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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I have a 2010 Honda Pilot. Yesterday I noticed all of sudden car starts making whining noise. It seemed to be tied to engine RPM. It was low volume whine on idle and increase as I press gas. I turned back home and popped the hood.
The sound came from the area of drive belt and there was smell of burning electrical wires.
Based on some search I was directed it to be power steering or alternator.
There were no air bubbles in power steering fluid.
Later at night I pulled out the voltmeter to measure voltage but I seemed fine. When car turned off it was ~12V and when running on idle ~14V. However while I was doing the test the whine sound went away.
I could not record it but it was exactly like this.

In the morning when I started the car no whine. I took it to auto zone and he said it was bad alternator. However the guy seemed fishy how he tested it so I took it to Oreilly they tested it to be fine. I took it another auto zone and he also tested it to be K.
I drove car all day. No noise, no lights. I also have a micro mechanic and observed OBD voltage all the time and it seemed to however around 13.7V.
Now I am confused what the issue is. I really don't want this car to die on middle of road.
If it is a sign of dying alternator (or its bearings) I am K to get it changed.
Any suggestions and advise helpful.

Update:
I turned car after 6 hrs sitting. There was slight whining noise but it went away after 5 mins
I did a full load test on idle (800RPM) by turning on everything I could and voltage dropper to 12.5V. When I increased RPM to 2000 it increased to 13.8V.
 

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Sounds like the alternator is going out.
 

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I'd make sure that oil isn't dripping down from the base of the vtec solenoid (vvt) assembly, past the oil dipstick tube into the alternator. It's a known problem.
 
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I have a 2010 Honda Pilot. Yesterday I noticed all of sudden car starts making whining noise. It seemed to be tied to engine RPM. It was low volume whine on idle and increase as I press gas. I turned back home and popped the hood.
The sound came from the area of drive belt and there was smell of burning electrical wires.
Based on some search I was directed it to be power steering or alternator.
Having a similar issue in my daughter’s Avalon. We installed a new Carquest lifetime alternator a couple years ago. Gets charge voltage 13.7-14.4 when running and a whining noise that varies on rpm but no burn smell. I think we both have a failing alternator with plenty of warning signs instead of sudden failure. The Avalon will be an ez replacement as there is less junk in the way.
 

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Why is it passing alternator test at parts store? I though those tester will check for shorter diodes etc.
That's a great question.
May I ask what your milage is? Is the alternator the original?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
That's a great question.
May I ask what your milage is? Is the alternator the original?
Original alternator. 150k miles
Checked no oil drip.
Whining is gone in morning.
There is slight hum but not sure if anything to worry. I try to disconnect alternator (blue connector) while running the hum goes away. I hope that whine come back.
 

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Why is it passing alternator test at parts store? I though those tester will check for shorter diodes etc.


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1. You have fluctuation in your volts that are outside the normal range.
2. When diodes are failing in the early stages, they will register normal at times.
3. You have a whine that increases and decreases with RPMs which is coming from the alternator.
4. Our 2011 and 2006 Pilots did all the same things before total failure. My 2008 Acura TL Type S too.

Be careful, when the charging light eventually goes on ( Some call the battery light) you may get zero warning and the car leaves you on the side of the road.( You will also get the engine and VTM-4 Lights ,which are normal)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
1. You have fluctuation in your volts that are outside the normal range.
2. When diodes are failing in the early stages, they will register normal at times.
3. You have a whine that increases and decreases with RPMs which is coming from the alternator.
4. Our 2011 and 2006 Pilots did all the same things before total failure. My 2008 Acura TL Type S too.

Be careful, when the charging light eventually goes on ( Some call the battery light) you may get zero warning and the car leaves you on the side of the road.( You will also get the engine and VTM-4 Lights ,which are normal)
Thanks. Will get it replaced.


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Original alternator. 150k miles
Checked no oil drip.
My oil drip came about 180k on my 2012. It will eventually. I'd hate for it to ruin a new alternator.
141574
 

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Is that something would have been replaced as part of valve adjustments. I did that with timing belt.
Not necessarily. The valve cover can come off without removing the vtec assembly, unless the vtec assembly with spool was replaced.
Pictured here is just the vtec (vvt) solenoid assembly that is bolted on top of the spool. Just above the dipstick. This part also fits in the back head on the drivers side.
141575
 
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Here are some nice photos of the vtec assembly removed. Be careful not to remove the 2 spool bolts.
 

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Thanks for suggestions. Looks like it will take longer to remove connectors than to replace. Ordered through eBay. They have genuine ones.
Sorry, I'm a little confused on what connectors your speaking of?
 

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1. You have fluctuation in your volts that are outside the normal range.
2. When diodes are failing in the early stages, they will register normal at times.
3. You have a whine that increases and decreases with RPMs which is coming from the alternator.
4. Our 2011 and 2006 Pilots did all the same things before total failure. My 2008 Acura TL Type S too.

Be careful, when the charging light eventually goes on ( Some call the battery light) you may get zero warning and the car leaves you on the side of the road.( You will also get the engine and VTM-4 Lights ,which are normal)
THIS ^^^

Exactly how it happened on my 2012. Whine came and went. Eventually blew it off. One day, got the light and the alternator was dead dead.

Incidentally, the remanufactured OEM one was cheaper and had a longer warranty than new. Sort of a no-brainer. Look carefully. It may be similar in non-OEM.
 
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