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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I recently purchased a 01 B5 from my sister to help her out. The car showed a check engine light, then a few hours later, died. Upon inspection I realized the timing belt had broken (missing teeth). The car sat and battery died so i never was able to pull the codes. I took it to a local shop. I gave them a pile of parts including a used head from a VW mechanic that assured me the head was good. The shop installed the head, water pump, etc (all needed parts for a head job). There machine shop did a good cleaning and inspection on the head.

The car started, ran for 30 seconds, then came a loud screeching and died. The engine was froze, until they removed the intake cam then it freed up. They rebuilt the head and reinstalled it. Same exact thing happened again. Are they screwing up the timing??? Wrong belt/tensioner??? Or is there an outlying problem? Say clogged oil pick up due to turbo heat/oil sludge? They are using assembly lube so I would think this thing would run without oil for longer than 30 seconds, but I am a v8 bearing kinda guy. Apparently now the piston has enough damage the motor is shot if it wasn't already. My problem or the shops problem? TIA
 

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You are in a difficult situation.
It does appear that the shop might be responsible, but much more information would be required to make a judgement.

From what you have said, it sounds like a cam shaft bearing has seized each time.
Maybe they installed the bearing caps in the wrong places or orientation.


There machine shop did a good cleaning and inspection on the head.
This is questionable.



They are using assembly lube
A good bearing would not seize in 30 seconds if this was done properly.


I think you would need to have it inspected by an authorised specialist to have any chance of forcing a claim.
 

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Valves usually don't damage pistons. Dents are not a problem. Make sure dents don't have sharp edges.
You can remove oil pressure sender and pump oil in the hole to check if it goes to cams.
I use AC system cleaning bottle to pump oil.
 

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Stick around. There have been instances here that have shown enough damage to warrant piston replacement.
 
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Also dings and what not in piston can create points that seem to absorb heat and weaken the pistons. I believe I've heard of people having pistons shatter apart due to this.
 

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Probably clogged oil pick up strainer, which causes melting/fusing of the cam to the head.
When this happens, the head is ruined beyond repair, due to damage to the camshaft bores (and cams, but those you can replace).
It's possible to have internal damage to the pistons, but most of the times when the cam slips (it will break the camshaft gear key, if the belt is new) it will bend the valves without breaking anything else. Still, you can evaluate everything when the head comes out again.
 

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Regardless of who started the engine post head work (either you, or them) and where, the shop should be responsible for their own work - unless the used head you provided had a faulty camshaft, bent valves, etc., or you have a faulty crankshaft.
With that been said, you specified that the shop "rebuilt and reinstalled" the head. If you paid for that work (of course you did), then they should stand behind their work. Either they should reimburse you, or do the job until they get it right.
It sounds like they don't know what they're doing if even with the rebuilt head the engine did not return to a normal functioning state.
I'm not a mechanic and I managed to rebuild and reinstall a 2.8L V6-12V engine in my Audi A6 without any hiccups (new bearings, piston rings, etc.) I only had the engine cleaned up at a machine shop, along with the valve job (new valve seals).
Obviously there's something that doesn't add up, so from the information provided I would say that the problem is ON THE SHOP.
You should be able to take your money back and...the car to a different shop, as quite a few guys already said it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
Ok well heres the thing. Now the car doesnt need a $1200 head job it needs a complete motor, OR SO THEY SAY. Funny thing is the secretary called the next day and said her friend would buy the car if I didnt want it. HAHA YEAH she talked to her friend about a car at her work, and in 12 hours they wanted to buy it without seeing it???

The second time it did break the key way. The head I bought used. HOWEVER! the guy I bought it from works on VW Audi heads, he had a ton and offered me another head for FREE if the shop didnt own up to it. He told me form the get go not to take it to a machine shop, it was ready to run. Now the machine shop (taking the shops word for it) did inspect clean etc the head. Now they have rebuilt it. If it had a bent cam, they knew there was an issue, i feel someone would/should catch a bent cam.

It doesnt sound to me like it was very hard for them to determine if the car was going to oil correctly before they started it??? I found the name of the shop here. they are supposed to be VW mechanics. Shop is Ecotech in St. Louis, MO.

Last: If I take the car from them, it would definitely be a law suit on my end. They have now taken a car I paid for, caused more damage and used $1k worth the parts on top of it. I would like to hear from, preferably a mechanic, that they are at fault for overlooking something.

Wasnt there an issue with belt vs tensioner on these cars? Could it be that they are setting timing wrong or using the wrong belt and the motor is running itslef farther and farther out of time until piston and valves meet? I apologize i do not know these cars well enough to answer my own question. I know a pushrod v8 would not run long before that would happen. And that doesnt really describe the screeching sound before it dies. However, sure seemd fishy that both times it ran for the same amount of time, then both times ended in catastrophic failure.

I know the car obviously had issues before this. The timing belt was missing several teeth and the check engine light was on first by about 20 minutes. But with common knowledge I would think a VW shop would know what to check before wasting not one, but TWO heads. which was really 3!

I will say this to be fair:
The guy in charge of the shop does know his stuff on these cars. i have talked with him for a few hours and he does know them from what I have read here myself. He did offer to install a new engine for the same money I was going to pay for the head. only problem is now we are into it more than I should be as engines are tough to find and not cheap. This car should have only needed a head.
 

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The guy in charge of the shop does know his stuff on these cars. i have talked with him for a few hours and he does know them from what I have read here myself. He did offer to install a new engine for the same money I was going to pay for the head.
If this is true, he knows they have stuffed up.

He did offer to install a new engine for the same money I was going to pay for the head.
This sounds to me like he is offering to do the right thing.

You need to get it clear. You should be able to drive the car out of there with a good properly working engine.
And the total amount you should pay including anything already paid on the head & TB job, should be no more
than the original quote for the head and TB job.

For any legal action, you would need to have it inspected by an independent qualified mechanic.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks. only problem is he wants me to buy the new engine. Or come get the car with no bill to pay. If it still just needed a head i would go pick it up. Now that he says it needs an engine I feel they are on their own...
 

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Spd,
you are from the "show me" state, my friend.
I agree with Tom, the owner needs to make things right and show you - meaning to install the new engine for the same money you paid or you were going to pay for the head job. Hold him accountable to his own word, otherwise tell him bluntly that you'd further escalate this issue if needed until they make you whole again.
You would certainly win in any court of law. Did you sign a written agreement for the work to be done before they started the actual work?
If yes, then you have a "contract" in your hand. You left the car in working condition (despite the CEL), they agreed to repair it for a fee... there you have it.
Non-compliance and not delivering you a repaired and in working condition car would be a breach of contract.
There's no way you'd be responsible to buy a new engine. It's their problem...

By the way...are you far from Quincy?
There's an excellent shop there that specializes only in German and Asian cars - Kuhly's is called. Just saying...
 

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Definitely do not agree to pay any more than the original quote for the head and TB job.
What they stuffed up they must pay for.

If they won't come to the party, I suggest you get it towed to a reputable indy VW/Audi specialist. Ask them for a written report on their evaluation of what has gone wrong. Get them to fix or replace the engine. And sue the original shop for all your costs (Including Towing, parts, and any other costs) above the original quote for the head and TB job.

Your total costs after all has been settled, should be the same as if the original job had been successful.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks guys! Im not sure on the paperwork. I signed the authorization form. they called a few days later and quoted me higher than we had discussed on the phone. We discussed the higher quote, he agreed to allow me to supply the parts, since I already had them. This happened. They apparently knew it was their fault or they would not have rebuilt the head at no additional cost. Im not sure I ever got a quote of the work to be performed, since I never went back after dropping the car off. My wife dropped the parts on her way into work. She passes by there on her commute. I guess I could always do the recorded conversation, since we are going to be having another one...
 

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I don't think that is legal without his permission.
You could try Email or text messages, but remember they work both ways.
In the USA, it varies state to state. Missouri is a "one party" state, where only one person (you) needs to be aware of the recording.

Couple of points: Has the shop ever actually stated what went wrong? As in, "The head you provided had bad bearings and seized" or anything like that? The other would be, what exactly does the original work order say? "Install customer supplied cylinder head" would be very different from "Repair engine using customer-supplied cylinder head." Since this will likely become a legal issue, the details (such as the pre-printed warranty statement on their work order) become very important. It gets muddied a bit because they had to work on the head you supplied, but that will probably be to your advantage - if they worked on it last, they should be responsible for it - (but will probably claim not to be).

I know it's not the popular opinion here, but this is why I never supply my own parts to a shop. Fortunately, my VW dealer will even source used parts for me. But the onus is on them, even if it costs me more.

Finally, IMHO it's extremely inappropriate for anyone on the shops staff to offer to buy the car from you. Conversation with manager: "How do I know you guys didn't sabotage the car so they could buy it from me cheap?" I know cases where that's actually happened.
 

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If this is a shop that cares about reputation, they should admit they made a mistake and fix your car. It sounds like they made a mistake either way. Either when they didn't check your head (which they checked), or on the install, or after the install when they didn't make sure all is good. You can find out exactly what the problem is when you examine the head. If the cam melted and seized, it's lack of oil pressure. There is no way a shop would check and approve a head with melted bearings, so the damage had to happen after the install. And it's the responsibility of the shop to get all the things running correctly after the repair.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Man I wish I knew more about these motors. Like what to look for on the cam bearing. I agree it definitely sounds like sabotage. He cannot tell me what is going wrong. Only thing he tells me is that the motor is seized until they pull the intake cam. I agree the head liability was mine until the machine shop and their shop charged me for work they did to it. Only problem is I doubt they are going to give me receipts of anything at this point. However, he is very willing to discuss anything I ask. Guess I better call tomorrow before they read this. He seems like a nice guy, I hate to be a pr!ck but this is getting out of hand. Especially since the oil issue was never checked. they still do not know if it is an oiling issue. I think I would have figured that out before putting on a rebuilt head for the second time.
PS. I have used the single knowledge recorded conversation here in MO before but it only made it to the prosecuting attorney. The defendant opted out of hearing the tape, but PA had no problem using it as leverage.

Thanks guys, i really appreciate the help. If anyone has had this issue before with their motor, feel free to share...
 

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Man I wish I knew more about these motors. Like what to look for on the cam bearing. I agree it definitely sounds like sabotage.
spdjnky, a clarification - I DON'T think it was likely to be sabotage, in your particular case. What they did (two heads?) was too stupid for that. My point was that the offer was inappropriate, because it can present the appearance of sabotage, and what shop manager needs that? But when playing "pissed off consumer" it's a useful angle.
 
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