The Truth About Cars » interference engines http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Wed, 01 Oct 2014 12:32:56 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » interference engines http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Piston Slap: Running Interference for Timing Belts? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/06/piston-slap-running-interference-for-timing-belts/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/06/piston-slap-running-interference-for-timing-belts/#comments Mon, 03 Jun 2013 12:00:50 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=493750 Clint writes: I usually buy vehicles that need the timing belt replaced. (Most people trade in or sell at that point for $ reasons). I do most of the work myself because it’s not overly complicated if you follow a manual. People at my office ask me about general car maintenance. When I ask about […]

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Clint writes:

I usually buy vehicles that need the timing belt replaced. (Most people trade in or sell at that point for $ reasons). I do most of the work myself because it’s not overly complicated if you follow a manual. People at my office ask me about general car maintenance. When I ask about timing belt changes they always respond with, “Do I need to change that?” or “I have never changed that.”

At that point I ask for their mileage, it’s always way over the required service date. How many people that own vehicles experience these timing belt disasters? Most vehicles on the road are interference motors so I think the casualty rates are pretty high.

Sajeev answers:

Regarding casualty rates: if this was ten years ago, I’d agree with you. But thanks to events like promoting 100,000 mile tune-up intervals in Detroit Iron during the 1990s, the majority of mainstream machines switched to the chain. This list (grain of salt: it thinks Panthers have timing belts) might help explain the time period when everyone abandoned their belts for a timing chain.

Hell, even Ferrari uses timing chains now!

To your question: we will never know how many people experience timing belt/bent valve disasters, but the numbers are likely dwindling.  Impossible to prove, as car repair databases aren’t the well-organized machines seen in the healthcare insurance industry.  Can you imagine a HIPAA compliant local service station?

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

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Piston Slap: Recall or Total Recall? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/09/piston-slap-recall-or-total-recall/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/09/piston-slap-recall-or-total-recall/#comments Mon, 24 Sep 2012 11:35:36 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=461304 Ted writes: Sajeev, Here’s what I got: 2002 Saturn L200 156000 miles bought new. Excellent car no problems whatsoever, maintained precisely. Question about timing chain scuttlebutt. Should I change it preventatively , switch to synthetic oil, or just do not worry about? NHSTA stats report only 7 incident per 1000 of the non-recalled vehicles. Also […]

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Ted writes:

Sajeev,
Here’s what I got: 2002 Saturn L200 156000 miles bought new. Excellent car no problems whatsoever, maintained precisely. Question about timing chain scuttlebutt. Should I change it preventatively , switch to synthetic oil, or just do not worry about?

NHSTA stats report only 7 incident per 1000 of the non-recalled vehicles. Also if chain busts does it just bend valves or can it cause piston damage. Appreciate any advice.

Sajeev answers:

Much like our last reader with some admirable Saturn L-love, I wholly appreciate someone who can love a cool car that most will simply toss aside.  And most Saturns (save for the ION) had a lot of family friendly cool going for them, and the L-series is high on my list. My fav is the original Saturn SC2 coupe in a delicious bronze, or brown (natch)!

Oooooh yeah, what a shape!  So anyway…

I’m not thrilled with the idea of changing a recalled part on a non-recalled vehicle. While the repercussions are stiff (these are interference motors), finding a decent replacement engine from an automotive recycler is a great option. More on that later.

Switch to synthetic oil?  Probably not a bad idea.  At this age and mileage, gaskets might leak because of the switch to an oil with different molecular properties (for lack of a better phrase) but I don’t know. I suspect this car is a “keeper” so make the switch.

About interference engines: often the valves just bend, because the inertia (weight and velocity) of the pistons will literally slap the valves around like a little punk kid.  That’s not to say that piston damage cannot occur, especially since a chunk of piston can fly out, and rip apart the cylinder wall. Ouch.

But most modern engines are “throwaways” because of the expense of machine shops and replacing the torque-to-yield bolts. And when you add the ease and affordability of modern on-line junkyards, it’s a done deal. I spotted several good replacement engines for under $1000 at car-part.com.  So don’t spend hundreds fixing the timing chain when you can get a lower mileage replacement, replace the timing chain/gaskets, and get it done for less than $2000.\

I am getting rightly slammed for my piss-poor advice, so I’m gonna flip-flop on the issue like (insert politician’s name here).  Change the timing chain with the recalled part.  It’s a big improvement over the original design, something I completely overlooked.  While you’re in there, maybe throw a new water pump and fresh rubber hoses/vacuum lines or anything else you unbolt to get to the timing chain.

 

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry.

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