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ToyotaRIMD
Camry 1999,
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294 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Does timing jump cause engine replacement? ===========================================

My TOYOTA Camry 1999 was driving OK. I do check under the hood on and off, I did not do that check for awhile. Last week my car started OK. Within two(2) minute driving RPM started decreasing and lost power. The car engine cut-off. It crank the engine as I turned ignition, but it did not start. I towed the car home. I towed the car to auto service shop. My mechanic is telling that my timing belt was jumped and hit water pump. He did leak test and find leakage in middle 2 cylinders. He wanted to replace the motor.

I did not drive on high speed and drove 2 minutes from starting. My car has non-interference engine, so it had timing belt instead of timing chain.

Does this situation cause such engine damage?

Is there a way to fix leakage in middle 2 cylinders as alternate to motor replacement?

If yes, what is it called?

Does any mechanic able to do that?

I have auto transmission. Did switching to neutral in this situation help?


Thanks for your insights.
 

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Registered
1997 Camry LE I4
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975 Posts
How many miles on the engine? Unless you have a very high mileage, I have trouble believing your mechanic (on the need for a new engine). But that's a best guess.

Can you easily get a second opinion?
 

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Registered
1997 Camry 2.2l
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68 Posts
Does timing jump cause engine replacement? ===========================================

My TOYOTA Camry 1999 was driving OK. I do check under the hood on and off, I did not do that check for awhile. Last week my car started OK. Within two(2) minute driving RPM started decreasing and lost power. The car engine cut-off. It crank the engine as I turned ignition, but it did not start. I towed the car home. I towed the car to auto service shop. My mechanic is telling that my timing belt was jumped and hit water pump. He did leak test and find leakage in middle 2 cylinders. He wanted to replace the motor.
This makes absolutely zero sense to me. Especially the part about hitting the water pump. What, exactly, did he do? A compression test? It's possible you have low compression in those 2 middle cylinders, but it sounds to me more like you just have a broken timing belt. Possibly a bad cam or crank position sensor. I had my timing belt break just a week and a half ago. New timing belt and I'm now back on the road, driving smoother than before.

I'd definitely get a second (third and maybe fourth) opinion. Call around and describe the problem to a couple/three shops. You won't know if a shop will tell you much without towing it there until you ask them. If they all agree with what the first shop said (and I'd say as little as possible about what that first shop did say) then maybe that first shop has something. But motor replacement is a HUGE deal and should not be taken lightly. I'd be seriously skeptical of that first shop's opinion.
 

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Dave's
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1,946 Posts
I wouldn't think the two were related. A leak between the two middle cylinders is likely a head gasket but could be something worse. A head gasket is probably expensive if you have someone else do it and for the other possibilities an engine replacement would be the best thing. As far as the timing belt jumping, this can be caused by a bad water pump or just a worn belt. Either way, the belt, water pump and belt tensioner(s) (maybe seals too) should be replaced on an older car. This should be a non-interference engine so the belt jumping or breaking should not damage the engine. But replacing the belt at a shop will probably run $400-600 depending upon the brand of parts and how much you have replaced. A shop repairing the head gasket (if that's the cause of the compression leak) could easily run $500-1500 although a 4 cylinder gasket might run under $50 if you do it yourself. You should buy new head bolts too if you do this. Another shop would have to run a compression check on the cylinders to confirm a compression leak. If there really is one then I think you pretty much have to take the head off as a minimum to find out if it's the gasket or something worse. However, they should be able to quote you a price for replacing the belt and water pump, etc. Realizing of course, if they find anything else wrong the cost could go up. If you really do have a bad timing belt, water pump and a compression leak it might actually be cheaper to replace the engine.
 

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ToyotaRIMD
Camry 1999,
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294 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Thanks for your replies/suggestions (insights). :thanks:

My car has less than 100K miles on odometer.
The mechanic performed the lead down test in my presence. Here are the readings from leakage Gauge.

Outer two Cylinders 0 - 10 % (Close to Green) :clap:


Inner two Cylinders 100 - 80 % (Red)
:frown:

This mechanic is reliable. He did some critical work for me on other cars in the past. Other mechanics make me run around on situation and suggested motor replacement on my previous cars. This mechanic addressed the issue and put my car on the road without changing the engine.

As he proposes for engine replacement in situation, I am in dilemma to see him as scam artist. I know it is emotional.

Is there a way to fix Inner two Cylinders 100 - 80 % (Red) leak ?

What are the other questions to ask my mechanic for new engine justification?

Thanks for your guidance . :help:
 

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How is he doing a leak down test with a bad timing belt? Sounds like a buncha bs to me.

If the water pump seized and broke the timing belt the engine more than likely did not overheat.

Get another mechanic, this is business not a relationship.
 

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2002 Ford Focus SE
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5,916 Posts
A couple of things:

My car has non-interference engine, so it had timing belt instead of timing chain.
First and last statements are true, inference is not.

i.e. your car has a non-interference engine and it does have a timing belt, but:

  • There are plenty of other model cars with non-interference engines and timing chains.
  • There are interference engines with either belts or chains (or in some cases, gears sets without a belt or a chain).
Does this situation cause such engine damage?


Unlikely - as others said, most likely cause would be a head gasket and a TB failure would be unlikely to warp the head gasket, but the water pump is driven by the TB (I think) on this car, so the water pump not working could cause the head gasket to fail.

Is there a way to fix leakage in middle 2 cylinders as alternate to motor replacement?

If yes, what is it called?

Does any mechanic able to do that?
Sure - it's basically an engine rebuild - you would tear down the motor, ream out the cylinders and install (probably oversize) pistons and new rings.

However, it is more expensive to do that than to replace the motor with a used one - and possibly more than replacing the motor with a new one.

The mechanic would need a reamer to do that or might send the block to a machine shop. It really isn't something I would recommend doing unless you can do the work yourself, and maybe even then.

I have auto transmission. Did switching to neutral in this situation help?
Doubtful to have made any difference.
 

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Toyota Collector
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12,162 Posts
To do a leak down test the camshaft has to be rotated. If the timing belt is broken it won't be possible to rotate the camshaft unless the upper timing cover was removed. Did the mechanic remove it? He can perform a leak down test without but if the pistons/valves are not in the correct location then air will just leak straight out the intake and/or exhaust making it look like the engine is shot.

If your mechanic did not remove the upper timing cover and you have a broken timing belt, then he is scamming you for sure. Also a leak down test can unintentionally rotate the engine so if the cam is not connected to the crank then the bottom end will rotate easier making the test even less valid.
 

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ToyotaRIMD
Camry 1999,
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294 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
Thanks for your replies/suggestions (insights).

Timing belt did not break in my car. It jumped off the pulley & hit water pump. Did such event impact/damage cylinders?

He performed the leak down test using Cylinder Leak-Down Tester as shown in http://www.harborfreight.com/cylinder-leak-down-tester-94190.html.

It showed the reading as I mentioned in my earlier reply.

He removed upper timing cover, front passenger wheel and rotated the camshaft manually to do leak down test .

@sumpnz

Good to know that you survived the timing belt breaking. Thanks for sharing.

You mentioned about possible bad cam or crank position sensor.

How do we find this out? Is there a test?

Were you driving at high speed as your timing belt break just a week and a half ago? Did you get any symptoms before it happen? How did you stop your car immediately?

What are the other questions to ask my mechanic for new engine justification?

Thanks for sharing/guidance.
 

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Toyota Collector
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12,162 Posts
All the questions you have, shouldn't you be asking your mechanic? I don't know what it means for the timing belt to hit the water pump that doesn't make sense to me. The timing belt is in contact with the water pump which makes it rotate but the hitting part I don't get.
 

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Registered
1997 Camry 2.2l
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68 Posts
I was going maybe 30-35mph, steady speed not accelerating. Saw the dash lights come on and immediately pulled into a parking lot. No prior warning at all. Steering got heavy and I realized the engine was stalled - it was probably stalled the second the lights came on. Coasted to a stop in front of a Starbucks (good thing it was still open at 10PM, it was farking cold that night). Tried to crank the engine. Starter cranked, but no fire. Called tow truck.

As far as I can tell it did zero damage (other than the belt itself).

If the belt jumped you're probably way out of time on the engine even if the belt is still intact. That would possibly cause valves to be open that shouldn't be during the compression test.

I still am having a hard time understanding how the belt can "imapct the water pump" enough to damage it (never mind causing the cylinder damage).

I would first have the timing checked and reset if it's off, and make sure the belt is routed correctly, and properly tensioned. Then maybe have the leak down or compression test redone.
 

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ToyotaRIMD
Camry 1999,
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294 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
Thanks for your insights and giving me an opportunity to understand my car better.

sumpnz

If the belt jumped you're probably way out of time on the engine even if the belt is still intact. That would possibly cause valves to be open that shouldn't be during the compression test.
Do you mean that jumped belt cause 2 middle cylinder valves to kept open?

He did rotate the camshaft manually to do leak down test.

Did such camshaft manual rotation cause to close the valves?

The reading shows the 2 outer cylinder valves were closed. Is it normal?

Is there a way to close the open valves?

You mentioned about possible bad cam or crank position sensor.
How do we find this out? Is there a test?

Thanks for sharing.
 

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Administrator
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14,388 Posts
Man, doing a leak down test with a missing timing belt would be really difficult. I'm assuming he removed it, because if he didn't, there's no way on earth any sort of compression test is going to be right with a mis-timed belt in place. And if he did remove it, getting the cam sprockets rotated to the correct position would be tricky, to say the least.

If it was running fine just before the timing belt jumped, it should run the same after the T-belt is properly replaced. NO WAY would the belt slipping mess up compression or leak down.
 

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Toyota Collector
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I don't see how a leak down test could be done properly with camshaft timing being out. Either this mechanic doesn't realize this or knows full well and is trying to make money installing a replacement engine.

Tell the mechanic to put in a new timing belt, pay for it and drive away.
 

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1997 Camry 2.2l
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68 Posts
If the timing belt is removed from any pulley then the camshaft and crankshaft can be rotated independently.

Just to make sure you understand the mechanics of the engine, the timing belt starts at the pulley on the camshaft. From there it goes around the tensioner pulley, then to the oil pump, down to the crankshaft pulley, around the idler pulley to the water pump and then back to the camshaft pulley.

Which pulley did the belt supposedly jump off? And did the mechanic just put it back on?

OK, a bit more engine fundamentals. The camshaft actuates the valves. The crankshaft controls the pistons. So, if the mechanic rotated the cam through several revolutions while it was still connected to the crank by the timing belt, then if the engine was out of time you could have valves open when they're supposed to be closed and vice versa. If the timing belt was removed (or had come off a pulley and was therefore too loose to make a good connection) then when he rotated the cam he was actuating the valves without also rotating the pistons through their cycle.

If the engine is still properly timed and the timing belt is still intact and in place then if he did the leak down test correctly you might have a problem with the two middle cylinders.

But I have very serious doubts that your engine is still properly timed. You stated:
Timing belt did not break in my car. It jumped off the pulley & hit water pump.
If indeed the belt jumped off a pulley your engine is all but certainly out of time. And if the belt jumped off the pulley I would do a full timing belt replacement, including new idler and tensioner pulleys, water pump, and all the various oil seals (in the oil pump, crankshaft seal, camshaft seal).

As far as the crank and cam position sensors, I'm not sure how they'd be tested. I never had to do that with my car, so I don't know the procedure. But a competent pro mechanic should know how to do that. BUT, that is something I'd only worry about after trying a timing belt replacement. Just to get to the crank position sensor you're most of the way to a timing belt job. If you want you can ask your mechanic to test those sensors while he's got everything apart for the timing belt job.
 

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399,035+and going strong
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I don't see how a leak down test could be done properly with camshaft timing being out. Either this mechanic doesn't realize this or knows full well and is trying to make money installing a replacement engine.

Tell the mechanic to put in a new timing belt, pay for it and drive away.
Unless your engine was running really poorly before the timing belt came off the head gasket should be fine.

If a new belt is installed and then the car runs poorly, perform another leak down test.

I was doing a timing belt on a Hyundai which is an interference engine. I was working in a cold garage. I had all of the covers off along with the bottom pulley. I wanted to start the engine just to warm it up. Well it started and ran for about 20 seconds until the timing belt jumped off of the pulleys because it was too loose. I had feared I had bent some valves, but I went and put the belt on anyway. I did a leak down test and air came out of a couple of cylinders. One on the exhaust and another one on the intake. What was to be a timing belt job turned into a head off valve replacement. This was on a customers car! Lucky his is my friend.

Here's a short video of one of the bent valves in my lathe.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7yHv4Mx2pWE&list=UUoaz4dkvDp8hNHuxYyprhug
 

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2002 Ford Focus SE
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5,916 Posts
What I don't understand here ...

The belt wasn't broken. The engine is non-interference.

Why wouldn't the mechanic just align the cam and crank pulleys and put the belt back on and start it up rather than trying to manually rotate the cam to do a leak-down test. (Or put the belt back on and manually rotate the crank.)

I don't recommend releasing the car to you that way, but he would have the engine in time and then could just match the marks when replacing the belt.
 
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