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Q: Timing belt broken and car does not start - 1996 Mazda B2500

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My timing belt broke, so I installed a new one. All of my timing marks are inline. But my truck won’t start. When I turn the key it almost turns over but doesn’t start. I looked at my old timing belt and it’s not cracked and shows little sign of being worn, but it looks all torn apart. I have turned my engine by hand and don’t feel any resistance while I’m turning it. My son was driving my truck at the time my belt broke. He told me he hardly turned the ignition key and the oil gauge went up half way. But now it barely moves. Do you have any ideas on what might be causing my truck not to start?

A: According to Gates, a leading manufacturer ...

According to Gates, a leading manufacturer of timing belts, your 2.3 liter engine is a non-interference engine. This means that a timing belt failure as you describe should not cause the valves to strike the pistons causing serious damage. However, you mention that the engine doesn’t appear to have any resistance turning by hand, such as the normal compression of a healthy engine. This is not a good sign. It is still possible to have valve-to-valve contact after the timing belt has failed, which can cause the loss of compression as you may be describing. I would check the compression on all cylinders. If compression is low, the engine should be disassembled to determine the extent of damage. A professional mechanic, such as one from YourMechanic, can help with diagnosis of the starting problem and can guide with any fixes that are needed.

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