Car ran fine one second. The next, not so much.

Tiny
MERCEDESHIDALGO6
  • MEMBER
  • 2005 SUZUKI FORENZA
  • 4 CYL
  • AWD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 120,000 MILES
I have an automatic 2005 Suzuki Forenza with an estimated 120,000 miles. My car has had no problems since I got it until today. I drove it twice to the store and back, no problems. The third and last time I drove it I was on my way to the grocery store when my car just stopped running. My gas gauge said I had fuel so I know that's not the case. When I try to start it nothing happens, I can however hear the starter and the fuel pump. Along with the buzzers and alarms. But that's about it.
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Friday, February 14th, 2014 AT 11:52 PM

3 Replies

Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
You can hear the starter but nothing happens? You have to explain that better. Does it crank the engine? Does it just make a single rather loud clunk each time you turn the ignition switch to "crank" but not crank the engine? Does the engine sound normal if it cranks or does it seem to be spinning too fast with little resistance?

I have to guess you have a 2.0L engine. When is the last time the timing belt was replaced?
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Saturday, February 15th, 2014 AT 12:16 AM
Tiny
MERCEDESHIDALGO6
  • MEMBER
Spinning too fast with little resistance and the timing belt has never been changed.
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Saturday, February 15th, 2014 AT 12:41 AM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
The timing belt should have been replaced somewhere between 75,000 and 100,000 miles to prevent serious engine damage. All manufacturers recommend the time interval, but those are not always reliable. Honda used to recommend every 75,000 miles, and their timing belts commonly broke at 65,000 miles.

If you do have a 2.0L engine, that is an "interference" engine. That means when the timing belt breaks, the valves that are open will be hit and bent by the pistons as they coast to a stop. That turns a four or five-hour maintenance timing belt replacement into a real expensive valve job. The clue is the engine spinning too fast with little resistance when it's cranking. No compression can build up when the valves are leaking.

The first step is to remove the covers to inspect the timing belt. If it is indeed broken, we know it needs a new belt and a valve job. If it's not broken, it is possible some of the teeth have sheared off and the belt has jumped over the teeth on one of the sprockets. The result and the repair are the same but it takes a little more work to find that.
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Saturday, February 15th, 2014 AT 1:13 AM

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