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Hello all,

I have a 2003 with just about 200k miles on it, I am trying to figure out if it is worth it for me to replace the timing belt, water pump, valves adjusted, and fluids flushed (I also need new front struts, bushings and motor mounts). The trans seems like it is okay, no problems so far. I did get the flashing D a while ago but I replaced the sensors for that. How much longer should I expect to get out of my baby? Are people seeing another 50-100k out of these pilots at this point or what should I be hoping for?

Any comments or advice is helpful, thanks in advance.
 

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Had the is it worth it dilemmas myself 40k ago.

At least it gave me the reassurance that the belt wouldn't break on my kid when he was away at college. Worth it. Wife would say yes.
 

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When was the timing belt last replaced and at what mileage?

If you rolled the dice and didn’t have any maintenance done would you be screwed if the Pilot died?

Will you be doing any of the work yourself? It’s easier to justify fixing lots of things when the labor is your spare time and you’re only out the cost of parts.

How much are you willing to throw into maintenance? The items you listed will cost you between $2k and $3k to have a mechanic do.

What is the maintenance history on the Pilot? It’s easier to justify spending money on a 200k old vehicle if you know it has been properly maintained.

I think each situation is unique based on vehicle history, personal finances, etc. Only you know what you can afford and what you’re willing to spend on it. There have been reports on this forum of Pilots passing the 250k mark so there is hope of getting 50k more miles out of it.
 
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Discussion Starter #4
When was the timing belt last replaced and at what mileage?

If you rolled the dice and didn’t have any maintenance done would you be screwed if the Pilot died?

Will you be doing any of the work yourself? It’s easier to justify fixing lots of things when the labor is your spare time and you’re only out the cost of parts.

How much are you willing to throw into maintenance? The items you listed will cost you between $2k and $3k to have a mechanic do.

What is the maintenance history on the Pilot? It’s easier to justify spending money on a 200k old vehicle if you know it has been properly maintained.

I think each situation is unique based on vehicle history, personal finances, etc. Only you know what you can afford and what you’re willing to spend on it. There have been reports on this forum of Pilots passing the 250k mark so there is hope of getting 50k more miles out of it.
Hello Road2Cycle,

My family has had the pilot since about 90k, and it was well maintained before we bought it. We have done all the maintenance religiously, including the last timing belt/pump at just under 100k. I am mechanically inclined and can most likely do the timing belt, water pump, tensioner, and fluids myself. I would most likely not do the struts, bushings, motor mounts, and valves myself, I would have a shop do those.

Honestly, I am not sure how much I am willing to spend on the pilot, and that is why I was asking y'all so I can figure out what I can/should expect out of a well maintained '03 pilot past 200k miles.
 

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Hello all,

I have a 2003 with just about 200k miles on it, I am trying to figure out if it is worth it for me to replace the timing belt, water pump, valves adjusted, and fluids flushed (I also need new front struts, bushings and motor mounts). The trans seems like it is okay, no problems so far. I did get the flashing D a while ago but I replaced the sensors for that. How much longer should I expect to get out of my baby? Are people seeing another 50-100k out of these pilots at this point or what should I be hoping for?

Any comments or advice is helpful, thanks in advance.
I drive a 2003, bought it 2 years ago with 197k miles. We are at 209k now. I hope to get another 50k. I do the work myself, and I have had to do all the items on your list. The Pilot runs great, and I hope for another couple of years from it. Your situation may be different, but I feel that a solid Pilot that is running well is worth maintaining. What's a new car payment run per month?
 

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Your Pilot is well maintained and you’re able to do a lot of the work on your own. If the frame is relatively rust free then it sounds like you have a keeper.

If you can do the timing belt job on your own then you can definitely change the motor mounts yourself. I paid to have the former done but did the latter myself without too much trouble (front and passenger side). I’m confident I could change the struts and bushings out with the right tools; you mentioned you’re mechanically inclined so you’d probably be able to do those yourself too.
 

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>If the frame is relatively rust free then it sounds like you have a keeper.
Agree. Assess where you stand today. If its driving well and not rusting, never had a major interior leak, body is in pretty good shape, etc., its a keeper. Lowest cost per mile is usually to fix what you have, if that's your goal. You're looking at around $2k for all the parts you propose to use. Your Pilot is worth maybe $2k. I doubt you'll find a car that good for $4k.

>I’m confident I could change the struts and bushings out with the right tools; you mentioned you’re mechanically inclined so you’d probably be able to do those yourself too.
No question - if you're confident doing the timing belt, struts and bushings are easy. Get the KYB Quick Struts and replace the complete unit. No spring compressor needed. Its like bolting in a shock absorber. Don't bother with individual front suspension compliance bushings. Get a complete lower control arm and get new ball joints free. Also easy.
 

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Good question, I have an '04 with 205k and I have done pretty much everything you'd think of on that list myself:

  • Good suggestion on KYB quick struts - simple. biggest thing is just knowing you can cut the stabilizer link bolts off with a cutoff wheel as they are rusted and impossible to remove. will save you an hour of hassle. otherwise job is simple, watch youtube videos
  • Transmission fluid - simple drain and fill. doing it 3 times over a few months is a good recommendation. do not flush at dealer / tranny shop
  • Rear diff - simple drain and flush
  • Just did coolant drain, replaced upper and lower radiator hoses. simple. lower clamp was rusted out. just know you don't want to push the lower hose (blind location) on all the way to bottom it out. there's a standing boss on the lower outlet port that is to stop the hose from going all the way to bottom out point. i pushed it over this and created a leak. all fixed now. also if you use worm clamps, don't tighten hard on the two plastic ports on the radiator
I guess I've decided to roll the dice on the timing belt change. If it goes and the engine does too then we'll be shopping that night for a replacement. This Pilot has lasted us 15 yrs and was only to the shop once for timing belt and water pump at 110k. Everything else done by me. My hope is that the timing belt will last because it is a fairly big job that I just haven't wanted to tackle.
 

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I just bought an 03 from a friend of mine with 285k on the clock for 500 dollars. Known faults were it needed a timing belt and had a clunky front end. In the plus column it has fairly new tires, new alternator, body in good condition with some clear coat peeling and a decent interior. I've replaced the timing belt, to include water pump kit, all the engine mounts, lower control arms, sway bar links, inner and outer tie rods, struts and struts mounts. Engine runs smooth so as it stands I hope to get 50 to 100k miles out of it as a beater and light hauler. I still think I'm ahead.

I'm a Toyota and BMW guy so to grab a Honda I'm fairly confident it was worth the money and will go the distance. If a vehicle does 200k without much trouble it's a solid car and should make another 100k. With the price of new vehicles these days sometimes all you need is transportation. Since you already own it, it is not an unknown quantity like mine, if you do the work and buy the parts it should be less than a grand.
 

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I have a 2003 with just about 200k miles on it, I am trying to figure out if it is worth it for me to replace the timing belt, water pump, valves adjusted, and fluids flushed (I also need new front struts, bushings and motor mounts).
Would you be willing to keep this Pilot for about another 7 years/105K miles so that you get the full value out of the cost of the timing belt replacement?
Would you rather have a new/different vehicle and can you presently afford to acquire it?
 

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Would you be willing to keep this Pilot for about another 7 years/105K miles so that you get the full value out of the cost of the timing belt replacement?
Would you rather have a new/different vehicle and can you presently afford to acquire it?
Your assumptions are incorrect. If the timing belt job costs $1200, and a monthly payment on a new SUV is $400, he only needs to drive the Pilot for 3 months to break even. And I am omitting the additional new vehicle costs of a down payment, sales tax and transfer fees, higher insurance, and higher license tabs.

One cannot drive an old vehicle forever, but the per mile cost of an older, paid-for Pilot in good shape will be far less than a brand new one with a finance contract.
 

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The TB job can be a DIY provided that the Honda 50mm pulley tool and an at least 3' breaker bar are available. Then the cost equals to the cost of the Aisin or Gates kit.
 

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Your assumptions are incorrect. If the timing belt job costs $1200, and a monthly payment on a new SUV is $400, he only needs to drive the Pilot for 3 months to break even. And I am omitting the additional new vehicle costs of a down payment, sales tax and transfer fees, higher insurance, and higher license tabs.

One cannot drive an old vehicle forever, but the per mile cost of an older, paid-for Pilot in good shape will be far less than a brand new one with a finance contract.
My assumptions are not incorrect, just different from the ones you are making.

Also, one can continue to drive an old vehicle for as long as you are willing to perform whatever upkeep is required to maintain it in operating condition.
 

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TB replacement is every 7 years or 105k miles (whichever comes first). Mine was replaced at 96k miles in 2011. Your pilot is past due since 2017. My 05 Pilot with 140k miles is also past due since 2018. Last year, I said that I hope to keep it for 2-3 more years after I replaced the AC compressor, alternator and starter ($2300 total) the previous year. This year, after the new brakes, tires, radiator and air bag sensor. ($2,600 total), I hope to keep it for another 2-3 years! Hmmm... But you know what I'm saying, right?
 

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I did, but the body and interior of my Pilot was pretty good. It cost me $1000 to have timing belt, plugs and fluids flushed at 200K. I then sunk $800 for front end suspension, $500 in rear end suspension, $500 for motor mounts. This year I got hit with $800 for air con evaporator and $350 for blower motor and resistor pack. That's 3 years of repairs and 46K miles driven. I'm planning driving mine until it turns 300K
 

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Seems like many of us here do TB replacement by mileage and not by time? IMHO, TB replacement (the 2nd replacement) will always be a tricky decision to make because our Pilots would have reached a point when we have already spent (for some of us) a lot of money on repair and are dreading for another shoe to drop? Thanks.
 

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We had the timing belt replaced at ~10.5 years / 80k miles. That was my threshold of rolling the dice based on time. At that time I figured I’d like to get at least 150k miles out of the Pilot (currently at 110k) so that was roughly the halfway point in my mind. When it’s at the 20 year mark I’m either going to learn how to change the belt and associated items myself or use it as a local only vehicle until the belt snaps or something else catastrophic happens.
 

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I have an '03 pilot with approx 207k on the clock. I bought it with 168k. I did the timing belt, pump, all fluids flushed, etc. when I bought it. I haven't had any major issues in the last 40k miles. I pulled a popup camper 2.5k miles this summer from Colorado to California and back. No problems. I head into the backcountry on rough roads once a week for mountain bike adventures. I haul myself and my son to school 5 days a week. I carry 7 passengers when we have family visiting. I get 19.5mpg average. It's been a great car and I have few if any complaints. I expect to drive it to 250k at least.
 
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