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Discussion Starter #1
Hey Guys, Marine Corp neighbor and buddy, Sean has the Sonic. 1.8 liter 5-speed car. He tried to change the timing belt without knowing what he was doing and it was so far out of time, that it backfired and BLEW A PISTON OUT THE SIDE OF THE BLOCK. Now he needs an engine. All we can find on the internet is for automatic cars and nothing for the five speed. I THINK an automatic would work if he just puts a pilot bearing in the end of the crankshaft for the five speed. He doesn't have a lot of money and is waiting for his stimulus check to get an engine. I will help him swap it, but don't want to do all that work if an automatic won't work with the pilot bearing. Any of you guys know or have an opinion where to look? Youtube is worthless on this one and the Sonic forum I joined just to ask hasn't been any help either. What say you gurus of the wrenches? Am I way off base with my line of thinking? He lives check to check and I actually am running him to work every morning and picking him up in the evenings. He's not the only one who'd like to get his car fixed!
 

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Try searching on www.car-part.com. The interchange lists an AT and MT version. On a modern car, I would not assume a pilot bearing is the only difference unless you could confirm it on a Chevy website.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
It's an LT with the flex fuel, IC. Yeah, Mark, I'm seeing a LOT of different things on the AT/MT versions and have found NOTHING that says the pilot bearing is the difference. I can't find anything that DOES tell me the difference, though. I'm just going to tell Sean that he HAS to find another MT engine.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Got a bore scope coming Saturday. I measured the piston piece that Sean found lying in his driveway and it measures 3". The bore on that engine is 3.17", so I'm pretty sure that piece came out the side of the block somewhere. We'll find out for sure Saturday. I can't convince him to go ahead and remove the head because of the damage to the valves. He thinks someone is playing a cruel joke on him and I am tired of explaining that nobody would take the time to remove the plugs, mash the electrodes flat on them and then reinstall them.
 
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Update. Sean definitely needs a new engine. I put the bore scope down #4 cylinder and the top of the piston has multiple dings and dents. Then he said go to #1. At first it looked like #4, then moving the scope around, I could see a big chunk was missing. I moved the scope to #3 and there is NO PISTON at all in that cylinder. Just the connecting rod and wrist pin! He said forget #2, so I didn't look. In my 45 years plus of working on things from lawn mowers and weed eaters to big block Mopars, I've NEVER seen that happen. Now he agrees he needs an engine. I pulled the exhaust manifold for him yesterday and told him to go ahead and pull the head and intake. I want to get a look at how much damage there is to the head and pistons. Still haven't found the hole where the piece of piston came out, but suspect somewhere around the starter. Anyone of you guys here live in the Tampa/Orlando/Miami area and have a good 1.8 for a manual transmission car for sale? If so, let me know. Thanks
 
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Thanks for the link, valiant67. I've already spotted the one listed in Miami. It's more in his price range since he just got his stimulus check. The sketchy part of that place is that they won't pull the engine unless you pay for it first. And they're only open M-F until 4:30 pm. That kind of screws things up as that only leaves us Mondays to take care of business. We have a neighbor that lives in Miami (this is second, weekend home) who said he'd go pick it up and deliver it to Sean for free. All Sean has to do is pay for it and tell them Eric is going to pick it up. He's hesitant and I told him to s*&t or get off the pot. I can't keep taking him back and forth to work Tuesdays thru Fridays. He HAS to get an engine so I can get back to my normal life.
 
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Thanks for the link, valiant67. I've already spotted the one listed in Miami. It's more in his price range since he just got his stimulus check. The sketchy part of that place is that they won't pull the engine unless you pay for it first. And they're only open M-F until 4:30 pm. That kind of screws things up as that only leaves us Mondays to take care of business. We have a neighbor that lives in Miami (this is second, weekend home) who said he'd go pick it up and deliver it to Sean for free. All Sean has to do is pay for it and tell them Eric is going to pick it up. He's hesitant and I told him to s*&t or get off the pot. I can't keep taking him back and forth to work Tuesdays thru Fridays. He HAS to get an engine so I can get back to my normal life.
You are a good soul for helping out a neighbor. :cool:

It's unfortunate that he had to learn a lesson the hard way, and maybe should have done a little more research before taking on the timing belt replacement. ;)

But, nobody can go back in time now and redo anything, all you can do is try to move forward, and hopefully everything gets worked out in the end. :)
 

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My late wife grenaded a piston in my 1963 Olds Jetfire (215 ci turbocharged V8) it all stayed inside the pan and didn't even score the cylinder wall. Pulled the head and one cylinder had just a rod and wrist pin, no piston. Still never found out whether the exhaust valve broke first or the piston crown came off and broke it.
 
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But, nobody can go back in time now and redo anything, all you can do is try to move forward, and hopefully everything gets worked out in the end. :)
Not unless you have a DeLorean with the Flux Capacitor. ;):) It's amazing what happens when you reach 88 mph! LOL!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I'm thinking that if we remove the drive axles and yank the engine and trans together, that it'll be easier. He doesn't want to do that, he wants to disconnect the 6 speed from the engine. What do you guys think would be the best. Sonic forum is ZERO help.
 

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Usually on a FWD car, you remove engine and transmission together and drop it out the bottom of the car.
No idea if that's the recommended way for a Sonic, but it probably is.
 

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They are not always the best, but make him buy a Haynes manual for the damn POS, I suspect like many FWD Chrysler products it comes out from below, but can be pulled out the top with the proper incantations (which Allpar will censor or change). I would tell him "this is what the proper method is, either we do it that way or you pay someone to do it" I would also remind him that he created the problem by "knowing what he was doing".

You have a lot more patience then I would, he would have been walking to work by now with me.
 
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Discussion Starter #15
I can't honestly let anyone that served our country walk 20 miles a day back and forth to work. As long as I can help a Veteran, I'm going to do that. He's 45 years old and SHOULD have done some research, but didn't. He was a helicopter mechanic in the Marine Corps and I guess he figured the Sonic would be easy compared to the choppers. He passed up a 40,000 mile engine I had located for him because he was too lazy to call the guy back more than twice. Said the guy should have called him back. So, he found another engine and is getting it. 24,000 miles and it's going to be around $900. The one I located was going to be around $680 out the door! Oh well, it's his money and we've got another neighbor who's going to pick it up for him, so at least he won't have to rent a truck. I'll let you guys know how it goes over the next week or so, once he gets the "new" engine. He thinks we can pull it from the top and I'm telling him we need to get some cribbing under the car and drop the assembly. His car, his call.
 
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I served our country too, in the same fraternal organization he was in. I, however was Motor Transport maintenance, ending up as an MT Maintenance Chief. I'm 74 years old, tell him an "old Corps" MT Maintenance Chief told him to read the damn TM (FSM) and do it the right way,
 

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Veteran or not, people need to learn from their poor choices. And it sounds like this one is not learning.
 

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I served our country too, in the same fraternal organization he was in. I, however was Motor Transport maintenance, ending up as an MT Maintenance Chief. I'm 74 years old, tell him an "old Corps" MT Maintenance Chief told him to read the damn TM (FSM) and do it the right way,
Veteran or not, people need to learn from their poor choices. And it sounds like this one is not learning.
I, too, am USMC, and believe it or not, there are some hard-headed jarheads out there

 
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Discussion Starter #20
Well, he found the hole in the block last evening. He pulled the starter and there it was! Right about where I told him I thought it would be. Now he's upset that he has to eat the core charge. Oh well, we live and we learn, right? He's mad at himself for what he calls a teenage mistake. I think it was the Autozone sensors that caused the backfire and damage. I asked him to pull the timing cover and let me have a look at the cam timing and it's spot on. Dot to dot they line up along with the crank mark in the correct position. He said the car was running "okay" but was stuttering some. Had the codes read and the Zone genius sold him the cam position sensors. He said as soon as he put them in, it started backfiring. Can't prove it was the sensors, I'm sure, but I STILL think that's what caused the problem.
 
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