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SonataOwnr

@comcast.net

Motor damaged by broken belt

I have a 2003 Hyundai Sonata. I started having problems with the car in mid September when on a longish ride (6 hours round trip) it appeared the battery wasn't charging. I turned everything off and made it home, but there was no battery left by that point. I bounced the car by 3 different mechanics and paid about $350 in diagnostic charges and spent another $300 in misc parts, and finally the last mechanic diagnosed a bad alternator belt. He replaced the belt and on the way back from his shop, the steering belt broke, went under the timing belt cover, and took out my engine.

So, the mechanic got me a motor from the junk yard and installed it without charging me for labor... I paid $1,000. The motor supposedly had 80K miles on it, so I told them I wanted the timing belt replaced. I had heard that it was supposed to be serviced at about 60k miles and I didn't want to be driving around with that little potential bomb waiting to go off and cost me another engine. They said no... first it was because they said it would void the warranty on the junkyard motor. Then they said it was because they didn't want to do anymore repairs than were absolutely necessary. So, they wouldn't replace the timing belt.

As soon as the car came back there was a leaky brake line that made me tow it back to their shop. While it was there, they noticed a leaking water pump. They said the water pump was my water pump which they took off my old engine and put on the junk yard engine before installing it in my car. I asked how they could switch out the water pump without voiding the warranty, but they couldn't replace the timing belt, they said that they replaced water pump was not a warranty issue. When asked again to do the timing belt, they said the same thing.

I got the car back after paying another $500 between the water pump and two brake lines. The brakes started freezing up. This time I took it to another mechanic and he said the brake line just had air in it. I got it back from that guy and in less than an hour the car died in the middle the street. Yup, the timing belt went. I paid $600 for him to put a new timing belt on the car to see if I had an engine, and of course, the engine was ruined.

I just got it back from the other mechanic again... he put another junkyard engine in for me, no charge... said he put the new timing belt, water pump, and all my other stuff in this one. After a day it's bucking and hesitating and now I have to take it back again.

My question, and I know this sounds stupid after all this, but I really don't know enough about cars to know for sure.... am I getting ripped off??



MEDIAN2k3
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join:2002-12-04
Bronx, NY
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Optimum Online

It's time to cut your loses and sue for all the money invested.

The shop is responsible to return your vehicle to its original condition prior to the work they did. Once they refused to do the timing belt I would have went to court.

Plus the amount of money you spent on this car you could have had a down payment on a brand new one.

I am sorry for your troubles.
--
If you love something, let it go. If it comes back to you, it's your's. If it doesn't, it never was to begin with.


rody_44
Premium
join:2004-02-20
Quakertown, PA
Reviews:
·Comcast

1 edit
reply to SonataOwnr

The law is also funny tho. Is the alternator belt the same as the power steering belt. something tells some of the story is missing. 3 mechanics and 350 dollars to diagnose a alternator belt seems a little suspicious in my eyes.

The 2003 has a zero tolerance motor. All the same tho after putting 600 more into with another mechanic i doubt the engine would be completely toast. Either he has terrible luck with mechanics or he is leaving parts out.



Sonataownr

@comcast.net

What I was told was that the belt was over tightened and was slipping. This car doesn't have automatic tensioners for the belts, they have to be tightened by hand. The first mechanic never looked at anything, just said it was the alternator and that'll be $400. I had already had the alternator checked at Advanced Auto Parts and they said it was fine. When I tried to tell the first guy that, hoping he'd take another look, he interrupted me and said that if I didn't agree with his diagnosis then I could just pick up my car.

So naturally, I picked it up and took it to Mechanic #2. I told him what happened with the first mechanic and so he tested the alternator and found it was working fine. So, he figured it must be a short in the wiring. He spent a couple hours, at $85 per hour, testing the wiring and came up with no problems. So, he said it must be the computer.

So, I had the computer tested and that cost me another $250 and the computer got a clean bill of health. That's when the mechanic noticed that the belt was tightened the max it could be tightened and maybe that's all it was. But apparently, to change the Alternator belt he had to remove and then reinstall the steering belt. So, to me either it needed replacing too, or he installed it wrong. Either way, after he took it off and put it back on, it broke before it made the 15 minute drive to where I was.

Does that make more sense?


rody_44
Premium
join:2004-02-20
Quakertown, PA

I have no doubt someone screwed up but its pretty rare for mechanics to say if you dont agree just pick the car up. Unless of course you are arguing what the problem is. Its even rarer to take te car to three seperate shops for the same problem.



SonataOwnr

@comcast.net

So, what would you do if you were me?



beck
Premium,MVM
join:2002-01-29
On The Road
kudos:1
Reviews:
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reply to SonataOwnr

IMHO, after spending so much money and the car is bad again, go to a reputable dealer and have them figure out what is wrong with it now. You've been to the other mechanics. You've spent a lot of money. Go to a dealer. You'll then have someone to complain to if they mess it up. Really.

I've spent SO many thousands on my stupid Ranger. There are two people I would have work on the ranger other than a dealer. Sadly I'm never by either one of them.

There are good independent mechanics. I just don't seem to find them easily. You seem to have the same problem. I hope you get your car fixed.
--
Are YOU just a turkey voting for xmas?



mattmag
Premium,ExMod 2000-03
join:2000-04-09
NW Illinois
kudos:3
reply to SonataOwnr



I'd like to see copies of the repair orders from the places that did the work. That would be helpful.


rody_44
Premium
join:2004-02-20
Quakertown, PA
Reviews:
·Comcast

4 edits
reply to SonataOwnr

Personally i would have dumped the car a long time ago. You have a lot into it now but some times you just need to cut your losses.

A few years ago i had a eclipse i decided i wanted to keep and the motor went out. I went ahead and spent 2000 on a low mileage engine from the scrap yard. Went with timing belt, waterpump, even went as far as getting the heads done $4700. Long story short in the next 5 months the tranny went out and the computer went bad. Finally said screw this POS and cut my massive losses dead in its tracks. Some times the car is just a POS and needs to go. One thing i do know is i walk a lot of junk yards. There is a awful lot of 10 year old Hyundais there. That isnt a car you keep putting money in. From the time it needed a engine it should have been scrapped. Still not sure im buying all this belt stuff tho. Sorry but im just not buying it took three mechanics to diagnose a alternator belt unless there is more to the story or just a whole lot of bad luck.

2003 Hyundai Sonata Prices
Blue Book® Suggested Retail Value
$1,578 - $3,343
2003 Hyundai Sonata Fuel Economy
Fuel Economy (city/hwy)
19 - 22 / 27 - 30 mpg



ROCINANTE
Original Member 007
Premium
join:1999-06-29
Hartsdale, NY

Yup, don't waste money on an older, low quality car.
--
CRUNCH THIS!



SonataOwnr

@comcast.net
reply to rody_44

Nothing more Rody. And no, not lying, just really bad luck I guess.

I didn't give up because while I just spent over $2,000 in repairs, I could never find a car for that. Do you have the money to buy a new car Rody? I really don't. Christmas is coming and I don't have a clue what I'm going to do without anyway of getting around. I don't even have enough room on a credit card to do anymore repairs.

This isn't some strange joke Rody. I really wish it was.



MEDIAN2k3
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join:2002-12-04
Bronx, NY
kudos:1
reply to SonataOwnr

With $2,000 down you can get a decent used car from any reputable dealer, plus your car as a trade.



mattmag
Premium,ExMod 2000-03
join:2000-04-09
NW Illinois
kudos:3
reply to SonataOwnr



Any luck getting those repair order copies? That would show us a lot of things, and help give some advice.



SonataOwnr

@mycingular.net

I'll get them together for you. Was at the mechanic all morning waiting for them to try and fix it.... still nit running right. Hesitating and reving.



Bruschi
Premium
join:2001-04-16
Cape Cod
kudos:1
reply to beck

said by beck:

IMHO, after spending so much money and the car is bad again, go to a reputable dealer

I say that all the time! People say its "way too expensive" and shit like this happens like the OP:/
--
Professional student pilot!


grcore
Challenge Accepted

join:2003-12-06
usa
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reply to Sonataownr

said by Sonataownr :

What I was told was that the belt was over tightened and was slipping.

Maybe under tightened, not overtightened. And why replace the belt if it is just not tightened properly? Or perhaps there was not enough adjustment to take up the slack....which leads to my next question.

Did you have your belts changed previously? The reason I ask it that it is not uncommon to have the wrong belt installed. A belt that is slightly too long can be a problem because they cannot be tightened fully, or perhaps it was just tight enough to start but loosens up after it wears a bit.

Also it would be hard to loose a belt and have it take out the timing belt. It can happen, but the conditions for this to happen would have to be "just right". That's highly unusual. The belt would have to break, wrap up around the crank, break through the timing cover, and then break the timing belt.

Also if the PS belt is on the inside, then it does not need to be removed to replace the alternator belt. If it is on the outside, that makes the possibility of it getting into the timing belt even more remote.

If it was me, and they touched the PS belt, and it then broke and took out the timing belt 15 minutes later. Someone at the shop did something very wrong. And would probably file a suit against the shop for the tab.


Cho Baka
Premium,MVM
join:2000-11-23
there
kudos:2
Reviews:
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·Cogeco Cable
reply to mattmag

said by mattmag:

Any luck getting those repair order copies? That would show us a lot of things, and help give some advice.

I'd like to see that too. Sounds a little like a tall tale to me - on multiple levels.
--


SonataOwnr

@comcast.net

I've always been diligent about maintaining the car. The belts and fluids were regularly checked and changed.

A tall tale, really?? Why would anyone make up a nightmare like this? For what purpose? I really don't know cars and just thought I would ask somebody who knows. Can't believe you'd call a perfect stranger a liar!

So, today I took the car back because it was like hesitating and reving on the road. The mechanic called it misfiring. My sister said maybe it was the distributor cap. Anyway, when I took it back, the mechanic said that he found some water in the #4 cylinder that he said they must've gotten in there when they power washed the engine at the junkyard, so he cleaned that out and said all should be good. I drove away and didn't even make it to the corner before it started bucking again, so I went back and had him get in with me. He said it must be my transmission that was acting up. I was like, how could it be the transmission?? When we got back to the shop he offered to put the computer on the car and drive it to see what he can find. When he got back he replaced some sensor he said tells the car when to shift or something like that. Anyway, I drove away and the car worked fine for maybe 10 miles, then it started bucking again and has gotten worse and worse. I stopped at the cleaners, I stopped at the office, I stopped at a local restaurant to get something to eat, and then I headed towards my mom's... about 5 miles away. The car was reving above 3 just out of no where... that happened more and more the longer I drove it, and the hesitations were getting worse too. I also noticed it skipping just when it was in park... like the engine was having fits.

Is that really my transmission??? or is this just a lousy engine????



SonataOwner

@comcast.net
reply to Cho Baka

Don't worry Cho, Matt and Rody. I can pull all my receipts together for you to prove that I'm not just getting my jollies by making up tall tales to tell to total strangers.

Like I said, it started that the battery wasn't charging when the car was running. My nephew (yes, he's a mechanic) figured it was the alternator and offered to change mine out for me. He took mine out of the car, drove me, him and the alternator to Advanced Auto Parts, they put it on their machine to test it, and it tested fine. They ran the test 4 times... the alternator was working. So, we took it back and put it back in the car and brought the whole car to Advanced Auto for them to test the battery. It tested that the battery was working, taking and holding a charge, and large enough for the car. But it wasn't charging when the car was running. So they said for me to take it to my mechanic. My nephew said his last guess was that maybe it had a bad ground wire. So I bought a new one of those for him to replace. He changed the connection to the battery and the ground cable. The battery still wasn't charging when the car was running. So, that'll be the first receipts... miscellaneous parts from Advanced Auto from mid-September. The first time the car broke down was September 15th, so the receipt would be shortly after that.

So, then I towed it to my mechanic. He called and said, you need an alternator, that'll be $380. I tried to tell him about the alternator testing ok, but he interrupted me and said if I didn't agree with his diagnosis then the car should be fine, he just charged the battery, and I could come pick it up. The reason for this? He is an older guy, was my father's mechanic for years and is now my mom's mechanic, and he apparently isn't fond of having women question him. I didn't argue, I just picked it up and took it to my niece's mechanic. If it was the alternator I could've had my nephew do that job for half the money, but I knew it wasn't the problem... life's too short to argue, and besides all I wanted was a working car. I will find my receipt for his charging the battery... I paid him $10 bucks for that.

On to mechanic #3... the one who tested for the wiring problem. The invoice would be from late September and would've been for checking the wiring, and he also reattached some molding for me that had come off.

Then was the service that checked the functioning of the computer. When mechanic #3 told me I was going to have to take it to a dealership to have the computer tested, I called the local dealership to ask how much I was looking at. They said potentially up to $1,900! My brother-in-law, who likes rebuilding cars, said he had changed the computer in his car before and had a service that would check to see if the thing is working. It would test your computer for $150, if it needed reconditioning it would do that for $250. So, that's what I did... I sent it overnight for $20 bucks, they had it a week and said it tested fine. Another $20 to send it back and the $150 to test it.

So, now we would be into October, almost a month without my car running and no closer to a diagnosis.

The next was my friend who offered to take my car up to his mechanic to have it checked out. That was mechanic #4, the one who changed the belt, and the one I'm still fussing with. I have the original invoice and paperwork from the engine replacement, including the slip from the junkyard saying what kind of motor I got.

The next bill would be for the brake lines and the new water pump I got from Mechanic #4.

Next was Mechanic #5 - the guy who charged me I forget how much to bleed the brakes when they froze up, and then $600 to put the new timing belt in to see if I had any motor left after the died in the middle of the street, at night in the rain.

I have an invoice from the last motor replacement and a slip describing the new motor that was put into my car.

I'll also see if I can get a print out from AAA to show you how many times the car has been towed since the first trip to Mechanic #2 in September. The next trip to Mechanic #3. The tow from my office to Mechanic #4 after the belt went. The tow back to Mechanic #4 when the brake line went. The tow to Mechanic #5 when the brakes froze, and the tow back to him the following day when the timing belt took out the motor.

I'll get all that junk scanned in for you ASAP.

Yea, I only wish I was making this crap up.



Bruschi
Premium
join:2001-04-16
Cape Cod
kudos:1
reply to SonataOwnr

Get rid of the shitbox already! and lease a car you are better off. If not i can fix your car for 5k:)
--
Professional student pilot!


rody_44
Premium
join:2004-02-20
Quakertown, PA
Reviews:
·Comcast
reply to SonataOwner

Sorry about the nightmare, bad news is water in the number 4 cylinder isnt going to be good at all. Like i said i would still cut my losses and move on. Thats a lot of people doing work on your car. Even if you could figure out who to sue for doing what you are not getting the majority of your money back. Just to many things went wrong. Shop new cars and you can probably get one with little or no money down. Life is way to short to worry about a vehicle. Especially at christmas time to boot.



SonataOwnr

@comcast.net

So its not the transmission?



SonataOwnr

@comcast.net
reply to rody_44

I don't agree with what you said about too many people working on the car. They took off the belt and put it back on and it broke within thirty minutes it broke and took out my engine. They admitted it was that belt that ruined the motor. So, they should replace what they broke. They then replaced it and refused to put a new timing belt on, which cost me motor #2. They didn't even charge me for replacing that one, again admitting that what they did caused the damage. Now, the motor they put in they admit had water in it. The motor has a 90 day warranty. If they didn't follow the proper procedure to install it, then that's on them. If the supplier didn't get the water out and should've, then it should be under warranty.

What about the lying. You know, there are laws that say you're not allowed to lie to your customers. Lying in itself is actionable for the damages done times 3. Remember, I told you I asked them to change the timing belt because its recommended that you replace the timing belt on that car at 60,000 and they were putting a motor in my car with 80,000 plus miles on it. The told me they couldn't because it would void the warranty. Then they told me story #2 and story #3. Yesterday, when I was there having them check out why the car was chugging, they gave me the ticket that was on the engine they put in my car, and it listed changing the timing belt as a necessary step. The paperwork from the engine supplier said to change it!

How about this latest story that the bucking is my transmission. Why didn't you say he was wrong! You just said water in the #4 cylinder is bad. So, it isn't my own transmission that's failing, it's another crappy engine job. So he's lying again!!

I only thing that's ever been wrong is whatever this one mechanic does! And I'm not just out my car, but I'm out over $2,000... mostly paid to him! Which was the only money I had to get a new car! You think, in your considered opinion Rody, that I should just shrug my shoulders and walk away??? Is that what you would do?

Thank goodness for the other honest tradesmen on here who have some integrity. Don't tell people it's anybody's guess and learn to live with it when a customer describes to you how they've been cheated Rody. Be honest enough to say, yes you got cheated... yes, they are responsible for the damage that they caused.



NS4683

join:2000-08-25
South Amboy, NJ

Rody's advice is right, though. I mean, how much money are you going to continue dumping into this car? You should have weighed the risks of continuing putting money into the car with all the issues you've had with your mechanics trying to "fix" it. It seems like you want to keep this car no matter how much it costs. Cut your losses and use this as a rather expensive learning experience.


bmilone2

join:2001-01-26
Mays Landing, NJ
reply to SonataOwnr

Think of it this way, you have a 10 year old car that in good condition is worth $3,000. You have already put at least $2,000 into it it just for all these eclectic repairs and it still has multiple issues. Why continue to pump money into this?

Is it possible to have a number of clueless or uncaring mechanics? Yes! Do you have any legal recourse against one or all of them? Possibly, but that is a legal question that you should consult with an attorney about. We are not qualified to advise you in such matters and if any of us do you should ignore them.


Dodge
Premium
join:2002-11-27
reply to SonataOwnr

This is a very bad situation. Are you getting all of these things in writing from the shops you are taking your car to? Are there actual work orders where the problem, diagnosis and the resolution clearly visible or is this verbal communication only? If it's verbal, or you have receipts for work performed without explanation why, you are going to be SOL about recovering any money here.

If this car has sentimental value to you, take it to the dealership and have them diagnose the problem, if they come back with the engine, take that paper and force the mechanic that replaced the engine to replace it again with new warranty from the date of installation. But as others have said, it may be time to let this one go.



hortnut
Huh?

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reply to SonataOwnr

What State and City [Region if you want] are you in That would have a bearing on any recourse you may have, as every State has different Laws that may cover situations like this.

I seem to recall a reference to 3 times fixing and an inference to Lemon Laws. That usually has to do with new cars and other new items. »www.lemonlawamerica.com/ is just one site.

Depending upon your State there are probably laws regarding repairs. In some States you can prevail on a repair if the paperwork and authorizations were not done correctly. Some involve the repair and other factors. But no one here can answer that without knowing where these repairs have taken place and what paperwork you have. There may be Consumer Protection Laws.


rody_44
Premium
join:2004-02-20
Quakertown, PA
Reviews:
·Comcast

4 edits
reply to SonataOwnr

Look you might not agree with me and thats fine. Your the one that said the belt that broke was the power steering belt that caused all the problems. You never mentioned what motor you had so it was hard to determine exactly what your belt diagram is. But what i saw by looking up the car the power steering belt was the inner belt and the alternator was the outer belt. That to me means you are going to have to prove the person that replaced the alternator belt was responsible for the power steering belt breaking. Could be a hard sell especially considering you had your brotherinlaw working on the car. As far as walking away. Thats exactly what i would do. Look had you left it to one shop to fix. I wouldnt be suggesting that. But thats not the case. But no, i doubt its the transmission. You can go to court but every thing considered i doubt very much you recoup much at all. Bottom line is your power steering belt broke not your alternator belt. Im guessing the most you can win is the money it cost to replace the alternator belt. Just not worth it at this point. we really need to see the actual repair orders to determine if you have a case. Absent that my suggestion is cut your losses now. If the district justice is at all mechanically inclined you wont be getting anything. If number 4 cylinder had water in it its more than likely going to be toast.



DKS
Damn Kidney Stones
Premium,ExMod 2002
join:2001-03-22
Owen Sound, ON
kudos:2
reply to SonataOwnr

said by SonataOwnr :

My question, and I know this sounds stupid after all this, but I really don't know enough about cars to know for sure.... am I getting ripped off??

Mistake #1 was to buy a Hyundai. Mistake #2 was to try to have it fixed.
--
Need-based health care not greed-based health care.


mattmag
Premium,ExMod 2000-03
join:2000-04-09
NW Illinois
kudos:3

1 recommendation

reply to SonataOwnr

said by SonataOwnr :

I don't agree with what you said about too many people working on the car. They took off the belt and put it back on and it broke within thirty minutes it broke and took out my engine. They admitted it was that belt that ruined the motor.

Whoa now.

What happened when your mechanic nephew removed the alternator to have it tested? According to your story, "Mechanic number 3" found that the belt was overly-tightened. That would mean your nephew over-tightened it, and apparently he also would have had to remove the power steering belt to get it off as you said had to be done?

Sounds like you're forgetting your story, or your nephew is likely responsible for the belt being too tight as well as potentially damaging the power steering belt.

In any case, you won't stand a chance in court since you and your family wrench messed with it before all the rest.