My Laguna :(
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Thread: My Laguna :(

  1. #1
    Tadpole
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    Default My Laguna :(

    Hi Iím the proud owner of a Renualt Laguna, Privilege II 3.0L, Iíve owned this car for the past 3 years, but itís been in my family since itís purchase in 2004. Itís been serviced regularly at the dealership and well looked after. At around 90,000 I took it into a different dealership (the original dealership had been taken over) to get the timing belt done and a major service, total cost $2930 (notes below) when I picked the car up after the timing belt change I was informed my motor was ďre-birthedĒ.

    Fast forward 2.5mths, and as Iím driving off from a parked position I hear a clunky grinding noise with sudden lost of power. I open up my bonnet look under neath and the serpentine belt is visibly loose and the seems to be a flywheel loose in the engine bay (which Iíve later found out is my harmonic balancer).

    I then had the car towed to the dealership for inspection and was informed the harmonic balancer had gone and threw the timing belt out?, Iím now looking at either a rebuild of the motor or a reconditioned motor being installed both of which will exceed the value of the car.

    This seems wrong to me? my questions to those who know and understand Renault Lagunaís are:

    How can a harmonic balancer throw the timing of the motor?
    Shouldnít it be replaced also if itís a component that can blow-up the motor?
    Do harmonic balancers need to be removed when changing the timing belt?

    The dealership informs me they donít replace harmonic balancers during a timing belt change?

    Any knowledge or advice on the matter is greatly appreciated - Iím feeling unsure as to why this happened and if Iím being told the correct information by the dealership?

    Thanks for your time.


    -----------
    Below is the notes of the service and what had been done during the last service:

    Timing Belt:
    Remove engine covers, front engine mounts and drive belt from front of engine to raise engine into position so front timing covers could be accessed. Removed timing belt then checked all pulleys and tensioners. Installed new timing belt kit to vehicle then commence reassembly. With timing belt correctly fitted, refitted front timing covers and removed cam locking tools. Rested engine back into place then fitted new accessory drive belt to front of engine. Replaced upper engine mount during reassembly, then reassembled vehicle. Assessed engine performance and behaviour during final road test once all repairs had been completed, all ok.

    Rear Rocker Cover Leaking Oil:
    Found oil to be leaking from top of engine during service inspection, traced leak to rear rocket cover assembly. With engine covers & rear coil packs removed accessed then removed rear rocker cover from top of engine. Cleaned sealing surface, then resealed rear rocker.

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    Grinding Noise (I wanted looked at):
    Inspected steering components for obvious causes of noise, unable to identify any heavily worn components that would be a likely cause. Unable to experience or demonstrate concern during this visit, suggest monitoring concerns after engine mountings have been replaced and advise if it continues.

  2. #2
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    The harmonic balancer might look like a pulley, but it's one of the critical components of the engine, in association with the crankshaft. Once it is damaged even turning on the aircon can separate it. Lose a balancer and you can destroy the engine.

    These links have some more general comments on the subject:
    AGCO Automotive Repair Service - Baton Rouge, LA - Detailed Auto Topics - The Importance of The Harmonic Balancer
    Harmonic Dampers their history and why do we need them?
    Harmonic Balancers Technical Tip

    Kenfuego posted earlier that he had a balancer failure in a V6 Renault at about 60 something thousand km
    [edit] here Laguna V6 Authentique 08/2002 300,000 km plus
    Last edited by seasink; 15th September 2014 at 03:37 PM.

  3. #3
    Tadpole
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    Thanks for the info seasink, seems these are just as important as a timing belt? I'm confused as to why they aren't required to be changed with the timing belts especially considering the bit the usually goes is rubber and they are removed to do the timing belt?

    After reading all this information though I'm feeling like it was negligence on behalf of the dealership mechanics, they replaced the engine mounts and were informed of a noise under the bonnet which essentially was brushed off at last service by them saying they couldn't find anything wrong?

    Anyhow I'm not sure what to do now, I'm left with a car with a blown up motor, and rough estimate of $4k to fix it?

  4. #4
    VIP Sponsor David Cavanagh's Avatar
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    We can supply you a good second hand engine if that helps. In my experience there are mechanics and there are parts replacement people known as technicians. Dealerships have technicians.

    Harmonic balancers are the easiest thing in the world to check and any mechanic would check it while they were doing the belt. First job when it goes on the hoist is to check it. with a marking pen draw a straight line across the face of the pully from the centre bolt across the rubber to the outer bit. Start the engine, maybe run for 20 seconds and swith off. if the line is still straight go ahead with the job. if its broken and misaligned that means the bonding rubber is stuffed and you replace it before the motor is stuffed. Every mechanic would know that.

    My suggestion would be to have it towed to a mechanic and we can send out an engine.
    David Cavanagh

    FRENCH CONNECTION / PEUGEO WRECKING / RENOSPARES / CITROWRECK

    03 9338 8191 or 03 93354008

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  5. #5
    Fellow Frogger! Bluey's Avatar
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    Something doesn't add up. Why would a separated balancer cause timing belt skip/damage? The whole story isn't being told. Get an independent assessment.

  6. #6
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    If the crankshaft kicked about enough it may have damaged the timing belt or a cog on it. Then anything could happen. Certainly try to get a good mechanic to look at it. One of Dave's used motors may be the best solution - you might even score a low mileage one.

  7. #7
    Contented Peugeot Driver addo's Avatar
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    The belt can end up inboard of the failed damper pulley, frayed, then dragged into the timing covers by friction as the engine runs.

  8. #8
    Veni Vidi Posti 68 404's Avatar
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    3K to change a timing belt on a V6 Peugeot/Renault engine? And no mention of changing the water pump and tensioner while doing it?

    Normally it's about 1K to do the belt and get the extras done.

    Two and a half months and major engine failure? Hmm, I'd be getting a second opinion.

    Harmonic balancers going bung are a feature of this engine. Yes, the rubber damper is the problem. However they normally give notice when they are on the way out (sounds like a squealing fan belt) and can be replaced pretty easily by a competent mechanic.

    It makes me appreciate how good our AF recommended mechanics are

    I bet your dealers were multi marque franchises. Specialists in nothing

    Dave
    2008 Renault Laguna 2.0 dCi break
    ​1997 BMW K1200RS

    IR655
    (George Bush Snr): "I'll never apologize for the United States of America. Ever, I don't care what the facts are."


  9. #9
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    Default Sad story

    Heartbroken

    I can understand your angst, but don't know if you will have any success with the comeback on the mechanics who did the job on your car, perhaps your auto club mechanic might have a different idea (RACV in Victoria). I was lucky when I heard the clunking noise (a bit like a noisy compressor on a Melbourne Tram) and took it to my local Renault dealer (max Kirwan in those days) It was checked by the Renault accredited supervisor, and he put the car off the road immediately, showing me by torchlight where the rubber was extruding out of the harmonic balancer - he said if that lets go, then the timing goes and its and interference motor setup, so at the least you will get damage to valves as they clash with the pistons.

    I reckon that a replacement motor might be a better option, with a new timing belt (quite cheap belt price if you shop around ) and transfer of the new belt kit to the replacement engine, and while the motor is out a reseal of the camboxes would be a good idea, check the coils in the rear bank - look to see if it has the white epoxy topped coils ((bonus) in that bank.

    Whatever way you go it will be expensive, except you will know the car that much better. You will have to weigh up the options, sadly a week after you get the car back in service you could have the engine fast warm up thermostat fail shut and over heat the engine. I guess what I am saying is luck might not be on your side with this car and even if it is it will be a while before you can relax.

    I guess it also comes down to what you have invested in the car, your needs, your mechanical ability to do work yourself - so the primary option is save the car and get it going, or part it out.

    If you decide to do the latter, several of us perservering Laguna owners are always on the lookout for parts to upgrade our cars in our D.I.Y. projects.

    Sorry I can't put a more positive side, I love my Laguna, it suits me even with its quirky nature. Check with Dave Cavanagh - work out the economics. Someone did get the Harmonic balancers refurbished with new rubber, I think in South Australia.

    If you decide not to fix the car, there are some good deals in the secondhand market at the moment, though no matter what you buy (unless still covered by extended warranty) you are buying someone else's worn cast off.

    Ken
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  10. #10
    1000+ Posts REN TIN TIN's Avatar
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    Aren't harmonic balancers part of the timing belt kits?
    Yes, you can buy the belts on their own but I always understood the full timing belt kits included everything.
    "I cannot help but notice that there is no problem between us that cannot be solved by your departure. Mark Twain"

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by REN TIN TIN View Post
    Aren't harmonic balancers part of the timing belt kits?
    Yes, you can buy the belts on their own but I always understood the full timing belt kits included everything.
    Not in any of the kits I purchased - I always asked for the removed parts to be kept for me, just so that I could check the wear and tear on them. kits just had the serpentine belt and the two idler rollers and adjustment plate.

    Ken

  12. #12
    VIP Sponsor David Cavanagh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kenfuego View Post
    Not in any of the kits I purchased - I always asked for the removed parts to be kept for me, just so that I could check the wear and tear on them. kits just had the serpentine belt and the two idler rollers and adjustment plate.

    Ken
    Ken's right there not part of the kit but I don't understand, there the easiest thing in the world to check condition of
    David Cavanagh

    FRENCH CONNECTION / PEUGEO WRECKING / RENOSPARES / CITROWRECK

    03 9338 8191 or 03 93354008

    34 KING St
    AIRPORT WEST
    VIC 3042


    [email protected]

    https://www.facebook.com/FrenchConect

  13. #13
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    My opinion only:

    If the bolt in the centre of the harmonic balancer is still "tight" then I would say the dealer may have done his job properly, with the exception of possibly noting that the outer pulley may be about to part company.
    However, if the centre bolt is loose, then I would definitely be taking the matter further as it would immediately cause valve timing failure, and should not come loose by itself, even if the outer pulley separated.

    And unless the accessory belt has penetrated the timing belt cover, and jammed in the main timing belt, then there is a possibility that only the accessory belt and harm balancer need replacing. (If the centre bolt is still tight).

    I think the important part is the bolt, when it comes to pointing the finger of blame.

    Not good, whichever way.
    2004 Scenic I 2.0 auto (Hers)
    2016 Ford Territory (His)
    2004 WRX (Sunday car)

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by seasink View Post
    If the crankshaft kicked about enough it may have damaged the timing belt or a cog on it. Then anything could happen.
    No. The timing gear is pinned to the crank by a big bugger of a bolt that is independent of the harmonic balancer. A balancer separating will not damage a belt or timing gear by default and crank will not thrash about unless broken in half.

    The belt can end up inboard of the failed damper pulley, frayed, then dragged into the timing covers by friction as the engine runs.
    This would take time and the alternator light will illuminate well before the cover was penetrated.

    My point is, the HB is attached to the crank by four bolts independent of the large timing gear bolt. When the harmonic balancer comes off there is no reason for the timing to skip or the belt to break. Therefore it makes no sense that they are telling Heartbroken that he needs a whole engine.

    Heartbroken should throw up some pics, and post the results of a second professional opinion. Otherwise it is purely speculation.



    It seems that the Series 2 Lagunas are becoming the new R21 and R25 in that they are a good overall car and they service peoples needs for very long periods of time but they cost more money to run than they are worth, parts are generally difficult to find at decent prices and when you do find parts no one wants to work on them.

  15. #15
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    Harmonic balancers can last ages; they'll never be routinely replaced as part of a timing belt job. As David says, checked but not necessarily replaced. My 180,000km Mi16 still has the original, duly checked last belt job a few weeks ago. I have a white line painted on it for the purpose.


    2003 PEUGEOT 206 GTi

  16. #16
    Veni Vidi Posti 68 404's Avatar
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    If you love the car (and why not, they're great), replace the engine with a second hand one. Changing timing belt, water pump, pulleys etc is a doddle whilst it's out of the car and they can even seal the cambox covers properly before they drop it in. Plenty of V6s are around from the Pug 406 as the autos normally write those cars off way before their time.

    Get the engine fitted at one of our friendly garages (not the dealers) and drive your car out as if nothing has occurred. Will cost a couple of grand but your car is worth a lot more than that to you and your family.

    Dave
    jo proffi, Sunroof and Jinandfonic like this.
    2008 Renault Laguna 2.0 dCi break
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    IR655
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