First breakdown of my Chevrolet Beat in 13 years that too at midnight

It was supposed to be a jolly night drive with friends but the car stalled and there was a burning smell for 15 minutes straight.

BHPian saikishor recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

Short backstory

I took my car out on 30 September at around 1-2 a.m. for a short shawarma drive with my friends within the city. Mind you my car’s service is overdue by 3 weeks or so, as my mechanic delayed it because he was expecting a Chevrolet service camp to take place soon. But that didn’t happen, and the service started to get delayed. My car also has a problem with the low oil pressure light. It starts glowing dimly at some moments and then just goes off, despite of having enough engine oil in the car.

So after driving the car for 7 odd kilometers, I stopped to pick up a friend of mine. And then I saw this fluid leaking from the car. I first suspected it to be engine oil, but wasn’t very sure as I knew how viscous engine oil is and this wasn’t engine oil for sure. My friend suggested it to be AC water, and I believed him because I drove with the AC set to 22 ish for those 7 kilometers.

After this, I drove for 15kms or even more at a speed of 80-100kmph. At this point, the engine oil light started to glow when I braked but went off immediately after I took my foot off the brake. 2-3 kms after this, the engine temperature light started to glow, and the car stalled 200m later. I had to push the car to the side of the road. There was this burning smell for 15 minutes straight. I mean, little did I know that there was something wrong with the cooling system. I knew that the engine oil pressure light was erratic and there was sufficient engine oil in the car. The car broke down for the first time in 13 years of ownership, that too at midnight. What was supposed to be a jolly drive with friends turned out to be something else.

I got the car towed to my trusty mech the next day. The car started within one click, but was misfiring badly. My mechanic took the car up on the lift, and showed me that the water pump along with the corresponding pipes had worn out and failed. And the reason the oil light was acting erratically was because the water from the water pump was leaking and this water was falling right on the oil pressure sensor. My mechanic showed me this under the lift, but I am not sure about how true the oil sensor part is. My mechanic told me that changing the water pump and corresponding hoses should solve the issue. If not, some gasket needs to be changed. He gave us an estimate of 20k including the pending general service. This was fine to me and my dad. He told us the gasket thing if needed would take the cost upwards of 30k.

Photos of the water pump:

Today, he called my dad and told me that the misfiring was not solved, as the gasket and cylinder head needed to be replaced and overhauled respectively, giving us a new estimate of 40-45k. My dad was not okay with this. He feels this guy is taking us for a ride. This guy was the same guy who fixed my car last year. My car had a rollover crash, and the initial estimate he gave us was 30k but the final bill ended up being 60k caused by a shoddily executed full body repaint. We’ve known this guy since 2015, and his issue diagnosis was spot on when he was with Chevrolet. He had worked with Chevy for 10 years and then a customer invested in a garage with him, ever since he has been running his own garage.

All of this aside, I really need advice on my issue. I would like to know if the issue diagnosis is genuine and how much it would take to solve it. If not, I’d also like to know some better mechanics who identify and solve the problem at a much more reasonable price.

Photos of the gasket and cylinder head:

Here’s what BHPian svsantosh had to say about the matter:

Cannot comment on pricing, but a petrol engine without water is sure to cook the gasket and crack the head. You are in trouble friend. See if you can get a used working engine from a rearward-accident 4Cyl petrol Beat. That is your quickest way out of this mess. Rebuilt engines (esp Petrol) do not last very long and you are better off finding a used engine.

Sum of parts during a rebuild can be very expensive and frustrating and never gives the satisfaction of a factory-fit engine. And no mechanic can do a perfect job and the machine shop is the primary root cause of failures after rebuild. Each will machine/grind the head surface to his experience and you will need to play with advance/retard to get the timing right and it will always overheat after the rebuild and especially improper running in/setting in of a newly rebuilt engine.

PS – Sorry to say but you actually saw and encouraged your engine to die step by step and you did not give the necessary care as an owner and stopped the car at the first warning.

Here’s what BHPian sagarpadaki had to say about the matter:

Sorry to hear about the ordeal.

What options you have depends on how long you intend to keep your car. If you intend to keep it for long then an engine rebuild from a reputed engine workshop will work well assuming you will install all genuine parts.

If you do not want to go with the hassle, then try sourcing an engine from a scrapyard. But there will be no guarantee on the condition of the scrapyard engine. You will basically be taking a risk.

When was the last time the coolant was changed? Extended coolant change intervals and/or using the wrong quality and spec of the coolant are the main reasons for the corrosion of the components in the cooling system leading to the coolant leak and subsequent engine failure. Hence the question.

Here’s what BHPian myavu had to say about the matter:

Oops! Sorry to hear that.

You should have taken care of your water pump leak and oil pressure switch issue much earlier. I had gone through the same but was closely monitoring it with weekly coolant top-ups and checks. I got the issue resolved for 4700/- instead of 22,500/- quoted by ASC. Details here.

For the engine, the best option is to find one from the scrap market.

Here’s what BHPian Mortis had to say about the matter:

I also experienced an engine shutdown on my Beat due to the same issue. The elbow of the water pump corroded and failed just like yours, apparently a relatively common issue just like the gear knob crumbling after 5-6 years.

Luckily I was only a Km away from home so I could limp it back without any lasting damage to the engine.

Just the elbow is available but I replaced the whole pump. The price your mechanic quoted for just pump replacement (30k) is definitely on the higher side. I can’t remember the exact cost but it was definitely under 10-15k and parts are readily available.

The engine damage due to driving without coolant is definitely possible though I can’t say to what extent and the cost for the same.

If you do decide to get rid of the car instead of repairing it do let me know as I would like to buy a few parts from you.

Check out BHPian comments for more insights and information.

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