Car died on highway! Could it be the timing belt AGAIN?


ErikTheRed
04-29-2011, 03:01 AM
This morning, I fired up the 94 Scort wagon to head to work. I noticed a brief squeaking sound, which I couldn't identify, but it wasn't alarming and it went away after about 10 to 15 seconds. I got about 20 miles down the highway and while cruising at about 60 mph, I started to hear it again. It was a very faint squeaking, kinda hard to hear over the engine noise. Then I started to smell something a bit like burning rubber or possibly electric, but it wasn't a powerful smell..... just enough to get my attention. Just as I was becoming a bit concerned with the new sound and sudden smell, the car died. It didn't stumble or idle down or spit & sputter, it just DIED. I coasted to a stop on the side of the highway, and the car would not restart. When I crank it over it doesn't sound right, kinda like it did when the T-belt stripped some teeth off about 13,000 miles ago. The new belt and water pump just barely turned 13k, could it have broke already? I suppose anything is possible. Before I called the tow truck, I checked for spark and fuel pressure and I have both. It'll crank over but it will not start and it doesn't sound right when cranking, almost like its only cranking 2 cylinders instead of four.

Whats the quickest and easiest way to check the timing belt? And if the issue isn't the belt, what else should I look for? I need to have this thing fixed by Sunday, gotta go back to work!

I should also mention, within the last 10k miles or less I have replaced the ignition switch, the coil pack, all plugs and wires, and the vaccuum elbow thingy that goes over the top of the valve cover. (the old one was collapsed.) Thanks for any advice!

AzTumbleweed
04-29-2011, 08:24 AM
First off, I left my timing belt cover off after the first replacement. I can now inspect it and check the tension easily. If my belt breaks there would be no doubt about it it. You might consider doing that in the future. It works for me :) I'll make a guess at what happened to your car. I think the tensioner pulley on the water pump siezed up and that caused the belt to break.

frafreg
04-29-2011, 08:46 AM
I would check it two ways. The first way is to take the oil cap off the valve cover and have somoeone crank the engine while you watch to see if there is any valve movement. The second way, if you have a distribtor would be to pop the distributor cap off, and see if it turns while cranking the engine. If there is movement, then, the next thing to do would be to find out if you can line up the marks for TDC or top dead center. If they don't line up, your timing belt slipped and the engine won't start. I'm not familiar with your model but there may be an idler pulley which keeps tension on the timing belt. Possibly, the bearing on that pulley went bad and caused the belt to break or slip. Good luck.

This morning, I fired up the 94 Scort wagon to head to work. I noticed a brief squeaking sound, which I couldn't identify, but it wasn't alarming and it went away after about 10 to 15 seconds. I got about 20 miles down the highway and while cruising at about 60 mph, I started to hear it again. It was a very faint squeaking, kinda hard to hear over the engine noise. Then I started to smell something a bit like burning rubber or possibly electric, but it wasn't a powerful smell..... just enough to get my attention. Just as I was becoming a bit concerned with the new sound and sudden smell, the car died. It didn't stumble or idle down or spit & sputter, it just DIED. I coasted to a stop on the side of the highway, and the car would not restart. When I crank it over it doesn't sound right, kinda like it did when the T-belt stripped some teeth off about 13,000 miles ago. The new belt and water pump just barely turned 13k, could it have broke already? I suppose anything is possible. Before I called the tow truck, I checked for spark and fuel pressure and I have both. It'll crank over but it will not start and it doesn't sound right when cranking, almost like its only cranking 2 cylinders instead of four.

Whats the quickest and easiest way to check the timing belt? And if the issue isn't the belt, what else should I look for? I need to have this thing fixed by Sunday, gotta go back to work!

I should also mention, within the last 10k miles or less I have replaced the ignition switch, the coil pack, all plugs and wires, and the vaccuum elbow thingy that goes over the top of the valve cover. (the old one was collapsed.) Thanks for any advice!

ErikTheRed
04-29-2011, 05:09 PM
No distributer, its electronic ignition. I'll try the oil cap removal idea and see what I can see. I'll also check the timing marks.

ErikTheRed
04-29-2011, 07:56 PM
I'll make a guess at what happened to your car. I think the tensioner pulley on the water pump siezed up and that caused the belt to break.

Give that man a cigar!!

Thats EXACTLY what happened, the timing belt tensioner pulley seized and completely shredded the timing belt. Belt strands were everywhere-- knotted up in balls, wrapped behind the pulleys, and burnt rubber was caked into all the pulley teeth. I've spent the last hour getting all that crap cleaned out. The bearings in the tensioner pulley are all gnarled up and mangled. Well at least I know what the smell was-- fried timing belt! On my way now to get a new tensioner and belt. Any advice to prevent this from happeneing again? Did I have the tensioner too tight last time I replaced the belt?

dlbdata
04-30-2011, 04:28 AM
Give that man a cigar!!

Thats EXACTLY what happened, the timing belt tensioner pulley seized and completely shredded the timing belt. Belt strands were everywhere-- knotted up in balls, wrapped behind the pulleys, and burnt rubber was caked into all the pulley teeth. I've spent the last hour getting all that crap cleaned out. The bearings in the tensioner pulley are all gnarled up and mangled. Well at least I know what the smell was-- fried timing belt! On my way now to get a new tensioner and belt. Any advice to prevent this from happeneing again? Did I have the tensioner too tight last time I replaced the belt?

About 20 or 30k after replacing my timing belt/water pump the new tensioner started making loud squealing/screeching sounds. I took it off and put the original tensioner back in there, and has worked great for another 70k now. I really wonder about the quality of some of these replacement parts!

AzTumbleweed
04-30-2011, 08:17 AM
Thanks for the cigar! It's nice to be right for a change :biggrin:

Intuit
05-03-2011, 07:27 AM
......... I really wonder about the quality of some of these replacement parts!

Some ? The overwhelming majority are COMPLETE crapola. Learned some time ago to replace only what is necessary; absolutely avoid throwing parts at the car. Even the "high" quality stuff ain't necessarily better. Take "lifetime" brake pads for instance; all they do is warp and wear out your rotors. CarQuest has been the most reliable thus far.

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