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Discussion Starter #1
Just found this forum after doing a Google Search on "Honda Pilot Pistons and Timing Belts"

Our 2012 Pilot with 85,000 miles needs to have a new engine installed - Lucky Us!
We had the piston ring recall work done last summer.
This past Sunday (12/8/19) the Pilot died in the turn lane of a major road where we live.

After having it towed to our local mechanic and then towed to the Honda dealer we just found out that the timing belt broke which equals new engine.
We are completely in shock - we bought the Pilot because we wanted to pass it down to our kids once it hit 150,000 miles.
Our plan was to hopefully get 200,000+out of it until it finally died!

Anyone heard anything like this happening before??
The first thing they told us was that a replacement used engine with 12/12k warranty was going to be $6700 installed.
We are going back and forth with the Honda dealer - but I am almost positive they aren't going to willing do anything to help us out.

We would appreciate and guidance - help - stories you could share as to what to do next!!

Thanks in advance-
 

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When they replaced the rings, im wondering if they removed the timing belt, and installed a new one? That seems really odd for a timing belt to break with 85k and 7 years old. Like damned near unheard of. In my opinion, it would be negligent to reuse the original timing belt. When my father's odyssey had the re-ring, they recommended a new timing belt even though his only had like 20k miles, because they said they had to remove it anyway. I'd do everything I could to get Honda customer service involved to at least split the cost, and if they installed a new belt, they should cover this 100% (unless the recommended a new belt and you rejected it).

Were I dealing with this, and the dealer would not eat at least half that cost, then I'd be buying a used engine from ebay... there is one local to me that is $1400 so I'd probably install it myself. Having a "budget" shop is still going run around $4k at best, I'd guess between parts and labor. If you put in a used engine, you will want to install a timing belt kit on it before you install it, and get compression test readings as soon as possible to ensure its a good engine.
 
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Discussion Starter #3
When they replaced the rings, im wondering if they removed the timing belt, and installed a new one? That seems really odd for a timing belt to break with 85k and 7 years old. Like damned near unheard of. In my opinion, it would be negligent to reuse the original timing belt. When my father's odyssey had the re-ring, they recommended a new timing belt even though his only had like 20k miles, because they said they had to remove it anyway. I'd do everything I could to get Honda customer service involved to at least split the cost, and if they installed a new belt, they should cover this 100% (unless the recommended a new belt and you rejected it).

Were I dealing with this, and the dealer would not eat at least half that cost, then I'd be buying a used engine from ebay... there is one local to me that is $1400 so I'd probably install it myself. Having a "budget" shop is still going run around $4k at best, I'd guess between parts and labor. If you put in a used engine, you will want to install a timing belt kit on it before you install it, and get compression test readings as soon as possible to ensure its a good engine.
Thanks for that info - I asked the service writer that same question and he said that they wouldn't have mentioned the timing belt because 1 - the Pilot only had 80k miles when they did the piston work and 2 - they did the service without removing the belt itself?? They can do the repair according to the TSB and not remove the belt. Just move "stuff" out of the way. I asked my local mechanic and he told me that he has never heard any way to replace piston rings without removing the belt?? We'll see what the dealership says next. We can't do any of the work our self - so we are going to be on the hook for the replacement engine and install if Honda doesn't step up and assist!
 

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Sorry to hear about your misfortune.

Cars have things that break, and in your case, it happened to be the timing belt.

Is it unusual - YES ...... is it unheard of - NO.

Don't let this misfortune & stress ruin your holidays and beyond.... repair or sell and move on.
 

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Sorry for your engine loss, that is horrible to have an engine failure less than 10k miles after Honda took apart the engine. I don’t know Honda engines well but the engines I do know require the cylinder head and timing chain or belt to come off.

I would suggest you talk to Honda Customer support and maybe other professionals...


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
 

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Which very clearly states "Remove Timing Belt" and Timing belt idler pulley. Its possible the timing belt idler pulley bolt broke, and this took out your timing belt. They could have over-torqued this. There have been many incidents where this bolt broke shortly after a timing belt change. When I did my timing belt, because of all the reports of this bolt being broken, I replaced it with a new one. I'd want a better explanation. The dealer was in there, then a few months and 5000 miles later the timing belt goes?

Furthermore, that belt was 7 years old. For them NOT to change it is negligence. The honda standard is 7 years OR 105k miles.

 

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Furthermore, that belt was 7 years old. For them NOT to change it is negligence. The honda standard is 7 years OR 105k miles.
This is incorrect for the 2006 and later models which have no calendar time replacement requirement. The MM governs the replacement interval and at 85K it will not call for replacement, regardless of calendar time.

If I was doing major engine work that involved removing the timing belt on a motor with 85K, I'd definitely replace it, but I doubt it is required by the recall. So, I doubt there is any recourse to say the dealer was negligent by not replacing the belt - they probably were doing the repair exactly as the TSB says. I would like to see what the TSB has to say about the timing belt, but it probably says "reinstall".

Having said this, given the short time between the repair and the failure, there is a VERY good chance the premature belt failure was due to some other negligence in the repair. Of course, proving this is another matter. There needs to be a good post mortem at this point to answer the question: Did the belt simply fail (defective belt) or did if fail due to something else breaking? It will be difficult to get a straight answer from the dealer given that their neck is on the line.

I'd hope you could reach some compromise without too much finger pointing. Good luck.

- Mark
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Thank you everyone for all of this info!! We are completely clueless when it comes to cars - so I love that there is a place to go for unbiased opinions!

After multiple phone calls yesterday with the service writer - he is sending this "up the chair of command"??!!

I did ask him the following & His responses are very "interesting" (and not at all possible per various people in the car business)
  • What exactly did they do to the pistons? - Replace the rings on cylinders 1,2, and 3
  • Was the repair due to the TSB Honda released - "Yes"
  • What exactly happened to the timing belt? - "It broke"
  • Why did it brake - "We don't know - it was just something that happened"
  • When did you replace the piston rings and what was the exact mileage then and now - "August 23, mileage was 82.159 and the mileage today is 84,879" (2720 Miles)
  • Why didn't you recommend that the timing belt was replaced since you had all the parts out? - THIS IS THE BEST ONE YET "We didn't remove the timing belt because it has to be recalibrated when reinstalled - we can just move stuff out of they way to do the repair"
  • When we found the actual invoice for the piston work - there was $240 in maintainence work that they recommended done at the same time (Service Rear Differential & Cooling Flush). So it they DID tell us we needed to replace the timing belt at this time we would have done it!!
I left the ball in their court and told him we would touch base on Monday.
I did tell him that I am going to call Honda Customer Service (if needed). His response was "Do you need the number?"
And then he kind of backed off - I told him I don't think we're at that point yet.

He did tell me that he appreciates my patience and being so calm with all of this.
All of this makes me think they realize where the fault is - with them??

We're just praying for a Christmas miracle.

What do you all think with this additional info??

Thanks in Advance-
 

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2,700 miles, they owe you a new Honda supplied engine. Simple as that, otherwise nobody will accept a ring job and all will demand a new engine.
 

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Sounds like you have this well under control. Good job.

Any service write worth their paycheck should when you came in have asked if they could do the TB service which would have including tearing the engine down a little more to get to the tensioner and water pump.
 

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You will catch more flies with honey, for sure. I'd be polite, patient, but not give into anything. I'd ask the dealer for Honda Goodwill. I'd ask the dealer how they would feel if someone took their entire engine apart, then 2700 miles and a few months later it was trashed. I'd ask the dealer to escalate as far as they can, and to ask Honda North America for Goodwill support. If you cannot get anywhere farther with the dealer, then I'd call corporate and keep escalating and ask for goodwill.... and ask the same questions of them. I'd ask the dealer if it would help if you started escalating this with corporate or not, right now, as these things might take a little time. Especially around this time of year.

At best, they should cover it all, at worst I'd expect them to split the cost. You should not be paying for a new engine on a Honda with 85k miles, especially one where the timing belt was removed (per the TSB) and major maintenance was just done by a Honda dealer, now the engine is trashed.

I'd do searches here as well for "goodwill". There are many stories on how Honda NA covered a lot of costs and helped out in situations that should not have happened.
 

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If you had to pay for this work, I would have done a charge back with the credit card company if they were unwilling cover the cost of the repair. Timing belts don't just break. There are tons of people who go way past 100k miles and the belt is in perfect condition. It is other parts around the timing belt that fail. 2,700 miles after a major repair that required stuff around the timing belt to be removed is not a coincidence. Obviously try to be as nice as possible, and document everything. Don't "settle" for the first "solution". Keep pushing.
 

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For the guy to assert that the timing belt is just "moved out of the way" is quite the tell. He must believe everyone is an automotive moron which suggests that most people are. How long until subprime auto repair loans become a thing?

 

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Ask to see the detailed service invoice that was sent to Honda for the warranty work. It will have at least 1 head gasket listed, for the cylinder(s) in which the rings and piston(s) were installed. The timing belt MUST be removed to allow that cylinder head to come off, and the gasket in the parts charge will be a telltale that they removed the head(s). There is absolutely no way to get a piston out the bottom for this replacement, so if they did actually do the work they said, they also had the belt off.

There is no "calibration" on a timing belt except to install it while the cams and crank are lined up correctly.


Virtually all states have the equivalent of a consumer bureau that oversees automotive businesses. We last lived in California, where such things are managed by the state Department of Consumer Affairs, Bureau of Automotive Repair. The BAR has large clear signage in EVERY automotive business registered in the state, with clear directions about what to do if you feel you are getting taken. The process starts with a phone call or online application that gets you a case number, and you'll get to present your case to a board of arbitration made up of consumer and industry advocates. The process is quite fair to the consumer. I can share that the mere mention of opening a BAR case with the service manager generally brings things right up to a serious level. Shops and dealerships are graded on the number of cases presented as well as how many they lose, so they have a serious and instant interest in avoiding the process completely. Anyway, do some research in your own state to find what similar resources are available. Armed with that, you'll have a much clearer idea of your position and leverage available.

Based on your description, you'll have no trouble getting the work covered. It's the dealer's workmanship and warranty on the work they did. Honda should help you get the work done, but it will likely be the dealership that eats the costs of their mistake. That's probably why the service salesman is testing the elasticity of your knowledge and patience -- his direct employer is on the hook.

Share back your results please.
 
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Perhaps the dealer didn’t “remove” the timing belt but instead slid it off the camshaft gear and pushed the belt out of the way. So while they didn’t technically remove it completely they still put their paws on it.

Kudos for keeping your cool and trying to work it out in a peaceful manner. At some point you’re probably going to need to dig in and hold your ground. I’m rooting for you. Hopefully the dealer and/or Honda does you right.
 

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I believe the ring replacement TSB is A13-082.PDF. It's available online if you do a search for it. It definitely says that the timing belt is to be removed but doesn't specify that it is a required replacement part. I does say that the "Timing Belt Bolt" (14551-RCA-A01) is to be replaced - this might be the one that is also supposed to be replaced on a timing belt replacement service but is frequently overloooked and has been implicated as possibly causing premature timing belt failure. If you have a good itemized receipt of the repair, I'd be doing a thorough cross-check with the TSB to see what parts are listed in both. If they didn't replace that bolt and it is broken, you may have your smoking gun.

It might be possible to remove the rear cylinder head and remove the pistons leaving the timing belt in place, perhaps even leaving everything in time, but I doubt it. According to the TSB that's not the recommended way, but mechanics do discover time-saving shortcuts when they do a number of these jobs. I wouldn't put a whole lot of credence in the service advisor saying the timing belt can be "moved out of the way" - these guys frequently don't understand what goes on back in the bowels of the shop.

Arm yourself with absolutely as much hard info as you can with these guys. It might pay to hire an independent mechanic to come to bat for you - at least they won't be so likely to bamboozle you with technical jargon. Again, good luck with your dispute.

- Mark
 

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Discussion Starter #18
After multiple phone calls with the dealership - The Service Manager called yesterday and told me that the engine CAN be repaired!

They are going to:

  • Dissemble the engine
  • Replace the values
  • Send the cylinder heads to a machine shop to be re-worked
  • Replace the timing belt, water pump, belt tensioner
They told me this should run about $4k and Honda will pick up 1/2.
12k / 12 month warranty on the work and parts
They did tell me that they MIGHT find something else once they get into further into the engine - but they would go to Honda 1st with anything further.

This looks like the best solution for us. No used engine that we don't know anything about.
So far - they have been pretty amazing. We just bought a Ford Explorer (3rd car from the Ford dealership) and I KNOW they wouldn't have stepped up like this.

Thanks so much for the advice, ideas and options!
You all helped more than you know!

Kris
? ? :)




Thank you everyone for all of this info!! We are completely clueless when it comes to cars - so I love that there is a place to go for unbiased opinions!

After multiple phone calls yesterday with the service writer - he is sending this "up the chair of command"??!!

I did ask him the following & His responses are very "interesting" (and not at all possible per various people in the car business)
  • What exactly did they do to the pistons? - Replace the rings on cylinders 1,2, and 3
  • Was the repair due to the TSB Honda released - "Yes"
  • What exactly happened to the timing belt? - "It broke"
  • Why did it brake - "We don't know - it was just something that happened"
  • When did you replace the piston rings and what was the exact mileage then and now - "August 23, mileage was 82.159 and the mileage today is 84,879" (2720 Miles)
  • Why didn't you recommend that the timing belt was replaced since you had all the parts out? - THIS IS THE BEST ONE YET "We didn't remove the timing belt because it has to be recalibrated when reinstalled - we can just move stuff out of they way to do the repair"
  • When we found the actual invoice for the piston work - there was $240 in maintainence work that they recommended done at the same time (Service Rear Differential & Cooling Flush). So it they DID tell us we needed to replace the timing belt at this time we would have done it!!
I left the ball in their court and told him we would touch base on Monday.
I did tell him that I am going to call Honda Customer Service (if needed). His response was "Do you need the number?"
And then he kind of backed off - I told him I don't think we're at that point yet.

He did tell me that he appreciates my patience and being so calm with all of this.
All of this makes me think they realize where the fault is - with them??

We're just praying for a Christmas miracle.

What do you all think with this additional info??

Thanks in Advance-
Just found this forum after doing a Google Search on "Honda Pilot Pistons and Timing Belts"

Our 2012 Pilot with 85,000 miles needs to have a new engine installed - Lucky Us!
We had the piston ring recall work done last summer.
This past Sunday (12/8/19) the Pilot died in the turn lane of a major road where we live.

After having it towed to our local mechanic and then towed to the Honda dealer we just found out that the timing belt broke which equals new engine.
We are completely in shock - we bought the Pilot because we wanted to pass it down to our kids once it hit 150,000 miles.
Our plan was to hopefully get 200,000+out of it until it finally died!

Anyone heard anything like this happening before??
The first thing they told us was that a replacement used engine with 12/12k warranty was going to be $6700 installed.
We are going back and forth with the Honda dealer - but I am almost positive they aren't going to willing do anything to help us out.

We would appreciate and guidance - help - stories you could share as to what to do next!!

Thanks in advance-
 

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Glad you're getting some resolution you're happy with. Just the cost of the timing belt replacement runs about $1K+ at most dealerships, so you if end up at $2K out of pocket, you're basically only paying $1K extra for this misfortune. That's not to say that perhaps some problem in the ring repair wasn't the cause, but at some point you have to take what you can get.

- Mark
 
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