balance shaft, you could legally nail them on that one for not changing the timing belt(s) if you asked for a timing belt change or they charged you for a generic "timing belt" change and didnt state main timing belt or balance shaft timing belt were to be changed, they both should have been, the car is not shot or junk even if the belt breaking did damage, you might need to find a used cylinder head and have it put on if there is internal damage, they are easily available and can be had re-manufactured even for relatively cheap.
     

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  6. CAM280

    CAM280 Supporting Member

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    Its crazy you could buy another engine for $2700.00. Just thinking what I could do with that money, the upgrades, could probably buy ecmlink, bigger turbo, bigger camshafts, forge the engine, 3 inch exhaust... the list goes on
     
  7. Mello

    Mello Proven Member

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    Sounds like you have a big mess from several incompetent mechanics & businesses; not to mention events happening in different states. I think you could get out of this at no cost to you if you approach this wisely & have the time to wait for everything to work out (like another ride to get around for a while).
    I would write Midas as nice a letter as possible explaining your situation, your expectations to correct everything (including a rental car if needed), & 30 days to reply (demand letter). Send it certified, return receipt requested.
    Keep good notes, records,& gather all receipts.
    Contact your car insurance company & see if your policy includes coverage for this kind of thing & could help. Doesn't hurt to ask.
    Lastly, get a lawyer, give them a copy of your letter & Midas reply, all notes, records, & receipts & sue for damages including all lawyer's fee. It was Midas's failure which caused the problem. The VA dealership is their problem too, not yours. Your problem is with Midas & they should step up, cover all damages, & be responsible to correct the situation. It's also Midas's problem if they think some blame is the VA dealership, not yours. Midas can counter sue the dealership if they choose.
    Good luck.
     
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  8. chrysler kid

    chrysler kid Proven Member

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    That's why I do my own mechanic work to my cars. The timing system needs to be done and adjusted thoroughly, and mechanics are paids to get jobs done quickly.

    Taking a dsm to a regular mechanic is like taking your Rolex to the mall kiosk for repair work. Maybe they will do a good job, maybe they half ass the job because it pays the same as fixing a timex
     

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  9. pauleyman

    pauleyman DSM Wiseman

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    These are all good points. I have a story to tell. Years ago I received a phone call from a lawyer asking about mitsubishis and if I knew about them (chuckle) Found my name on the internet. He described a situation where a mechanic screwed up a single bolt and subsequently trashed this guy's motor and turbo. Dealer fixed it for 5k. Guy sued in small claims court. Funny thing is the lawyer was representing the mechanic. He wanted me to read a deposition and give an expert opinion. For the more experienced reading this I'll elaborate. The turbo feed banjo on the cylinder head stripped. The mechanic said " you can't use a helicoil on aluminum". So his solution was to make a custom banjo bolt longer and tap the hole a little deeper. Well the banjo didn't line up right (literally took a bolt and drilled it to make a banjo) and also the new banjo was so long it blocked off the oil supply to the exhaust cam. The turbo seized and the exhaust cam seized, bent valves etc. As the story unfolded ( I didn't know the legal owner) it sounded familiar and I started questioning the lawyer. It was my friends car but in his mother's name (so I didn't recognize the name) furthermore I had the old cylinder head in my possession. I told the lawyer all of this, remember he's representing the mechanic, and asked if it was a conflict. He said no. So I read the deposition, laughed alot and wrote up my opinion stating basically the mechanic was an idiot and just to add a little credibility signed it BSME as I have a degree in mechanical engineering. The icing on the cake is i billed the lawyer 150$. About a month later my friend called me and said he was paid in full.
     

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  10. 1990TSIAWDTALON

    1990TSIAWDTALON Moderator

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    I like the story Paul :thumb:
     

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  11. Maryshannon

    Maryshannon Probationary Member

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    Wow, I am so grateful for your time and expertise on these replies. The car is four hours from home. I'm sad to say I'm giving up on her. I am hoping to recoup my financial loss and find another Gen2 Spyder. It seems to me that in the past when I've gone to a dealer, they worked from a manual and had recommendations from the maker. "Ma'am, when we replace the blah blah, we also recommend changing the blah blah blah." That's why I think the MD dealership is partially responsible. I'm going to start with the Midas guys and see so far I get. Your responses are very helpful. When I get a new Spyder, I'll ask you guys to help me find the right guy to work on it.
     

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  12. pauleyman

    pauleyman DSM Wiseman

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    If the car is in good shape I wouldn't give up. It will be more difficult to find a nice car rather than fix what you have. Being from new york though is it in good shape? NE United States has a healthy dsm membership. You may be able to find an independent to fix the car or seek out a dsm shop. Stm tuned is south of Rochester if that helps.
     

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  13. Jk's97DSM

    Jk's97DSM Proven Member

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    This is just my experience. There are a ton of sh**ty “mechanics” in the automotive industry. A ton of shops who use social media to hype their business up but produce garbage. I worked on my own cars for years before coming into the industry. I knew nothing. I knew basics and thought I knew a lot but I did not. I’ve since changed that and have devoted a ton of time, effort and money into doing things right the first time, every time.
    I worked at a TV shop for two weeks. I called out some BS work on a car that was being delivered in the next few days. I needed all the brakes, shocks, bushings etc to be driveable. They undercoated over rust and mud built up in the wheel well. I was told “He’s 80, he won’t see it” by the paint manager and prep manager. That’s what I don’t want to associated with.
    Another friend was screwed over by two separate shops. Tampa Motorsports took $30k+ and when he picked it up it wasn’t running. The next shop who I specifically told to “make it right” actually did $34k in parts and maintenance. It might have well been Jiffy Lube Motorsports. People started seeing the hype and the product and started calling them out. He sold out and was bought by another company. Then they changed names again. Some of the same people who built his car are now working on GTR’s, Lambos and Ferrari’s. Scary.
     

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  14. chrysler kid

    chrysler kid Proven Member

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    Typically most racing shops have one master tech who made the shop by reputation, and then hire the lowest paid worker who eventually quits because hes under paid and over worked, or who then starts his own shop.

    Its a vicious cycle and if you are serious about continuing with the eclipse platform my advice is to buy a daily driver and buy a set of shop manuals for the dsm. Take your time and learn to do the job correctly, once you have mastered these motors and electrical systems you will be the guy who is the specialist and can pick up weekend side jobs for other members in the community
     

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  15. Maryshannon

    Maryshannon Probationary Member

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  16. Maryshannon

    Maryshannon Probationary Member

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    The problem is getting it home, then paying for repairs. If it was one or the other, I'd do it.
     

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  17. Maryshannon

    Maryshannon Probationary Member

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  18. Maryshannon

    Maryshannon Probationary Member

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    Everyone had a talent, and mechanical work is not mine. If you asked me to write a ten- page essay on the repair, I could do that, but I promise doing the repair would take me ten times longer than the mechanic. I have an ex-boyfriend that can do it... but he's doing his new girlfriend's repairs now!
     

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  19. CAM280

    CAM280 Supporting Member

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    Mary Mary why you bugging, or Mary Mary how does your garden grow, or Mary jane... so many Mary songs, just trying to make you smile thats all... GOD BLESS. Your Spyder is tangled in a web of lies and deceit, put your Spyder out of its misery and squash it or how about the DSM community put our heads together and get this ride back on the road for Mary Mary quite contrary.... what you say who's with me????
     
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  20. pauleyman

    pauleyman DSM Wiseman

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    This community is big enough. Help a sister out.
    Personally if it goes to small claims make them pay transport. Not sure if it's worth pursuing. I shared my experience with it.
     

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  21. Maryshannon

    Maryshannon Probationary Member

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  22. Maryshannon

    Maryshannon Probationary Member

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    It's actually Mary Louise, so add "Hello, Marylou" to your list! So Midas has offered $1200 to cover the Maryland dealership's bill . The Maryland dealership will have an offer for me Friday. Does anyone know a mechanic near Carlisle/ Mechanicsburg/ Harrisburg PA that might get the car and assess the damage? Should I try the nearest dealership?
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2020

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  23. Mello

    Mello Proven Member

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    The Midas offer is a start. I would not accept it without second opinions though. I would not trust a dealership blindly. Try contacting Jackson Auto Machine in Hanover MD (about 90 miles from your car). You may be able to make arrangements work out an agreement on how to proceed. Again, if any of the initial offers do not remedy your situation contact a lawyer. You should be able to get a free consultation & you should not have to pay for other mistakes & failures. Jackson Auto Machine (JAM) in the past was one of DSMTuners supporting vendors, a member of our forum, & offered custom turbo motor rebuild to our community. They are the closest I can think of & they would know how to fix your non-turbo motor the right way.
    Jackson Auto Machine https://www.jacksonautomachine.com/
    7407 Ridge Rd.
    Hanover, MD. 21076
    Phone 410-859-3269
    Fax 410-859-0173
    Email [email protected]
     
    1990TSIAWDTALON likes this.
  24. pauleyman

    pauleyman DSM Wiseman

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    If I read correctly she is turbo. Jackson would be a good place to call.
     

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  25. Mello

    Mello Proven Member

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    I may be a little confused. In the original post Marylou says -
    I just checked her profile & it has Spyder GST.
     

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