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Question DetailsAsked on 11/25/2017

need auto mechanic for at home repair 29414 west ashley

have 1997 Dodge Dakota , needs front of engine put back together , have gasket , sealer , timing chain cover, no. 1 cylinder needs to be TDC...and timing set properly....

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AUTO - SERVICE is the Search the List category - but it includes both shop-based and mobile mechanics, so you may need to google for mobile mechanics in your area, then cross-check those on the list to see if they are listed on Angies List with ratings and reviews.


Normally I would suggest a DIY - but since you got this far and are not confident setting the timing - which involves setting the crankshaft at the timing mark on the pulley AND setting the camshaft(s) to the correct position and, if you had the timing gear(s) off, getting them aligned correctly on the shafts so the timing mark is the right place (usually flat-sided or keyed to avoid mixing that up).


Sounds like you got into a timing belt/chain replacement or such and found out you bit off more than you could chew, maybe - so I am going to recommend a mechanic because you do not sound like a confident auto DIY'er - though with a shop manual or Chilton's Guide you could probably get it right if you are somewhat tool handy.


Given the year and model, I would certainly make sure you get a good mechanic - because many of the Dodge (and other brand) engines in that timeframe, like the Hemi series, have interference valves - meaning get the valve timing wrong and the piston can hit the valves - bending valves, cracking heads, puncturing pistons or breaking connecting rods or even bending the cranckshaft or throwing a rod through the side of the block are all possible when interfeerence engines get off their timing. All the things a good engine design would never allow, but to try to get the last bit of pollution reduction out of an engine all too many manufacturers went to interference engines - an invitation to catastrophic failure from something so simple as a timing belt or chain jumping or breaking or a camshaft gear stripping a gear or shear key. But hey - that usually occurs after warranty expiration, so the manufacturers are just getting more $5000 repair jobs for their dealers out of it.


Actually, if you are replacing a broken belt, some checks should be made first to be sure damage has not already occurred - because if it failed while running or starting, you could have components damaged already and starting it up without checks first could cause serious damage.


Oh - another hint - there are, at least on some Dodge engines, plastic guides on each side along the belt track that keep the belt from hitting the casting - normally they should be replaced at the same time as the belt because if they wear out or come loose the belt can flap too much and shred itself.


Good luck finding a good mobile mechanic to do this job - and if below about 50-60 degrees F, he should cover the engine compartment and warm it to properly cure the sealer, otherwise you are likely to get an oil leak in the future - which is pretty much guaranteed to get on the serpentine belt and ruin it and get all over the A/C and battery and alternator and primary circuit box, coat the fan and radiator in oil, ... - a leak there makes a horrendous mess.


Honestly, unless you can find a very highly rated mobile mechanic (and honestly all too many of them are from the bottom of the pile because they cannot get or hold a full-time in-shop mechanic job, not from the topof the heap) I would recommend you encapsulate the front end of the engine well in plastic sheeting and (hopefully not in rainy or slushy conditions) have it towed to a good auto shop to be reassembled, to get the best result and avoid the risk of a catastrophic engine failure.


Likely cost - hard to say because shops do not like taking on someone's else partly-done job, or using parts they did not supply, but likely around $300-500 labor would be my guess. Maybe in the $200's if you are lucky, if they are willing to use your parts.

Answered 11 months ago by LCD




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