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Owning 2 Odyssey's, these forums have been invaluable in keeping my horses working and maintained. I thought I will share my recent story regarding my recent adventure with the wifey's Odyssey. Every year we make a cross Canada trip from Calgary to Toronto and back. Normally I take my Odyssey for the trip, but we wanted to take our bikes this time and the wife Van has the trailer hitch. We have had this van for about 5 years and I have done all the maintenance on this vehicle and has been bullet proof for reliability. But with 200K Miles (320K KM original engine and tranmission), I wanted to do a major service overhaul before we went on a cross country trip. The plan was to do the following (Parts/Supplies/fluids) with a budget of $1600

  • Front KYB Struts ($500CAD from wrench monkey)
  • Front MOOG Sway Bar Links and Sway bar bushings ($100CAD from wrench monkey)
  • Denso Radiator ($160CAD from Amazon)
  • Honda OEM Radiator Cap, upper and lower hoses, and thermostat ( $150CAD from local Honda dealership)
  • Transmission Filter/Strainer ($60CAD from local Honda dealership sitting in my cabinet from last year)
  • Aisin Timing Belt Kit ($290CAD Amazon)
  • New Bando Serpentine and Power Steering Belts ($60CAD from Amazon)
  • Fel-Pro Valve Cover Gaskets including Spark-plug Seals ($60CAD from Amazon)
  • Honda Sparkplug tube seals ($25CAD from dealer)
  • Valve Adjustment including all intake and throttle body gaskets ($120CAD from Honda Dealership)
  • Change Power Steering Intake O-Ring ($7CAD from Honda Dealership)
  • V-TEC Solenoid Gasket/Filter ($43CAD from Honda Dealership)
  • Oil Filter and washer ($10CAD Honda)
  • 2 Gallons of Honda Coolant
  • 2 Quarts of Power Steering (Flush power steering after pump removal)
  • 4 Quarts of Honda DW1 Transmission Fluid and washer (Drain and fill the transmission)

As you can see, a lot of things to be done and was already a little over budget but got all the supplies and gave myself 3 days to complete everything. Now we begin the odyssey (no pun intended..haha ?).

Day 1: Suspension
The plan was to replace the front struts, sway bar links and sway bar bushings. All excited and full of energy got my vape fully juiced and brought the van inside to the garage preparing it for the upcoming major overhaul it was going to go through over the next 3 days ( well the plan was 3 days). Also dropped the sway bar bushings into the freezer to shrink them for their install.
Started with the passenger side, took me an hour to get the original Sway bar link and strut out. The trick was just to cut the sway bar link as they were so rusted and the bolt was seized. I didn't bother trying to unbolt it, just cut it right off from the sway bar and left the top part attached to the old strut. The sway bar bushing on the passenger side was another issue. The back bolt has almost no clearance to get to the 10MM bolt. Tried every wrench and socket I had but can't get to it and have enough torque to break it free. Came to the conclusion I needed a boxed offset wrench to get to it. Off to the local Princess Auto and bough a Box offset wrench and headed back home. The boxed offset wrench just got enough movement for me to crack the bolt. Believe me it took almost 20 minutes to back that bolt back. Eventually got it out and started to clean all the contact surfaces and clean everything down to get ready for the install.
Took out the new KYB struts and inspected them with the original and they matched up perfectly. Started to install the strut based on the orientation of the anchor to the knuckle. But the bolts did not align up. After wresting with holding the strut with one arm and trying to align the bolts for half hour I gave up. Went back to the original strut and cleaned the mounts and finally saw the marks and orientation of the original strut. For F$&! sake, the KYB struts were mis-aligned. Used a screw driver to move the strut from the anchor to the correct orientation and then re-inspect to make sure the spring seats aligned with the original, and thank god it did. I guess the second time is a charm, got the top bolts aligned, hand tightened them, put the strut back on the knuckle and got the bolts back in. Torqued all the bolts (43ft-lbs Top Flange Nuts, and 116 ft-lbs for Pinch bolts to knuckle). Started to install the sway bar link, and that went without issue. Torqued them down to 58ft-lbs and greased the fittings. One thing you will need to do is jack up the lower control arm ever so slightly to get the sway bar bushing to align up to the strut. Zipped over to the freezer got the sway bar bushings, greased them up with 3M silicone paste, and got them back in place and started to tighten the bolt. The back bolt again, took me over 20 min to tighten down but all was good. Did my final clean up of everything and started to the driver side. With the lessons learned, the driver side went without a hitch. Went for a quick 15 minute test drive and was loving the feel of the new struts. What a difference in ride quality!
All said and done, took 4 hours including the quick trip for the store. By this time I am beat and will tackle it again tomorrow. Had a quick beer enjoyed the extra inch clearance on the front..haha ?. Hopefully the spring will settle over the next few weeks.

Day 2: Radiator

This is where I had to roll up the sleeves. Anybody knows that changing the radiator in these cars can be a beast. After googling and watching you tube everyone went with taking out the headlights/front bumper, but the service manual states to take the battery tray out. Since I wanted to change the transmission filter/strainer, I went with the Honda service manual. After taking out the splash screen under the car and letting the coolant drain out, thats where I got a taste of what's to come. Already have about a dozen broken clips, but these can be easily replaced.
Anyone who lives in the cold winter climates knows what salt does to the under body of the car, well the rust was so bad I couldn't even make out the bolts or how I will get sockets on them. I literally hosed them down with PB and started to use a bristle brush to take away as much rust as possible. While the PB soaked in, started to take the battery, tray , and connectors. To my surprise, the DRL fuse had completely melted (see pic). Feel like going down a rabbit hole and with no end in sight. Put my emotions aside and continued on. Since I was already taking the things apart, I also took apart the airbox and the snorkel to the throttle body. After about an hour went to tackle the bolts on the bottom of the shroud and plate. This is where things go even worse, while taking the hood latch out, the white collar on the hood release cable broke off (see pic)!!! Can it get any worse? Well yes! Put the socket on the first bolt on the bottom of the radiator and gave it a turn, and snap! Tried the second bolt, same thing, SNAP! Just shaking my head what's going on. Finally got my Oxy torch and said F*%k it, going to cut all the bolts out. Cut all the bolts out and disconnected all the hoses. Started taking all the connectors out and the supporting brackets. Tried to snake the fans from the battery tray but I could not get them out. I tried for almost half an hour with no success. Relegated myself to taking off the front bumper and headlights to wiggle the condenser forward to pull the radiator out. After almost 4 hours, finally got the damn thing out. Glad I did, because it's been leaking in two different places and it was the original from the factory. Started to pull all the lower and upper radiator hoses and pull the thermostat.
Cleaned the thermostat housing with a nice sharp blade and mating surfaces. Got the original Honda thermostat and set the o-ring on it. For people who haven't done this before, there is a jiggle pin on the radiator, and that needs to be pointed UP! Applied a thin layer for blue silicone gasket around the casing and popped it in and torqued them down (Can't remember what the numbers are right now as I'm typing). Attached the new upper and lower hoses and proceeded to take the radiator out of box. At first glance, it is a Denso made in China, but it weighs no where near the original. It almost feels flimsy, but it's made of aluminum and is probably contributing to the lighter weight. Comparing it to the original, it was identical. Looking at the time, it's now been almost 5 hours working on the car and I was mentally exhausted. Left things as is to fight another day! Day 2 comes to an end. The score is 1-1.

Day 3: Radiator (Cont'd)

Now I'm in day 3 and way behind schedule. Started early in the morning and started to install the radiator. I should have realized how flimsy the new radiator was as I had bent a few fins while trying to position it in. I should have covered it with cardboard or something, but to late now. Started the tedious process of putting all the brackets back in place and getting all the fan connectors back in place. This day was going uneventfully, thankfully. Took about 2 hours to get the new radiator back in place and get the front lights and bumper back in place.
Once the radiator was done, proceeded to change the transmission filter/strainer. Cracked open the drain plug and while it was draining popped the 2x10MM? bolts holding the bracket to the filter. Got my 24MM box wrench and cracked open the filter. Got the new trans filter and primed the gasket with fresh transmission fluid and place a new o-ring and screwed it back on hand tight. I don't know the torque specs for the strainer, but after hand tightening it, gave it another half rotation with the wrench. Got the bracket back on and zipped dup the bolts. Left the transmission to drain until the final day. All and all this, part went smooth and according to plan.
Now back to the dealership to get the replacement Hood Release cable the plastic clips. Grand total $75 dollars ?. Each plastic clip was $2.50CAD and the hood release cable was another $40CAD. Had to bite the bullet but they had to order the cable and it was going to be in the next day. After the dealership, off to Canadian Tire and try to find a new inline fuse to replace the melted one.
Got home and was in no mood to look at the Ody. Took the kids to the movie and enjoyed a night off. Total time spent on the Ody today, including trip times, 5 hours.

Day 4: Valve Adjustment

I am no officially in overtime. Woke up with a mission to get it done today. Brewed myself a nice fresh pot of Timmies coffee at home and got to work. Placed the new Honda spark plug tube seals in the freezer. Following the service manual, started to take apart the throttle body and intake manifolds. Boy was the throttle body gasket caked on good. It was baked on smooth to the surface, Thought about it, but thats a problem for later when I re-install. Use a paint pen to mark all the vacuum hoses and electrical connectors and also tools several pictures to show the connections. Took about 30 minutes to take the manifolds out. As you can see in pics, it was gunned up really bad with carbon. I had no codes or CEL but I suspect I would have gotten one soon. Threw the gaskets in the garbage and started to attack the valve covers.
Labeled each Ignition coil connector to the corresponding spark plug and cylinder. Took the ignition coils out and the spark plugs from each cylinder. Removed the harness and connectors from the valve covers, Before I started taking the valve covers off, I went and set the timing to TDC for #1 (as verified by the Indicator near the upper front timing cover). Easily took out the valve covers (5 bolts each side and keep in mind that one of them is smaller then the other 4 :) ). When I took out the back cover, it was clear thats where the oil leak has been coming from in addition from the VTEC solenoid Gasket. went to town cleaning the valve covers and remove all the carbon that was deposited. It was clear the rear ones were really dirty due to the PCV valve outlet but it was more then normal compared to my odyssey. Went to check the PCV valve and it was shut closed. I cleaned it with brake fluid in and out and put air through it, but it was shut closed. Buggrers. Another thing to replace that was not planned. Any ways, once the valve covers were cleaned and had the new Fel-Pro valve kit, but I was not going to use the spark plug tube seals. I have heard many horror stories regarding taking the old seals out, but I had a seal puller and it took me no more then 5 minutes to get them out without damaging the cover. The bottom line the felpro seals are flimsy and no where the quality of OEM. Got the frozen spark plug seals from fridge and put some 3M Silicone paste on the side to ease installation. Snapped them easily in with my thumbs, nice and flush. Got my 34MM socket and tapped the lightly down. No fuss or issues. Valve covers are prepped and ready.
Now comes the part where now I regret doing. I had bought some tapered feeler gauges to do the valve adjustment. Intake are 0.20 to 0.24MM and exhaust is 0.28 to 0.32MM. Used the .24MM for the intake and 0.32MM for the exhaust. I went on the looser side vs the tighter. I know over time when they seat, the exhaust will get tight for sure. Did some preliminary measurements before touching anything. The Exhaust Valves were super tight, I mean less then 0.28! The intakes were really loose. I think if you read the forums, that was consistent with what others have found. Proceeded to do the adjustments one cylinder at a time 1-4-2-5-3-6. it's when I was doing #3 when SHTF! The feeler gauges I had, came bundled together and had a nut and screw that held them together. As I was measuring #3, the nut opened and all the feeler gauges well to the ground, but no nut. ? For the next 2 hours, I searched for that nut in the engine or body. My worst nightmare was that damn nut fell into the engine somewhere. I used magnets, mirrors, lights, hands, everything. I did not find that nut (still haven't). At this point I really didn't care anymore, if it's in there say good bye to the van, if not count my blessings and move on. Put the valve cover gaskets back, the spark plugs back in and put the ignition coil . In hindsight, I should have left them out as for the next step for the timing belt change, it would have been easier to rotate the engine without the compression of the cylinder.
By this time, it's late evening. Total down time today including the search and rescue was 5 hours. The rabbit hole keeps getting deeper. By this time, I'm now getting grief from my wife. "Why don't you tow it to a mechanic!" she chimed..lol. not in hells chance.

Day 5: Timing Belt and Water Pump

Of all the things, this probably went by far the easiest. I know, timing belt and easy in the same sentence. There are many procedures on the internet and many people have lots of write ups, but for this I printed out the Honda Service Manual instructions. They are no coherent in the sense that you have to print out different sections in the logical steps, but when it comes to the timing belt service, I just followed the Honda service manual. In my opinion it's idiot proof.
Started to take the serpentine belt and tensioner out. Saw that the tensioner had been leaking for a while. It was covered in oil and it hardly took any tension to remove the belt. Well another item I need to go buy. More on that later. Took the Engine mount out (please support your engine with a jack on a wooden block), power steering belt, power steering pump and the Oil Dipstick tube. One thing to note is that when I pulled my oil dipstick out, the O-ring literally came out broken in pieces. I didn't have a replacement o-ring, an oversight on my part, but will need to go to Honda to buy a new o-ring.
But now comes the part that we are all waiting for, getting the Honda 19MM crank pulley bolt out.I have seen numerous videos online about how bear of a bolt that is. But for me it took only 5 minutes. Let me explain how. Up until now, the engine has been set to TDC #1 again. I have a 19MM Lisle Honda Crank Pulley Socket. For this who know about this special socket, you know it's a meaty 19MM socket specially designed for Honda crank pulleys. If you don't have it, it's a necessity for anyone who does work on their Honda. Got my 60GAL compressor to 125PSI, got my pneumatic air gun rated for 1100ft-lbs. And let it rip. Kept on ripping until the compressor ran out of air, but still would not budge. Waited for the compressor to fill again. The second time after about 30 seconds, the bolt gave. 5 minutes and it was out. Happy as door nails.
Ripped out the bolt and timing covers. Got my first glimpse of the belt. It was still in okay condition but you can tell it was worn (please see pics). I'm glad I'm doing this now. Luck was finally on my side. All my timing marks were bang on! Both CAMS and crank. No need to adjust. Took a few minutes to mark with a paint pen all the marks and tooth to make sure I don't mess the timing. Proceeded to take out the 2 x 10MM tensioner bolts and the idler pulley. One thing to note about the idler pulley, it has thread locker on it from the factory and the service manual clearly tells you to put some thread locker on this on re-assembly. Please make sure you have good leverage and fit on the socket before trying to crack it. If that bolt breaks you will be in a world of hurt!
The water pump is just held on by 5 bolts after you take the engine mount bracket off. Gave it a couple of love taps and down came the pump and coolant (remember I had already drained all the coolant when I changed the radiator earlier and had drained the block as part of the procedure). There was minimal coolant as I had drained the system already.
Worked there next 2 hours cleaning and reassembling everything again. The only challenge that I had was getting the belt on without the rear cam jumping. I followed the service manual where you route from the Crank and work your way back counter clockwise. And it was working for me but every time I installed it on the tensioner pulley the rear cam would jump back 1 tooth. I did this like three times and no matter how much slack I took out from the front, it always jumped. So I used a 17MM socket to set the rear cam ahead by 1 tooth. Voila, when I installed it on the last pulley, it did jump back like I expected, but the timing marks were bang on! From this point forward I diligently put everything back together again. Make sure you have a crank pulley holding tool as you you will need to torque the crank bolt to 181ft-lbs! Please do not use impact! You can risk over tightening and creating tension where it shouldn't be.
Now I still need a serpentine tension and an oil dipstick tube o-ring to complete, but before I head out to the dealership, I thought it would be a good time to drop the oil and oil filter and change out the VTEC solenoid gasket. This gasket has been leaking for a long time so it's long overdue.
Now changing the VTEC gasket is pretty simple, 3 bolts are holding it in place, but the really problem is getting the dame electrical connectors to release. The longest part of this job was figuring out how to release the electrical connectors on the rear of the engine. Once those connectors are removed, just 3 bolts and a love tap and it comes out. Cleaned there mating surfaces and the area with carb cleaner and waited for it dried. While it was drying, put the new gasket/filter on and primed it with fresh oil like a filter. Put it back on, tighten the 3 bolts (remember one is longer then the other 2 and that one is for the top right side) to 16ft-lbs and re-attach the connectors.
Now with only half hour till the dealer ship closes, raced to pick up the serpentine tensioner and o-ring. Also had to pick up the hood cable that I had ordered a few days ago. Dealership tells me that o-ring will come tomorrow and that the tensioner assembly is $278CAD discounted. ?. I said thanks but no thanks. Raced over to NAPA, and they had their NAPA brand tensioner assemblies with lifetime warranty for $110CAD. Picked that up and raced back home.
Compared the old and new serpentine tensioner assembly, and they are identical. Even the country of manufacturer (i.e France, Slovenia) is the same, To me they are the identical OEM part, but who knows. I installed the serpentine tensioner assembly. Please do keep in mind that the idler pulley bolt is a torque yield bolt. You must torque it in two steps or you run the risk of breaking the head off. Got the tensioner installed and installed the new power steering and serpentine belt and put the engine mount back in.
A productive day, but still not finished. Total time today, 6 hours.

Day 6: Re-assembly and the end

By day 6, I'm exhausted and just want this to end. haha. Today is the day to re-assemble everything and get fluids back into the van. Started by cleaning out the intake manifolds and the throttle body. Probably used about 4 bottles of brake and carb cleaner. Cleaned the passages for the EGR with carb cleaner and a pick. Took an hour or so including getting the gasket off the throttle body with PB and a razor.
Got the new Honda OEM gaskets (both the plenum and upper cover), torqued them down to spec and sequence as per the service manual. Got my throttle body back in with a new OEM gasket. At this point I only hand tightened the throttle body bolts while I put the connections in. ( you will see why this is important in a moment). Went over a few times to make sure all vacuum lines and connectors are in. Put the air intake assy back on connect all the hoses. Double checked all the connections and was satisfied that everything was put back and all the bolts took out put back. Worst thing is to have an Ikea situation, with bolts and nuts left over. haha :)
I had to redo the inline fuse that I saw was melted. I took the entire cable and replaced it with a 12ga and bough a heavy duty rubberized inline fuse. Did the electrical splicing with but connectors and secured them with zip ties. Started to put the battery tray back in and all the associated connectors back. As you know, the #4 bolt on the bottom back is a pain to get to but with wheel cover off, just had to get at it from underneath the car. Got the tray installed and go the battery put in.
The next headache was the hood release cable. The instructions were simple but doing it was hard. They are two clips inside the wheel well you need to remove. Inside the car, once you get the plastic covers out, there is a spiders nest of electrical connectors that make it next to impossible to take out the top 10mm bolt from the hood release cable. In hindsight, I should have left the top bolt on and just pulled the cable from the lever. For the next step, I got a piece of electrical wire and tied to the new cable and fished it through from the inside. Success! snug the clips from the outside and re-installed the latch. Made sure the rubber grommet was seated snug in the firewall and proceeded to fasten the lever from the inside. Gave the cable a pull and the latch moved :cool: Closed the trunk and tested the lever, and it worked like a charm.
in the mean time wife got the Oil tube dip stick o-ring from the dealership. Put the oil dipstick in and finally, finally, done! The car is re-assembled and after 6 days a sigh of relief.
Not to jump in relief yet, still need to fix the car with fluids and start it for the ultimate test. Closed up the oil drain plug, filled the oil filter with oil and installed it. Poured 4 quarts of fresh 5w-20 oil. Closed up the transmission drain plug, filled with 3.3 quarts of transmission fluid. Put a quart of Power steering fluid. Got the coolant bleed tool, filled with the radiator until full and proceeded to go start the car.
Turned the key to ON and left it there. Wanted to get the fuel pump primed and get the car ready for the start. And then the moment of truth, I turned it on! The car started! Like a lumbering bear, it made some groans and squeals but it started. A big smile cracked cross my face! but as soon as that happened, the car started to surge. I was like oh shit!
Went back to the hood, checking vacuum connections and filling the radiator with coolant at the same. Perplexed not knowing what is happening, started to think about where can the air leak be. Did I have an intake manifold leak, or a vaccuam host that broke? And then I started to look at the IAC valve near the throttle body and noticed that it was not sitting flush. duh ?, forgot to tighten the throttle body bolts. haha. tightened them down and the surging stopped immediately. By this time I had a few MIL codes for IAC and Intake, lol, but will deal with them later. Continue to watch the car fluids and make sure everything is looking good and with no leaks. Once the bubbles had stopped in the radiator funnel, stopped the car. Put the last touches and got the car off the jacks and went for a 100KM (60miles) test drive on the highway. Perfect! It ran smoother and especially the idle was so quiet that I forgot that the car was started. Overall I was happy with things .

I'm wiring this post 4 days after all this work and I can say things are looking good. it was a lot of work but I don't regret it. The whole point of this thread is that maintenance sometimes is overlooked but it's important if you want to keep your car going. It's still cheaper then getting a new car and it's associated payment and depreciation.
Final tally of total cost for the work $1956 CAD and 6 days..lol

Sorry for the long rant, but I just wanted to give back to the forum that has given me so much!!!

Safe driving to everyone!


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Looks like you did a great job. Only thing you may have missed is cleaning the egr ports. Not sure if the 04s prone to clogging egr ports but you can do that next time. Hopefully the missing filler gauge bolt has found its way down the oil pan or better yet not inside the engine. Was the release cable non functional with that plastic tip broken?
 

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Looks like you did a great job. Only thing you may have missed is cleaning the egr ports. Not sure if the 04s prone to clogging egr ports but you can do that next time. Hopefully the missing filler gauge bolt has found its way down the oil pan or better yet not inside the engine. Was the release cable non functional with that plastic tip broken?
Thanks! I did look through the EGR valve, it wasn't blocked or obstructed and left it alone. The bolts are so rusted that I didn't want to take on another incidental with the work..LOL. The bolt really has me perplexed. I even put a long magnet in the oil pan drain hoe to see if there was something there but no cigar. God only knows where the bugger went..
As for the release cable, without the white collar intact, you can't insert it into the latch and keep enough tension to open the hood with the release. Played around with it but ended up deciding just better to replace it then fighting it on a long distance trip.
 

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You are right - Did not break the idler bolt, but stripped the block thread this passed weekend - the world of pain.
You made your van almost back new!
 

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LOL, you are the man. Guess what, everytime I work on my ody (or any car...) gives me grief. Broken bolts, breaking parts.

Had a incident where my brake shield rusted out and fallen off inside the wheel while driving home, scraping all the way to my driveway. I tackled it today and ripped it out, then found a nail in the tire and had to patch it.
 

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LOL, you are the man. Guess what, everytime I work on my ody (or any car...) gives me grief. Broken bolts, breaking parts.

Had a incident where my brake shield rusted out and fallen off inside the wheel while driving home, scraping all the way to my driveway. I tackled it today and ripped it out, then found a nail in the tire and had to patch it.
Could have been much worst in my case. I was about to install the timing covers, but decided to re-check the idler pulley torque. I could have been in a need for a new engine instead of new thread for the idler pulley .
 

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LOL, you are the man. Guess what, everytime I work on my ody (or any car...) gives me grief. Broken bolts, breaking parts.

Had a incident where my brake shield rusted out and fallen off inside the wheel while driving home, scraping all the way to my driveway. I tackled it today and ripped it out, then found a nail in the tire and had to patch it.
lol. Murphys law.. What could go wrong will go wrong. Thats why I call it the rabbit hole. Sometimes the most simplest tasks can grow into a serious mission. :)
 

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Well, Finally made it to Toronto. 2400Miles of hard driving. Happy to report no issues and no leaks :) Actually, I didn't need to top of any fluids including the oil. It consumed no oil as the dipstick was still full when I got here last night.

My old girl...

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