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Discussion Starter #1
This starting problem that everyone is experiencing is really a timing belt issue. We have 4000 miles on our pilot and the starting problem was occuring on a regular basis. Finally the car also started making a strange noise, we then took it to the dealer. They told us the water pump was bad and that was the noise we were hearing. They replaced the water pump, but they still got the strange noise. After some work they determined the timing belt tensioner went bad and the noise was coming from the timing belt being so loose in the engine that the belt was actually flapping around in the engine. This explains the starting problem, because the belt is so loose the cars timing is slightly off and the car dosen't always start. The dealer wants to fix our car but the part is on national backorder. To compound this already horrible problem I am afraid the loose timing belt has caused further damage in the engine for example, valves, valve springs, cams, etc,. It already ruined the water pump.
I am afraid to take my car back from the dealer without some guarantee that we are covered from further problems related to this one, a 36,000 mile warranty is not good enough.
Please email us if you have expierenced this same problem.
 

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How old is your Pilot? Did you get a recall notice for the waterpump?

Most of us have the off and on starting problem, but I do not have the noise you describe. My Pilot is only one month old. Let us know if the starting problem totally goes away, we are all kind of wondering what the problem is..

rob
 

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Sorry to hear about your problems with the vehicle. I've only had 2 instances where I had to keep the ignition key cranked for more than usual to start the car. When I mentioned this to my dealer, unless they can duplicate the problem themselves, they won't check it. I was really disappointed with that.

I have a question about the noise you were hearing. Did it sound like pinging or knocking noise at all or was it something altogether different? I've had this faint pinging/knocking noise coming from the engine when my RPM is between about 2K and 3.5K.

I also mentioned this to the service advisor and had a technician take a test drive in it, but he said that he didn't hear anything that sounded like p/k'ing.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the reply. Our Pilot is 5 months old with 4,000 miles on it. When we took it to the dealer they said that we were not included in the water pump recall. We also took it in previously for the start problem and what sounded like a tire balance problem and the service department brushed it off saying they hadn't heard if the new Pilot having any of those kind of problems.
That noise that we were experiencing didn't start until a week and a half ago. We noticed that it would knock when accelerating and at about 2000 RPMs. It sounds like you are having the same problem.
 

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Timing belt

We bought our Pilot in July 02 and were thrilled with it until about 10 days ago. No ignition problems, but about 10 days ago noticed an engine noise on acceleration. Not a "big" noise (in fact, if the usual road slush for this time of year had been present, we may not have even heard it). It has been at the local Honda dealership for a week. Turns out it's the timing belt tensioner, which of course they can't get for at least another week. Took them 5 days to admit the problem - and no mention of it being a "known" Pilot problem. After asking why Honda can't supply a part for a vehicle they make, the service manager got around to telling us about the supply and demand problem. We too are worried about problems down the road - how can we be sure that permanent damage hasn't occured?
And why haven't we received a recall, or at least a safety notice? We're thinking about leaving the Pilot at the dealership and keeping the leased Chevy Impala (just joking, of course).
 

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Regarding the timing belt tensioner, if you go to the NHTSA website and look under Vehicle Consumer Complaints for the Pilot, you can read a couple of scary stories where this problem caused a pulley to shear off completely, resulting in loss of the power steering. One guy said that he was almost unable to negotiate the turn he was making and was pretty certain that if his wife had been driving, she would not have been able to muscle the steering wheel enough to avoid an accident. I think anyone who continues to drive after experiencing any of the warning symptoms for this defect is taking unecessary chances.
 

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Great info guys! My Pilot has all of 400 miles on it now and it is experiencing problems starting.

I've already done the troubleshooting and researched similar issues on the MDX and Odessey boards. From my brief digging around I've found:

1. Turning the key to the "on" position for 3 seconds before starting does work most of the time when the car is cold.
2. Turning the key to the "on" position when the car is warm doesn't help anything!

I've experienced the problem on a cold and warm engine. (Very bizzare). Any claims by Honda that this is "normal" is obscene! Eventually you will start to chew through starters.

I barely got my Pilot to start in 10 degree weather yesterday. That's plain old lousy. I'm stunned that a modern vehicle stuggles to start!:(
 

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I'm Nervous

I picked up ny PILOT in Sept. '02 and I've only had two or three occassions where starting my PILOT didn't happen on the first crank.

I don't have any kind of noise or anything on my PILOT, and I'm at 10,000 miles as of yesterday. My engine is as quiet as a sleeping baby and is as smooth as the day I drove it off the dealership's lot.

I will be watching for any strange noises out of the engine compartment, but I'm really hoping nothing develops.

For everyone who does have the problem, I wish you nothing but the best in getting it fixed and it doesn't sour you on owning your PILOT.

I think a letter writing campaign to HONDA with the Nat'l Highway Transporation Safety Administration cc'd might get HONDA to look into it. Especially if, like in the one case where steering was impacted, a safety recall may happen above and beyond a mechanical recall.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
We just found out yesterday after hours of waiting that it will be the middle of February until the part for the Pilot is going to be in (that doesn't mean that it will make it to our car either). We only got that information after having to try and pry it out of our local dealer's service department, then American Honda, and finally to a competant service manager who was willing to help us. Does anyone know how to reach anyone from Honda other then the 800 number listed on the web site? We are getting frustrated because the dealer and a representative from Honda are acting like we are crazy for thinking there is something major wrong with our vehicle.
 

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Does anyone know of a sheared steering pully other than those that had the water pump replaced?

I was under the impression that the pully failure was most likely the result of improper belt tentioning by the mechanic.
 

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pospilot said:
We just found out yesterday after hours of waiting that it will be the middle of February until the part for the Pilot is going to be in (that doesn't mean that it will make it to our car either). We only got that information after having to try and pry it out of our local dealer's service department, then American Honda, and finally to a competant service manager who was willing to help us. Does anyone know how to reach anyone from Honda other then the 800 number listed on the web site? We are getting frustrated because the dealer and a representative from Honda are acting like we are crazy for thinking there is something major wrong with our vehicle.
Send a PM to BPilot. I am pretty sure he is the one who had a regional Honda rep working on his vehicle. (If I'm wrong, someone please chime in with the correct person.)
 

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Contacting Honda,

I ahve sent a blind email to "[email protected]" they send you a dont mail us letter that has a phone number in it that has a real live human that was sympathetic to my issues!
 

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hipcheck_now said:
Great info guys! My Pilot has all of 400 miles on it now and it is experiencing problems starting.

I've already done the troubleshooting and researched similar issues on the MDX and Odessey boards. From my brief digging around I've found:

1. Turning the key to the "on" position for 3 seconds before starting does work most of the time when the car is cold.
2. Turning the key to the "on" position when the car is warm doesn't help anything!

I've experienced the problem on a cold and warm engine. (Very bizzare). Any claims by Honda that this is "normal" is obscene! Eventually you will start to chew through starters.

I barely got my Pilot to start in 10 degree weather yesterday. That's plain old lousy. I'm stunned that a modern vehicle stuggles to start!:(

I do not have any noise or funny sounds, but I have occasionally had my Pilot not starting.. A letter to Honda would be worth it.. I understand that the service department may not know of the starting problem, and therefore a letter should be our next resort.. How do people feel if you did one letter from everyone on this forum.. and then send it to Honda Canada and American Honda.. I am in if we have the support.

Just a thought

rob
 

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Gopilot.

Interesting idea on a joint letter regarding the starting problem. Is there a way we could post a letter on some part of the site where everyone having the start problem could "sign on". How about the following as a draft, with additions of the full address and edits from replies posted to this thread.

Honda,

The purpose of this letter is to alert you to a potentially serious problem with the new Honda Pilot. Several hundred Pilot owners share their experiences on the Internet at the Honda-pilot.org site. Generally the vehicle seems to be well-made, versatile, and easy to drive.

Unfortunately, many owners have had a bad experience with their Pilots not starting reliably. The major symptom is that the starter will crank, but the engine will fail to start on the first try. Subsequent attempts require very long cranking times and often the engine will run rough briefly after it starts. We are concerned about a number of things related to this problem. First, under some circumstance such as very cold weather, the engine may not start at all. Second, the increased wear on the starter motor may shorten its life. Third, the hard starting and rough running may lead to problems with the emission control systems. And, finally, it’s possible the problem will get worse as the vehicle ages so that eventually it will not start at all.

Dealer service departments have generally been little help with this, claiming that they have never heard of the problem and that they can do nothing if they can’t reproduce it. Some service departments have actually claimed that the symptoms are normal. A few possible sources have been suggested, including a faulty electronic key control system, a loose timing belt due to a faulty tensioner, fuel supply system problems, or ignition problems.

We ask that you solve this problem by determining the source of the trouble and issuing a technical service bulletin to all dealers regarding a repair. It is a shame that an otherwise fine vehicle is marred by a developing reputation of hard starting and dealers who can’t fix it.

Sincerely,


The members of honda-pilot.org
 

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This is a great letter, and I think we should proceed. I will post a new thread asking members who want to do this. Anyone who wants to put there real names on this letter can do so. If they do not feel comfortable with there name, full vin#,then maybe just there callsign. (We should do this in Private message so that our real names and vin numbers are protected either to Gopilot or Birdman ) the more we get the more Honda will realize this problem is for real. I will wait to see if you agree before I post the new thread asking for members.. Then we can send two letters to American Honda and Honda Canada.

I hope people do not feel that we are jumping the gun, but all the little to bigger problems we have encountered, I think the starting one is the biggest.. Any other members feel that we should change the letter or have different idea's let us know..

Rob

P.S. Birdman you can P.M. me to discuss how we are going to go about this..

thanks
 

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I've contacted Honda of America, and I was very frustrusted. The person that called me back basically said that he has never heard of this problem, or the right rear rattle. I mentioned that I'm not alone, and other Pilot owners are experiencing the problem too. He was very defensive and said that I'm only having the problem because I read the problems on the Internet. That really pissed me off. And to top that off, he advise me to read what my warranty rights were. What a great way to help Honda owner. Basically, if you take the vehicle to the shop and they don't fix it, and you don't return, IT's Fixed! I told him I don't have the time to take my truck to the service department until it's fixed. That's why I'm calling to see if Honda America is aware and working on solution. I'm sure it went on deaf ear.

BTW: anyone experience stuck thottle plate when cold? Hopefully, it would be a simple adjustment.
 

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Thats a bad response by Honda! There customer service people should be trained to take complaints.. I think we will have lots of support for this letter and it is going to happen, I also phoned Honda Canada today just to file a report on the starting problem, but my response was professional. She said she is making a case file for me but told me there is no fix as of yet.. I told her we at Honda.org will be sending a letter to them just to make it official. I also mentioned that it is not just one or two people but whole bunch that are experiencing the starting problem.

Give me a bit of time, then I will get info from everyone that wants to be part of this letter.


rob
 

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The letter is excellent

I have full support for this letter. My Honda Pilot has 5000 miles and I have experience the starting problems sporadically as well. The dealer looked at the battery and alternator and could not find anything wrong with them. The dealer was sympathetic but could not duplicate the problem.

I hope Honda takes care of this probem sooner. Otherwise their reputation as a good auto maker will be easily tarnished.

Let me know how I can sign this letter.
 
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