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I was driving in the freeway and heard a pop sound, like a flat tire. My pilot completely stopped, and now when I try starting it, it won't turn over. Haven't had to get to a mechanic, hoping my timing belt didn't snap. What else could it be? Only 156,000 miles
 

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Timing belt.

To verify, you can open the rubber cover on the forward timing cover, and see the camshaft pulley. Have someone crank the engine while you look at the pulley. Is it spinning?
 

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Sorry for your troubles. First, let's get the symptoms sorted.......what do you mean "it won't turn over"? Does the starter crank the engine but it won't start? Or does the engine not spin at all? Do you hear noises like the starter is attempting to turn the engine over? For example, the click of the starter relay? Does it sound like the starter motor is attempting to turn but it being resisted by a locked up engine? Do lights on the dash turn on when you turn the key from off to on? Do the lights dim when you turn the key to start? After the "pop", were there nasty bad metal-on-metal sounds, or did the car just coast gently to a stop?

Has the timing belt ever been replaced? Certainly 156K would be a a mileage where belt breakage, while not likely, is very possible. But typically after a break, the valves will be bent and/or break, but it won't prevent the starter motor from being able to spin the engine, albeit without starting and probably with some unusual noises. If the engine is truly "locked up", I'd tend to think of other failure modes.

- Mark
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Sorry for your troubles. First, let's get the symptoms sorted.......what do you mean "it won't turn over"? Does the starter crank the engine but it won't start? Or does the engine not spin at all? Do you hear noises like the starter is attempting to turn the engine over? For example, the click of the starter relay? Does it sound like the starter motor is attempting to turn but it being resisted by a locked up engine? Do lights on the dash turn on when you turn the key from off to on? Do the lights dim when you turn the key to start? After the "pop", were there nasty bad metal-on-metal sounds, or did the car just coast gently to a stop?

Has the timing belt ever been replaced? Certainly 156K would be a a mileage where belt breakage, while not likely, is very possible. But typically after a break, the valves will be bent and/or break, but it won't prevent the starter motor from being able to spin the engine, albeit without starting and probably with some unusual noises. If the engine is truly "locked up", I'd tend to think of other failure modes.

- Mark
Hi Mark,

The starter cranks but the engine won't turn over, it acts like it wants turn over but never does. Also the lights do come on when I put the key in. When it happened the car just coasted to a stop. I bought the car from a Honda dealer at 99,000 miles, and unfortunately I did not check to see if the timing belt had been replaced already, nor did I replace it myself.
 

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Open the top front timing belt cover and take a look at it.
 

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I’m guessing it was being sold at 99k miles because the owner didn’t want to deal with the timing belt service. I hope that isn’t what snapped on your Pilot.
 

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There's still some chance it is something minor, but the next thing would be to confirm the engine is mechanically locked up. I believe the by-the-book way you do this is to access a bolt at the end of the crankshaft behind a splash shield panel in the passenger-side wheel well - put a big socket on this bolt and see if the engine will move. (There may be a simpler way to attempt to turn the engine.) Or, as has been suggested, if you can confirm the belt is broken, then you can probably can assume the worst. In any event, time to tow the car to a mechanic.

If the timing belt did break and the engine is mechanically locked due to contact between the pistons and valves, it's usually not cost effective to repair the engine - instead you install a used engine from a wreck. This will probably run you $3K-$4K installed.

- Mark
 

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Hi Mark,

The starter cranks but the engine won't turn over, it acts like it wants turn over but never does. Also the lights do come on when I put the key in. When it happened the car just coasted to a stop. I bought the car from a Honda dealer at 99,000 miles, and unfortunately I did not check to see if the timing belt had been replaced already, nor did I replace it myself.
When you say the words turn over, do you actually mean the engine does rotate but just will not start? I think we have a semantics problem.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
When you say the words turn over, do you actually mean the engine does rotate but just will not start? I think we have a semantics problem.
Timing belt.

To verify, you can open the rubber cover on the forward timing cover, and see the camshaft pulley. Have someone crank the engine while you look at the pulley. Is it spinning?
Hi, no it's not spinning
 

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Interesting. Need to see if it is an electrical or mechanical lockup. See references above. Have you tested the battery?
 

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I think you broke the timing belt. Your description of what happened was identical to what happened to my 07 Pilot while my wife was driving it. I'm a mechanic (or at least I used to be) and repaired it myself. I had to have the heads done, bent 5 valves but no visible damage to any of the pistons. That was over 10K miles ago now and it's still running like a top with almost 180K on the vehicle...
 

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Ran9 - what kind of weather were you driving in when this happened?
 

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The pistons are what bent the valves as it is an interference motor. I only had one piston that had any kind of mark on it and it was very negligible. I just smoothed it with really fine sandpaper and wiped it clean. That's not to say that the results won't vary from vehicle to vehicle. I think I got lucky because my wife was going slow enough that the engine RPM was low. I'd imagine that if you were higher in the RPM range the damage could have been much worse. I looked at it like this, I had nothing to loose by tearing it down; at least to assess the damage and then make a decision on whether to repair or replace. In my case I made the right call.....
 

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Ran9 - no response?
I was asking about the weather, wondering if you were driving thru a bad rainstorm, lots of deep puddles, and maybe experienced hydrolock.
 

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So something like that happened to me where the lights would come on but car wouldn’t turn over . I thought it could be the alternator but it was the battery. It has enough juice to keep lights on but not enough to let it turn over. Check the easiest thing first (battery by taking it in to autozone ) have them check it out and then continue on to other things....

My thoughts ...
 

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I was driving in the freeway and heard a pop sound, like a flat tire. My pilot completely stopped, and now when I try starting it, it won't turn over. Haven't had to get to a mechanic, hoping my timing belt didn't snap. What else could it be? Only 156,000 miles
If you have confirmed it is a belt, disregard this message. I once had a fuel injector pop loose. The car had to be towed to my mechanic, and he quickly diagnosed the problem. He re-glued the injector, and I was back in business.
 

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Um, gotta ask, what happened? Everyone OK?
My son swerved to avoid a pickup truck that had just rear-ended a car on the freeway. The truck took off (probably no license/insurance). My boy was ok, thanks for asking, and sorry for the delayed response.
I have been to Vancouver a couple of times: our honeymoon, and then we drove that ol' Pilot there 25 years later.
 
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