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Thread: Timing Belt Terror...please give me advice re changing a timing belt

  1. #1
    Wounded Ronin
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    War/Terrorism Timing Belt Terror...please give me advice re changing a timing belt

    So, about 6 months ago, I bought a used 01 Hyundai Accent, which I've come to depend on to get to work and get business done. When I got it, it had just under 69,000 miles, and right now it's got between 73,000 and 74,000.

    In the past, I've read some information about how with 01 Hyundai Accents it is important to change the timing belt at 60,000 miles per manufacturer's recommendations, and I'd assumed that this had been done by the dealership from which I had purchased the car, since the sales dude had told me that all the recommended maintenance had been done. To make a long story short yesterday I called the dealership to double check on this, but they said that they had recieved the vehicle with the original milage just under 69,000, and that they had not changed the timing belt, and that furthermore that their maintenance records on the vehicle did not have any information about maintenance performed earlier.

    If the previous owner had indeed changed the timing belt at 60,000 miles, I don't think there's any way I can find out, since the car had originally been purchased new in Rhode Island by that guy, whomever he is. He brought it out here to Las Vegas, kept it for a while, and finally had gotten rid of it, possibly because it doesn't have air conditioning and we're in a desert, and not everyone is cool enough to imitate Lone Wolf McQuade and roll the windows down during the summer.

    I'm now concerned that I need to go and change the timing belt, like, immediately, before it potentially snaps and breaks the whole engine. A friend of a friend says that he can "unofficially" change the timing belt and the water pump at his house, parts included, for like $300. A repair shop which is convieniently located between my home and my workplace offers to use a "timing belt kit" to change the timing belt, water pump, timing belt tensioner, and assorted gaskets for $443.56. The original dealership wants ~$400 just to change the timing belt and do nothing else, which is about $50 more than what the other repair shop would cost to just change the timing belt, so I'm kind of thinking "fuck them", especially if they didn't change that timing belt in the first place.

    But, the truth is, I have little or no knowledge of and experience with mechanical issues. I'd appreciate any advice about:

    1.) How urgently do I need to change the timing belt, if we assume it has not been changed at 60,000 miles, since it seems like it would be impossible to find out if it had been changed or not.

    2.) Is $443.56 a reasonable price for a repair shop to apply a "timing belt kit", which includes those additional parts?

    3,) Are there any other parts of the engine besides for the timing belt which, if neglected, can cause the whole engine to destruct?

  2. #2
    ad hominem is awesome elipson's Avatar
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    1) See if your buddy can access the timing belt and see if there is any obvious sign of wear or damage. Or streching. This is not always easy to assess, but its a start. I just had my timing belt go in my 87 Tercel. A very annoying thing to replace.

    2) Yes that is reasonable. Shops are always pricey, but if you are not good with things then its worth it. If you want to go it alone, the Haynes repair manual is a god-send. 20$ and worth every penny. Those things have saved me hundreds of dollars over the years.

    3) Regular maintenance? Maybe/sort of/not really. Keep the fluids up and investigate any change in sound or handling of the car. Regular tune ups are a good idea if you're not too handy with cars, but dont believe EVERYTHING they tell you.

    I've been able to fix most of the problems with my vehicles over the years just by having a simple tool kit, buying the repiar manual, and searching for answers on the internet. Best way to learn about cars is to fix them yourself.
    "Pranksters and LARPists write or call in threats. Guys like me claim responsibility.

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  3. #3
    not long for this world nihilist's Avatar
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    A timing belt can give out with little or no warning. They get brittle and if you have valves that do not continually clear the path of the piston then you can break valves and damage the cylinder head when the belt breaks.

    The thing I look for is signs of cracking and lack of suppleness in the belt.
    Poke the inside of the belt with a nail and see if it is springy. if it is hard then the belt will build up a lot of heat when flexing and will be very prone to breaking.

    Get a manual from the library and see if changing the belt looks like something you would want to tackle yourself.

  4. #4
    not long for this world nihilist's Avatar
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    Also, dealerships are for people who enjoy getting stroked.

  5. #5
    Registered Member ignatzami's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wounded Ronin
    1.) How urgently do I need to change the timing belt, if we assume it has not been changed at 60,000 miles, since it seems like it would be impossible to find out if it had been changed or not.

    2.) Is $443.56 a reasonable price for a repair shop to apply a "timing belt kit", which includes those additional parts?

    3,) Are there any other parts of the engine besides for the timing belt which, if neglected, can cause the whole engine to destruct?
    1) How urgently, very. DO it yesterday if at all possible.

    2) Depends. If this is a car you plan on keeping then change it. Hyundai tend to wear out majorly around 110k, just FYI. Expect drive train issues between 100k and 120k. Good luck having your engine last much beyond 150k. Your driving a disposable car. Make sure it doesn't nickle and dime you to death. Also, watch the rear breaks, the calipers tend to set up and self destruct, no warning, it's a "feature"!

    3) Oil, coolant, radiator, fan(s), valve rings, intake gasket, head gasket, timing computer.... I could go on.

    Easiest thing to do to prevent catastrophic failure. Check your fluid levels, keep your eye out for oil leaks, especially out of the oil sensor and intake gasket. Your in a desert change your air filter regularly. Make sure you have ample coolant, make sure your fan bearings are in good condition any chatter from your fan, or fans, get them replaced ASAP. If your engine temp climbs above normal even a bit pull over and turn her off. If the engine starts to knock (ping) even a little (this will sound like a midget with a ball pean hammer) turn her off.

    Enjoy!

  6. #6
    Wounded Ronin
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    Thanks to everyone for your thoughts and advice. Since the economy isn't doing well right now and it is very hard to get financing for a new car, I've decided to go to the repair shop on Saturday morning and shell out the $443 to have the timing belt and other related parts replaced. If I can get the Hyundai to last until around 100,000 miles that would be terrific. As long as that timing belt can withstand about ~30 more miles at 30-35 MPH, which would be tomorrow's commute and the trip to the repair shop, it won't be a problem anymore after Saturday.

    Ignatzami, I have got a couple of questions about your last paragraph.

    1.) If my engine temp climbs above normal (about 40% of the guage is normal), and I pull over and turn the car off, what should I do next? Wait an hour to let it cool before proceeding? Call AAA? Would that temperature change mean that there is a problem with my fans and/or coolant?

    2.) To clarify, you're saying that if I'm driving, and I start to hear TING! TING! TING! from my engine over the sound of the traffic, engine noises, etc, that this means there's a problem with my fan, and that I should pull over and stop driving to prevent imminent overheating? If so, what should I do next?

  7. #7
    not long for this world nihilist's Avatar
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    Get out, kick the tire and throw your hat on the ground.

  8. #8
    ad hominem is awesome elipson's Avatar
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    Unless you're Italian, in which case some over dramatic hand gestures will be required.

    1) If it gets into the red you likely have a problem. Either the water pump is dead, the rad has no water in it, or the termostat has stuck and needs to be replaced. Termostats are not too hard to diagnose. The temp gage will slowly climb high,and then suddenly drop. I had this happen to me during the summer with a 91 Tempo. Didn't last too long after that....

    2) The noise may be coming from different locations. If its coming from the engine itself, you have bigger/more expensive problems.
    "Pranksters and LARPists write or call in threats. Guys like me claim responsibility.

    -SFGoon.

    "I can teach libs to love guns faster then I can teach cons to think, it seems."

    -JohnnyCache

  9. #9
    Dark Overlord of MABS Tom Kagan's Avatar
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    70k miles with a questionable maintanence history and you're worried about the drive train? Amazing. Dude - you're probably driving a death trap. Dump about a grand into the suspension first if you want push over 100k miles.
    Calm down, it's only ones and zeros.


    "Your calm and professional manner of response is really draining all the fun out of this. Can you reply more like Dr. Fagbot or something? Call me some names, mention some sand in my vagina or something of the sort. You can't expect me to come up with reasonable arguements man!" -- MaverickZ

  10. #10
    Wounded Ronin
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    Okay, Tom, can you explain to me what is "probably" wrong with the suspension, so that I can fully understand your dramatic statement?

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