Timing problems and a shaky mechanic

Tiny
SLEE6
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  • HONDA PRELUDE
My 1992 Honda Prelude Si, 158,000 miles, leaked coolant the other day. I took it to a nearby mechanic I had never used before, hoping not to overheat the engine. He said my water pump needed replacement. I asked about the timing belt and he said he included that in my estimate ($650). It took him a week, and when I got the car back, the engine was hesitating to accelerate, was loud and vibrating. I brought it back to him and he admitted that he had trouble aligning the marks on the belt, and that he didn't own a dowel that now he thought may have been necessary to align the balance shaft. He also admitted that he didn't replace the oil seals, since there was no oil leaking. He is waiting for the dowel and will try to realign the shaft. I am so deeply suspicious of what is going on. I called the dealer who said that timing belts are very sensitive and require experience. I have looked around on this great website and haven't seen exactly this issue. Any help? Thanks so much!
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Monday, July 23rd, 2007 AT 1:37 PM

7 Replies

Tiny
KIN CHAN
  • MEMBER
Never heard of such thing on a 90's timing belt replacement. Honda timing belt is 1 of the easiest to do
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Monday, July 23rd, 2007 AT 1:58 PM
Tiny
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Mechanic says it was a bolt that he tried to do the job without, since it was a size and length he didn't have on hand. He put it in, then said car was running great.

I took the car home and noticed right away it wasn't running well. I was praying it was just that the timing needed to be advanced.

I took it back to him (now entering week 3 of him working on car) and he said he couldn't adjust the timing anymore, and he wouldn't raise the idle because of smog regulations.

He said it was driving fine.

It wasn't. So I took it to my normal mechanic who said it was not running fine -- and noticed that with the timing all the way advanced the car would be running different. Sure enough, the timing belt was not installed correctly -- off a tooth. He has to take it all apart and do it all over again.

I hope the first incompetent boob will reimburse me. Is this standard business practice? Otherwise I have a sinking suspicion small claims court and/or the better business bureau will be involved. Sucks.
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Tuesday, July 31st, 2007 AT 9:42 AM
Tiny
KIN CHAN
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Most shop with A.S.E. Certfy mechanics 99 outta 100 won't make this kinda mistake. Even they do. They will back it up & fix it for free. Average rate in the nation is somewhere around $60-$75 an hour. Any shop below that will be under the 'u get what u pay for'. Since the cam timing was off thats whats cause the ignition timing to back off. Hope u learn from this lesson. Not all mechanics are the same. Credential is what makes the pro & cons differences
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Tuesday, July 31st, 2007 AT 10:05 AM
Tiny
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Dood. Yes he was displaying a beautiful ASE banner. Thanks for blaming the victim, though.

And I found out that he charged market price for the Bay Area. The price wasn't the issue. It was the plain fact that he said he could do this job, and he couldn't. Then he tried to say the car was running fine -- when it wasn't.
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Tuesday, July 31st, 2007 AT 10:20 AM
Tiny
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Plus, why should I have a guy who couldn't fix it the first three times, try again at it, and then tell me again, it is running fine?

(Yes, I am a bit fried by this!).
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Tuesday, July 31st, 2007 AT 10:22 AM
Tiny
KIN CHAN
  • MEMBER
U chk the |Better business bureau and least but most important. If the shop is ASA memeber. Automotive service association. How long n whats the comjplain %. The latter 1 is what distinguish us from guys with a few screw drivers that claims they came from old school.
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Tuesday, July 31st, 2007 AT 10:25 AM
Tiny
SLEE6
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I took my car to my regular mechanic who re-did the timing belt that the cr--ppy mechanic couldn't figure out. Car ran fine for a few weeks. Until.

I pulled my car into the driveway this morning. IT LEAKED COOLANT AGAIN!

Basically the first mechanic, not only botched the timing belt job, but fraudulently replaced my water pump and belt when that was never the cause of the leaking coolant.

I'd love to know what are other causes of leaking coolant. It's coming out from the left side bumper (facing the car), and it seems to stop leaking after a few minutes.

Thanks.
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Wednesday, September 5th, 2007 AT 1:38 PM

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