Major failure from minor disregard
My co-worker receives a ticket with a crank, no start concern to diagnose. He's new to the shop, and is learning. He almost calls a starter but asks me to confirm. So I go with him to the parking lot to find this 2013 Ford Fiesta 1.6L with 45,000 miles on the odometer. He turns the key, the starter rotates but I hear no compression and wonder if the pinion is making contact with the flywheel. So with the hood open I ask him to crank it again, and the serpentine belt turns, good.
I proceed to remove the oil fill cap to visually confirm intake cam movement upon cranking. The exhaust cam is not visible from the oil fill opening. He cranks, it's not moving. Great! Timing belt, 2 minute diagnosis. But at 45k miles? Oh well, these days, nothing surprises me. But I specifically tell the service writer that I have suspicions as to what might have broken the belt, whether a seized tensioner, or something else. So we must find the root cause and the belt is only the symptom.
So I head over to my computer and look up whether it's an interference engine(it's a non interference), and also the procedure to do timing components and I'm seeing mention of locking tools. Mind you I've never touched one of these before, nor any small Ford engine timing belt or chain. The bigger engines yes, but not these. So I'm thinking, why bother with those tools? It's gotta be for a good reason, but I have my doubts. So I call a good friend that I know must have seen one of these before, Sean Miller.
Without hesitation he instructs me that those tools are absolutely necessary. What holds the crank sprocket in time is the pressure of it being sandwiched between the crank pulley and its bolt. I'm sure most of you already know this, but everyone has a first time.
I tell the service writer it's absolutely necessary to have those tools otherwise I won't touch it. Got them, took a while, but I got the cam lock, and tdc pin(still installed now, lol, don't have a picture). Great! Onto disassembly. So I proceed to remove the crank pulley and the lower timing cover. Guess what, the timing belt is intact and tight! I rush and get the rest of the timing cover off and see that the belt is perfectly fine.
I turn the crank with the oil fill cap removed, and all sprockets are moving but the intake cam is not. What are the chances of a seized intake cam? Could this car have been neglected that much?
I released the belt tensioner, and the intake cam actuator falls, revealing a twisted, broken bolt, and a vanished Woodruff key. I grabbed a giant channel lock, wrapped it around the intake cam, seized!
That is one strong belt!
I cannot imagine what else has been compromised at this point and am awaiting approval for an engine.
One word of advice: Maintenance.
Nope, no scope this time :D I know I'm "trigger" happy, but sometimes they are just not necessary.
I hope you all enjoyed this one!
Good call Mario. Teaching and learning, always a rewarding job.
Thanks Chris, the joy of sharing is that it can happen as I learn it. Thanks for taking the time buddy!
I'm glad you are not wanting to bandage this back together. Unfortunately there are many shops out there that would try to just do individual components to "save" the customer money. You are doing things right Mario and it gives me great hope for the younger generation slowly coming into the industry!
Thanks Cliff! At this point saving them money that way only prolongs the inevitable. I appreciate the kind words. I'm fortunate to be in a shop that respects/trusts my suggestion to not do anything less than an engine. I believe there are many great techs that would do exactly the same, only it's not up to them, and their suggestions go unheeded. Thanks for reading sir.
Thanks for sharing Mario. Goes to show there is no saving money when it comes to not doing general maintenance/services.
That is absolutely right! Or a severe quality issue of they are in fact up on maintenance. Thanks for reading!
From what I can see through the oil cap and the oil residue on the phaser, this does not scream to me lack of maintenance, at least not long term lack of maintenance. A complete engine should fix it. Just curious what actually failed to seize the cam.
You make a fine point! Tell you what, if they green light the engine, I'll pop off that valve cover and find out, and post it.
Thanks for walking through your thought process. I always enjoy hearing you work through the problem. It helps me to fine tune my process. Keep it up. Your a great leader.
Thanks buddy, just a guy that likes to share though!
I miss seeing finds like this while working in a shop. Great job as always Mario!! My guess is it likely won’t be the last one we see.
Haha well you're more than welcome to swing by!! :D thanks Ben!
Good one never expect that at that mileage..... A pressure waveform would of show rounded intake pockets to help confirm before disassembly. It also depends on what cyl you are testing.
Although I agree with you. The book was closed upon seeing no intake cam movement when peeking through the oil fill opening. That was plenty enough for me to require timing cover removal. Sure would be good to capture a stuck open and stuck closed intake valve waveforms, now that you mention it. Just to keep things fresh :)
Great job Mario! I'm looking forward to seeing you in Melbourne on April 27th.
Absolutely! See you there Brin
Unfortunately the first time customer declined any further action and has towed the vehicle to who knows where. We asked for permission to disassemble the valve cover and get to the root cause, that too was declined. Followed instructions to only assemble the engine mount and remove it from the shop. One fella asked if the vacuum pump might have seized the cam, this particular vehicle has no
Thanks for sharing! good job taking pictures along the way.. I always get so wrapped up moving from one thing to another and realize at the end I wish I had some pics.
FYI the VAG 2.0 CAEB engine is similar with the crank pulley/crank gear set up. Be sure to get the special tool before removing a crank pulley/crank bolt on one of those as well.