Timing belt replacement: Neon: crazy cost estimate???

Discussion in 'Neon' started by knator, Oct 27, 2003.

  1. knator

    knator Guest

    It's time to get the timing belt on my 98 neon replaced (~86,000
    miles). I took it to a dealership today, expecting it to cost ~$300 -
    400. The dealer suggested also replacing the tensioner and water pump,
    which I understand is a good idea to do when you've got the casing

    The dealer quoted me almost $900. This seems really high! I have a
    call out to my regular mechanic as well, but I was wondering if this
    is in the ballpark of what one might expect for this work.

    Also, I need to get my oil pan replaced. I was quoted ~$400 to get
    this done, which seems INSANE.

    I'm in the San Francisco Bay Area.

    Thanks for any help you can provide.
    knator, Oct 27, 2003
  2. knator

    Abby Normal Guest

    I was quoted $700 +/- for the timing belt alone on my daughter's 2000 Neon
    from the dealer. If the water pump and tensioner is included they want over
    $1,000. I priced out all the parts: water pump, belt tensioner, and belt -
    all for less than $200 with shipping. The labor was around 3.5 to 4 hours.
    Where do they get $1,000 +/- from?

    time for another learning curve......
    Abby Normal, Oct 27, 2003
  3. I think you need to find a new dealer. I'll grant you that changing the
    timing belt is very labor intensive and $300 is about the right price.
    I've done it once, for a 1994 Dodge 600 ES. It's also recommended that
    you change the water pump since you have everything open. Since the
    dealer is recommending you change the water pump and tensioner, they
    should be fair. They're basically charging you labor x3; once for the
    belt, 2x for the water pump, and 3x for the tensioner. They're going off
    the book because it benefits them. Find a reputable mechanic and you
    negociate a fair price for the water pump and tensioner.

    I also have a 1998 Dodge Neon with about 75k miles. I'll be looking for a
    mechanic to change the timing belt and water pump. I don't have mechanic
    but I know people who knows good mechanics. Hopefully I can get service
    through them.

    (knator) wrote in
    twelveMonkies, Nov 2, 2003
  4. I just looked through my owner's manual for 1998 Neon. The timing belt is
    recommended for change at 105k miles. WOW! That's a lot more miles than the
    older Dodges. Since you have quite a few more miles to go, you can take
    your time looking for a good mechanic.

    (knator) wrote in
    twelveMonkies, Nov 2, 2003
  5. knator

    Abby Normal Guest

    it is my understanding that the timing belt doesn't go bad before the timing
    tensioner does. That is what hurts. The bearing seizes and the wheel stops
    turning. Then the belt heats and comes apart. If that happens the
    "interference" type engine that is in the car turns instantly into a heavy
    pile of steel and aluminum worth only what a recycle place will pay for it.

    The timing tensioner for the 2000 Neon is a $300 part alone. Add that to a
    $100 belt and you are starting to climb in cost. Now add in another $100
    for a water pump (because they have been known to fail and pour coolant into
    the timing belt area and reek all sorts of havoc) and you are approaching
    $400 in parts alone (your cost). Their cost on parts is somewhat different

    I am going to wait until 1.) the timing tensioner starts to make a
    significant amount of noise (it is just starting to indicate a dryness in
    the bearing now); or 2.) the price of the tensioner comes down to where it
    used to be before the engineering changes recently ($68.00 - from this site:
    http://www.mopar-parts-dealer.com/ )

    BTW, 1st. generation Neons all have the inherent head gasket problem where
    oil regulation to the head is done via a metering hole in the gasket itself
    near the left/rear of the engine. Sounds like an afterthought to me and a
    bad judgment call on Chrysler's part. If you are into changing the timing
    belt - do the head gasket too.
    Abby Normal, Nov 2, 2003
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