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Discussion Starter #1
Afternoon all,

A few months ago I took my van (T4 1.9TD ABL) to a garage to get the cambelt changed. Soon after the engine developed a tapping noise. I took the van back to the garage to ask for a recheck on the timing – they said the timing was correct. I took the van home to investigate further and ended up taking the head off to see nice shiny marks on each piston where the exhaust valve had contacted.

I believe this is due to the garage incorrectly timing the engine. The garage and their insurance company disagree – they believe that the head gasket was in “poor condition” and “the gasket tightened down over time causing the piston to valve contact”. I couldn’t disagree more.

Since then I have measured the thickness of the head gasket (which corresponds to the 3 notch gasket from VW data) and everything seems to be in order. I responded to the insurance company with this fact, which I believe effective proves that the head gasket is not the cause of the issue. I am still waiting for a response.

I feel like I’m being bullted by the garage/insurance but common sense does not seem to be their forte!
I’ve trawled through data but I cannot find any information about the ‘closest approach’ between the piston and valve. With this measurement I reckon can shoot their argument down in flames.

Apologies for the rant but I’m sure all of you can relate to this – I’ve missed the best part of the summer because some garage can’t time an engine correctly!
 

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they do run very close but it does sound like the cam timing was slightly out. if it was the head gasket thickness then the inlet valves would also have hit the pistons as the cam is symmetrical T:
 

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That's some of the best Bull Manure I've seen for a long time.

the head gasket was in “poor condition” and “the gasket tightened down over time causing the piston to valve contact”

Absolutely laughable and I hope you screw them to the wall over it.
 

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Go to the insurance ombudsman. You will find they'll soon change their attitude.
If you can find a mechanic to back you even better.
 

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In all my time repairing vehicles I never heard that excuse!!! :confused: I mean are they sure it was not the semi oscillating fu fu valve that caused the valves to spank the pistons.

First the said garage should win the "bull s#!ter of the year award" in the motor industry.

I would then get a independent inspection on the issue/quality before the muppets come up with another excuse.

It is people like this that give all decent fitters/mechanics a bad name. I am not siding with them but it may not have been their fault but after a excuse like that they deserve closing down.
 

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I forgot to mention to the original poster.
You can have an initial consultation from any solicitor for about £10. (or at least it was a few years back)
It is an agreement with the law society or something.
You don't have to take it forward with his advice but it may be worth paying for a letter from him
stating the law to this company.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for all the replies guys. I'm glad I’m not barking up the wrong tree with all of this!!

All good advice – fortunately I have access to former mechanics and lawyers at work so I can hopefully get quite a strong team behind me! Once i get another response from the insurance company i can start reacting with a bit more force...

Go to the insurance ombudsman. You will find they'll soon change their attitude.
If you can find a mechanic to back you even better.
Good advice – I've not heard of this before and it looks like an ideal place to start. It also seems to be free - bonus!!

they do run very close but it does sound like the cam timing was slightly out. if it was the head gasket thickness then the inlet valves would also have hit the pistons as the cam is symmetrical.
Rotax – I was also under the assumption that the cam profile was symmetrical too. I don’t suppose you have any datasheets etc which state this? Not that I don’t take your word for it but I need all the proof I can get to fight my side! I could measure the cam myself but if there was some data with a VW logo next to it that would help!! The exhaust and inlet valves are the same length (and i assume the tappets too) so the valve lift should be the same. Another argument proving the timing was off.

If you guys are interested in this case i'll keep you all updated. Also if you have anything else which will help my argument - I'm all ears!

Here's hoping I can get this sorted ASAP. Last time I drove the van was the end of July :( and i'm almost resorting to sitting in the drivers seat making engine noises :D
 

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The nice thing about the insurance obundsman is they charge the insurance company for looking into complaints, regardless of the outcome. I know it's not as good as winning, but screwing the insurance co helps a little :)
 

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The most likely scenario is the muppets in the garage made a mistake with the cam to crank timing , probably by not having the flywheel at tdc , and then ran it , realised the up and then readjusted the timing, I did a Seat a few weeks ago 1.9d that was a tooth and a half out , ran like a slug now its got a new lease of life, and it was done previously by a guy who describes himself as the top guy in the area.
 

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Rotax – I was also under the assumption that the cam profile was symmetrical too. I don’t suppose you have any datasheets etc which state this? Not that I don’t take your word for it but I need all the proof I can get to fight my side! I could measure the cam myself but if there was some data with a VW logo next to it that would help!! The exhaust and inlet valves are the same length (and i assume the tappets too) so the valve lift should be the same. Another argument proving the timing was off.
im no mechanic but my father was and he taught me everything i know.
as far as i know all single cam engines are symmetric. if you get the cam at TDC where it is supposed to be the inlet and exhaust valves will face opposite in the same symmetrical pattern.
basically them valves need to open and close asap so as soon as the piston is coming or going they are either opening or closing.
someone correct me if im wrong please :)
 

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i will leave you to your argument of who did what and the he said she said bull and get down to the fact

so what is wrong with your van ,have you gone any further with the stripdown ,you could be fighting a battle and you dont know the answer

have the valves bent ?
have the pistons nipped the top ring?
is the cam ok ?
are the followers ok ?
bottom pulley and idle pully ok?

you need a full report of what you need and the costs to put it correct ,

if the insurance ring you tomorrow and say ok mr,we accept your claim so we are gonna send you a new head gasket to put it back together will you be happy

get your full costings ready ,if you can get a garage with a regestered engineer to do a report
 
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