2006 S40 2.4i with Catastrophic Engine Failure - Thoughts?!
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    1. #1

      2006 S40 2.4i with Catastrophic Engine Failure - Thoughts?!

      Hi All,

      I am the proud owner of a 2006 Volvo S40 that I picked-up from my mother about 2 years ago. She bought it used and with only 75k miles in 2016, it seemed like a great daily driver for our commute. It has been great but now, we have a problem. The car is physically in awesome shape, looks like it is a couple of years old in and out but we have an engine issue.

      Long story short, I took the car into a local/non-volvo service shop to have the timing checked as the car seemed to be running slightly out of sorts. Car always started on the first try but would be a bit more sluggish than the typical 2.4i automatic S40. No odd sounds either and no other issues with the car. After the shop noticed the timing was off by a tooth or two (after the timing belt was changed a few thousand miles ago by my father and I, we also changed accessory belts and pulleys & tensioner), they corrected the timing and stated the car was running great.

      Within 5 miles of me picking up the car, the car stalled in the road. Had it towed back to the local shop who did the timing adjustment and they claim that the AC compressor seized, snapped the accessory belt to the AC compressor (only 5k miles old) and a piece of it went into the timing belt/crankshaft causing the engine to immediately jump multiple teeth (5-7). The death was quick and silent, no loud metallic sounds or warnings. They have put a new belt on and corrected timing but the car doesn't start and seems like it doesn't have any compression.

      How feasible is all of this? Wouldn't the AC Compressor belt, being brand new volvo part, slip before it snaps? Sounds like a terrible design by Volvo if a $15 belt can destroy an engine. The AC was also not on in the car and windows were down. It seems a bit suspect but I also now have a car that is worth $4K with $3500 in engine replacement and $1k in AC Compressor replacement.

      Thoughts on needing a new engine or if you have experienced this, is the bottom end of the engine okay and really only needs a new head? Looking for opinions and possible direction as this is my daily commuter car and I just bought a house. Buying a new car doesn't sounds great so I am looking at a replacement engine or serious rebuild time?

      Thanks in advance for any thoughts you might have or possible leads on an engine (I will continue my online search). I am also trying to get the shop to share some of the financial burden as they had their hands on the engine miles before it failed as the car was driving relatively well when I brought it in the first time...UGH!

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    3. #2
      Junior Member Jirv0id's Avatar
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      Fortunately 2.4i's are plentiful compared to T5's it wouldn't be hard to procure a new block or head. New A/C compressor is about $500. It's up to you.
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    4. #3
      Junior Member Jirv0id's Avatar
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      Car-part.com is an amazing resource for used parts at wreckers.
      2007 V50 T5 AWD M66 ~ Custom machined weighted shiftknob powdercoated wrinkle polstarblue, Custom pod filter intake, Muffler delete, 18" Pegasus IPD Reps, EBC redstuff pads, EBC blank rotors.

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    6. #4
      Global Moderator tmtalpey's Avatar
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      It's really hard to imagine that the A/C compressor seized, have you verified that? It's much more likely the job was done incorrectly.

      That said, if the external belts derail, they fly around and if an edge gets under the plastic timing belt cover, it will derail that too, with disastrous results. It's clear the pistons hit the valves here, so at a minimum the head is toast. There are many similar stories here on Swedespeed. You may find it better to simply replace the entire engine.
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    7. #5
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      You can get a used low mileage engine for about $1800, so I'd recommend going that way


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    8. #6
      Member jondevieonS40's Avatar
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      Whats the shop saying as far as liability? Are they eating the cost or claiming faulty equipment?
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    9. #7
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      I've seen several compressors seize but not cause this. Each one I've seen the car wouldn't turn over until the belt was removed. I wonder if the compressor was on it's way out and that was causing your initial problem.

      I've also seen people hit the compressor on a speed bump or similar, damaging the pulley and shredding the belt and causing what you describe.

      The bottom end will be fine. Price a used head and related work vs. used engine if you want to keep the car.

    10. #8
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      Being fairly new to these cars, I'm not going to pretend I know a lot about them or what can cause this failure. I'm also not going to out right blame the shop you took it to.
      But I do have a ton of experience with many types of cars, and since they are all fairly similar, I'll give you some advice. If the compressor seized, you can easily check. The clutch is the front pulley part. When the AC is turned on, the front plate of the clutch is magnetically pulled towards the compressor. This gets the compressor, compressing. So if u have access to the car, put your hand on the front part of the compressor. Not the pulley, but the flat metal in front of it. If you can turn this piece by hand, your compressor isn't seized. Even with a new belt this piece will turn by hand.
      You say you did the timing belt? When you did this, did you reinstall the timing cover? If so, I don't see how a broken belt would jam up the timing belt and cause it to skip timing. The cover should protect the timing belt system. It's possible it wrapped around the crank pulley or something. But you would have to be very unlucky.
      If it cranks and sounds very smooth with no rhythmic sound, aka compression, then you've done serious damage to the engine. I'm no expert on these engines, obviously, but it's at least bent valves, if not holed pistons. Unless you have time to diagnose, it will probably be better and cheaper to just find another engine.
      Good luck

    11. #9
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      When a drive belt shreds, it wraps around the crank and causes the timing to jump. I've seen it many, many times. I've also never seen one cause major piston damage. Just some dings that can be smoothed out to prevent sharp edges from getting hot.

    12. #10
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      Quote Originally Posted by Boboli View Post
      Being fairly new to these cars, I'm not going to pretend I know a lot about them or what can cause this failure. I'm also not going to out right blame the shop you took it to.
      But I do have a ton of experience with many types of cars, and since they are all fairly similar, I'll give you some advice. If the compressor seized, you can easily check. The clutch is the front pulley part. When the AC is turned on, the front plate of the clutch is magnetically pulled towards the compressor. This gets the compressor, compressing. So if u have access to the car, put your hand on the front part of the compressor. Not the pulley, but the flat metal in front of it. If you can turn this piece by hand, your compressor isn't seized. Even with a new belt this piece will turn by hand.
      You say you did the timing belt? When you did this, did you reinstall the timing cover? If so, I don't see how a broken belt would jam up the timing belt and cause it to skip timing. The cover should protect the timing belt system. It's possible it wrapped around the crank pulley or something. But you would have to be very unlucky.
      If it cranks and sounds very smooth with no rhythmic sound, aka compression, then you've done serious damage to the engine. I'm no expert on these engines, obviously, but it's at least bent valves, if not holed pistons. Unless you have time to diagnose, it will probably be better and cheaper to just find another engine.
      Good luck
      Tech is right (post #9). It's a major vulnerability on these engines. I sometimes wonder if I can build a metal shield type thing to protect against this failure.
      2007 S40 T5

    13. #11
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      I feel a sudden urge to replace my accessory drive belt.

      Funny thing, I own an Audi A4 project car that I got for cheaps because of this exact failure.
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    14. #12
      Thanks all - huge help here as I continue to search for an engine or replace the head...

      Personally, I am not convinced that the shop is completely at fault and that there is not a remote possibility this could happen but it all sounds a bit "fishy" to happen miles after they worked on the car when the car has been driving reliably for thousands of miles.

      The car has 110k miles on it and needs work soon. I have found a running engine from a wrecked 2006 S40 for about $1500+tax, shall i go for that or would you suggest taking the head off and having it serviced locally with a cylinder head from a parts car? Just seeing if a whole engine is overkill or the better move? I know there isn't a perfect decision but I need to make A decision. Thanks!

    15. #13
      Quote Originally Posted by walky_talky20 View Post
      I feel a sudden urge to replace my accessory drive belt.

      Funny thing, I own an Audi A4 project car that I got for cheaps because of this exact failure.
      Keep in mind, my accessory belt to the AC was MAYBE 4 months old...That is why this seems so odd with a nearly-new Volvo OEM replacement AC drive belt...

    16. #14
      Quote Originally Posted by jondevieonS40 View Post
      Whats the shop saying as far as liability? Are they eating the cost or claiming faulty equipment?
      Shop is saying they are not at fault at all, said they looked hard at that but believe the AC compressor randomly seized and snapped a 4-month old AC Drive Belt (replaced with a Volvo OEM drive belt 4 months earlier). All on me, not even sharing in the cost to replace the engine (3500 w/ used engine) & AC compressor ($1000 but I can get that lower).

    17. #15
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      I would pull the plugs and put an inspection camera into the chambers to see what the damage looks like. You can get these cameras for smartphones nowadays. Sometimes just a peek down the plug hole with a flashlight is even enough.

      If the pistons look ok (and not like a bomb went off in there), then I'd pull the head and see what it needs. You might get away with just putting a couple valves in it. But then you have to play the solid lifter lash adjustment game, which is zero fun. So if a used head is obtainable, that may be a better option.

      It's hard for me to assign blame here without seeing the parts myself. It is possible for it to break a belt like that. Even a new one, so I'm inclined to believe them. Hopefully they can show you some goodwill by going easy on parts markup or labor for the fix.
      Last edited by walky_talky20; 06-05-2018 at 02:30 PM.
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    18. #16
      Member jondevieonS40's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by DeadVolvoS40 View Post
      Shop is saying they are not at fault at all, said they looked hard at that but believe the AC compressor randomly seized and snapped a 4-month old AC Drive Belt (replaced with a Volvo OEM drive belt 4 months earlier). All on me, not even sharing in the cost to replace the engine (3500 w/ used engine) & AC compressor ($1000 but I can get that lower).
      Thats complete BS, i would have to be escorted out even just thinking about it makes me mad - im sorry for your situation - i once had sears do an alignment, after that night one of the strut mounts came off and the strut was banging against my hood causing damage, i asked the techs a bunch of loaded questions the next day to figure out what the process was for the alignment, after they said they do in fact touch the mounts i hit them with my situation and was able to eventually get cooperate to cover the damages and new hardware.

      it basically boiled down to this, before any work the techs must do a pre-inspection and if theres any questionable parts they will not do the work until they tell you so they are not liable for new parts you didnt ask for - helps upsale more work and avoid shady bait and switch practices when you come in for an oil change and leave with a new alternator. If it were me i would take them to civil court if you can prove the belt was new, but thats a whole other situation. hope things workout.
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    19. #17
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      What car was that alignment on? A Volvo?

      It isn't complete BS. People bottom out the compressors all the time. If that happens, the belt being new is irrelevant. I'm sure no one is going to admit to bottoming out... they never do. Until they come in the back and I show them the obvious damage.

    20. #18
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      ^Agree.

      Anybody who works in a shop for any length of time gets to see the other side of the coin. Just because you touch something once doesn't make everything your fault after that point. You didn't engineer and build the entire car. Stuff fails sometimes, that is just how it works. Sometimes you can see it coming and warn the customer - "hey we changed your t-belt, but the compressor/alternator bearing doesn't feel great and we've seen them blow up before. FYI." Sometimes you can't crystal ball that crap. It just blows up.

      There are times that stuff breaks just because you look at it. I put an Audi on the lift once and it immediately tore the control arm bushings when the wheels drooped. The thing squeaked on every bump after that. They didn't squeak before that, but the bushings were definitely junk long before it rolled into the shop. Do I have to put bushings in it for free? Nope. There are other times you know to entirely avoid touching stuff so you don't get blamed. We had an Audi roll in where the front end was all rigged together and broken from an accident. Still looked fine to the average person. The current owner probably bought it that way. We decided to do the entire t-belt job without touching the front end at all - headlights, bumper cover, nothing. A bit tricky, but worth it. Sure enough, customer calls a week or two later because she tapped a parking stop or something and the bumper cover ripped clean off the car - "because we had it off last, and didn't put it back on correctly". Yeah...no.

      Of course none of us on here are looking at the OP's car directly, so there is a chance there is fault. But there is also plenty of chance they had nothing to do with it. /IMHO
      Last edited by walky_talky20; 06-06-2018 at 02:53 PM.
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    21. #19
      Member jondevieonS40's Avatar
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      Wells it's a matter of experience and perspective, I see both your points and agree but in my specific personal experience the technicians were at fault because they didn't tighten the strut mount back on. They made it worse when the manager tried saying they don't touch them after the techs already told me they did. In this case it just sounds like a bad situation all together.

      And it was on my old 2.4i. To be fair this sears crew seemed like amateur our.


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    22. #20
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      Amateur hour indeed. There is no reason to touch struts on an alignment for that car. Only toe can be adjusted.

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