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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys, I just bout a 2007 Pilot a couple months back. I don't remember hearing this sound when I bought it, but in the last month I've been hearing a rather loud rattle when I start the car. It seems to go away / die down once I drive the car. The sound is just as loud from underneath the car as it as from under the hood.

Any ideas what could be causing this?

https://youtu.be/UH1bWOb1yWo
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
Ok, after reading some other Honda forums, this could be a crank pulley wobble. My question is, should I take this to a dealer for a quick replacement or would any local mechanic know how to do this? How much am I looking at spending here?
 

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It is possible the crankshaft pulley has separated, that should be easy to see. Take the inner fender liner off on the passenger side. Personally I doubt that is it, I would take the serpentine belt off and run the engine and see if the noise goes away. If it does not it is either something in the timing belt area, such as a bad tensioner, water pump, idler. Or it is a loose valve adjuster.

It could also be the auto tensioner pullies.

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It is possible, but like I said easy to see. Remove the front passenger tire and the inner fender liner ( a couple of plastic rivets) and you can look at the crankshaft pulley and see if it is separated. You can probably see it without taking the inner fender liner loose.

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the tip, I will check it out tonight. If its a timing system issue, whats the likelihood that the engine is damaged if I drove with this noise for 1-2k miles?
 

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The worry if it is a timing belt issue is that it may break, as the engine is an interference engine damage to the valves is likely plus it will stop running. How many miles do you have and has the timing belt ever been changed?? The normal replacement interval is 105,000 miles.

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Discussion Starter #9
How many miles do you have and has the timing belt ever been changed?? The normal replacement interval is 105,000 miles.

I bought it 2k miles ago, its got 142k and I can't be sure about the timing belt. I did not hear this noise when we first bought the car but it was very shortly after. :/
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Hows your oil level?

Is yours a FWD Pilot?
Oil is fine, I just changed it. Yes its FWD. I took the serpentine belt off last night and still heard the knocking sound.

Here's a closeup of the crank pulley, I rested a screw driver on the inside of the pulley and it didn't bounce, so I'm wondering if I can rule out the crank pulley wobbling: https://youtu.be/n7leItIwiMs
 

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I would do this.

1. Check the crankshaft pulley to make sure it has not started to separate.
2. Take the serpentine belt off and run the engine, if the noise is gone it is something on that belt path, power steering, Alternator, A/C clutch, or the tensioner pullies.
3. If the noise continues with the serpentine belt off, I would pull the timing belt cover and inspect the belt and water pump. If that looks OK, I would pull the sparkplugs and check compression and adjust the valves.

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks for confirming its a FWD Pilot. You have VCM, and a very small number of people have reported front camshaft wear and knocking on the early VCM Pilots.

http://www.piloteers.org/forums/69-2003-2008-pilot/31475-06-front-camshaft-failure.html

Its expensive to fix for obvious reasons. Perhaps its time to talk to the seller.
I don't know if you watched that second video of mine or not, but the sound is most definitely coming from the lower part of the engine, right about where that crank pulley is. Cam failure would produce a sound in the front of the engine, no?

As for the seller...he's long gone. Bought this Pilot on Craigslist. The good news is, I paid $1.5-$2k less than book value for it, so I won't be shattered if I have to put a little more into it. Still, hoping for the best, dropping the car off at a local shop tomorrow. I will update!
 

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If the noise continues when the serpentine is off then it must be something in the timing belt path. It could be a bad tensioner OR possibly a water pump. You say it goes away after the engine is warm?

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Discussion Starter #15
If the noise continues when the serpentine is off then it must be something in the timing belt path. It could be a bad tensioner OR possibly a water pump. You say it goes away after the engine is warm?

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I'm not sure it goes away, but it is definitely loudest when the engine is cool.

I took it a local mechanic, he put it on the lift and listened with a stethoscope. He said they were a bit perplexed by the sound as he could hear it over a broad area of the engine, including the oil pan.

He was a bit concerned by the sound but hadn't taken anything apart yet so hopefully it will just be a tensioner or something timing related. Hoping for the best!
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
After a few days with the mechanic, he was unable to rule out a rod. Said he would have to replace the engine. I'm at a loss about what to do. Is it even safe to keep driving it and deal with a new engine when it breaks down?

UPDATE: So I took to Honda for a second opinion. They diagnosed a bad tensioner within a couple hours of having it. Won't be using my local mechanic for strange noise diagnosis's again.
 

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I was just about to start a new thread when I came across yours... I have a very similar, if not the same, issue. Mine doesn't seem to be as loud or as"knocky" sounding as yours.

I am not sure if this is normal valvetrain noise or starting to knock a bit. Now I know to check the tensioner also, thanks to your thread.

Here's the video, 2003 EX-L, idle and a few revs to 3K: https://youtu.be/bhjqW_Tu4T4
 

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On 1st gen MDX, the serpentine belt tensioner was revised at some point and there was an issue with compatibility. On some vehicles, a flange on the timing belt cover needed to be ground down or the tensioner would rattle against it and make a racket. Only an issue when the tensioner was replaced as part of the 100k service. Maybe the same on 1st gen Pilot. There was a TSB on it.
 

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If you have no idea if and when the timing belt may have been done and since the tensioner is bad, I would look at having them do the timing belt, water pump, tensioner pulleys and possibly the accessory belt tensioner at the same time.
 
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