Timing Belt Replacement

I have a 99 Ex which has done about 77k miles. I'm in the window to change the timing belt. I've heard that the timing belt replacement is a complicated job and take about half a day. I've also been told that
when the belt is being changed it's advisable to change the water pump.
Could someone please tell me what is the worst case scenario if the belts die out while driving. I've been told it can cause catastrophic damage to the engine, but I'm not sure how? Can someone please explain how? Also is it a 600$ job ?
This is my first car and hence all the above questions.
Thanks, Sikanth
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

First of all, what model of car are you talking about? Civic, Accord, CR-V?
If you don't change the belt within the specified interval, when the belt breaks there is a strong possibility of the pistons striking the valves, causing serious damage requiring thousands of dollars in repairs or entire engine replacement.
And yes, it is strongly recommended to change the water pump since they do wear out and much of the labour involved is the same.
If done by a mechanic, $600 is about the average if that includes labour and replacement of water pump, other belts, seals, etc.
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And if the water pump locks up, it will destroy the timing belt and also the engine. If the belt has been exposed to an extreme cold or heat enviroment, it would more likely fail sooner. I think the normal replacement of the timing belt is 105,000 miles, or 7 years. Has anyone ever heard of a Honda Timing belt going bad after 7 years?
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

--------------------
An 'interference engine' allows the pistons and valves to share some of the same space inside the combustion chamber, but at different times in the 'cycle'. The timing belt keeps everything 'in time'. That's how it got it's name.
If the timing belt breaks the valves are in the wrong place when the pistons come back up. Valves are made of steel, not rubber. Bad thing$ happen.
'Curly'
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As the others say, yes, there is a high probability of very serious damage to the engine if the timing belt fails. They don't always break, but the teeth strip off a section and that has the same effect. Also as they say, changing the water pump is a very good thing to do at the same time as the old one may seize and cause the timing belt to fail. Even if the water pump just starts leaking you don't want to go through all this again to change it. In addition, the tensioner should be replaced when the belt is changed for the same main reason as the pump - if it seizes the timing belt will be destroyed. Some people like to change the front crank and cam seals at the same time because the additional labor is so low, but on such a new car I doubt it's worth it this time. Maybe next time. At least those won't destroy the belt without warning (oil drips in this case).
Labor costs vary widely. $600 is on the high side. Call around for estimates - everybody knows how much work it will take and can give you a firm quote.
Mike
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Replace the belt at least. My mechanic said he did not usually replace the water pump at the same time.
Yes the belts do break leaving you at least stranded, if not with bent valves. I had an 88 and a coworker had an 89. (At the time there was no scheduled replacement in the owner's manual). Both belts broke at abouit 118K miles. I now have a 92 and a 93. I replaced both belts at 90K, and I replaced the 92 AGAIN at 190K.
The job may be somewhat cheaper at an independent mechanic if you have one you trust.
YMMV
snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

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The water pump is a $50 items and it makes no sense not to change it while the engine is apart. Also there are other belts and tensioners that need replacing. Get the job done right. It's money well spent.
G-Man
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Tnx Guys!!
Srikanth
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If an Accord, make sure the balancer belt is changed at the same time!
--
TeGGeR

The Unofficial Honda/Acura FAQ
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