Question about 1997 Hyundai Sonata

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Timing belt replacement

My 4 cyl 1997 sonata had to have a water pump replaced 2 weeks ago & the mechanic advised that it is best to replace the timing belt at the same time even though it is not due again to 200,000 k & the car is still 40,000k short. I got the car back & it was running rough and it was not running like this prior to going in for the repairs. I took the car back to him and he said that maybe it needed a service etc. So I booked the car in for service 12 days after water pump repairs, that included new leads, spark plugs, tune up etc. The car run for about 20km the following day. Yesterday (the day after) I started the car and it running rough again & I thought I will just nick down to the shop (about 5km) and then I will drive by the mechanics. The car was getting to a serious chugging and missing stage by the time I arrived. After my shopping I when trying to start the car I got a lot of spluttering and stalling. I rang the mobile mechanic, who said sounds like timing to me, I'll get you a tow truck. Car was towed to my usual mechanic who replaced the timing chain. This morning the mechanic rings to say that the hydraulic tension had gone (broken whatever) and caused damage to the valves in the head of the car. At this stage extent unknown until the head is taken off. So long winded. My question is:
Should the hydraulic tensioner have been either checked or replaced at the time of replacing the timing chain? What is set down in the sonata manuals as correct procedure? And in your opinion has the mechanic been neglectful when replacing the timing chain and not taken due care?
Hope you can help & thankyou in advance

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  • sheawallace Oct 31, 2008

    Thank you for expert opinion. The local mechanical authority will be looking at the damage on Monday to determine if it was an error with the installation of the timing belt. Then I will be able to proceed from there.

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From what you're describing here, the timing belt wasn't installed properly to it's timing marks from the start. You mentioned it ran rough when you got the car back. That immediately told me the timing marks were not correctly lined up. If the belt wasn't tensioned correctly, the belt will gradually start retarding itself to the point of it not running. You did mention that as well already too. In other words, the belt slowly got looser and looser until the valves were not opening/closing at the correct time and eventually the piston hit the valve due to the lack of the tension of the belt not being correct. I really fail to beleive that the tensioner went out "all of a sudden" especially right after the water pump was installed. The reason it is recommended that the timing belt be replaced at the time of the water pump is antifreeze/coolant will SLOWLY deteriorate the belt causing premature wear. This doesn't happen in a week either, this take a long time to happen. My professional opinion is the timing belt was incorrectly re-installed when the water pump was replaced. I've been in the auto repair business for a very long time (28 years) and I have seen this very thing happen when the customer tries to replace the timing belt or water pump themselves especially when there was a lack of experience.

Posted on Oct 31, 2008

  • Lee Quiroz
    Lee Quiroz Nov 01, 2008

    I hope everything works out for you. I really hate hearing about things like that.

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98 point timing belt picture

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Want to install timing belt in engine 1.5 rover 25 myself need a free mechanical user guide with picture

Posted on Dec 09, 2008

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