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Old 11-27-2010, 03:02 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Engine noise like rattling bicycle chain

I have a 2003 Honda Pilot. When its cold outside, there is a noise that sounds like a rattling bicycle chain coming from the engine. The power steering also seems to make loud moaning noises. Any ideas?
Thanks in advance
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Old 11-27-2010, 03:08 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I have a 2003 Honda Pilot. When its cold outside, there is a noise that sounds like a rattling bicycle chain coming from the engine. The power steering also seems to make loud moaning noises. Any ideas?
Thanks in advance
A power steering pump ready to pack it in?

Do check the PS fluid level, though, and make sure none of the hoses are kinked or pinched..
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Old 11-27-2010, 06:48 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Hi, on the 105,000 mile service I have replaced the three belts, the two timing belt pulleys, the front seal, and the water pump successfully this week on my 2003 Pilot with 110,000 miles. I was able to re-set and re-use my hydraulic tensioner as Piloteers and others suggested with a vice and a removable pin.

However, I am experiencing significant dull clanking, moaning noise and knocking which is intermittent in the region of the timing belt, water pump, or engine front (right fender) motor mount or steering pump. Its hard to decide just where it originates from. It is loudest at idle, tending to diminish with higher speeds.

I did notice the engine-front (right fender) mount rubber is cracking when I had it out. I plan to replace that. But since the noise is intermittent and I can't feel the vibration physically from touching the metal parts of the mount, I don't suppose this could be the direct source.

Sometimes it is silent, sometimes it is medium loud, and other times it turns heads at a traffic light. I can't tell if the noise is from the steering pump, the water pump, or the hydraulic tensioner resulting in a loose timing belt.

Other Piloteers have suggested if it's a hydraulic tenioner problem it would show up mostly at higher RPMs. Mine does not. Does this sound like it is a hydraulic tensioner issue?

It could be the power steering pump. Perhaps at first I had the new belt too tight? I have checked the fluid level, loosened the belt to looser than normal. Steering seems to be otherwise normal. No change in the sound when turning at low RPMs.
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Old 11-27-2010, 07:44 PM   #4 (permalink)
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The noise seems to come from the pulley to immediate left of the engine- as your looking at it. I tried squirting some WD40 on the pulley, to see if there was any change in noise, but there wasn't. I installed a tow package on my Pilot years ago, but I never installed a power steering cooler.
Question, if the power steering pump fails- do you immediately lose power steering? I checked the fluid level, and it looks good.
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Old 11-27-2010, 10:19 PM   #5 (permalink)
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The noise seems to come from the pulley to immediate left of the engine- as your looking at it. I tried squirting some WD40 on the pulley, to see if there was any change in noise, but there wasn't. I installed a tow package on my Pilot years ago, but I never installed a power steering cooler.
Question, if the power steering pump fails- do you immediately lose power steering? I checked the fluid level, and it looks good.
Short answer is YES - once the pump fails, the rack won't get the high-pressure hydraulic fluid that provides the power assist.
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Old 11-29-2010, 04:58 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Maybe a bad O-ring

It could be the O-ring on the inlet side. Once they get old, damaged or harden they allow air into the system and the power steering pump will make a great deal of noise. Mine did this and when the O-ring was replaced and the fluid was flushed the noise went away. One way easily tell is to remove the power steering cap and look to see if the fluid is bubbling. Ove on the Acurazine website they have a nice little write up on it.

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Old 11-29-2010, 07:41 PM   #7 (permalink)
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definitely worth checking the PAS fluid level out and topping up if low with the correct fluid.
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Old 11-29-2010, 10:22 PM   #8 (permalink)
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normal noises....
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Old 11-30-2010, 11:08 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Great ideas. Thanks to all of you. Im kinda worried about the power steering pump going out, especially since we live in the mountains.
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Old 12-01-2010, 01:32 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Great ideas. Thanks to all of you. Im kinda worried about the power steering pump going out, especially since we live in the mountains.
I noticed that noise since 80k miles. now with 184k miles, it stills drives without problems and without leaks.
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Old 01-04-2011, 08:03 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by jonaz View Post
I have a 2003 Honda Pilot. When its cold outside, there is a noise that sounds like a rattling bicycle chain coming from the engine. The power steering also seems to make loud moaning noises. Any ideas?
Thanks in advance
Did you ever find out what the noise was? I've got a similar noise that I only hear sometimes during the winter months.
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Old 01-06-2011, 09:01 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Solved: Upper Idler pulley bearing bad


I have the same noise on an 2007 Honda Pilot 2wd . Replaced the seal on the steering pump and no change. I only hear it when in gear and slightly above idle. Definitely in the belt area. Going to remove the accessory belt and try it to verify if it is the tensioner/pulleys. Turning the air on or off has no effect.

Last edited by deanosan1; 01-08-2011 at 01:35 PM.
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Old 01-12-2011, 12:16 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Solved: Upper Idler pulley bearing bad


I have the same noise on an 2007 Honda Pilot 2wd . Replaced the seal on the steering pump and no change. I only hear it when in gear and slightly above idle. Definitely in the belt area. Going to remove the accessory belt and try it to verify if it is the tensioner/pulleys. Turning the air on or off has no effect.
Thanks for the update!
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Old 01-25-2011, 08:36 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Ordered the tensioner pulley from Rockauto Goodyear 49006. This pulley is wrong for the tensioner on 2007 with the little shock style tensioner even though it shows it in Goodyear and rockautos catalog. Ended up getting refunded for the pulley and ordered the whole Dyaco 89390 assembly . The noise appears to be gone for now. Both pulleys had play in them .
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Old 01-27-2011, 06:38 PM   #15 (permalink)
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I took mine to the dealer and they couldn't replicate the problem, of course. Looks like I'll look into the pulley sometime soon unless I can get it to the dealer when it's making the noise.
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