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I have a Dodge Stratus 2000 SE 2.4 L with 150,000 miles on it.

I decided to change the timing belt and water pump, since my mechanic told me to do so because of the mileage it had on it. Anyways, I went and replaced the timing belt, water pump and oil pump.

After it was replaced, I noticed the car was shaking in idle and on gear, very little on gear 1.5k - 2k RPM. My mechanic told me it could be the wires, so I replace the wires, the plugs, coils, etc.. He told me to clean the injectors with Seafoam and put super unleaded.

Well, is been two months and I still have the problems. I don't know what it can be; I'm very confused about the whole situation. I know for sure before I replaced the timing belt, water pump and oil pump the car was running fine. It was only after I changed the parts that it started to shake and vibrate.

I have done some research and some asking around they say the car can be out of timing, timing belt missing a tooth.

My questions are the following:

  • What are my consequences of running my car out of time?
  • Was my mechanic just stringing me along because he knew?
  • What is the average price to set the timing belt in time on my car?
  • Why is my engine light not on? Can i still check the computer with a DTC scanner? Will it tell me if something is wrong?

Thank you in advance, any answers will be very appreciated. God bless.

  • Was the car sitting for an extended period of time while the initial work was performed?\ – Zaid Aug 3 '15 at 3:38
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Before you go thinking the belt is out of time, when your mechanic told you about the wires, what he may have been suggesting is that you have the wires on the wrong plugs. This will create the imbalance you are talking about, yet most of the time will not show a trouble code (because they are all still firing, just not at the right time). Double check to ensure you have the wires in the right places, from the coils to the spark plugs.

As for your questions:

What are my consequences of running my car Out of time, ???

Since you have already run it, whatever damage could be done is done. If you run it out of time, you'll get crappy gas mileage, plus the irritation of having to feel the vibration with nothing you can readily do for it (except take it apart and fix it).

Was my Mechanic just stringing me along, Cause he knew, ??

You never really stated if you did the work or if your mechanic did the work. I'll assume you did the work and you are asking your mechanic for advice. In light of that, I doubt your mechanic was doing anything other than trying to help you get it right. What he described to you is the way I would have gone about it, but I would have said something about the timing up front as this is usually the case. If it was running well before, there is no reason why any other part involved would have anything to do with it running bad (ie: plugs don't go bad from sitting on the shelf ... same with the other parts).

Why my engine light is not on, Can i still check the computer with (DTC), WILL IT TELL ME SOMETHING IS WRONG, ???

If no engine light is on, it's not going to tell you a thing. I assume you pulled the battery cable before you did the work, therefore any codes which might have been there from before would be wiped. If your scanner has live data, you might be able to tell if it's pulling time or picking up knock from the sensor, but beyond that, if you don't have a fully functional scanner, it's not going to tell you much.

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A few thoughts (in no particular order):

  • It sounds like one or more cylinders are not firing

    You'll want to isolate the problematic cylinder(s). Assuming the car has run for a bit since the timing belt swap, you could try to inspect the spark plugs to see if any of them is wet or looks different from the rest. This should give you focus in on the problem area.

    This question about how to diagnose misfires in SI engines may be of use.

  • Ageing fuel injectors can get sticky if unused for extended periods

    This could be the cause of the persistent shaking (can't promise it though).

    If an injector is really clogged up then no amount of Seafoaming or running fuel injector cleaner through the fuel tank will fix it. You will want to establish if this is really the case by taking out the injectors and testing them¹.

    Ultrasonic cleaning might help; in the worst case scenario the injector will need to be replaced.

  • Hear what the ECU has to say

    Pull any present DTC's with a code scanner. This will aid tremendously in the diagnosis. Sometimes there are DTC's which do not trigger the check engine light (CEL).


¹ - Mandatory YouTube video link to understand how one could test & clean the injectors à la DIY

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