My Car died...

While I was driving on the highway home from work, had the cruise on, my car suddenly started decelerating. I figured my cruise just kicked out, but when I stepped on the gas, nothing happened. I finally pulled over, turned the car off, tried to start it up, started whined but the motor wouldn’t turn. I took a look at it, and noticed that my timing belt was frayed :frowning: . I ended up getting it towed to a garage. They just called me up and said they replaced the belt, but is running rough. Saying that my coil pack is probably toast. If my timing belt broke while it was running, would it bend my valves or pistons? Is it possible my coil went the same time my timing belt started slipping? My timing belt didn’t actually brake but more or less just got loose from cracking and fraying. My Poor Z.

i believe the Zectecs are called “non-interference engines” meaning that the valves and and pistons dont come anywhere near each other during the operation of the engine. There is a little space between TDC and the valve openings, so if the timing belt goes, you dont have to worry about replacing valves, springs, pistons, rods… .none of that stuff.

as far as the coil going the same time as the timing belt, its certainly possible, but i would look elsewhere first… such as, did they set the timing back to what it was? chances are that needs to be adjusted now ( i dont know the reputablility of the shop you took it too).

I havent really looked at the timing belt on our cars so i do not know how it is on the gears but as far as what I have learned is that, 1. If your timing belt breaks/slips, the cams get out of alignment w/ your crank. If this happend, the cams would open and close the valves at incorrect times. If you pulled over/ turnt off the car soon enough, you could have saved your motor. If not, at worst I believe that your pistons would come up and b/c of your timing being off, the piston could hit the valves, which could bend things internally. 2. If it was soon enough, tell the shop or where ever you have your car to just place the #1 piston at top dead center and re-align the cam gears so that everything is opening and closing at the right time. If it is just a little off, it will just run rough, if off to far, stuff will break.

thats something i didnt think about when i answered was the cam shafts being off. Definately have them re adjusted so they are in the correct positions. you shouldnt have done any damage to the valves / pistons though.

Yea, now that I really think about it, your car would not run if the cams got to far off, but if it had, your valves could be open and the piston could come up and f’ stuff up. It would hit the valve shoving it back into its sleve/ into the cam, could bend valve, ruin your head… But I doubt its that bad.

Look on the bright side of the situation. This gives you a good reason to take the engine apart and perhaps get some oversized valves and new valve springs.

Here is a list of timing belts for appropriate cars, and explanation of what a interference/non-interference engine is. explanation is on the bottom of the list. The zetec is Free-Running, Non-Interference.

Well, my mechanic had readjusted the timing. He had checked it twice to ensure that wasn’t the case. Also, he made sure that my valves and pistons were ok. Today, we tried swapping out the coil with a new one, but sadly, the car was still misfiring. Its running on two cylinders, sometimes the other two work. Works intermitently. Supposedly, he knows someone who had a similar problem. He hasn’t been able to track down this person yet to find out how they fixed it though. I should know next week. Gotta borrow my moms car again for another week.

I wish I could really help ya man, I just dont know that much about ignition components. All i know is that im gettin new wires soon and a MSD ignition.

is the computer throwing any codes? heres an idea… did he check the VCT when he put the car back together? I dont know if he had to mess with that at all, but if thats not working properly that may cause an idle problem.


I don’t think he bothered with the VCT. He said he wasn’t getting spark from two of the coils from the coil pack. They would spark every once in a while, but mostly not. He had put it on his computer but found nothing. He says his computer is too small and doesn’t have all the codes. At least this guy isn’t charging me for shop labour. He’s supposed to get more information somethime this week.

Problem solved. Just got word today that my car is now fixed. It had to do with the timing belt. When he replaced it, he forgot to lock something before adjusting the cam gears. Something like that. Because he forgot to do so, everytime you went to start it up , it would go out of timing again. Whatever, car is fixed, I’m happy. Thank god i got some OT at work this week.

Coolblue, sorry to hear it happened but the information is great for the rest of us and I’ll make sure to check that when I do my timing belt the “lock”. Glad to hear the coolbluezx2 is cool and running again.

TDC lock tool??? to lock the pistons at Top Dead Center?

seems… thats the only ‘lock’ in the timing belt assembly that I can think off. kinda seems like an amaturish thing for a mechanic to do…