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DBranch , ASE Certified Technician
Category: Car
Satisfied Customers: 706
Experience:  Factory trained Silver Certified Land Rover Technician. 7 years of automotive experience.
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1998 Eclipse Spyder: Timing Belt..Spark plugs..Water Pump..RPMs

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1998 Eclipse Spyder - Timing Belt (and others) changed and now the car runs awful.

I had the 120K maint (and then some)done to my car:
-Timing belt and pulley
-Sepentine belts & belt alt
-Balance Shaft belt
-Iridium plug
-Spark plugs and wires - was told the plugs I had before were wrong, but car ran fine
-Water Pump - don't know that that was needed, no overheating, no noise...
-Camshaft/Crankshaft seals
an oil change and fuel system clean up.

Now my car is garbage. $2500 and I haven't been able to drive it since.

Here are my top 4 complaints:
1. RPMs were running high (about35k) the first two days, then after a day in the shop they don't go over 25k.
2. The idol is "off", steady at about(NNN) NNN-NNNNRPMs then it just kind-of chunks down to about 2-400 RPM, the whole motor shakes and then it bounces back to(NNN) NNN-NNNNRPM.
3. There is a strong, fast, vibration throughout the whole car, t the point that I cant see out my mirrors, everything is a blurr.
4. This is a manual, I've had it for 12 years. Bought new and know it's sounds like I know my own breathing. Please bear with me as I explain. Normally, my car "settles" into each gear, there is a clear bottom, middle and top to each gear. When I hit the top of a gear it's time to shift up, when I hit the bottom, shift down, in the middle it's like the motor is just relaxed and cruising. Now, post 120k maint, there is no middle ground, the motor sounds like it's always time to shift up, or down. It doesn't settle into a gear, even in 5th, when I hit about 55mph my car is telling me (through the sound of the motor) to shift up.

Oh and the car is getting about 15-18 miles per gallon, I normally get about 26 miles per gallon.

Now the shop is tearing apart the manifold, telling me it's gooped up and needs to be replaced, also that the vibration is from the motor mounts (which were replaced 2 years ago) as the motor mounts are bad...

I'm broke, and they are taking stabs in the dark at my car. They had the car in the shop every other day for one week and steady for two weeks. My car has had all scheduled maint done, regularly. I do not drive the car hard, pretty much pampered it for 12 years. Never had any problems with the way it ran, pretty much surprised any person who was riding in the car with how steady and quiet it ran after all these years.

ANY suggestions or ideas??

Welcome to JA.


I would keep the car there and tell them to fix it as it was not doing any of this before. I am sure they are going to argue that fact but stick to your guns. About the water pump it is just routine maintenance to replace it when doing the belt since it is behind your timing cover. They probably didnt put something back together right. They might have not timed it right when they put it back together. Do you have the codes that are stored if the check engine light is on?

Customer: replied 6 years ago.

The check engine light is not and has not been on.


Thank you for the info on the water pump, I really don't want to feel "taken"


To date they are willing to work on the car, admit to no culpability (of course) and seem genuine in their desire to get my car back on the road and out of thier bay. However, it seems like they are trying to "check their own spelling" and not doing too well. They have assured me that the timing belt is "right on mark" at this time. However the latest adjustments they did made the car idol so low that it wouldn't start from a cold-start...that's when they attacked the manifold...


I was hoping for some miracle answer, you know "Oh, yeah! That happens with the spyder...just turn the thing-a-ma-jig counter-clock wise while singing the alphabet..."


If you just had the symptoms, without knowing of the repairs, what would you be looking at first?

I wish sometimes there were a miracle answer too but alot of times not. I would first check for fault codes but the light is not on so that is out. If it was shaking I would check the motor mounts. With the idle fluctuating I would check for any vaccum leaks hoses or intake manifold gasket leaking. On the other hand if I were doing a timing belt and found the car running so I would in no way shape or form give it back to the customer on the simple fact that I did a major job and the car is not running right so I think it is something I did or didnt do during the repair causing it. In knowing what they did I would double and triple check the repair. They could have not connect a sensor in all the way or they could have pinched a wire or what not.
DBranch, ASE Certified Technician
Category: Car
Satisfied Customers: 706
Experience: Factory trained Silver Certified Land Rover Technician. 7 years of automotive experience.
DBranch and 12 other Car Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Thank you. I appreciate your time and input. It seems as though poke and hope is the right approach here.

You are very welcome. I really hope it just ends up being something simple considering the money you jsut spent on the car. Let me know if you need anything else.

Thanks Daniel

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