1996 Galant - water pump and timing belt replaced .. but loss of power

Recently, i had a leak from the water pump area, and had subsequent overheating. Immediately, i took it to the mechanic to have the pump
replaced. He suggested replacing the timing belts (2). He charged me $450 for the whole thing (incl. labor and parts). Now, the car is back ... but i saw (call me paranoid) that the idling was higher than usual (it was at 1200 instead of 700). So, i tweaked the throttle setting to lower idle. Now, though it idles fine, i feel the drive is not as smooth. To be more precise, for every gear i don't quite reach the red line of 6000rpm. The engine feels heavy at 4500rpm. There is definetely a heavy feel to the car and a slight loss of power after replacing the timing belt and water pump .... the rev. and shift of gears (manual) is not as smooth. I wonder if this is due to bad timing alignment during the belt replacement ?? Or is it because the new water pump (because it works) offers more resistance than the broken one before, letting me to beleive there is a loss of power and higher idle ... I am confused. Pls advise.
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I'll bet the mechanic got the cam timing right (or close), but did not align the oil pump hence the balance belt correctly. Its easy to get wrong if the correct procedure is not followed. The result is a harshness in the engine that was not there previously. Is there any point in the 2000-4000 rev range that you get a strong vibration that may sound like an exhaust rattle?
The ign timing may be off as well.
Is this a 4 cylinder? SOHC or DOHC?
Be prepared to take it back and have him do the job correctly.
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This is a 4 cylinder SOHC ... a 96 Galant S Yup ... harshness of the engine is something that was not there before ... and there is a rattling noise (like an exhaust rattle) around 2000-3500 rpm .. but there is not much vibration. I took it back, but he claims it runs well and if there was a misalignment it would vibrate a lot ... which it doesnt. The rev. up is not bad and he is denying the harshness of the engine (i lost my sleep on this). any ideas of how i should proceed from here. thanks Andy
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OK, you have the 4G64 SOHC-16v engine, and no, it does NOT run well. The valve timing sounds like its correct.
The rattling noise is caused by the oil pump not aligned correctly (about 180 degrees out of phase), hence the balance shafts are not aligned either. If left, it can vibrate enough to cause the oil filter to fall off, risking engine destruction, the costs for which the mechanic is liable.
Take it back to the mechanic, and require him to pull the front off the engine (like he did the first time) and go through the complete correct belt alignment process, ensuring that with the crank at TDC, the both balance shaft is in the right place (this is what the mechanic missed doing), AND the oil pump is also aligned. Should take about 1.5h. To check, start the engine and give it a rev. If the rattling noise is still there, the balance shaft / oil pump is still wrong.
Do not take no for an answer,and absolutely don't pay a second time. He did the job wrong, so he has to fix it. Then maybe find a new garage.
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Go here: www.vfaq.com and review the timing belt proceedure. Timing belts are easy to do but equally easy to screw up.

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