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2012 timing belt replacement questions

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Hi guys,

Hoping for some advice and I'll try to be brief. Planning on replacing the timing belt on a 2012 with 103K miles.

1) I am going to buy the Aisin kit (includes Water Pump, Timing Belt, Tensioner, Pulleys, Seal) from Amazon (because of my Amazon credit card reward points). Some guy said not to buy Amazon parts. I don't understand why not, if it's the same part number as the Aisin website. Have you heard any such mumblings?

2) Should I replace the drive/serpentine belt tensioner? I am going to replace the drive belt, but the cheapest mid-grade tensioner is around $60. Is it something that you guys would replace while you're at it? If so, what brand would you use for belt and tensioner?

Thanks in advance!!!
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One thing I personally had a problem with was a non-Honda serpentine belt, believe it or not, it felt like it was a tad shorter and was a beach to install. So, I just get an OEM Honda serpentine belt since then and no issues at all.
What is your method for serp belt install?
Specific serp belt tool is a must have.
Cheap at harbor freight.
I usually do all pulleys including tensioner ...
While saving the PS pump for last after I move the tensioner and slip the belt on.
 

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That's not a good advice. Replace parts when they need to be replaced, no need for "advance" replacement. You're wasting money and filling up the landfills with perfectly good parts. It's not like a water pump that you once again need to take half the car apart to get to. You can replace that tensioner out in the field with a 13mm, 17mm and 19mm socket (going by memory) and a "gearwrench" for bleeding to make it even easier.

You go by the "what's the risk". Serpentine belt will never fail unexpectedly. Before it fails to the point you need to do anything about it, it will drive you nuts by squealing and shaking and the battery charging being wonky.

I just replaced mine with the last timing belt and only because it was becoming marginally noisier, but even more so because last time I replaced the alternator and serpentine belt, I stripped that 19mm stud that you use for bleeding. That was before I bought the proper wrench for it.... The vehicle was 11 years old and had 200K miles on it at the time of replacement.
Well having had a serpentine belt separate unexpectedly with no squealing, shaking, or battery charging issues, I would disagree with that statement based on personal experience. I was prepared with the proper tools to change the belt on the side of the road and get back on the way with just a little grease and dirt on my hands. The tensioner was changed when I got home from the road trip. It was the last time I was ever stranded on the side of the road. Since then my side of the road experience is helping when I can others who are stranded.

Preventative maintenance is not, in my world, a waste as it precludes having issues at unexpected times. As for filling up the land fill, with the amount of metal in a tensioner why would you trash it instead of taking it to be recycled for the metal. It's easier I suppose, but then we don't need water pumps or timing belt tensioners in the landfill either.
 

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Well having had a serpentine belt separate unexpectedly with no squealing, shaking, or battery charging issues, I would disagree with that statement based on personal experience. I was prepared with the proper tools to change the belt on the side of the road and get back on the way with just a little grease and dirt on my hands. The tensioner was changed when I got home from the road trip. It was the last time I was ever stranded on the side of the road. Since then my side of the road experience is helping when I can others who are stranded.

Preventative maintenance is not, in my world, a waste as it precludes having issues at unexpected times. As for filling up the land fill, with the amount of metal in a tensioner why would you trash it instead of taking it to be recycled for the metal. It's easier I suppose, but then we don't need water pumps or timing belt tensioners in the landfill either.
What made you decide the tensioner was at fault? What belt brand broke and at what mileage?
 

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It isn't i-VTEC either (at least not in the same way as the 4 cylinder engines with i-VTEC). It says i-VTEC because the technology used to power VCM is the exact same as VTEC technology. There is no form of VTEC whatsoever on this engine. It is purely a standard SOHC engine.
 
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What made you decide the tensioner was at fault? What belt brand broke and at what mileage?
I never said the tensioner was at fault. Part fatigue is real, so when I change a serpentine belt I change a tensioner, just as when I change a timing belt I change the tensioner, water pump, pull and seal as well. Belt brand and mileage, who knows, that was 50 years ago. It was the last time I was left stranded with any of the many vehicles I have owned since then.
 

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I never said the tensioner was at fault. Part fatigue is real, so when I change a serpentine belt I change a tensioner, just as when I change a timing belt I change the tensioner, water pump, pull and seal as well. Belt brand and mileage, who knows, that was 50 years ago. It was the last time I was left stranded with any of the many vehicles I have owned since then.
So why change only serp belt and tensioner ?
Why not AC compressor, PS pump, alternator, they all touch the belt, and could take it out.

I also think belt technology/ strength has drastically improved in the last 50 years.
 

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So why change only serp belt and tensioner ?
Why not AC compressor, PS pump, alternator, any of these could take out the belt.
Simple part, simple to get to when needed and not a problem for me to change out. PS pump gets proper, regular maintenance, ie fluid change as needed and have yet to have to change out a pump. Of course I have yet have to change out an alternator either. Tell me how does a power steering pump or alternator take out a belt? This isn't about taking out a belt its about preventive maintenance.

It always amazes me, people buy 30K, 40K, 50K + vehicles and then cheap out on their maintenance doing as little as necessary. Vehicles are an investment, not a one and done throw away like paper napkins.
 

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I also think belt technology/ strength has drastically improved in the last 50 years.
Then legacy parts that have been around for 100 years should be indestructible. It's a cost/benefit analysis... build everything like a tank and end up with a tank. Engineers/product planners/marketing/etc. all have influence on each part.

Plus we have to keep aftermarket companies and mechanics alive, so parts still need to fail!
 

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Simple part, simple to get to when needed and not a problem for me to change out. PS pump gets proper, regular maintenance, ie fluid change as needed and have yet to have to change out a pump. Of course I have yet have to change out an alternator either. Tell me how does a power steering pump or alternator take out a belt? This isn't about taking out a belt its about preventive maintenance.

It always amazes me, people buy 30K, 40K, 50K + vehicles and then cheap out on their maintenance doing as little as necessary. Vehicles are an investment, not a one and done throw away like paper napkins.
I rebuilt my PS pump in my odyssey last year w new seals, orings and bearing.
Was Seeping past seals.
Always used Honda PS fluid, turkey baster fluid changes many many times.

Bearing in PS pump seizes.. would give you warning noises before but still .. so would your serp tensioner pulley bearing before seizing...
Alternator seized on my cousins FJ cruiser on the highway(batt light was on for at least 15 mins).

I don't understand the preventative maintenance of only changing, without negative symptoms, only some parts that touch the serp belt but not all.
The rationale is not consistent.
 

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I rebuilt my PS pump in my odyssey last year w new seals, orings and bearing.
Was Seeping past seals.
Always used Honda PS fluid, turkey baster fluid changes many many times.

Bearing in PS pump seizes.. would give you warning noises before but still .. so would your serp tensioner pulley bearing before seizing...
Alternator seized on my cousins FJ cruiser on the highway(batt light was on for at least 15 mins).

I don't understand the preventative maintenance of only changing, without negative symptoms, only some parts that touch the serp belt but not all.
The rationale is not consistent.
Then why change the timing belt at the recommended 105Kmiles/7 years if you not having any symptoms? Is there something magical about a serpentine belt and tensioner that isn't applied to the timing belt and timing belt tensioner when they are manufactured that makes the serpentine belt last longer and the serpentine belt tensioner not experience fatigue like the timing belt tensioner? There is a reason for the 105Kmiles/7 year recommendation from Honda. Honda also recommends changing the serpentine belt tensioner when replacing a serpentine belt, which usually won't happen until 105Kmiles/7 years.

You have to take the serpentine belt off to get to the timing belt, you're there already, why cheap out on part of vehicle. It's not like you can install a timing belt kit without taking off the serpentine belt.
 

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Then why change the timing belt at the recommended 105Kmiles/7 years if you not having any symptoms? Is there something magical about a serpentine belt and tensioner that isn't applied to the timing belt and timing belt tensioner when they are manufactured that makes the serpentine belt last longer and the serpentine belt tensioner not experience fatigue like the timing belt tensioner? There is a reason for the 105Kmiles/7 year recommendation from Honda. Honda also recommends changing the serpentine belt tensioner when replacing a serpentine belt, which usually won't happen until 105Kmiles/7 years.

You have to take the serpentine belt off to get to the timing belt, you're there already, why cheap out on part of vehicle. It's not like you can install a timing belt kit without taking off the serpentine belt.
Timing belt service, everything is changed that touches the belt. Catastrophic failure. Ok makes sense. It also strictly listed in the maintenance schedule.

Serpentine belt ok...where does it say to change serpentine tensioner also?
I haven't seen that on the schedule. Inspect? Surely, everytime you drive it, listen for changes in noise.

To follow your logic if the idea is to change everything touching the belt for "preventative maintenance" why are you not doing that on serp belt also?

You also took off the side motor mount when changing timing belt ... Why not change it too based on your "if you took it off rationale"

Just picking and choosing what you feel is correct ...while telling others who simply feel differently than you(in the vast gray area of unspecified maintenance) that they are "cheaping out" on their vehicles...
 

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Timing belt service, everything is changed that touches the belt. Catastrophic failure. Ok makes sense. It also strictly listed in the maintenance schedule.

Serpentine belt ok...where does it say to change serpentine tensioner also?
I haven't seen that on the schedule. Inspect? Surely, everytime you drive it, listen for changes in noise.

To follow your logic if the idea is to change everything touching the belt for "preventative maintenance" why are you not doing that on serp belt also?

You also took off the side motor mount when changing timing belt ... Why not change it too based on your "if you took it off rationale"

Just picking and choosing what you feel is correct ...while telling others who simply feel differently than you(in the vast gray area of unspecified maintenance) that they are "cheaping out" on their vehicles. 🤣
The schedule doesn't tell you to when to change the brake pads, you have to apply a little common sense and do so when they are needed.

Modern drive belts feature self-controlled belt tensioners. Using an internal spring and pulley system, they hold a specific amount of tension on the serpentine belt to prevent damage and breakage. Belt tensioners also help to keep the belt in place; loose belts can cause the power steering, cooling system, and engine to stop running. Replacing the belt tensioner when the drive belt is replaced will help prevent mechanical failure.

Using your theory of don't change it until it breaks, why would you do a timing belt change until it breaks? Why do the kit and not just the belt, A whole lot cheaper that a kit with the tensioner, seals, water pump. You can get a Mitsuboshi timing belt for $30.00 +/- and an OEM for $85.oo. Either way, a whole lot cheaper than $190.00 for the Aisin kit.

Tell you what, you maintain your vehicle your way and I will maintain my vehicles my way. It has worked well for us. Never stranded the wife or any of the kids, except for the kid that ran over a nail, but then he was taught how to change a tire and did a fine job of it as well.
 

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The schedule doesn't tell you to when to change the brake pads, you have to apply a little common sense and do so when they are needed.

Modern drive belts feature self-controlled belt tensioners. Using an internal spring and pulley system, they hold a specific amount of tension on the serpentine belt to prevent damage and breakage. Belt tensioners also help to keep the belt in place; loose belts can cause the power steering, cooling system, and engine to stop running. Replacing the belt tensioner when the drive belt is replaced will help prevent mechanical failure.

Using your theory of don't change it until it breaks, why would you do a timing belt change until it breaks? Why do the kit and not just the belt, A whole lot cheaper that a kit with the tensioner, seals, water pump. You can get a Mitsuboshi timing belt for $30.00 +/- and an OEM for $85.oo. Either way, a whole lot cheaper than $190.00 for the Aisin kit.

Tell you what, you maintain your vehicle your way and I will maintain my vehicles my way. It has worked well for us. Never stranded the wife or any of the kids, except for the kid that ran over a nail, but then he was taught how to change a tire and did a fine job of it as well.
So if your theory(thank you for confirming your theory and not actual Honda recommended replacement) for the serpentine tensioner is "preventive" what are you doing that is preventive for the alternator? Ac? Anything else that touches the serpentine belt? Or Just making it up?

replace everything timing related(which is actual Honda recommended)
great. agree.
That not theory that's clear indicated scheduled maintenance.

But your theory on serpentine belt tensioner replacement (only the belt is actually Honda recommended)

All other serpentine belt components are per Honda replace when they begins to show signs of wear/abnormal wear/noise etc and not on any sort of time or mileage schedule.

Replace when necessary is not "my" theory but rather "Honda" theory, as in not replacing components if not indicated.

I just replaced the timing belt, w aisin kit from RA, in my pilot on Saturday...because it was indicated per maintenance schedule.

The serpentine belt tensioner replacement is not indicated by Honda when it is not making any noise or showing any signs of malfunction.
Nor is replacing any other serpentine belt accessories or components.

Replacing parts that give clear indication of decreasing function many years and tens of thousands of miles before warranted is pure theory. not "cheaping out"

LOL "Honda north dealer"(the sham dealer in MA, and only site on the web who mentions belt tensioner) also recommends replacing spark plugs every 30k miles. 🤣🤣🤣
Product Font Screenshot Software Technology


Once again... pure unsubstantiated theory

Agree to disagree.
 

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So if your theory(thank you for confirming your theory and not actual Honda recommended replacement) for the serpentine tensioner is "preventive" what are you doing that is preventive for the alternator? Ac? Anything else that touches the serpentine belt? Or Just making it up?

replace everything timing related(which is actual Honda recommended)
great. agree.
That not theory that's clear indicated scheduled maintenance.

But your theory on serpentine belt replacement (only the belt is actually Honda recommended)

All other serpentine belt components are per Honda replace when they begins to show signs of wear/abnormal wear/noise etc and not on any sort of time or mileage schedule.

Replace when necessary is not "my" theory but rather "Honda" theory, as in not replacing components if not indicated.

I just replaced the timing belt in my pilot on Saturday...because it was indicated per maintenance schedule.

The serpentine belt tensioner replacement is not indicated by Honda when it is not making any noise or showing any signs of malfunction.
Nor is replacing any other serpentine belt accessories or components.

Replacing it years and tens of thousands of miles before warranted is pure theory. not "cheaping out"

Agree to disagree.
The quote was from Honda.
 

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My tensioner went at about 175,000 on the 06 I drove to 250,000. Along the way wore out the PS pump and rebuilt it with Honda parts. Replaced the Alt twice. Likely due to the family using the seat heater option all winter. Originlal AC pump held up till the end.
Starter let go at around 230,000.
Did the timing belt at 110,000 and rode the last 140,000 on that second belt. Sent the car on after it finally couldn’t pass emissions with the code from a minor head gasket leak causing engine codes. Would have chased that but the road salt and calcium cloride had taken its tole On the body.
Still like the gen 1 over our gen 3. But both are solid family cars
 

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So two schools of thought on the serp tensioner and bearing.

1) A new part has a potential for infant mortality. Basically there is a non zero chance of getting a bad one brand new out of the box. Aircraft have seen this be a real problem where excessive maintenance leads to actually more failures.

On the other hand…

2) The tensioner bearings absolutely DO go bad, and typically go bad well before they actually fail. I‘d argue that likely many people drive with a bad one and don’t realize it and just attribute increased noise to “an old car”. I know I missed it on my Lexus for a LONG time myself. Didn’t realize it until I had the belt off and turned the pulley only to go “oh snap that’s toast”.

Personally I really don’t see the harm in rep it while there. Remember Honda doesn’t specify the replacement of the timing belt tensioners and pulleys either and I’d argue those big Koyo idlers are much more robust than any of the tensioner bearings.
 

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I changed the belt in my 2013 this summer... Didn't change the tensioner. When I took the belt off, I made sure the pulleys functioned, and just went forward. Haven't yet sent issues (apart from an apparently coincidental battery issue)

In my research, I found the $60 tensioner had poor reviews. If I were doing it, I'd get one of the higher quality ones. I think they were ~100.

Ps, bought the belt from Amazon.
 

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I changed the belt in my 2013 this summer... Didn't change the tensioner. When I took the belt off, I made sure the pulleys functioned, and just went forward. Haven't yet sent issues (apart from an apparently coincidental battery issue)

In my research, I found the $60 tensioner had poor reviews. If I were doing it, I'd get one of the higher quality ones. I think they were ~100.

Ps, bought the belt from Amazon.
I replaced the tensioner on my odyssey at approx 140k miles. I used an AC Delco which appeared identical the to Honda part that I removed. Ac Delco doesn't make their own parts so actual part may change over the years.
 

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Guys, thank you so much for all your replies. I truly appreciate it. I'm very confused about why there is a chance for counterfeit product from Amazon, but not from Rock Auto. The Amazon Aisin belt is $2 different from Rock Auto. I could understand the hesitation if there was a > 20% difference. I have to believe it's the same product. I'm going to "roll the dice" and just get it from Amazon. I will let you guys know how it ends up. Last time I changed a timing belt (on my 2002 Civic), the belt looked practically brand new after 100k miles. I wish Honda would start using chains. This job is a PITA.
I would only buy the kit from Rock Auto. Like was mentioned there’s so many sellers that sell that kit with rock auto you only have one company to work with and to deal with. I replaced about four or five of these with the rock auto kit and had zero issues. Yes I would replace the tensioner. The tensioner will go bad before the belt does. You will have everything apart at that point so you might as will replace it.
 

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You certainly could. I went with OEM parts on my Odyssey when I had the belt done on it. Wasn't cheap but it has been a ridiculously reliable car (I really can't say it enough. It has never left me stranded or had any major problems that affected drivability. I've always been able to count on it to start right up) so I'd say it earned it.


It's not really right to call it the VTEC spool valve. Has nothing to do with VTEC. It operates on a principle very similar to VTEC, but it's not for VTEC. This engine doesn't even have VTEC to begin with.
This engine does have VTEC. Intake side only.
 
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