1992 Honda Civic. Broken crankshaft !?

Tiny
KIKI MANN
  • MEMBER
  • 1992 HONDA CIVIC
  • 4 CYL
  • FWD
  • MANUAL
  • 110,000 MILES
What would cause the crankshaft on my 1992 Civic to break? !

history: bought used in 1999 w/ about 70k mi; car is 5-spd manual gently driven about 6k miles per year with regular oil changes and maintenance; in Apr. 2007 replaced timing belt & water pump; about 3 weeks ago I took it in for state inspection & tune-up; shop said they would adjust the timing belt since it had been replaced recently.

*** 2 weeks after service -- the crankshaft broke -- inside the case ***

note -- I was not driving the car at the time -- the driver claims the car went "eeeewwwwww-clunk!"

Questions: is it possible that something could have happened during the "timing belt adjustment"?

Does the crankshaft bolt have to be loosened and re-tightened for this adjustment?

Is it possible to damage the crankshaft, crankshaft seal, harmonic damper, etc?

If not damaged during service, what else could have caused the crankshaft to break?

PLEASE help if you can -- I can't afford a new car now, and can't even afford to have to replace an engine that was damaged during service. (Or I probably would be driving something newer thatn a '92 car).

thanks, many thanks, and THANK YOU in advance!
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Tuesday, April 29th, 2008 AT 2:49 PM

14 Replies

Tiny
MERLIN2021
  • EXPERT
It may be that the tensioner on the timing belt was put on too tight! Check it at a different shop, they should be able to tell, the new belt may have snapped.
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Tuesday, April 29th, 2008 AT 3:52 PM
Tiny
BUZZSAW
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If the crank broke, it wouldn't be because of a belt adjustment, if it didnt damage anyting put a new crank in it ( could have bent valves also)

someone dumping the clutch could have broken it
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Tuesday, April 29th, 2008 AT 3:58 PM
Tiny
KIKI MANN
  • MEMBER
Thank you, Merlin.

Ok - so I definitely know that the timing belt broke.

The shop claims that "something else" caused the timing belt to break -- like the crankshaft broke first.

But if I understand what I think you are saying is that the timing belt broke FIRST -- and somehow it got all jammed up and caused the crankshaft to break?

Please let me know if that is what you are saying.

And thank you, Buzzsaw -- but what does "dumping the clutch" mean -- what happens when you do that?
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Tuesday, April 29th, 2008 AT 4:08 PM
Tiny
BUZZSAW
  • MEMBER
Spinning the front wheels - dumping the clutch, something a young person might do, if the belt broke first it could have hit the valves and then broke the crank if it is broke, like Merlin said. Also if the belt broke it probally bent the valves, I would say its alwful tough to break a crankshaft
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Tuesday, April 29th, 2008 AT 4:28 PM
Tiny
KIKI MANN
  • MEMBER
Ok Buzzsaw -- I got what you mean - like doing doughnuts - only with the front wheels. So the car was going about 35 in 3rd or 4th gear on a city road - kinda hard to do that with a honda in those gears - but it could of happened I guess.

But yeah, the timing belt and the crankshaft are both broken -- apparently the crank broke off inside the case. So I don't guess I can say this could happen because the mechanic didn't adjust the belt proper, right?
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Tuesday, April 29th, 2008 AT 4:57 PM
Tiny
MERLIN2021
  • EXPERT
If it was a new belt! If it's a belt with high mileage, it should not have been adjusted!
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Wednesday, April 30th, 2008 AT 2:35 AM
Tiny
KIKI MANN
  • MEMBER
Merlin - I sorta follow, but I'm a little lost here - the timing belt was (supposed to be) new - it was put on in April 2007 and had about 6K mi. On it.

What I'm really looking for here is someone -- ANYONE out there -- to tell me the answer to this:

IF the timing belt broke FIRST (before the crankshaft broke) while the car was moving in 3rd or 4th gear at about 35 - 40 mph -- COULD a broken timing belt cause the spinning motor to jam itself up and break the crankshaft?

This is what I REALLY need to know -- is there some way you can get back to me on this real soon?

THANKS !
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Wednesday, April 30th, 2008 AT 8:06 AM
Tiny
MERLIN2021
  • EXPERT
Could have. Check the valves, if you have several mashed ones then I would say yes.
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Wednesday, April 30th, 2008 AT 4:47 PM
Tiny
KIKI MANN
  • MEMBER
Merlin - thanks - that's a good point - I will check that out
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Wednesday, April 30th, 2008 AT 6:31 PM
Tiny
BUZZSAW
  • MEMBER
Honda's have interference motors, what is meant by that is, if the t-belt brakes it comes in contact with the valves bending them, it is also possible to bend connecting rods from the valves being pushed into the pistons or even brake the crankshaft, they could have like merlin said tightened the belt too tight and caused it to brake
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Wednesday, April 30th, 2008 AT 10:05 PM
Tiny
KIKI MANN
  • MEMBER
Thanks buzzsaw, that makes a whole lot more sense when you describe how that could happen. I just guess I'm wondering how I could prove it was the t-belt's fault - seems like either way the damage would look about the same
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Thursday, May 1st, 2008 AT 10:45 AM
Tiny
BUZZSAW
  • MEMBER
Yes after I reading all the post again I see that we, as in me and merlin, wasnt being vary clear. Sometimes we take for granted that we know what were talking about, but as to the person were talking too, doesnt.

Well give it your best shot, moan, complain, do what it takes, cause your motor is pretty much gone. The shop adjusted the belt when they should have left it alone

also you need to look in there and see if something else didnt lock up like the new water pump or a idler pully something in that aspect before pursueing this
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Thursday, May 1st, 2008 AT 12:02 PM
Tiny
KIKI MANN
  • MEMBER
Thanks again, buzzsaw - it just took me a few times through to get your point. Also that's a good point about another pully locking up - how would I check that - just go see if they still spin or don't spin, I guess?

Thank you all for your support - I'll sure do my best to make sure they do what they're supposed to - but I'm kinda losing confidence in these guys. You won't believe what I got told yesterday - they said they could replace the motor - I guess it's a short block or something - they said they would use parts off my old engine -- and GET THIS! They said that since my timing belt was fairly new they would re-use IT! First they told me it had broken! Even I know enough to know if it didn't break it probably got pretty messed up when the crankshaft broke! These guys are really starting to scare me now. And to think I let them adjust the t-belt in the first place ! I gotta get my car out of there before they killl it (or me) !

ANyway - thanks for all your help -- I'll let you know if it gets any crazier - I might have a few more questions. Thanks
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Friday, May 2nd, 2008 AT 10:56 PM
Tiny
BUZZSAW
  • MEMBER
I would get it out of there, its going to have to be a long block the valves are going to be bent

yes just check if they spin or bearings will be missing easy to spot
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Saturday, May 3rd, 2008 AT 2:43 AM

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