Is it possible for the timing to jump?
We own a 1997 Chevy Cavalier. It has always been a good little car, but Friday afternoon, it started just inching along, no matter how hard you mashed the gas. We got it to a garage, and the mechanic said it might be the fuel pump, but that the car was hot and he couldn't tell. That sounded reasonable, so we left the car with him. Saturday, he did not call us as he promised and we could not get him on the phone. Monday morning, it seems he had the wrong phone number and it might be the wiring and the plugs. Monday evening, "the timing has jumped" and it will cost $400 to fix -- on Thursday because he can't get the parts until then. My beother says to leave the car where it is and pay the $400, but I suspect we are being screwed. Can someone please help us?
It is entirely possible that the timing has jumped. If one of the teeth on the timing belt stripped, the timing can move and cause this issue. Another possible problem could be the headgasket, which was a known issue with these vehicles. I would not doubt his assertion that the timing had jumped.