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Old 09-07-2005, 08:56 PM   #1
Tupperware
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Dizzy How much should a timing chain replacement cost? Results may vary :(

Hi. I just spent about an hour reading tons of threads and found that you folks are not only knowledgeable but very giving with honest advice.

SO here's my dilemma..... I always worked on my own cars before I bought my 1998 SC2 new in 1999. I've followed the maintenance program, change my oil about every 3-4,000 miles, treat my car like a child, and within the last 15,000 miles or so after I passed the 40+ mark, I've been having issues that never occurred in my other GM vehicles, my Prelude or Accord, ever.

The latest issue is that my timing chain began making a little bit of noise in the spring. My "home" dealership, where I bought the car (Saturn of White Plains in NY) has tried to rip me off on at least 2 occasions, one of which was when they diagnosed my timing chain issue, and attempted to have me replace an engine mount and my NEW WATER PUMP as part of the timing chain repair. The cost? Over $2,000. I took my car back without ANY repairs being done, and the car dropped dead at every red light after I left. I called to complain and was told that my car came in that way. Of course, I was furious. I brought the car back unannounced and demanded that they at least put my car back the way they found it. I called Saturn to complain about the issue, and received an apology from the manager who blamed "a new mechanic" for LYING about what my car needed, and for the mechanical mishap. Bull*****. The manager literally begged me not to pursue the issue with Saturn, and gave me new spark plugs as a "sorry bout that".

After getting the estimate for the timing chain replacement ONLY, I took my car to another Saturn dealer, and got a lower price without mentioning a thing about the other dealership. Much lower. In the interim, I've had NO time to take care of the chain (sickness & death in the family, long hours at work, etc...) and NOW I want to fix it, and fix it right. Today, I got my muffler replaced at Meineke, and got an estimate from them. It seems that everyone wants to sell me a new water pump. $450 for a timing chain kit, and $500 for labor, plus $$$$$$ for miscelaneous crap that's apperently not in the "kit". The same kit that I called Saturn about and got a $160 price for.

Can someone please tell me what I SHOULD be paying for a timing chain replacement without getting the shaft shoved firmly up my buttocks without a lube?

YEARS ago, I had a mechanic that hd no problem with my buying my own parts and hving him just do the job for labor, but that's a "touchy" subject when approaching a new mechanic.

What should I do folks???

THANKS in advance!

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Old 09-07-2005, 10:01 PM   #2
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Default Re: How much should a timing chain replacement cost? Results may vary :(

Welcome to the forum

Well first off you have some time and assuming that you don't want to DIY. I'd say insist on Saturn parts no aftermarket. If they want to charge more than $200 for parts, point them to saturnpart.com and saturnparts.net and explain that they should get the parts from the site that's cheapest. Also tell them that it's okay to make a profit, but don't try to screw you. You want a complete kit installed, guides, tensioner, chain, and sprokets. Be prepared to pay more if they find a broken guide. If that's the case, they'll have to pull the pan to get the pieces out. Best estimate is 3 to 5 hundred labor.

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Old 09-08-2005, 08:03 AM   #3
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Default Re: How much should a timing chain replacement cost? Results may vary :(

What BarnOwl said. I've had that sort of trouble, but thankfully never out of Saturn. I don't mind the company turning a profit if I'm going to them when I'm too lazy to do the work myself, but when the part is significantly cheaper than what they're quoting me I get a little irritated, AND they're turning a profit in labor charges as well.

Personally, I probably would have taken up the issue with Saturn anyway so there would have been a record of the incident for that dealership. It’s not “nice” but what they did wasn’t “nice” either.

Timing is definitely not an easy task, but it's still on a DIY level if you have the tools.

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Old 09-08-2005, 08:59 AM   #4
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Default Re: How much should a timing chain replacement cost? Results may vary :(

I've been reading a lot of timing chain threads, and $700 seems to be a typical price for the job.

My car was purchased used with 66k miles, and had the kit done at 29k. The oil was pretty cruddy, so I think there's an off-chance that my tensioner is stuck. I'm trying an AutoRX treatment right now to see if it will free up. If it doesn't, I'll DIY with a $139 timing chain kit from Advance Auto parts. The kit is made by SA Gear, a good company that furnishes a lot of timing components to high performance engine builders.

Are you sure that it's the water pump these guys want to replace? Oil pump would make more sense as it's right there under the timing cover, i.e., a flat rate bonanza.

DIY would be rewarding if you have tools. It's not technically difficult, just a lot of bull work that will probably shoot the better part of a weekend if you're a duffer, like me, and have to hunt for tools and run to the parts store about 30 times

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Old 09-08-2005, 09:18 AM   #5
sps SOHC
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Default Re: How much should a timing chain replacement cost? Results may vary :(

I only cost me $163.

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Old 09-08-2005, 09:26 AM   #6
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Default Re: How much should a timing chain replacement cost? Results may vary :(

I bought my 1998 SL2 in February of 2002, and when it was traded in at 88,000 miles, Saturn replaced the timing chain before they sold it to me. The cost of the job was noted on the service history as being $480. The timing chain kit from a dealer should be around $190, and then whatever labor is. I can't see paying over $600 for this though...

Good luck!

...
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Old 09-08-2005, 10:11 AM   #7
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Default Re: How much should a timing chain replacement cost? Results may vary :(

It's not that hard to do! It's just a little difficult reaching in to get some of those screws!
Other hard part would be the crank pulley, but all you need is the right tools.

Tools:
torx bit T35 (I think) for the cam cover bolts
8mm, 10 mm , 13 mm socket (maybe one or two more? have shallow, deep, 1/4 & 3/8 handy)
21 mm 1/2" impact socket
1/4 and 3/8 ratchet
1/2 drive extension + 1/2 drive breaker bar
torque wrench
RTV

That's about it! Also little things like a screw driver to help pry off the cover and such are handy.

I had all those tools but a torque wrench, 21mm socket, and 1/2 extension and breaker bar handy.
Torque wrench was $20 at pep boys, 21mm socket was $10 at sears, extension was $15 at sears, breaker bar was $13 at harbor tools (could have got more there for cheaper but just found it).

So about $220 w/ parts and tools for me actually. I did an SOHC timing & head gasket replacement in about 6 hours. That included cleaning the cylinders/pistons and tapping the head bolt threads in the block. All under the cover of a tree on a miserable rainy day.

...
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Old 09-12-2005, 06:11 PM   #8
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Default Re: How much should a timing chain replacement cost? Results may vary :(

SO here's my update:

The Meineke ripoff joint near me who replaced my muffler, gave me a price of $1150 PLUS TAX including the water pump.

"But my water pump is 6 months old" I said.
"Oh, is it? Okay here's the new price..... $790."
"So you were gonna charge me almost four hundred dollars for a water pump when you had the engine apart already?"
"Oh, wait, let me look at the prices again..."

Five minutes later he gets off the phone, and says "Okay, I made a mistake, for this model Saturn it's gonna be $1150 withOUT the water pump, and that's getting after-market parts to make it cheaper for you."

"Oh." I said.
"So when would you like to bring it in?"
"Is my muffler done yet?"
"Almost, about 5 minutes"
"Okay. Let me think about when..."

20 minutes later my muffler is done. I get the keys, go start the car and listen for clanking noises, just in case, and then I pay.

"So when would you like to bring the car in?"

"I think you should take me out to dinner a few times and get me drunk first"

"Huh? Take you out to dinner?"

"Well of course! I just think that you should romance me a little first before you try to screw me, no?"

His mouth hung open, and I bid my farewell.


Then the local mechanic that did my inspection insisted that saturnparts.com is aftermarket because everything on the internet is aftermarket..... when he told me the price of the KIT alone is about $600.

So mechanics these days HATE repeat customers? Do they ALL go for the kill on the first attempt at a "big" repair?

I have a feeling that I'm gonna try to negotiate a reasonable price with the crooked saturn dealer for this repair. At least if there's some kinda shenanigans going on, I'll have a great big corporate entity to complain to.

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Old 09-12-2005, 07:17 PM   #9
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Default Re: How much should a timing chain replacement cost? Results may vary :(

i can copy the invoice i got from saturnparts.com when I ordered my SOHC timing kit (not much of a difference price-wise from DOHC) if you want. They used a standard Saturn-style invoice because they are the operation Saturn of Reading, PA orders their OEM replacement parts from.

...
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Old 09-12-2005, 07:33 PM   #10
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Default Re: How much should a timing chain replacement cost? Results may vary :(

If I interpret your post correctly you've got 55000 miles and have maintained it well the whole time. This seems quite premature for a timing chain job.
Naturally anybody you take it to smells some easy money and wants to schedule an appointment.

Maybe one of the supertechs on here will chime in with some advice on how noisy is noisy and how much risk you have by running it.

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Old 09-12-2005, 08:12 PM   #11
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Default Re: How much should a timing chain replacement cost? Results may vary :(

Labour should be about 6 hours (??) not 100% sure as it has been awhile since I have done one. Plus parts, recc OEM. If your water pump is only 6 months old it should be covered under warrenty by the people that put it in. Sounds like you have had enoguh people listentothe noise and all have said that the chain is making the noise so i won't agrue there. The chain when it goes and gets noisey generally sounds like a diesel engine. A water pump with bad bearings can make similar noises. Why is everyone saying that the pump is bad? Leaking or noisey?

...
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Old 09-12-2005, 11:33 PM   #12
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Default Re: How much should a timing chain replacement cost? Results may vary :(

Well, the turds that have automatically wanted to replace the pump, wanted the $$$ for it, without even looking at it. Thay're all making it analagous to replacing brake pads if your rotors are being replaced. Makes sense for brakes, but these tow being replaced have nothing to do with each other if one is bad and the other isn't. I asked the meineke guy if it would make more sense to replace the oil pump SINCE IT'S UNDER THE TIMING CHAIN COVER and he looked at me like I had three heads. I think I'm just dealing with a buttload of thieves, and it's really hard to go "mechanic shopping" on my one weekday off a week. I also just passed 70K, and the thing began making a little noise.... I hate to say this.... about 6 thousand miles ago. The noise has never changed, never got louder, never gets quieter. It's just a nice steady tick tick tick tick tick, as though someone's mixing cake batter in a stainless steel bucket. I KNOW, I'm just asking for trouble!

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Old 09-12-2005, 11:35 PM   #13
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Default Re: How much should a timing chain replacement cost? Results may vary :(

Oooh, sorry about a second post, but what's the difference between a "VIN 8" and a "VIN 7"? I've seen this referred to on parts sites for "my" timing chain kit. Is that two different production models of the same engine, with a different screw or something?

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Old 09-13-2005, 06:58 AM   #14
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Default Re: How much should a timing chain replacement cost? Results may vary :(

7 is DOHC and 8 is SOHC

Reference here: http://www.differentracing.com/tech_...in_decode.html

BTW, I'm enjoying the pirate tales. Good luck sorting this out.

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Old 09-13-2005, 07:37 AM   #15
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Default Re: How much should a timing chain replacement cost? Results may vary :(

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tupperware
...
The Meineke ripoff joint near me who replaced my muffler, gave me a price of $1150 PLUS TAX including the water pump.
...
"I think you should take me out to dinner a few times and get me drunk first"

"Huh? Take you out to dinner?"

"Well of course! I just think that you should romance me a little first before you try to screw me, no?"

His mouth hung open, and I bid my farewell.
LMFAO!!!

That's freakin great. It sounds like these dooshbags don't know the first thing about a saturn engine.

No seriously bring it to me if you live anywhere in FL and I'll help you change it. Just buy me a case of Sam Adams and we'll call it even!
I think w/ the kit from saturnparts.com and gas, you'd still be way cheaper, even if you lived in GA. Don't know how bad it is though, probably not smart to drive too long if it is.
Still doesn't make sense though if you only have 55K miles. It might just be the water-pump.

...
-96 SC2 gets 35 mpg mix city/hw.

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Old 09-13-2005, 04:19 PM   #16
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Default Re: How much should a timing chain replacement cost? Results may vary :(

Quote:
Originally Posted by ssicarman
Labour should be about 6 hours (??) not 100% sure as it has been awhile since I have done one.
I wish I could be like ssicarman....It took me more than twice that long.

Tupperware, I'm with you. There's no relationship between the timing chain and the water pump on these cars. On several of the Mazdas I had in the past, the waterpump was in the timing BELT cover. In fact the timing belt drove the pump. It made sense to replace it when you did the belt. It was a pretty cheap part too. If the mechanics you are seeing have worked on a lot of cars like this, they just automatically ask.

If you're in NC, bring the wife and kids to the beach for the weekend and we'll do it in my garage. You might want to wait until Ophelia passes. It's just about here right now.

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Old 09-13-2005, 09:29 PM   #17
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Default Re: How much should a timing chain replacement cost? Results may vary :(

Quote:
Originally Posted by BarnOwl
I wish I could be like ssicarman....It took me more than twice that long.
That is the the flate rate time, best that I can remember it. If I can't beat that time then I go hungry and homeless.

...
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Old 09-13-2005, 11:28 PM   #18
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Default Re: How much should a timing chain replacement cost? Results may vary :(

You guys are just great! I live way up here in the burbs of New York. I think the mechanics assume that here in SUV/Oblivious Soccer-Mom wonderland that people like to take in in the keester every time they get a nut twisted or a screw tightened. I will keep you all posted, even if the thing blows up.

I will now post about the little plastic things that fall on the floor.

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Old 09-14-2005, 08:32 AM   #19
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Default Re: How much should a timing chain replacement cost? Results may vary :(

I would not frequent a shop that does not let you bring in your own parts.

...
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Old 09-14-2005, 12:12 PM   #20
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Default Re: How much should a timing chain replacement cost? Results may vary :(

I charge $150 for the labor and $60 for parts (Chain + tensioner).
(Parts are delivered, these are cheaper aftermarket replacements)
This is in LA.
It is a 2 hour job.

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