Timing belt and water pump

  • 2.7L
  • 6 CYL
  • 61,000 MILES
Should I get the timing belt along with tension-er and idle pulley replaced as soon as possible or just inspect it? I just saw a YouTube video on how the engine can be damaged if the timing belt goes and did not realize it was not a timing chain.

I also see that the water pump is in the same general area. I have had no indications from either the timing belt nor the water pump that there is any issue but want to be safe without throwing money out the windows.

Any idea what the cost is to have this work done? I know it is just a guesstimate as dealer and garages charge differently.

Thank you for your assistance.
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Friday, April 14th, 2017 AT 6:13 PM

1 Reply

This is indeed an interference engine, so you do not want to risk having a broken timing belt. That would result in bent valves and a very expensive repair.

Because of the high cost of potential damage, every conscientious mechanic who has your best interest at heart is going to refuse to get involved with the preventive service unless they do the job right. Along with the belt, that includes everything that affects its tension and ability to track centered on all the pulleys. The water pump is one of those main pulleys. It takes just as much work to replace the water pump if it starts to leak as it does to replace the timing belt. In this case, the water pump alone is not even listed in the flat rate guide. It is expected that the belt will be replaced along with the pump.

The mechanic is also going to want to replace the tensioning device that keeps the belt tight. There are some differences in times between the front-wheel-drive and the all-wheel-drive versions of your car. For the front-wheel-drive, the timing belt calls for 2.9 hours, which seems rather low. The tension-er calls for 3.0 hours, but when both are done at the same time, the total is 3.0 hours. That is the 2.9 hours for the belt, and another 0.1 hour for the tension-er.

The water pump calls for 4.9 hours, and that includes replacing the belt. They do not even list just the water pump because that is not an accepted practice. Almost every parts supplier puts all of these parts in a kit for the specific engine. That makes it easier for the shop to order those parts and to know they will be getting everything they need.

Be aware every manufacturer lists a recommended timing belt replacement interval, but I would not wait that long with an interference engine. Back in the 1980's, Honda recommended their belts be replaced every 75,000 miles, and they commonly broke around 65,000 miles leaving a real lot of angry owners with expensive repair bills.
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Friday, April 14th, 2017 AT 7:03 PM

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