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is this a true general statment?


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rbig
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Dec 8, 2012, 9:48 AM

Post #1 of 18 (1449 views)
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I've suddenly been brought maybe to a disturbing situation: are there limits to what the timing belt can do on cars? Where do you find the limits?

If you drive along, and suddenly a timing belt breaks, you coast to a stop. I'm told there are no warning signs of when this happens. If you're out in the toolies, and drive along on a road where there just isn't a place to pull over---and you break a belt----all you can do is get away from the vehichle, and let whatever happens happen.

If this is a true statment of situation, what do you do to reduce this threat? About the only thing I know to do is take it to a garage and let them put on a new belt. Record your mileage, and watch carefully as it approaches limits.

Your thoughts?


Hammer Time
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Dec 8, 2012, 10:02 AM

Post #2 of 18 (1429 views)
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Quote
If this is a true statment of situation, what do you do to reduce this threat?


That's pretty simple.... just change the belt when you are supposed and don't wait for a warning because that warning could amount to a new motor.



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Discretesignals
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Dec 8, 2012, 10:15 AM

Post #3 of 18 (1419 views)
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There are a whole bunch of things that could go wrong on a vehicle that could leave you stranded. Infact as a automotive tech, I think about all the possibilities even when I am going on a long trip in my vehicles (they are older). I don't know if it is the fear of being stranded in some long stretch of road out in the boonies with Ernest and Cooter telling you that you have some nice white teeth or being stuck for days in your vehicle during a snow storm in some remote part of Alaska. That makes the trip miserable sometimes. Some of them you can help and some of them you can't.

As HT stated, follow the service intervals, make sure there isn't any unusual noises from behind the cover, and maintain your vehicle. Doing those things will reduce the chance of being left on the side of the road. If you have the fear of being stranded, be prepared. Make sure your phone is charged, someone knows where your going and when you should be there, and have what you would need to stay safe.





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(This post was edited by Discretesignals on Dec 8, 2012, 10:17 AM)


MarineGrunt
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Dec 8, 2012, 12:16 PM

Post #4 of 18 (1384 views)
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Hey DS. My nickname is Cooter. (My last name pretty much makes it a mandatory nickname). So what are you trying to say? Cool

I was in the Marine Corps stationed at 29Palms, California up in the high desert. Some buddies and I went to Palm Springs one Saturday morning. When leaving the high desert the road curves down through the hills. It's very steep with very sharp blind curves. On our way back I was driving up the steep curvy hills. There is no shoulder so nowhere to pull off. All of a sudden, "bam", the car dies. Since we were going uphill there was hardly anytime to pull over. I had to keep my fingers crossed, coast backwards and get over as far as I could. It happened right around a sharp curve. By the time other cars saw us they only had a split second to crank the wheel over only to barely miss us. It was possibly one of the worst places in the world to break down! Not the worst but it was bad. All we could do is get out of the car and get as far away from it as we could. I walked down a ways so I could try and warn people to move over. Luckily, within 10 minutes a State Trooper drove by. I got in my car to steer and he pushed me bumper to bumper a few miles up the hill to the next town. If it wasn't for him it's hard saying what would've happened. Cars fly on that road, even uphill.

The problem ended up being a broken timing chain. It's definitely something you want to change. A broken down car can end up being a safety issue depending on where it breaks down. Even if it's not a safety issue it's an inconvenience at best. Plus you end up having to pay a tow truck. It ends up being cheaper, and less of a hassle, to keep your car properly maintained. That car of mine only had around 75k at the time so you never know when a timing chain or belt can break.


Discretesignals
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Dec 8, 2012, 12:27 PM

Post #5 of 18 (1379 views)
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And most important don't break down in front of Marine Cooter's house. He may try to rebuild your entire vehicle....Tongue





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Hammer Time
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Dec 8, 2012, 1:15 PM

Post #6 of 18 (1372 views)
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The point being missed here is that on most engines, when the belt breaks while the engine is running, the piston crashed into the non-moving valves and instantly bends a whole bunch of them. You HAVE to renew the belt before it gets to that point and there is not warning or way to see it coming except mileage and age.



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Sidom
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Dec 8, 2012, 2:40 PM

Post #7 of 18 (1361 views)
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Ok....someone has scared you........Who did you talk to? and did they tell you?


MarineGrunt
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Dec 8, 2012, 3:26 PM

Post #8 of 18 (1350 views)
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"And most important don't break down in front of Marine Cooter's house. He may try to rebuild your entire vehicle"

Ha! If replacing this power steering pump doesn't take care of my current issue I think I'll start bringing all of my vehicles in for you to fix. No Christmas tree today. We're going to do tomorrow so you'll know here soon if you'll be doing all future work on my vehicles.

HT...how often does a broken timing chain cause engine damage? Would you say like half the time? Or, does it always cause some damage but not always enough to cause immediate issues?

Sidom...I've only had one timing belt break. It caused a hairy situation but doesn't seem like it's something that happens very often. Being that I've only had that one break, and have never heard of any friends or family member's breaking, I've never really worried about it. I guess all you can do is keep up on maintenance and if it happens it happens. How often do you have someone bring their vehicle in for a broken timing belt or chain? Probably not very often, right?


Hammer Time
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Dec 8, 2012, 3:31 PM

Post #9 of 18 (1345 views)
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Quote
HT...how often does a broken timing chain cause engine damage? Would you say like half the time? Or, does it always cause some damage but not always enough to cause immediate issues?


Nobody publishes any data on which chain engine are interference and which ones are not, unlike belt engines where we know which ones are crashers.



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re-tired
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Dec 8, 2012, 3:40 PM

Post #10 of 18 (1341 views)
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Timing chains seldom break. THey usally "JUMP" time due to worn cam gear and chain stretch. Belts usally fail from fatigue.


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MarineGrunt
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Dec 8, 2012, 4:50 PM

Post #11 of 18 (1332 views)
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The one and only I had break was on a 94 Sunbird. I believe it was a belt if I remember right. How exactly does the piston crash into the valves when one breaks? I've never really torn into an engine so can't really picture how it would happen and am just curious. This was the same car I had to put a new head on. That's about the most I've ever done to an engine.


Tom Greenleaf
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Dec 9, 2012, 5:36 AM

Post #12 of 18 (1300 views)
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There must be a listing of interference and freewheeling engine for "CHAINS" but haven't found it yet. Most jump, run lousy or was my experience. Just a couple jumped too far by surprise without notice. Anything could do anything. Even much older two sprocket w chains could bust to bits with unknown damage. So far not. Bits in oil pan can be a later problem.

No doubt tons of chain engines are interference. Some if not most small bock Mopars are interference. Intervals for changing were not generally discussed or escaped my notice for decades? Old mostly the so called American Iron engines if came my way for a water pump @ ~100K or so many years I would strongly suggest doing the chain and gears too if the car/vehicle was a keeper,

T


Hammer Time
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Dec 9, 2012, 7:11 AM

Post #13 of 18 (1296 views)
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MG, the timing belt times the cam with the crank so the valves are opening and closing in unison with the piston coming up and down so the valve are open when the piston is down. If the belt breaks, all the valves stops in whatever position they are in at the moment, many of them wide open but the pistons continue to go up and down and many engines are just not engineered with enough clearance so the piston just crashes into the open valve that should have been closed by now if the belt was attached.


Tom,
There won't be any data list for chains because the manufacturer doesn't release the info for them to publish.



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MarineGrunt
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Dec 9, 2012, 9:54 AM

Post #14 of 18 (1287 views)
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Great explanation HT. Thank you


You would think they would design the engine to keep that from happening. I know it's not everyday a timing belt breaks but I would be hot if a $20 belt caused me over a $1000 in damage! I guess that's why you keep up on maintenance though. Then again, it's possible that one could break at anytime whether it has 100 miles or 100,000 miles. Would it be difficult to design an engine where a broken timing belt wouldn't cause damage? I'm thinking you guys should go into the engineering side of things. They should make it mandatory that an engineer has to be a mechanic for 20 years first.


Hammer Time
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Dec 9, 2012, 10:01 AM

Post #15 of 18 (1284 views)
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It's all in the way the engine is engineered and I don't know what the reasons are for designing it that way but there are more interference engines than freewheeling out there.

Most Toyota's are freewheeling as many Fords are but nearly all Mazda s, Nissan's, Chrysler's, Honda's, Mitsubishi's and many, many more are crashers.

Age, long term heat or oil damage are about the only things that weaken a belt so if you stick to the maintenance schedule, you should be fine. Don't ignore bearing or water pump noises either.



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Discretesignals
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Dec 9, 2012, 10:24 AM

Post #16 of 18 (1276 views)
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I guess from a manufacture's stand point it saves them money and weight by reducing the amount of space in the combustion chamber by using the interference design.





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re-tired
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Dec 11, 2012, 12:46 AM

Post #17 of 18 (1248 views)
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In Reply To
The one and only I had break was on a 94 Sunbird. I believe it was a belt if I remember right. How exactly does the piston crash into the valves when one breaks? I've never really torn into an engine so can't really picture how it would happen and am just curious. This was the same car I had to put a new head on. That's about the most I've ever done to an engine.







The timing belt at the front of motor links the camshaft to the crankshaft. Valves are "timed" by the belt to open and close when the piston is at certain positions . When belt fails the valves stop moving at whatever positon they happen to be open or closed. THe crankshaft and pistons ,having more mass continue to rotate . eventually pistons will meet up with open valves.TA DA engine is a paper weight that may or may not be fixable.







HowStuffWorks "Engine Valve Train and Ignition Systems"


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(This post was edited by re-tired on Dec 11, 2012, 10:33 AM)


re-tired
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Dec 11, 2012, 3:16 PM

Post #18 of 18 (1232 views)
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.


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