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Discussion Starter #1
Hi,

I've just had my car (2006 Peugeot 207) towed to a garage after breaking down out of the blue! Car was fine, came up to a set of lights and noticed the battery light was on. When lights turned to green and I tried to set off, there was nothing. Engine wouldn't turn over. Kept trying every couple of minutes but still nothing. Radio and lights still worked. Now its at the garage, the windows won't go back up. The recovery driver said its either the alternator or battery.

Theres been no signs of the battery failing. Starts first time, every time even after sitting for a week at an airport car park.

Could anyone give advice on if it is the alternator or not and if theres a way to put the windows up?

Cheers,
Matt
 

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Sounds more like the starter if its not turning over if you mean turning over in the correct sense.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Sounds more like the starter if its not turning over if you mean turning over in the correct sense.
It kind of turns over for a second or two and then just fizzles away really. I've not tried jump starting it as it wasn't possible in the place i broke down.
 

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Ok it still could be the starter if it is the easiest test would be a push start if it starts its most likely just a dead starter or wiring to the starter
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Ok it still could be the starter if it is the easiest test would be a push start if it starts its most likely just a dead starter or wiring to the starter
I've not actually tried to push start it as where i broke down, it wasn't very safe. Its in the garage now and they said they'll try a new battery first. Just hoping its not too expensive as i reckon the battery would be cheaper.
 

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Sealed for life

From experience so called sealed for life batteries fail more often in the heat of summer than the cold of winter due to the electrolyte "boiling off" with the higher under bonnet temperatures. There was a time it was good to be able to top up your battery when required.

The symptoms you describe fit, but without being on site to make observations first hand it's difficult to be absolute. If you are doing lots of urban cycle driving frequently re-starting after being stationary at junctions, then the battery will work harder and there's a long terrm cost in that, to wit battery longevity.

The battery symbol light on the dash these days is there to indicate the electrical system is under nominal working voltage and it's not directly connected to the alternator as it would have been in past configurations.
Should the auxiliary belt driving the alternator break, then the light would come on as a warning.

The garage starting by fitting a new battery is a reasonable approach given the history of the breakdown you've shared here.

For what it's worth I had the same out of the blue, sudden battery death experience myself a couple of years back. I'd driven to make a local pickup and returning to the car a couple of minutes later, the battery gave up the ghost then and there. In fact the battery was so dead (resistive) even with using 2 sets of quality jump leads trying to boost start from the battery on a running donor vehicle, I could not get the engine to crank. At that point the battery was at least 8 years old, as it came with the car when I took it on.

A new battery sorted it immediately.

Do get back to us and let us know if a new battery resolves your problem.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I received a call from the garage this morning and was told to sit down. The timing belt has snapped supposedly and they think it'll need a new engine. However, they don't do that kind of work.

I'm fairly shocked by this as when the car failed, we were pretty much stationary therefore i'm struggling to understand how the engine can be so badly damaged, that a new one is needed. I heard nothing from the engine when it first failed.

Would a timing belt snapping cause the battery light on the dashboard to come on?

Am I right in thinking you can see the timing belt on the left hand side of the engine or is that a different belt?
 

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Timing belt would probably make battery light come on if engine stopped you dont say what engine you have but some are easy to fix others are not some dont even have a belt !

The belt you can see is the auxiliary belt this is what drives the alternator.

I think you need a second opinion.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Timing belt would probably make battery light come on if engine stopped you dont say what engine you have but some are easy to fix others are not some dont even have a belt !

The belt you can see is the auxiliary belt this is what drives the alternator.

I think you need a second opinion.
I wish i could get a second opinion but the car won't move :mad:

I'm not sure what engine it is exactly but its a 207 1.4 petrol 16V.
 

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The timing belt is not readily visible, it's protected by covers.

One of your symptoms was the windows not going back up. That suggests a depleted battery, rather than a full failure of the timing belt. Again not being on site it's difficult to diagnose at a distance. However, it does sound more like an auxiliary belt failure than a timing belt failure from what you have described. If that garage are not going to replace an engine because "they don't do that kind of work" you'll have to get the vehicle back some how in the near future and that will be the time to get a second diagnosis.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Just been to the garage to see the car. He showed me the timing belt and its not snapped but the teeth have completely come away from the cogs and it looks a bit shredded with a few pieces getting caught in other parts.

Getting a quote for a new engine hopefully this evening. I know its tough to give me a rough idea on cost, but an ideas at all?
 

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The issue with a snapped belt is the extent of the damage is purely down to luck.

You can be doing 50mph and have minimal damage, or you can be doing 10mph and have a totally goosed engine.

It's worth getting a second opinion.

I agree with Blow By Blow - if the garage are not able to perform the repairs, then I don't think they're in the best position to be giving a definitive diagnosis on the damage. It doesn't fill me with confidence. Unless they can show you the extent of the damage, don't splash out on a replacement engine.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Its just really dawned on me that I don't think anyone has actually looked into the engine, they've just taken the timing belt cover off and seen that its goosed and assumed the worst. Need to give someone else a call I think but its getting the car to another garage that will be a problem.
 

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That's exactly why it needs looking at properly.

Ask around to get a good recommendation, speak to the mechanic, tell them that they were recommended, explain to them the situation with the car, and they may be more helpful, they may have the means to collect the car and give it a good looking at.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
That's exactly why it needs looking at properly.

Ask around to get a good recommendation, speak to the mechanic, tell them that they were recommended, explain to them the situation with the car, and they may be more helpful, they may have the means to collect the car and give it a good looking at.
I am currently writing an email to a garage explaining the situation. Hopefully they respond. I would call but I tend to explain things a lot better in emails.
 

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As others have eluded to, the extent of the internal damage requires inspection. It may not need a full engine, and attention to the top end only might be a cheaper repair. Best case scenario is only 1 pair of inlet valves and one pair of exhaust valves have suffered a collision with the pistons, since you said the failure happened whilst idling at the lights, unless it actually occurred on the run down to the stop.

The fact that the teeth have stripped rather than the belt has snapped in an instantaneous failure, could mean that more than 4 of the 16 valves have suffered damage.

You might want to find a savvy tech or independent mobile engineer with an endoscope/camera to look inside the engine through the spark plug holes to diagnose how bad things are before anyone commits to removing the cylinder head.

With modern digital cameras attached to a USB endoscope or borescope, the images or screen grabs can be saved and shared here so forum folk can give you further feedback. Some these days connect straight to an android phone and can be sourced at a reasonable price.

I'd expect the price of an inspection camera bought online to be less than the cost of a single engineer call out.
Some from the far east trade at under £10 P&P free. The outside diameter of the camera housing needs to be less than 12mm.

Perhaps if you could do this diagnosis step yourself you could get feedback opinion on the photos for the price of the camera kit?
Whatever diagnosis you end up with, if you go for a repair the cylinder head will have to come off to facilitate repairs.
 

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If it is a 16 valve engine then it WILL have bent valves you have 3 options

Option 1 strip of head to check damage to valves then replace damaged valves and rebuild

option 2 strip of head buy a good used replacement head and rebuild this would be the cheapest repair option time wise.

Option 3 replace whole engine with good used one but 16 valve version is a bit harder to find so could actually take longer than repairing

Cost wise its not going to be cheap all options could run to £500+ for parts and labour but a used engine could be had cheap sometimes and a cheaper garage could fit it in 1 day easily.
 

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Ok Matt from what I’ve read the what you are calling a garage (what garage does not do mechanical repairs????) does not appear to be trying to scam you as they are not inflating the damage to boost their bill, but saying take the car away they do not do that type of work, or words to that effect.


So wherever you take it to get the engine fixed (I recommend a “garage” that actually does car repairs. Sorry to make light of your predicament but if you don’t laugh you cry. ) You will then get your second opinion.


On the poss timing belt failure todays engines leave no room for errors there was a time when the space between cylinder head and piston crown allowed for errors like belt failures, I have had two in the past that required no more than set engine up to tdc and refit new belt, now when the belt snaps if it’s on tick over you may be really, really lucky and bend a valve or two on one cylinder but any more than tickover and you can wave goodbye to at least two poss three cylinders. You will need what was called a short engine replacement, as in pistons rings valves and all bearings and seals basically all the moving parts replaced plus gaskets and seals and poss a new head.


Head needs to come off to confirm the level of damage unfortunately. :(


My fingers are crossed you just have a battery issue. :thumb:
 

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If it is a 16 valve engine then it WILL have bent valves you have 3 options
Yes with a timing belt failure on a 16 valve engine there will be a minimum of 4 or more damaged valves. My suggestion of using the budget borescope was to identify if any of the damaged valves have punched through the piston crowns. If you identify perforated pistons before a strip down then the extent of the costs of repair, change from just a top end overhaul to looking for a replacement engine, and as such the way forward to procedures and procuring parts to repair.
 

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I just done an NFU engine the other day its the 1.6 16 valve and i just swapped the head for a good used 1 all done in 1 day the head that came off has 12 bent valves but i just save them up till i have enough used ones to build a good head as i do quite a lot of NFU engines :)

Im doing a ford 1.8 tdci engine this week its horrible the belt slipped totally wrecked the head we have another with a knackered bottom end so robbed its head but its still a long slow job on this engine much prefer peugeot ones !
 
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