Pure coincidence? Broken right side motor mount right after timing belt replacement.

allen_p

Member
Joined
Mar 4, 2011
Location
Portland, OR
TDI
2003 Jetta wagon
My '03 ALH Jetta wagon went in for a clutch replacement and then a few weeks later for a timing belt replacement.
Immediately afterward, the sump was bearing on the (aftermarket, heavy aluminum) skid plate. The shop said it couldn't have been anything they did, so I lowered the skid plate a few mm for clearance.
A few hundred miles later, the sump was again vibrating terribly against the skid plate so I took it off. A few miles later, the timing belt (right) side engine mount failed completely and the engine moved down & forward, contacting the radiator fan and starting an electrical fire there.
I can see now that the aluminum ear on the engine block, where the motor mount bolts on, is broken off & gone.
The shop owner claims this is purely a coincidence. Since the shop had that engine mount unbolted to install my new timing belt, this claim seems unlikely. I like my mechanic and am inclined to trust him, but his boss is a different kind of person.
Can anyone offer any advice on how to advocate with the shop owner to accept some responsibility for the current problems, or
Can anyone explain to me how this uncommon failure of the engine block is probably unrelated to the recent timing belt and clutch work?
Thanks for any experience/expertise you can share!
 

csstevej

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2001 golf tdi 4 door auto now a manual, mine, 2000 golf 2 door M/T son's,daughters 98 NB non-TDI 2.0, 2003 TDI NB for next daughter, head repaired and on road,gluten for punishment got another tdi 2001NB,another yellow tdi NB
The only think I can think off is to do a search on here for similar issues and print them out, and show them.
You will see a trend when you do of the hidden bolt not being tightened.

It is repairable with diesel geeks “ Van Gogh “ mod.
 

Mongler98

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Mar 23, 2011
Location
Northern MD (HAGERBUSH)
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98 Jetta TDI AHU 1.9L (944 TDI swap in progress)
Is this a trusted diesel mechanic listed here on these forums? If not. Go take your car as is to one of the trusted mechanics closest to you and get a 2nd opinion. Then take that to your mechanic, if you have to, small claims is your next option with the trusted mechanic. Otherwise if it is on our list, please let us know.
This is clearly fault of the mechanic who clearly does not know how to work on your car.
 

BobnOH

not-a-mechanic
Joined
May 29, 2004
Location
central Ohio
TDI
New Beetle 2003 manual
Seems simple enough. There are many fasteners on these cars that are designed as one time use (torque to yeild). The standard kit includes the following one time use fasteners-

  • 2 Mount to Body Bolts
  • 2 Mount to Engine Bracket Bolts
  • All 3 engine bracket to block bolts
  • 2 Small Bolts for the Stabilizing Bracket on the mount top
  • Bolt for Large Roller
  • Bolt for Top Small Roller
  • 2 new nuts for the tensioner and small lower roller
If they failed to replace those with new, it's their fault. Best of luck on negotiations.
 

allen_p

Member
Joined
Mar 4, 2011
Location
Portland, OR
TDI
2003 Jetta wagon
Block broken

Seems simple enough. There are many fasteners on these cars that are designed as one time use (torque to yield)...
Thanks Bob for weighing in.
Can you suggest a way I could know with any certainty whether they replaced the bolts or not when the timing belt was done?
It's not clear to me that any bolt broke: what I can see is a broken part of my block with the end of a motor mount bolt, protruding from the mount, visible where it should be in a hole in an ear/boss on the upper rear corner of the block.
Are you suggesting that one or more of the other bolts broke, causing excessive stress on the block and causing it to break? If I jack the motor back up to its intended position perhaps I could tell if the other bolts are still solid.
 

flee

Veteran Member
Joined
Sep 19, 2011
Location
Chatsworth, CA
TDI
2002 Jetta GLS wagon
CA has a law requiring a repair shop to return all replaced parts to the customer
unless the customer refuses them. Hopefully OR has a similar law.
 

BobnOH

not-a-mechanic
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May 29, 2004
Location
central Ohio
TDI
New Beetle 2003 manual
No way for me to know on this interweb thing. Plus I just work on my own cars and am far from expert. These situations are always nasty. But I might think something was amiss from the beginning, a factory oil pan with a Panzer skid plate provides plenty of clearance.
 

JETaah

Vendor , w/Business number
Joined
Jan 18, 2001
Location
mi 48836
TDI
96 B4V, 1999.5 jettaIV,2005 BEW Beetle
Any chance that the engine is older than the car is? Replaced maybe?

Broken motor mount ears on ALH was a common problem that, by 2003, was worked out (or so I thought). VW started beefing up the block in that area making the mounting ear on the block thicker.

It was common enough that there is a fix for this.
https://www.dieselgeek.com/collections/broken-vw_block-repair-kits

The thing is that even the early blocks with the thinner ear generally did not break unless the motor mount bracket was not properly bolted. The bolts used are not one-time-use as you do not torque them to yield point but most vendors that provide timing belt kits include them anyway.

It is a good idea to change them out especially if you don't know who changed them last. Over-torquing them or not torquing them enough is an invitation to a disaster that you are experiencing. The proper torque for those bolts is 33 lb/ft.

Who's to blame? Good question. Perhaps that ear got weakened at the first or later subsequent timing belt changes and tipping the engine downward to change the clutch on the other end put the engine in a position where the mount was stressed on the pulley side.
 
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Mongler98

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Mar 23, 2011
Location
Northern MD (HAGERBUSH)
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98 Jetta TDI AHU 1.9L (944 TDI swap in progress)
If it was me in this situation, I'd fix it my self or have a trusted tdi mech do it and move on with life. This car is not a large enough value and my time isn't worth chasing a fee hundred bucks.
Parts are cheep. Move on
My 2 cents
 

KLXD

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Joined
Aug 22, 2009
Location
Lompoc, CA
TDI
'98, '2 Jettas
The car was fine. An area messed with by the mechanic failed shortly after he worked on it. Seems like he may have been involved.

You like the mechanic but not his boss. The boss didn't do the work. If the mechanic isn't taking credit for it I don't see what choices you have other than sue or move on. I think Mongler's right.

Maybe you could get them to install the Dieselgeek part by way of compromise.
 

JB05

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Oct 20, 2005
Location
Il.USA
TDI
Golf,2005,anthracite blue
I always thought the two large vertical bolts with the 18mm hex heads were torque to yield. The ones that connect the AL engine bracket to the engine mount.
 

allen_p

Member
Joined
Mar 4, 2011
Location
Portland, OR
TDI
2003 Jetta wagon
Thanks guys.
It looks like parts & labor could be $1k or more since the new timing belt installation may have been damaged and there was a fire up front, and with small children and three jobs I can't easily do the repairs myself. Parts may be cheap, but time is not!
Your input has been helpful.
 

allen_p

Member
Joined
Mar 4, 2011
Location
Portland, OR
TDI
2003 Jetta wagon
@csstevej: I see other reports of Van Gogh incidents, but no mention of "hidden" bolt tightening. Can you say a little more about this? It sounds like the three bolts holding the motor mount bracket to the block weren't tightened correctly or perhaps were reused when they should've been replaced, and looseness/failure of the lower/forward two bolts resulted in excessive strain on the block ear holding the third bolt. Are these the hidden bolts you mention?
 

JETaah

Vendor , w/Business number
Joined
Jan 18, 2001
Location
mi 48836
TDI
96 B4V, 1999.5 jettaIV,2005 BEW Beetle
I always thought the two large vertical bolts with the 18mm hex heads were torque to yield. The ones that connect the AL engine bracket to the engine mount.
Yes they are and the two 10mmx1.5 bolts that fasten the mount to the chassis are as well.
The (3) bracket-to-block bolts are not.
 

allen_p

Member
Joined
Mar 4, 2011
Location
Portland, OR
TDI
2003 Jetta wagon
@Mongler98: the shop is Halsey Automotive, not on the trusted list but specializing in VW of all ages and used by some members of this list.
Justin Grow, who is on the trusted list here, gave me the opinion that an 03 ear shouldn't break off unless someone forgot the replace the mount bracket bolts and torque them correctly.
I have long experience with Jerry, the mechanic, at this and two previous shops and believe that if it was his error it was an honest/simple mistake, not incompetence. I have no beef with Tom—the shop owner—per se, except in the present circumstance where his reaction to this problem has been unhelpful.
 

BobnOH

not-a-mechanic
Joined
May 29, 2004
Location
central Ohio
TDI
New Beetle 2003 manual
Be nice, but be persistent. The owner is going to have an attitude, that's just normal.
You did take it back with issue, and they were down there. At the very least they should have noted the broken bracket.
 

jasonTDI

TDI GURU Vendor , w/Business number
Joined
Apr 26, 2001
Location
Oregon, WI
TDI
12' RAM 2500 QC,LB. 2019 Cherokee 2.0T
They broke because they were either way over tightened or left loose. Couple big bumps in the road and its done. Seen it many, many times.....
 

allen_p

Member
Joined
Mar 4, 2011
Location
Portland, OR
TDI
2003 Jetta wagon
Be nice, but be persistent. The owner is going to have an attitude, that's just normal.
You did take it back with issue, and they were down there. At the very least they should have noted the broken bracket.
Halsey used to be run by the Old Man. Now it's his Son. His Son is a jerk.
It's not on the trusted list for a reason.
I spoke with Tom at Halsey Automotive Repair today and politely shared the opinions offered here and by the local expert TDI mechanic I spoke with. I said I thought his shop had made an honest mistake and I asked him to take responsibility for the consequences.

Tom said he disagreed, suggesting that the bracket/block failure were unrelated and probably caused by a factory defect. I pointed out that the engine mount had been trouble-free for 16 years (and almost 150k miles) until immediately after Halsey had reinstalled it, and that I'd contacted his shop right after I got the car back to say the motor had shifted position and was newly bearing on the skid plate. He said Jerry (the mechanic who replaced my timing belt) does not make mistakes, so Halsey has nothing to take responsibility for.

When I asked if refusing to make good on a mistake was worth the potential cost to Halsey's reputation he became rude and belligerent, threatening to sue me and make my car his own. He said he has very good lawyers, and that it'd be a mistake to publicly share my perspective.
 
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Lightflyer1

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Sep 13, 2005
Location
Round Rock, Texas
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2015 Beetle tdi dsg
You pretty much threatened him there right at the end. How would you expect him to act? You could have walked away without the last statement and done whatever you wanted. Not to mention you pretty much ruined any chance to get the VanGogh repair done there and/or any other work done there, by your favorite mechanic. I would have proposed the VanGogh repair with you buying the kit and them installing it, before you pissed him off. Everyone could have learned something and your car would have been fixed. Off to Justin Grow I guess.
 

STDOUBT

Veteran Member
Joined
Jul 30, 2007
Location
Portland, effing Oregon
TDI
ALHx2
You pretty much threatened him there right at the end. How would you expect him to act? You could have walked away without the last statement and done whatever you wanted. Not to mention you pretty much ruined any chance to get the VanGogh repair done there and/or any other work done there, by your favorite mechanic. I would have proposed the VanGogh repair with you buying the kit and them installing it, before you pissed him off. Everyone could have learned something and your car would have been fixed. Off to Justin Grow I guess.
I have to disagree. Even if a customer comes in irate, which allen did not do, even if he was irate and threatening to sue, Tom's response is completely unprofessional and is no way to handle a customer. Unless you want to go out of business, which I'd be surprised if he doesn't before 5 years are up. Telling someone your mechanics don't make mistakes is just asinine. Threatening to take their car is douchebaggery of the highest order. He's begging for a crappy Yelp entry. Begging. 3.5 stars as of this writing.

allen_p, my advice is to just let it go though. Call Rich at http://fixumhaus.com/ tell him the story, but leave Hasley completely out of it. Just describe your problem, set a date and he'll fix you up right. Your car will be good as new, and you can call it a lesson learned.
 

Lightflyer1

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Sep 13, 2005
Location
Round Rock, Texas
TDI
2015 Beetle tdi dsg
Regardless of the owners unjustified reaction, his veiled threat at a bad review wasn't needed and only served to provoke the owner more. As you see that didn't do him any good. Why stir the pot when you can just leave and do what you want without threatening him with a bad review? Even if he is justified in giving him one he doesn't need to bring it up at that time. The owner is a jerk and I try and spend my time not being involved with them whether they deserve it or not.
 

eddieleephd

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Joined
May 27, 2012
Location
Asheville, NC
TDI
2002 jetta Wagon
The other way that mount becomes broken is a front end accident.

I had this issue on an 01, my first TDI.

You really need to inspect the broken area of the block and ensure it's not through to the oil chamber behind it.
Mine was and I didn't realize it until I was driving in the snow. Irrational spinning in the middle of the road was the first clue. *** I thought, why did I just spin? A couple hours later I spun again, 100 miles down the road. It was causing an oil slick on the wet road, which caused me rear end to break loose at highway speed. Scary sh** to be honest!

So definitely inspect the area to be sure you don't end up in that position this winter!

Sent from my Armor_2 using Tapatalk
 

IndigoBlueWagon

TDIClub Enthusiast, Principal IDParts, Vendor , w/
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Aug 16, 2004
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allen_p, my advice is to just let it go though. Call Rich at http://fixumhaus.com/ tell him the story, but leave Hasley completely out of it. Just describe your problem, set a date and he'll fix you up right. Your car will be good as new, and you can call it a lesson learned.
This is great advice. Even if the shop was dead wrong, I think you've burned that bridge. As someone posted above, get the car fixed properly and move on with life. Rich is your man.
 

allen_p

Member
Joined
Mar 4, 2011
Location
Portland, OR
TDI
2003 Jetta wagon
Hi all -
I have the Van Gogh bracket now and I got my mount-to-block bracket out today.
A few questions for those of you with experience in this matter:

1. The top rear bolt, the one for the broken ear, is bent. This suggests to me that there was a bending torque on it when the ear broke. Has anyone seen this before? The lower rear bolt had backed out almost all the way and was hanging by a few threads.

2. The forward bolt sheared off at the block. Does anyone have experience with successful strategies for getting the end of this bolt out of its blind hole in the block? Drill access for an easy-out hole is limited, but I might be able to rig something or perhaps if I drop the motor low enough I can get at it from the wheel well. I'll try a small cold chisel first to see if I can spin it out that way.

3. There are no replacement bolts on my receipt for the timing belt work. Does one bolt sheared off and one backed out suggest that the original bolts were reused and/or torqued improperly?

Thanks for any wisdom you can share!
 

IndigoBlueWagon

TDIClub Enthusiast, Principal IDParts, Vendor , w/
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Aug 16, 2004
Location
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'97 Passat, '99.5 Golf, '02 Jetta Wagon, '15 GSW
3. There are no replacement bolts on my receipt for the timing belt work. Does one bolt sheared off and one backed out suggest that the original bolts were reused and/or torqued improperly?
Yes, to re-use. They may have been torqued to spec, but they can't do that twice.
 

eddieleephd

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Joined
May 27, 2012
Location
Asheville, NC
TDI
2002 jetta Wagon
A reverse drill bit is best for drilling bolts, they can catch and remove the bolt without an easy out. If you can get hold of it at all it might just unscrew

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eddieleephd

Top Post Dawg
Joined
May 27, 2012
Location
Asheville, NC
TDI
2002 jetta Wagon
If it's a real PITA you can disconnect the exhaust pipe, remove the wheel and the engine mount with a jack under the engine and lower it for better access.

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