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Wolfgang, VW Master Technician
Category: VW
Satisfied Customers: 4155
Experience:  Senior VW Master Tech 15 yrs
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Need help with my jetta not starting after timing belt

Customer Question

Need help with my jetta not starting after timing belt change done by Pep boy mechanic
Submitted: 3 months ago.
Category: VW
Expert:  Wolfgang replied 3 months ago.

Thanks for choosing Just Answer . I'm Wolfgang here to help!!

I am confident we can resolve your problem together. Please
understand that I don't know your skill level. In most cases when you have a problem
with the way the vehicle performs, specialized tooling is required to acquire computer
data/information or engine testing results. We didn’t build these complicated vehicles; we
just diagnose and fix them. Also understand that I can't see, smell, hear, or touch the
vehicle either, so it may take a few replies to get to satisfactory results. I am also going to
direct you with the fastest, easiest and most common things to check first. Please be
patient and permit me to do what I do best.
I also try to give all of the information you may need, expecting a “positive rating” in
return. I will also continue assisting you after you have rated me, if necessary. If there
is any reason I cannot get a positive rating, please let me know why “in advance”, so I
can go another direction for you. I am sorry you’re having this problem; I’ll help you
through it.
Below is my first answer or request for more information. If you do not understand it, or you need more information from me, or need me to go in more detail.

i do need more information .

  1. vin # ***** to see what set up you have.
  2. are you the mechanic that worked on the vehicle ?

let me know

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
i did not work on the vehicle, it was a mechanic at Pep boys
Customer: replied 3 months ago.
I can give you a bit more detail but id like to talk step by step. But, i was driving home from work but had to make a stop first. The car started fine and was driving fine on the freeway. I had to stop at a light and I felt it idle a bit hard and when I went to accelerate and shift out of first it was accelerating well. it was struggling. I got it up to 30 mph and it went better. I had to stop at the light again and it stalled. I turned to start it again with a few pumps at the gas pedal and it started but still had the acceleration problem then it died 2 mins later and everything started to lock up and i had to coast into a lot. After that it wouldnt start up again at all. It cranked over but wouldn't start up at all. it just made a whirring sound.
Expert:  Wolfgang replied 3 months ago.

does the cranking noise sound the same or different while cranking?

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
it would say it sounds the same as i turn the key, but it makes a whirring noise while trying to start it then has a high squeal at the end. I at first thought my starter had crapped out but they said they ran a test on the alternator, starter and something else and said it was fine.
Expert:  Wolfgang replied 3 months ago.

i do beleve that the timing belt tensioner has loosened up and then skipped (poor workmanship) or a fuel issue where the fuel pump has failed . did the check engine light come on before it stalled?

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
I have those same feelings too. That or the belt wasn't aligned right. I did have my pump replaced, new, a few months back. I was having an issue a week before this, my in line on the fuel filter would keep coming off and stalling my car. I went and replaced the filter and that stopped. It did come one once it stalled out, it started wigging out a bit and i heard some chimes, the seat belt and battery light came on. I am not sure it the EPC light flashed but it would come up when I tried starting my car.
Customer: replied 3 months ago.
since it was idiling rough and started all the bad acceleration and stalling, could it be that it has a dirty or malfunctioning air flow sensor?
Customer: replied 3 months ago.
any ideas?
Expert:  Wolfgang replied 3 months ago.

sorry lost power last night with the storms!! just got back online

when you turn the key on does the check engine light come on? (that will tell me that the ecu is on line)

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
It's all good! Well when I tried before the mechanic it would come on. But no start. But it's still at the shop while I get this figured out so I can't really say right now.
Expert:  Wolfgang replied 3 months ago.

please let me know !!!

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
It comes on
Expert:  Wolfgang replied 3 months ago.

ok that is a good sign. it really sounds like poor workmanship on their end . can't say 100% because i'm not there where i can look at the vehicle

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Well, just by the symptoms of a rough idle, slow acceleration, stalling then not working at all even with a new belt and water pump, could we say that the possibilities are either fuel system clogged/dirty or vacuum leak, bad ignition, belt isn't on correctly, dirty or bad air flow sensor, failing electrical components or low voltage, broken valves? I know there were many other tests they could have done before just physically looking and assuming it was the belt. Do you know if this jetta has an interference or non interference engine?
Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Also, I will pay the rest of the credit for our conversation, so don't worry on that. I just want to make sure I have a thorough amount of info. Anything I can get.
Expert:  Wolfgang replied 3 months ago.

the 2.0 that you have is an interference motor!!!

hold on so this had this issue before the timing belt replacement?

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Hmm so if my belt broke it's possible that valves or cylinders broke and if that was the case, if they did a thorough diagnostic test on the engine, which I feel they didn't they should have done a compression test on the cylinders that would indicate those things so that they wouldn't have to do all the work for the belt any ways? All the symptoms I had before it died was a rough idle, very sluggish acceleration and a stutter then a stall then it died. Based on that I narrowed it down the possibilities. The car was running fine until I got off the highway and had to stop at a light
Expert:  Wolfgang replied 3 months ago.

at least bent the valves

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Okay, final questions. I havent had time to get on here in a couple days. sorry. So, if my Jettas engine is an interference engine and the belt broke there is a very slim chance that it escaped engine damage ( bent valves, piston, cylinder wall, ect..) right? even if it just 1 or two valves or whatever.
Expert:  Wolfgang replied 3 months ago.

very slim. less than 10 % chance of no damage

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
The mechanic at pep boys told me there's a 70% chance of it not getting damaged and told me it was just the belt and after they replaced it said there could be damage. But I told him that this engine type has a slim chance. Sorry, I'm in a dispute with them right now. I don't know if it's because I'm a woman that they are lying to my face. He said that he wouldn't know if there was damage unless he changed the belt which I call bs.
Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Since it has that type of engine
Customer: replied 3 months ago.
the belt broke
Expert:  Wolfgang replied 3 months ago.

ask them if they have a borescope to see if the valves touched the pistons!!! just for kicks tell them that my cousin is a VW Master certified tech but at the other end of the states!!! for a premium service i can assist in this with a phone call if needed.

If there is no evidence of valves hitting the pistons then you may have a chance but slim.

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Can they do that test with or without the belt? I really appreciate the help. I. Just a chef, but I know the basics and can do the basic work on my car. Brakes, filter changes, fuel pump installation, oil changes and tune ups. The belt is something I never wanted to mess with since it seems complicated
Expert:  Wolfgang replied 3 months ago.


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