94 Toyota Corolla - question

I got my oil changed last month at the dealership and at that time, I was advised to get my timing belt and fan belts replaced. I did so
about 2 weeks later. Fast forward to today (1.5 weeks after getting them replaced) I was driving along and heard a faint screeching sound, like a belt only different from what it was like before I got them changed (very faint, nowhere near as screechy). The malfunction indicator light came on followed by the battery and then the engine oil lights and the motor cut out and now it won't start.
My husband said that he had noticed the faint screeching sound the other day as well. Anyway, he thinks that because when I turn the key, the engine turns over more easily and faster than normal, it feels like not the whole engine is turning over (top half is disconnected by timing belt). There's a burned rubber smell as well under the hood and I had noticed it while driving, but I thought it was from the vehicle in front of me when I was driving.
So, does this sound like it's most likely a timing belt issue ex. a faulty one had been installed? If not, what else could it be? I happen to have about 199.5K miles (!) on this car and it seemed to be running quite fun until now. No issues with it beforehand other than the usual maintenance stuff.
Thanks,
N.
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Sure sounds like the new timing belt gave up the ghost to me...but let's see what Ray/Hachi/Philip say...
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-Gord.
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Gord Beaman wrote:

I hope it is just that. Do you think this is something that the dealership, where I had the belts replaced, would assume responsibility for it or do you think they'd make us pay out of pocket again?
N.
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Well. if it IS that (and it sounds like it is) I'd be pretty furious if they even hint at making you pay again for their timing belt that failed in a couple of WEEKS!...I sure hope that you have the old (dated) receipt?...good luck, let us know how you made out...(don't let that old receipt out of your hands!...)
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-Gord.
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The burning rubber smell could have several causes.
It is possible that one of the accessory drive belts (used to be called fan belts when they actually turned a fan) is slipping. The slipping could have two basic causes: too loose (mis-adjusted, bad belt tensioner, or incorrect belt or a component being turned by the belt is seized, causing the belt to slip. Items run by accessory drive belts include the AC compressor, alternator, and power steering pump.
If the engine is in fact freewheeling, then something is wrong with the timing belt. It could be defective, although I've never heard of one going bad so quickly. A more likely possibility is that the timing belt tensioner or water pump failed or seized, causing the belt to snap or stretch or be too loose.
If the failure was caused by the work that the dealership did, a reputable dealership will stand behind their work and make it right. If the failure was caused by the failure of another component, then they may charge for the repair but give you a discount.
Good luck!
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Ray O
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On Tue, 29 Nov 2005 23:36:14 -0600, "Ray O"

Normally when the water pump is driven by the timing belt, they suggest to change the water pump 'on general principles' while you are in there changing the timing belt, for just this reason. Sometimes the bearings in the water pump lock up without warning, and the water pump stopping can break or pop loose the timing belt.
Sometimes the pump bearings feel fine when they are inspected and spun by hand, even if they are on the way out. Stuff Happens.
When was the last time (if ever) they changed the water pump?

I'll second that - they should give you a big break at the least. The mechanic that did the work should have inspected the pump and the tensioner idler very carefully while in there doing the belt, and if there were any questions /at all/ suggested that you have them swap out the pump and/or idler while the timing cover was open.
The only problem with the situation is if they automatically suggest the pump or idler change right off when you are writing up the service order, it sounds like an "Up-Sell", as if they're "throwing in extras" for themselves - but 80% of a water pump job is digging down to it and closing it up when done, and they ARE in there doing the timing belt. The pump itself is cheap in comparison to the labor to get to it.
Get it fixed, and drive it another 100,000.
--<< Bruce >>--
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Bruce L. Bergman, Woodland Hills (Los Angeles) CA - Desktop
Electrician for Westend Electric - CA726700
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Bruce L. Bergman wrote:

Well, as it turns out it was the idler pulley and they said that they don't normally check it when changing the belts. The person my husband talked to said that they'd never seen a timing belt burned/melted so badly. So because they apparently don't ever check this idler pulley thing when they replace the timing belt/accessory belts, it's not their fault and we are out another $400 plus whatever the towing charges are on top of that.
Does this sound right to you? Is it standard practice to check the tension idler?
My husband said that if we hadn't gotten the car fixed, this never would have happened, lol. Of course, maybe worse could have happened eventually...
N.
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I do not know if it is standard practice to check the idler pulley or not, however, a competent technician should at least give it a cursory check when threading the new belt around it. I do not have a copy of the factory repair manual for that car, but my guess is that it does mention an inspection of the pulley.
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Ray O wrote:

Anyone have a copy of the factory repair manual so we can check?
I really appreciate all the help!
N.
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I'll bet it IS mentioned...sounds like it should be anyway...I'd follow this up If it were me. If it -is- mentioned then jump on them!...they directly caused your new belt to be wrecked, it was likely tighter than the old one and 'finished the idler pulley off'...this sounds like very poor work by the garage involved.
Remember...the squeaky wheel gets the grease!...you don't owe them anything, certainly no reason to be 'nice' after they screwed you...
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-Gord.
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wrote:

The factory repair manual for the 97 Avalon specifically mentions inspection of the idler pulley and tensioner when replacing the timing belt, including procedures for inspecting the pulley and tensioner.
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Ray O
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On Thu, 1 Dec 2005 09:13:07 -0600, "Ray O"

I do not know, but I'm pretty sure the idlers and water pump would be on the list of things to check in the service manual, and I am VERY sure that even if they were not following a checklist any competent mechanic would check them over while they have the covers open and they are changing the timing belt(s).
It's simple enough to check all the idler pulleys and the water pump - spin the bearing and check for spindown or lumpiness, and wiggle and twist to check for unusual freeplay or slop. For the water pump, you also look for the seal weeping coolant.
In My Not So Humble Opinion: If the pulley was so close to death that it died a week after changing the timing belt, this is something that any even halfway competent mechanic should have checked and could have easily found before the total failure. They are already inside the belt cover, and the mechanic knows the engine has 200,000 miles on it - if those are all the original parts, they are more than due for a very close inspection.
If I walked up to your house and had the electrical service panel open for access, and I didn't give "The Usual Suspects" a quick once-over (tighten screws, wiggle pressure connections, feel or IR Thermometer scan for hot spots, sniff for toasty smells, etc.) I'd be negligent in performing my job. I have caught many serious problems early - BEFORE the electrical system totally failed. (*) I would expect no less from someone working on a car engine.
(* - Like hearing the unique sizzle of an arcing fault in the House Panel busbars while walking past the Condo laundry room to do something else, and stopping to check out where it was coming from and why. The Line Lugs in the panel were burning up, and I saved them from a potential electrical fire in the panel. Not to mention a few days with all the outdoor path, indoor hallway, stairway and lobby lights out, no pool or spa, no garage electric gates, no entry phone, no elevator cab lights...)
IMNSHO The dealer owes you a free cam belt and a serious discount on the labor at the very least, if not a full stand-up apology like: "The additional parts for the idler pulley will cost you $80, but we're eating the second cam belt, the labor charges, and the tow charge. We should have caught that bad bearing the first time and fixed it during that service, and we apologize for the trouble."
That is, if they want to keep you as a satisfied customer so you'll buy another Toyota... And if you voice a reasonable objection to the dealer and they still try sticking you for the whole bill, kick it up a level to the regional Toyota Corporate folks (like Ray used to be) - they want to keep the customers happy too, and they can exert pressure on the dealer that you or I can't.
--<< Bruce >>--
--
Bruce L. Bergman, Woodland Hills (Los Angeles) CA - Desktop
Electrician for Westend Electric - CA726700
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Bruce L. Bergman wrote:

Thank you so much again for all the responses to this continuing saga of my beloved Corolla. :)
My husband called the service dept. with all this info in hand and this is the email I got back from him:
"She said that she can't guarantee that the car will be ready today. They got the parts today, but they had been overbooked with work in previous days. She will try to have it done today, if not it may not be ready until Monday.
When I asked, she replied that the water pump had been inspected when the work was originally done and that it was ok. Also, she said that the idler pulley HAD been inspected and was ok. I said that the belts must have been overtightened and she said that since the pulley is just to keep tension on the belt, that they could not have been overtightened. She went on to say that there is nothing that the mechanic did that could have caused the idler pulley to sieze and there is nothing that could have been done to prevent it.
I asked what she can do about the charges, she said that she still needs to talk to the service manager about it.
She will call me to let me know when the car is done.
Right now, the ball is in their court. Let's wait to see what the charges are."
So, it sounds like they're washing their hands clean of any responsibility. They said the water pump and the pulley were inspected and were ok when they replaced the timing belt 2 weeks ago. Does this still sound right to you all?
Thanks so much for the advice - I really appreciate it all.
N.
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I find it difficult to believe that the idler pulley could be OK one day and toast 2 weeks later, although nothing is impossible. The thing that would make me wonder is that they first told you that they don't check the idler pulley as part of the timing belt replacement and then they tell you that they did check.
Just curious, where is the dealership?
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Ray O
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Ray O wrote:

It's in NH. I asked my husband the same question about the idler pulley and he said that he thinks that she meant initially that they don't *replace* the idler pulley when they replace the belts when she said they "don't usually do that", whatever "that" is. He also said something about maybe it could be a different pulley - something to do with the fan belts? Though if that's the case, then why was she talking about the idler pulley and not the other one? I don't know. I'm confused. I know nothing about cars so this is all very frustrating to me.
I would love to see what was on the work order again, but my husband left it in the glove compartment of the car, which we don't have...
N.
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What town in NH? Except for dealerships that have opened or changed hands since 1993, I've called on every dealership in NH.
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Ray O
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Ray O wrote:

Keene - have you called on them?
N.
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I called on Toyota-Volvo of Keene on Route 12. At the time I called on them, they were an excellent service dealership. It used to amaze me that people would come in, toss the keys on the counter, and tell them to do whatever it needed without asking for quotes beforehand because they knew they could trust the service department. I never once heard of them ripping off a customer. If it is the same owner and if the service advisor's name is Paul, a tall, skinny guy, then they are giving you the straight scoop.
Tell them that Ray O, their first (and probably only) Japanese DSM, says hi! :-)
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Ray O
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Ray O wrote:

That's the dealership, but the service manager has changed in the last year, I believe. Was Paul the northern European (Scandinavian or something) guy? If so, then he's definitely not there anymore. The new service manager is named Mike. The owner is the same.
Anyway - another update. They've agreed to cut the labour cost in half, but everything else is full price, including the nearly $200 towing bill. If they're cutting the labour in half, are they trying to work things out with us even though they are not to be held responsible for what happened to appease us or do you think that's an admission of guilt, for lack of a better word? I've been going to them for over 8 years and I've always trusted their judgement - mostly because my car hasn't needed much work at all until now with the belt issues.
N.
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spamalicious wrote:

ps. They said the car will be ready by tomorrow, but I think I'm going to wait until Monday to call the regional Toyota corp. office just to be on the safe side.
Thanks again!
N.
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