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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I just replaced the alternator and that was the first one..lasted 12 years. The main drive belt tensioner has never been replaced either...and I don't know if it needs to be. It was tough to push it back to remove the belt to replace the alternator. It's not making noise and it isn't damaging the belts and it doesn't squeak.

I was looking at it because I'm wondering about future failures in that area...and as the car is running I am looking at the tensioner and i see it moving a little back and forth maybe 1/16 of an inch on its pivot as the belt goes around. It is not wobbling...

Do I replace it just to be replacing it, or do these things just last?
 

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So I just replaced the alternator and that was the first one..lasted 12 years. The main drive belt tensioner has never been replaced either...and I don't know if it needs to be. It was tough to push it back to remove the belt to replace the alternator. It's not making noise and it isn't damaging the belts and it doesn't squeak.

I was looking at it because I'm wondering about future failures in that area...and as the car is running I am looking at the tensioner and i see it moving a little back and forth maybe 1/16 of an inch on its pivot as the belt goes around. It is not wobbling...

Do I replace it just to be replacing it, or do these things just last?
If you spin it and it's smooth and quite with minimal side to side movement, it can still be used.
I replaced the one on my 2012 Crosstour V6 at 180k miles.
 

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So I just replaced the alternator and that was the first one..lasted 12 years. The main drive belt tensioner has never been replaced either...and I don't know if it needs to be. It was tough to push it back to remove the belt to replace the alternator. It's not making noise and it isn't damaging the belts and it doesn't squeak.

I was looking at it because I'm wondering about future failures in that area...and as the car is running I am looking at the tensioner and i see it moving a little back and forth maybe 1/16 of an inch on its pivot as the belt goes around. It is not wobbling...

Do I replace it just to be replacing it, or do these things just last?
Typically, the accessory drive (serpentine) belt (and its tensioner) would get replaced along with the timing belt at the recommended interval of 7-years/105K-miles, whichever comes first.
However, failure of the accessory drive belt and/or its tensioner would only be an inconvenience, rather than likely causing engine damage as would be the case with the timing belt.

Has the timing belt on your 2008 Pilot never been changed?
How many miles are on it?
 

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Typically, the accessory drive (serpentine) belt (and its tensioner) would get replaced along with the timing belt at the recommended interval of 7-years/105K-miles, whichever comes first.
Is this written in a service manual? or it's what dealerships do or recommend? I guess since I'm always under the hood, it's not something I check unless I have the serpentine belt off. Yes, one of those times is for the TB WP job.
 

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Is this written in a service manual? or it's what dealerships do or recommend? I guess since I'm always under the hood, it's not something I check unless I have the serpentine belt off. Yes, one of those times is for the TB WP job.
Don't know if it's written in a service manual, or not.

I'd venture that the majority of Pilot owners are not "always under the hood."
For those that have their vehicle service performed by the dealer or other repair shop, typically it will be suggested to have the accessory drive belt (and tensioner) replaced coincident with a timing belt replacement, since the accessory drive belt has to be removed at that time.

But if you're always under the hood, then you can wait until the accessory drive belt fails while you're doing 75 mph going around a curve in 100° heat.
Rather than do it proactively, maybe it's easier to replace it at the side of the road in 100° heat while the other traffic zips by at 75 mph.
 

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Modern serpentine belts are generally made from an EDPM compound. EDPM belts tend to last longer than the older non EDPM belts. They generally last between 60,000 and 100,000 miles. Like the timing belt they are in use every single time you start and run the vehicle and they are in continues use. Humidity, heat as well as heat/cold fluctuation all play into their wearing out just as it does with a timing belt. If a serpentine breaks, it generally will not cause damage to the engine, but it is an inconvenience.

There are the general signs of belt wear to look for, drying, cracking, missing chunks etc. One thing many people probably don't look for or measure is teeth depth. A good mechanic will check the depth of the teeth, just as they check the depth of the tires. Worn teeth, are more apt to slip under a strain.

To me a serpentine belt and tensioner is not that expensive, the belt has to be removed when doing a timing belt, so it just makes sense to put on a new belt and tensioner at the same time.
 

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Don't know if it's written in a service manual, or not.

I'd venture that the majority of Pilot owners are not "always under the hood."
For those that have their vehicle service performed by the dealer or other repair shop, typically it will be suggested to have the accessory drive belt (and tensioner) replaced coincident with a timing belt replacement, since the accessory drive belt has to be removed at that time.

But if you're always under the hood, then you can wait until the accessory drive belt fails while you're doing 75 mph going around a curve in 100° heat.
Rather than do it proactively, maybe it's easier to replace it at the side of the road in 100° heat while the other traffic zips by at 75 mph.
You obviously avoided the question. I'll answer it for you, no, it's not said in the service repair manual to replace the serpentine belt tensioner with every TB WP job. Inspect and replace as needed.
 

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You obviously avoided the question. I'll answer it for you, no, it's not said in the service repair manual to replace the serpentine belt tensioner with every TB WP job. Inspect and replace as needed.
No, I did not avoid the question.

You asked if this is "this written in a service manual."
I haven't seen every service manual ever written for a Honda Pilot, so I don't know for certain whether or not it's ever been written in a service manual sometime, somewhere.
 

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No, I did not avoid the question.

You asked if this is "this written in a service manual."
I haven't seen every service manual ever written for a Honda Pilot, so I don't know for certain whether or not it's ever been written in a service manual sometime, somewhere.
It's already bad enough throwing a perfectly good water pump away for fear. There is no need to discard a working serpentine belt tensioner at 105k. Dealerships talk people into early TB WP replacement and then tack on a new serpentine belt tensioner. Possibly an unnecessary added expense.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Mine has 195,000 miles on it. I had the timing belt replaced along with the water pump, thermostat and I don't remember them telling me they replaced the belt tensioner, this was in December 2016.

I will have to dig up that invoice and see if it mentions it. Otherwise it's about $120 for genuine Honda. Doesn't look difficult, just looks aggravating to get in and out in the videos, not much room.
 

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It's already bad enough throwing a perfectly good water pump away for fear. There is no need to discard a working serpentine belt tensioner at 105k. Dealerships talk people into early TB WP replacement and then tack on a new serpentine belt tensioner. Possibly an unnecessary added expense.
If you're a DIY mechanic, then there's no extra labor charge to be incurred by waiting until the serpentine belt, tensioner, or water pump actually fails before replacing it.
The downside is where will you be when it does finally fail?

If you're paying a shop to do the work, and depending upon how long you plan to keep the vehicle, it might be worth it to replace the water pump proactively, rather than risk having to pay an extra labor charge to replace it later in case it fails sometime before the next timing belt replacement.
Essentially, are you willing to bet that the water pump will last 14-years/210K-miles instead of 7-years/105K-miles?
Same ca be said for the serpentine belt and tensioner.

I replaced the timing belt on an Audi I once owned at the recommended 60K miles.
I did not replace the water pump at that time.
At about 75K, the water pump seal began to weep.
So, off came the timing belt (and the accessory drive belts) to do the water pump replacement that maybe should also have been done at 60K.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Any part can fail at any time...as a DIY mechanic myself, I have a tendency to do a little break / fix on some things and then I go proactive on others. I honestly am amazed at the longevity of the Honda Pilot parts, but I also know that I am now driving a 12 -13 year old car. But I also know that new parts out of the box is no guarantee...in fact, the older I get the more I see and hear of part failures out of the box due to bad quality control.
I am getting the car ready to go on a road trip and that's when I normally replace stuff a few weeks before I leave...I want to give the new parts time to get road tested, I never wait till the day before a trip to do any auto maintenance.
I need to find that invoice to see if they replaced that tensioner, but I guess it doesn't matter when, what matters is how is it right now? I have a new belt on the way, I will thoroughly inspect it at that time. I might go ahead and pull the trigger on the new tensioner assembly just to have it.
I plan to get another 100,000 out this pilot, I am having the headliner redone on the 29th. I change the oil like clockwork, I garage it and I only put about 12,000 per year on it.

The cost of keeping this car going is still a whole lot less than a new car payment.
 

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Mine has 195,000 miles on it. I had the timing belt replaced along with the water pump, thermostat and I don't remember them telling me they replaced the belt tensioner, this was in December 2016.

I will have to dig up that invoice and see if it mentions it. Otherwise it's about $120 for genuine Honda. Doesn't look difficult, just looks aggravating to get in and out in the videos, not much room.
I got 64k miles on a Gates from RockAuto. No issues.
 

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My serpentine belt and tensioner were not changed at the time my timing belt kit was. Now I regret it. I'm going to do it before I really regret it.
 

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Any part can fail at any time...as a DIY mechanic myself, I have a tendency to do a little break / fix on some things and then I go proactive on others. I honestly am amazed at the longevity of the Honda Pilot parts, but I also know that I am now driving a 12 -13 year old car. But I also know that new parts out of the box is no guarantee...in fact, the older I get the more I see and hear of part failures out of the box due to bad quality control.
I am getting the car ready to go on a road trip and that's when I normally replace stuff a few weeks before I leave...I want to give the new parts time to get road tested, I never wait till the day before a trip to do any auto maintenance.
I need to find that invoice to see if they replaced that tensioner, but I guess it doesn't matter when, what matters is how is it right now? I have a new belt on the way, I will thoroughly inspect it at that time. I might go ahead and pull the trigger on the new tensioner assembly just to have it.
I plan to get another 100,000 out this pilot, I am having the headliner redone on the 29th. I change the oil like clockwork, I garage it and I only put about 12,000 per year on it.

The cost of keeping this car going is still a whole lot less than a new car payment.
Just for the record, I've gone 180k miles on an OE water pump. The bearing was tight, but smooth. That was a long time ago. I won't chance it again. I'm not implying that you should do so. We replace it out of fear. The serpentine belt tensioner and belt can be checked easily with routine maintainace.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
When I had the timing belt replaced in December of 2016 the mileage was in the 160,000's ... so that was long overdue. I sat down and did the math and decided that it was the better financial option to take it to the Honda dealer and have that work done, have all those parts replaced and keep the car going than it was to go into debt to get another car.
 

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I just noticed they have SKP for your AWD Pilot. They make good stuff.
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