Cam Belt Badly Fitted? Vaux Frontera - alexanderbuckley
Hello can anyone give me any advice on what to do in this situation?

Last week my car was making some excess noise from the front of the engine which I suspected was the cam belt. Sure enough they thought the cam belt needed replacing but they also found there was hardly any water in the reservoir (I'd last checked a few weeks before and it was fine) so suspected a problem there too. I left the car with them and they replaced the cam belt and also the water pump as they said all the bearings had gone and this had contributed to the problem.
Anyhow it came to £120 vat so I thought it seemed a reasonable price and the car was running fine. A couple of nights later I was out and accidentally left the lights on for a couple of hours, when I returned to the car the electrics were absolutely dead which was unusual as I've left them on all day before and it's been fine. Anyhow after a jump lead start I set off home but could hear a lot of screeching from the fan belt chain so took it back to the garage the next day and they tightened it up and the problem was solved.

All was fine over the weekend, did about 120 miles of motorway driving no problems although occasionally I did hear what sounded as if the plastic cam belt cover was coming into contact with the chain so planned to go back and get it looked at when the garage opened after easter.

Yesterday morning I decided to go on a walk before taking the car to the garage and drove a short distance to a local place, all was fine until I set off on the journey home, there was a loud noise coming from the engine (just after I'd driven up a short steep bank) and it started getting louder and louder, by the time I got to the garage I was loosing a lot of power and the enging was shaking.

Anyhow I told the garage I suspected a timing problem and left it with them overnight and they've just called this morning with the diagnosis.
They say the timing if fine but there's a fault on one of the cylinders (the crank rod I think they said) and that it looks like I'll need a new engine! They also say that they not done anything wrong and that the damage was probably already there caused by heat when the water pump wasn't working properly - it probably happened as the pressure from the pump working again caused it?

Now to me this all sound very suspicious, the car has been fine for months before this and now is out of action just a few days after this work.

Do you think this genuinely is just one of those things or does it sound like something the garage has done wrong and just don't want to accept responsibility for?

Any advice would be appreciated.
Cam Belt Badly Fitted? - alexanderbuckley
Sorry, should have mentioned but my car is an M reg Vauxhall Frontera Sport with a 2 litre petrol engine

{Added to subject header - DD}
Cam Belt Badly Fitted? - madf
Your second paragraph says it all:
"Last week my car was making some excess noise from the front of the engine which I suspected was the cam belt. Sure enough they thought the cam belt needed replacing but they also found there was hardly any water in the reservoir (I'd last checked a few weeks before and it was fine) so suspected a problem there too"

The noise started before the garage worked on it.
You ran it withhout water, having not checked for weeks.

Sorry but imo you have neglected the car and caused the problems through your own neglect.

Anything the garage may have done : good , bad or indifferent could not undo the damage already caused.

Apologies for my bluntness.

madf


Cam Belt Badly Fitted? - thallium81
Your post sets my teeth on edge. How many weeks since you checked the coolant level? How far did you drive with noises from the front of the engine? It takes about two minutes a week to check the fluid levels and general tidiness of the engine room. You seem to have learnt the hard way that mechanical gubbins like cars need a bit of preventative maintenance if you expect them to be reliable. I hope all is well with your car now. Just spend a minute or two each week to look and listen and you probably wont get caught again. Good luck.
Cam Belt Badly Fitted? - alexanderbuckley
Yes it was about 4 weeks since I checked the water, I took it in a day after the noise started. The thing was it was 100%fine for 3 days after the work was done.

I drove the car for about a mile after the really worrying noises started, at first I just thought the sound was due to the cam belt rubbing against the plastic housing, when I got to a few hundered yards away from home the really bad noise and rocking started so I crawled home on the lowest revs possible.

Honestly, I do look after my cars, I'll admit not a full weekly service but I do check every month (I used to run an old mini before this car so know about keeping things in check). It just seems a bit odd to me that my car's always been fine and that a few days after a cam belt change a one mile journey means I now need a new engine!

Cam Belt Badly Fitted? - Civic8
As a matter of interest.Is there not a low coolant warning sign on dash. engine temp going over the top would or should bring in radiator fan/s. Apart from its normal practice to check all levels once a week. I am amazed you had no warning of low coolant level..unless other faults are their which you havent noticed?
--
Steve
Cam Belt Badly Fitted? - Number_Cruncher
>>(just after I'd driven up a short steep bank)

It sounds like the engine may have been starved of oil during this hill climbing, and you have possibly ruined the big end bearings and crankshaft. Did the oil light come on during the ascent? Was there any oil in there to start with?

number_cruncher
Cam Belt Badly Fitted? - alexanderbuckley
The oil should have been OK as I'd checked that just a few days ago, when the engine starts the oil light does always come on for a couple of seconds as the pressure builds but I always wait for it to go out.
It really was just after this ascent that it happened so I think whatever the fault this was the trigger. Interestingly the one other problem I've ever had came after driving up a bit of an incline, about six months ago I'd gone to work (and on this occasion too I'd left my lights on all day, not something I do very often despite the other case I'd mentioned!). Soon after leaving work the oil warning light came on and I even started to hear the engine sound change so I knew it was serious but luckily there was a garage nearby so I pulled in and refilled the oil (which was fine a fortnight before) the car was fine for another 30 miles but then as I neared home the warning light came on again and I had to refill the oil again.

Now I'm the 10th owner of this car (looks nice so you wouldn't guess!) so I thought I bet it hadn't been looked after and the filter was clogged up so the next day I had the garage do an engine flush and filter change. After this the car has run fine until the start of these problems a few weeks ago.
It was a while back but do you think there could be any relation between these faults?
Cam Belt Badly Fitted? - alexanderbuckley
Well there is a water temp gauge (with possibly a temp light but I'd have to check) The temperature itself always seemed within a normal range even after a long drive, now I think about it is strange that there was no warning or even any change on the temp guage, maybe there was no water flow so it was hot in tne engine but still cool near the sensor. Once it's repaired I'll have to keep a close eye on it (don't worry at least once a week or after any prolonged drive from now on!)
Cam Belt Badly Fitted? - Altea Ego
Selectively taking parts from your posts

> hardly any water in the reservoir
> changed the water pump as they said all the bearings had gone
> Soon after leaving work the oil warning light came on and I
> even started to hear the engine sound change so I knew it was > serious
> fine for another 30 miles but then as I neared home the
> warning light came on again and I had to refill the oil again.

Not attributing blame or laying fault here, but all the above indicates that the engine has suffered quite badly from lack of basic fluids during its tenure, and therefore its probably no suprise that something major has cried "enough" and given up the ghost.
Cam Belt Badly Fitted? - alexanderbuckley
Yes I know what you mean but what I don't really understand is why it went almost instantaneously 4 days after this final cam belt change and pump repair. Do you think as the garage told me that the sudden extra water pressure on an already damaged cam rod could be the cause? (and possibly linked in with that uphill drive?)

The reason why I'm asking all this is just to put my mind at rest, I was worried that the damage may have been caused by some problem with the cam belt fitting, if it just was one of those things though and it was only a matter of time then although not happy with an unexpected £1000 bill! I can at least feel easy that I haven't been done in some way.
Cam Belt Badly Fitted? - Altea Ego
If they say its a con rod related problem its unlikely to be caused by any water pump replacement, and only linked to the cam belt if it slipped quite a few teeth or broke.

More likely given the stress this poor engine has suffered then it could have happened at any time.
Cam Belt Badly Fitted? - GrahamF1
Thallium, could you define how one's teeth can be 'on edge'? ;-)
Cam Belt Badly Fitted? - David Horn
My old Astra never had a warning light for coolant level. Also, if there's no water in the system then the water temperature gauge won't show an excessively high reading. I check the levels weekly in my cars and that's how I noticed it was running low after the water pump started leaking following a cambelt change.

Got it to the garage by taking a plastic drinks bottle full of water to top it up along the way.

Cam Belt Badly Fitted? - thallium81
Yes, silly expression. It's an old fashioned term for the feeling one sometimes gets when chalk is screeched across a blackboard, or similar sound.
Cam Belt Badly Fitted? - thallium81
alexanderbuckley, as you are the tenth owner your troubles may well have been caused by one of your predecessors and I can understand your frustration. I just hope for your sake that it does'nt cost you too much for repairs.
Cam Belt Badly Fitted? - GrahamF1
You learn something every day!
Cam Belt Badly Fitted? - Ex-Moderator
Check the fluids every week ? I don't really think that many people do that.

I'd agree continuing to drive with the noise may not have been a great decision, but I think you're a bit harsh on the fluid checking.
Cam Belt Badly Fitted? - Phil I
> check the fluids every week? < Well would not expect Mark RLBS to do so thats for sure. I think this may be an ageist issue with the older people here who had no option but to check levels at least on a weekly basis. No sealed coolant systems - oil consumption lucky if less than 1/2 pint per 500m . - and then the mantra P.O.W engraved on the mind by the forces. I have to confess I still do it even now none of the levels on my current transport ever move.

Happy Motoring Phil I
Cam Belt Badly Fitted? - thallium81
Two minutes a week. Better safe than sorry.;))
Cam Belt Badly Fitted? - wemyss
Phil, P.O.W.? Must have changed..In my day it was WOFT.
alvin
Cam Belt Badly Fitted? - Phil I
Alvin : you are correct I missed off the T. It was P for us as we only had petrol motors. Are we barmy that we can remember this from so long ago but not what we had for breakfast?? :-))
Phil
Cam Belt Badly Fitted? - mfarrow
Yes please check fluids every week. I skipped it for a month and luckily only covered 200 miles in that time but found the engine with hardly any oil (below bottom of dipstick) as pressure switch had leaked it all onto the road.

--------------
Mike Farrow
Cam Belt Badly Fitted? - alexanderbuckley
Sorry I've been away for a few days so haven't had chance to thank everyone before now for all your advice. I'm getting a reconditioned engine fitted in the next few days. It has 12 months warranty so hopefully I'll be ok for a year at least!


Alex

 

Value my car