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Belt Tensioner Bolt Broken

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We just got our 09 Pilot back after they replaced the belt tensioner pulley, belt tensioner pulley bolt and belt.

Today my wife is driving to work and the thing happens battery light comes on no power steering.

The service manager told me that they had another pilot this week with a broken tensioner bolt broken.

Anyone else experiencing this problem? The car has 97K miles on it.

**Just got a call from the Honda Dealer and he said the tensioner belt pulley bolt was broke again.

Sound like they have defective bolts or the mechanic is applying the wrong torque or just tightening to no factory specs.

**** Just spoke with Honda repair. They told me the reason the bolts keep breaking is they do not know what the correct torque settings are for the belt tensioner pulley bolt. Well this is what the Honda Service rep says anyways. Are you kidding me. This is a Honda dealership....

******Just spoke with the Honda dealership. He said it's fixed and it was a broken tensioner pulley bolt that snapped. He said there was some part that had to trimmed after the factory recall and that had not been done on the second factory recall.
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I just had my timing belt replaced and the accessory belt tensioner bolt broke off. lucky for me i was close to home and i was able to get the broken piece out of the block. now to take back to repair shop to have them fix it again
 

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Old thread, but I believe that pulley bolt is supposed to be renewed each time it is removed, as stated in the factory manual diagram of parts layout for performing timing belt, tensioner and pulley renewal. The bolt has red Locktite from the factory to keep it from loosening in service without overtightening it. When I had mine out, the Honda dealer DID NOT have a new bolt! So I cleaned the threads, made sure that the bolt was not damaged, and reinstalled it with fresh red Locktite. Torqued to spec which is not very tight- around 35 foot pounds but LOOK THIS SPEC UP YOURSELF to get it right. Over tightening could cause it to break soon in service.

Sounds to me like a dealership was not following factory torque procedures here. For typical $100/hour rate, they need to assure that is happening.
 

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Our neighbors snapped on their 09 Oddy after the timing belt was changed. It would be a pain to remove in the Pilot once broke but even worse in the Oddy. Absolutely no clearance to work in that thing. I reused my original bolt following the same procedure as dog walker did when I changed my timing belt on my 2011 Pilot. It has been over a year since the change. I think I may purchase a new tensioner and bolt to have on the shelf just in case.
 

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Tensioner bolt brakes twice in a week!

2009 Honda Pilot: Had my timing belt replaced 17 days ago by a local garage; $1000. 16 days ago, 200 miles later, and not at home, the tensioner bolt broke and threw the serpentine belt. Had to be towed to a shop. Had to have the entire assembly replaced because you can't get the bolt alone; $460. 4 day ago, another 200 miles and closer to home the tension bolt broke again and threw the serpentine belt; had to be towed. Took it to the dealer this time $625 they again replaced the entire assembly and the belt.....
What was completed wrong at the first garage that has caused the tensioner bolt to break twice in 400 miles?
 

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This is actually more common than you might think, the problem with the bolt is that it sits in the engine block and with hot/cold/hot/cold/hot/cold etc. it expands and contracts over the course of 105,000+ miles so when the tehc removes it and breaks it loose it has now become weak, and most independent shops don't know to replace it , even most Honda dealerships dont know to replace it, hence why it is not available in the parts catalog.


I can't remember off the top of my head the width, length or thread pitch because i had to replace one a few years ago.

I will have to go back and look up this info to be absolutely sure.


You can buy this bolt at any hardware store for super cheap and not have to buy the whole tensioner just for a damn bolt
 

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It's an older thread, but I wanted to share and hope it helps someone else. I had the same problem as described by other posters. Stranded twice in the middle of nowhere and twice in town. I can now do the repair in about an hour, so that's good.

There are two types of tensioner Pulley's for the pilot or odyssey in these years. Mine is the large bolt in the middle and a much smaller bolt at the bottom with some type of compression piston. The bolt that is shearing does not screw into the engine, but into the A/C housing.

I went to the Honda dealership and they provided some hints. They KNOW it's a known problem, but their head mechanic had only seen it twice. How do they know? The tensioner pulley is on its 3rd version. You don't make it to 3 unless 1 and 2 are having issues.

They repeated much that was suggested here by others with one extra step. Must use oil on the bolt, must use new serpentine belt, must use the 3rd version tensioner pulley, must torque the bolts exactly (not close - exactly) AND must replace the A/C housing. Mechanic said that the A/C housing threads that the tensioner pulley bolt uses, starts to degrade and the first thread or two does not permit a tight fitting. It's impossible to see by the naked eye, but a wiggle is occurring exactly where the bolt is breaking off. So, gotta replace that housing.

He also suggested to look at A/C unit high-side PSI if that work had been done recently.

Hope this helps others. 1000 miles later, fingers crossed.
 

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This is actually more common than you might think, the problem with the bolt is that it sits in the engine block and with hot/cold/hot/cold/hot/cold etc. it expands and contracts over the course of 105,000+ miles so when the tehc removes it and breaks it loose it has now become weak, and most independent shops don't know to replace it , even most Honda dealerships dont know to replace it, hence why it is not available in the parts catalog.


I can't remember off the top of my head the width, length or thread pitch because i had to replace one a few years ago.

I will have to go back and look up this info to be absolutely sure.


You can buy this bolt at any hardware store for super cheap and not have to buy the whole tensioner just for a damn bolt
The bolt is 12mm, 100mm length; 1.25 thread pitch! Hard to find; I got one at Belmetric for about $8 with shipping, although it is not a shoulder bolt - must use with a proper washer.
 

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I'm in the midst of my second tensioner bolt break in 3 weeks. I've thoroughly appreciated the previous posts and will definitely use the recommendations.

I'll briefly describe my circumstances. I bought my 2011 pilot EXL with 110K miles in 2017. Three weeks ago I had my first tensioner bolt failure (169K), sheered off flush. Tow to Firestone and questioned them extensively if they were up to the task. Seemed they were and back on the road the next day. Three weeks to the day it has happened again with the bolt sheering in what looks like the same place. It is now sitting at my local shop awaiting a look.

Do I take it back to Firestone to cover the warranty or have my local shop do it with Honda parts? I'm leaning to the latter. Also it sounds if the AC bracket is replaced there would be no need of removing the broken bolt which would save labor. Or is it not that simple?
 

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I've installed several Honda V6 water pump/timing belt kits (Made by Aisin) and have always re-used all original bolts and never had a problem. My own 2012 Crosstour twice and we're 45k miles after the fact (225k).
 

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Breaking the drive belt tensioner on these models is VERY common. You dont have to read for long to see that. There have been different versions, they are not all the same. But on the 2009-2015 they are the affected ones.

I'm sure you have read, but oil, torque specs, and pumping the hydraulic all seem to be very important.

If I were in your shoes, I'd be inclined to take it back to firestone, and have them do the work under warranty. I'd want to know the kit they are using/used. The Honda OEM and the Continental seem to have the least trouble. Some say the source of the Continental is the same as OEM.

If it broke a second time, I'd be more inclined to go the new AC bracket and Honda OEM parts route.

When I did mine, I saw all the reports of broken bolts, but I reused my original and followed all the special guidance. It's only been 7000 miles since, but so far so good.
 

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Man I should have joined this site earlier. I did my timing belt and at the time the serpentine was in good shape so I re-used it, it is 25K KM later and I am getting a bit of a squeal out of it for a second on engine start so I was about to buy a new belt and change it, now it looks like I should be considering the bolts and maybe a new tensioner as well? When I did my timing belt I got a full kit off Rockauto and was glad I did as the oem tensioner for the timing belt was weeping and not long before it would have probably failed. I'm not new to Honda timing belts. I've been changing them for 20+ years after the first time I paid a dealer the crazy price they charge. I always do the whole list, water pump, pullys tensoner etc. and when I went into Honda to get the coolant I was going to need the tech looked at me and said "Why would you need coolant to do a timing belt?" I just walked away and said to myself there is a reason I fix my own stuff.

*Edit, Rockauto has 3-4 kits with the belt and tensioner, the continental has a bolt that sound like the culprit one. Has anyone used it? I thought someone mentioned it as being close or exact same as OEM? Nevermind Boom said it above. I am going to order that kit.
 

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Most of the tensioners for these Pilots are identical regardless of the brand. The only ones I have seen that are different are those from AC Delco and Dayco.

Both the Gates and Continental brands are identical, made by INA, which is also identical to the OEM Honda branded part. If you go to a Honda dealer and order the Honda branded tensioner, you'll see it's actually stamped INA and is identical to the tensioners in Gates or Continental boxes.

In my case I bought the Litens brand tensioner from CarQuest (CarQuest = Advance Auto Parts) because it's also a reboxed INA tensioner and it comes with a lifetime warranty through CarQuest/AAP.
In case you're still not confused enough, Litens is a Canadian based OEM supplier of tensioners, but for these specific tensioners that our Pilots (and other J35 engines of the era) use, they're simply reboxing the tensioners manufactured by INA.

As for the breaking bolt, I personally haven't experienced it. I've had my original tensioner off twice and reused the same bolt. Then just replaced the tensioner with that new Litens brand I mentioned, reusing the same original bolt and not the new one that came in the box with the new tensioner. Knock on wood it's holding up well so far.

I saw at least one YouTube video showing how to remove the tensioner and the guy doing the work removed it with the belt still installed and under tension. That's not good and may explain a few cases of broken bolts if people have tried that. That could be causing the wear on the threads in the AC bracket, which causes subsequent bolt replacements to continue to break.

I also suspect that some people don't realize these are hydraulically dampened tensioners and must be compressed slowly. You need a big extension bar to get enough leverage to release the tensioner, and if you force it quickly I can see the bolt bending before the tension is actually released.

This is a unique tensioner design, and anyone used to the traditional coil spring type may be quickly forcing it causing the bolt to bend slightly or shear slightly, then eventually shearing completely with use.

Another problem is that there are two nut heads cast into the tensioner assembly. Some people might be using the lower one and again forcing it too quickly which is putting stress on the bolt.
 

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Thanks for the info, I took the belt off after slowly compressing the tensioner when I did my timing belt as it's not the first time I've done a belt with that same style tensioner, maybe I'm ok to just change my belt when it wears a bit more. I did all my fluids last night and the belt still looks fine, no checking or wear and the groves are still deep. It's fun times refilling that damn rear diff with smelly ass fluid. I got it all over the garage floor LOL. pump hose came out at least 2 times while pumping.
 

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I followed most of the recommendations here with the exception of replacing the AC bracket. I have it but my mechanic couldn't remove the compressor as he doesn't have a freon recovery machine. It sounds like it's quite a bit of labor.

I'm hoping the oil on the bolt and OEM parts make the difference. I'm reluctant to go through the expense of replacing the bracket. Hope I don't regret it! 200 miles and counting.
 

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At the risk of beating a dead horse (or Pilot) I now have my third break. Luckily for my wife it was close to home and is now in my driveway. I plan to go the dealer route even though this break was an OEM tensioner from the dealer. I gambled last time hoping the bracket wasn't going to be a problem but.... Just short of 3,000 miles since last break, 4 months.

My advice would be not to go halfway on this (at least for me). The bolt came with the tensioner so that wasn't the problem, told my mechanic to oil it per spec, new serpentine belt. I didn't replace the bracket which I will now. I also have suspicion I may have an engine mount as I have had shudder on certain torque during acceleration. I know this is all expensive stuff.
 

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I am new to the world of pilots and just had this happen to me last night in nashville. Two hours away from home and I had to rent a car and leave it there.

I bought an ultra power kit (2WD 39092) from RockAuto and reused the old bolt. I was shocked at how much more leverage I had to put on it to put the new belt on than I needed on the old tensioner to take the old belt off. I chalked it up to a new hydraulic tensioner. But now I am wishing I had read this post and bought a different brand and got replacement bolts.

I'll also add that after I installed it there was a chirping under the hood when the load on the engine was neutral, in other words rolling down the road anywhere from 20 to 70 mph and the engine was neither accelerating nor breaking the speed of the car. I replaced the alternator along with the accessory belt and belt tensioner.

Hindsight 2020 I would have used one of the brands mentioned above and replace the bolts.

Now I need to find a place in Nashville to pick it up and fix it for me. Would you all suggest I go to the dealership route? Any of you live in the area and have someone you recommend?

Thanks in advance everybody. Thank God for the Piloteers.

Warmly,

Matt
 

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I am new to the world of pilots and just had this happen to me last night in nashville. Two hours away from home and I had to rent a car and leave it there.

I bought an ultra power kit (2WD 39092) from RockAuto and reused the old bolt. I was shocked at how much more leverage I had to put on it to put the new belt on than I needed on the old tensioner to take the old belt off. I chalked it up to a new hydraulic tensioner. But now I am wishing I had read this post and bought a different brand and got replacement bolts.

I'll also add that after I installed it there was a chirping under the hood when the load on the engine was neutral, in other words rolling down the road anywhere from 20 to 70 mph and the engine was neither accelerating nor breaking the speed of the car. I replaced the alternator along with the accessory belt and belt tensioner.

Hindsight 2020 I would have used one of the brands mentioned above and replace the bolts.

Now I need to find a place in Nashville to pick it up and fix it for me. Would you all suggest I go to the dealership route? Any of you live in the area and have someone you recommend?

Thanks in advance everybody. Thank God for the Piloteers.

Warmly,

Matt
Was there any bolt left sticking out? $99 Harbor Freight welder. Weld a nut on the bolt and work the bolt in and out slowly using penetrating oil.
I would not discourage getting new bolts. Especially if I had a tough time getting it out. Even with a new bolt, the bolt hole needs to have a thread chaser run through it. These kits can be rented at O'Reilly Auto Parts.
 

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I had this problem myself!!! It was the most annoying problem I ever had on my pilot. Long story short ONLY USE HONDA PARTS INCLUDING TENSIONER,THE BOLT!! AND SERPENTINE BELT. AND ONLY LET HONDA INSTALL IT! This is the only thing I ever payed the dealership to do in 10 years, as it Fuxxked me numerous times. :LOL::LOL::LOL::LOL:
I used the weld the nut on procedure that Nail Grease said to remove the bolt, I would listen to him on this one!! I learned not to use anything but Honda Parts from this experience...
A welder could damage the bolt hole I believe, that is why this is best left to Honda.
 
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