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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
First time poster here and wondering if anyone has any recommendations. I own a 2013 Honda Pilot with 70,000 miles on it. I recently had the CEL turn on and took it to Autozone, where they identified a cylinder misfire issue. They recommended I take it to the dealership for inspection. I searched online and found the class action lawsuit against Honda that resulted in a settlement with owners of specific model year Pilots, including the 2013 Honda Pilot. The warranty would cover spark plug and cylinder ring replacement up to 8 years. The local dealership confirmed that my Honda was covered and asked that I bring in the vehicle. After inspection, they confirmed that they would do the spark plug and cylinder ring replacement, but also asked me if I wanted to replace the timing belt and water pump. They recommended this for two reasons:

1. Since they were removing the engine to do the warranty work, they would also need to remove the timing belt already, so it would save me on labor costs if I replaced the timing belt and water pump. They quoted me for the cost of the parts for the timing belt and water pump (like $700 or something like that in parts).
2. They normally recommend timing belt replacement at 7 years or 100K miles and since I was past the 7 year mark by 4 months, they recommended this work be done.

I declined the timing belt/water pump replacement as I have an independent mechanic that can do the work at less than the marked up part price at the dealership. Additionally, they were only making recommendations to save me on labor costs and based on the timing (not on the wear component of the timing belt).

They kept the car for 4 days and completed the repairs and I picked up the Pilot. Five days later, the timing belt snapped and the Pilot died. I had it towed to the dealership and they confirmed it was a catastrophic engine failure due to timing belt snapping. They had their mechanics look at it and determined that since the two cam shafts and one crank shaft was spinning freely, then the engine did not seize up and the timing belt did not fail due to engine seizing up. They told me it was due to the timing belt wearing out on it's own.

I admit that I may be screwed here. But it doesn't pass the sniff test. The dealership removed the engine and did warranty work, recommended a timing belt replacement but also re-used the same timing belt without any concern, and then engine failure five days later.

What should I do? Is there a way to push this up to corporate? This will be a $5k-$10 cost to replace the engine.

Has anyone heard of other Pilots with this issue (timing belt failure after warranty work to replace the spark plugs and cylinder rings)?
 

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They didn’t just recommend it because of opportunity, they recommended it due to you being over the 7 year mark. Which is 100 percent correct. I’ve seen people replace the original timing belt on a 10 year old car with 180k miles and I’ve seen people that ignore the service interval and then promptly pop them right around 110k and much newer than 7 years. The service interval of 7yr/100k miles isn’t for fun or making Honda money, it’s because it is a rubber belt that needs to be serviced. Even if your arch nemesis was the technician working on your car, it’s impossible to make a belt break days after you leave. If it was messed with it wouldn’t make it out of the parking lot.
 

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Liability for this was already yours when you went in.
The only thing I can think of that could have caused this failure soon after, is if the belt was reinstalled in the opposite direction (streched) than it was originally.
 

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See if your "independent mechanic" can find and install a used engine from a wrecked Pilot.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
They didn’t just recommend it because of opportunity, they recommended it due to you being over the 7 year mark. Which is 100 percent correct. I’ve seen people replace the original timing belt on a 10 year old car with 180k miles and I’ve seen people that ignore the service interval and then promptly pop them right around 110k and much newer than 7 years. The service interval of 7yr/100k miles isn’t for fun or making Honda money, it’s because it is a rubber belt that needs to be serviced. Even if your arch nemesis was the technician working on your car, it’s impossible to make a belt break days after you leave. If it was messed with it wouldn’t make it out of the parking lot.
So let's say the timing belt was 5 years old and 70K miles and the same thing happened five days after major engine service. Would I have any recourse or is this just luck of the draw? Is there any relationship with having major engine service done and something like this happening? Let's say it was a brand new timing belt and the same thing happened. Would I still be out of luck?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
See if your "independent mechanic" can find and install a used engine from a wrecked Pilot.
My independent mechanic is a former Toyota master technician. He told me he could install a wrecked pilot's engine in 8-10 hours at $75/hr. A used engine costs $1800-2500. Giving buffer for additional parts that may need to be replaced, he believes I can the Pilot running again for under $5000. The dealership wants $10K for a used engine or $17K for a new one. The Pilot is only worth $15K per KBB so I'll probably go with my mechanic.
 

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Even if your arch nemesis was the technician working on your car, it’s impossible to make a belt break days after you leave. If it was messed with it wouldn’t make it out of the parking lot.
I believe if you reverse the belts rotation, especially considering the age and milage, it would soon break. An good experienced mechanic will always mark the direction of any belt that is removed for service. A timing belt, even more so.
 

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Not to pile on... but I can't imagine any situation where I wouldn't have the belt replaced if it was already apart - quite the opposite... I'd INSIST that it's replaced no matter what. I might not replace ALL the components like the idler pulleys if it doesn't have a lot of milage - but the belt? If it was ever used for any length of time it's getting replaced.

If you'd had the dealer replace the belt and components and it failed I think you'd be in a much different situation since Honda warranties their parts for (I believe) 1 year.

After > 7 years & 70k miles you REALLY should have let them do at least the tensioner and the belt. At 7 years and 64k miles our 2013 had the tensioner already leaking. That stuff doesn't last forever.
 

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My independent mechanic is a former Toyota master technician. He told me he could install a wrecked pilot's engine in 8-10 hours at $75/hr. A used engine costs $1800-2500. Giving buffer for additional parts that may need to be replaced, he believes I can the Pilot running again for under $5000. The dealership wants $10K for a used engine or $17K for a new one. The Pilot is only worth $15K per KBB so I'll probably go with my mechanic.
Since your original engine just had warranty piston ring replacement, perhaps it would be cost effective to have your mechanic replace the damaged cylinder heads, instead of replacing the whole engine with a salvaged one of unknown quality.

The heads can be replaced with the engine remaining in the car. No need to fully remove and replace.
 

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Not to pile on... but I can't imagine any situation where I wouldn't have the belt replaced if it was already apart - quite the opposite... I'd INSIST that it's replaced no matter what. I might not replace ALL the components like the idler pulleys if it doesn't have a lot of milage - but the belt? If it was ever used for any length of time it's getting replaced.

If you'd had the dealer replace the belt and components and it failed I think you'd be in a much different situation since Honda warranties their parts for (I believe) 1 year.

After > 7 years & 70k miles you REALLY should have let them do at least the tensioner and the belt. At 7 years and 64k miles our 2013 had the tensioner already leaking. That stuff doesn't last forever.
As they used to say on the 'Car Talk' radio program, "The stingy man spends the most".
 

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Timing belts don’t typically fail due to age. It may have been a coincidence or it may have been something they did while they were in the engine. Unfortunately, you likely don’t have much of a case.
I still think it’s worth fighting to see if they’ll cover some part of a repair because again, what a coincidence.
 

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I know you are kicking yourself......for not agreeing to replace the belt, tensioners, accessory, water pump...but stop doing that. It wont help.

There is no way out of this other than feeling miserable and annoyed at the situation. Plus spending money.

Solutions available, if you are lucky 1: pull heads to check for valve damage if none, replace timing belt etc and drive. 2: If damaged, replace engine. 3; trade in.

None of the solutions are free. But you have to move forward.
 

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Wow, this is one of times when you kick yourself in the ass for not ponying up 700 bucks.
I understand your thoughts on this, but since the dealer was deep into the engine, damn I for sure would have had the belt done, at least. Even supply your parts. Feel bad for you, but personally I think you are SOL.
I agree with other posters, just get the heads done, since they already replaced the rings, and you know your engine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Not to pile on... but I can't imagine any situation where I wouldn't have the belt replaced if it was already apart - quite the opposite... I'd INSIST that it's replaced no matter what. I might not replace ALL the components like the idler pulleys if it doesn't have a lot of milage - but the belt? If it was ever used for any length of time it's getting replaced.

If you'd had the dealer replace the belt and components and it failed I think you'd be in a much different situation since Honda warranties their parts for (I believe) 1 year.

After > 7 years & 70k miles you REALLY should have let them do at least the tensioner and the belt. At 7 years and 64k miles our 2013 had the tensioner already leaking. That stuff doesn't last forever.
Yes, hindsight is 20/20. I was looking at saving a little and giving some business to my mechanic instead. I didn't realize I'd have 5 days to have this done.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Since your original engine just had warranty piston ring replacement, perhaps it would be cost effective to have your mechanic replace the damaged cylinder heads, instead of replacing the whole engine with a salvaged one of unknown quality.

The heads can be replaced with the engine remaining in the car. No need to fully remove and replace.
This is a great idea and I'll ask my mechanic if it's possible. Honestly, I don't know the condition of the engine and how much damage occurred but the dealership didn't provide an option to just replace the damaged cylinder heads. They said it needed a new engine. I'm going to have it towed to my mechanic and then ask if your recommendation is possible.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
As they used to say on the 'Car Talk' radio program, "The stingy man spends the most".
Hard to disagree with you on this one. But I think it's also fair to say that dealerships typically have a tremendous mark-up and are always selling. I fully expect them to offer me a new engine or cabin air filter at ridiculous prices when it's such a simple DIY job. At this point, I rarely believe what the dealership says as my independent mechanic takes care of maintenance. In the end, saving a few hundred dollars will cost me much more, but this situation will not lead me to accept every dealership recommendation moving forward.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Timing belts don’t typically fail due to age. It may have been a coincidence or it may have been something they did while they were in the engine. Unfortunately, you likely don’t have much of a case.
I still think it’s worth fighting to see if they’ll cover some part of a repair because again, what a coincidence.
Yeah, my thoughts exactly. It very well may be a coincidence but I want to be sure before throwing in the towel.
 
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