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51 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Literally just finished my 2nd timing belt job. First done at 90k miles. Second done at 171k miles. 2010 Honda Odyssey LX. Here's my write-up while the thoughts are fresh...

New issues:
1. There's a "thunk" now when I start to drive away that I've never noticed before. I did not notice it each time I did a stop-and-go, but I did hear it maybe 40% of the time when pulling away from a stop. I was driving carefully with the windows down and did not try a hard take-off to see if I heard anything differently. I have not researched it yet, but could it be the motor mounts? Not sure...
2. There were two loud "pops" as I was backing out of the driveway: one as I went over a bump while reversing and one as I started to turn the van left while reversing. I did not hear these pops again on my test drive. It sounded like I ran over an acorn, so I'm hoping that's all it was.
3. There are two fans, driver and passenger side, in front of the engine. When I came home from my 5 minute drive, the driver-side fan turned on literally the second I turned off the engine, and it stayed running for about 2-3 minutes with the car off and the keys in my pocket. I don't recall this ever happening before. The first thing that comes to mind is that I have not replaced enough radiator fluid, so maybe the car simply was hot. I added a little over a gallon, which brought everything up to full (full at both the radiator and the overflow tank), but I believe one gallon is not enough. Both fans spin freely. The passenger-side fan did not come on, just the driver-side fan.
Edit: I checked radiator fluid level about an hour later; it was low (expected). I added another 2.5 quarts to bring the level back to full in the overflow tank and at the proper level at the radiator itself.

Replaced both times: serpentine belt, drive belt, drive belt auto-tensioner, idler pulley, timing belt adjuster, water pump, serpentine belt (accessory?) auto-tensioner, and radiator fluid. I did NOT replace any bolts on purpose - I actually tried to buy the recommended "replace these" bolts at my local Honda store, but the parts counter told me they didn't replace them so I shouldn't bother buying them, plus he didn't have them in stock anyway. (If there's a next time I'll probably order new bolts online anyway.) Did anything appear like it needed replacing? Not really. After removing the old parts, the water pump seemed fine, so did the drive belt and the serpentine belt. The drive belt auto-tensioner had begun to leak a bit but was still operable. I'll probably keep the old serpentine belt in the under-floor storage in case of emergencies.

Problems and solution - in no particular order - so that you may learn from my mistakes:
1. One of the bolts to the drive belt auto-tensioner broke. It sheered off right at the block. I ended up cutting a groove into the surface with a Dremel and then using a flat screwdriver to turn it out. Praise God it actually turned with minimal effort; I don't know what I would've done had it not come out. While I worked to get it out I sent a buddy to Ace Hardware to buy the same size bolt using the non-snapped bolt as a guide, then I installed two new bolts. I was actually using a torque wrench I had rented from my local parts store, so I was especially angry. However, after this I didn't trust it anymore and just snugged everything by hand. I did torque the lug nuts though...
2. I put the covers on before I reinstalled the side chassis mount. After I realized my mistake, I then had to take off all the cover bolts, which was a huge waste of time.
3. I installed the serpentine belt auto-tensioner before re-installing the covers, so I had to take it back off, install the covers, then re-install the auto-tensioner. Another huge waste of time.
4. The serpentine belt (accessory belt?) was a pain in the butt to get off. I wasted a lot of time and next time will probably buy the serpentine belt tool down at "the Harbor" instead of relying on a 3/8" wrench with a cheater bar.
5. One of the cam sprockets skipped a tooth after I installed the drive belt. I noticed it after I rotated the engine by hand in order to inspect the timing marks. Crankshaft was in line. Front cam sprocket was in line. Rear cam sprocket was off. I rotated the engine again and yep, it was now an additional tooth off. I re-compressed the drive belt auto-tensioner using one of the bolts from the battery in order to give myself enough play to spin the rear camshaft sprocket back into line. I didn't begin reassembly until I had rotated the engine a few times and observed everything lining up correctly each time. Funny observation: now I can't use the bolt for the battery because the nut won't screw on, but tomorrow I plan to make a cleaner cut using the Dremel to see if that will help. For now I'm just using a zip tie to keep in place the bracket that goes over top of the battery. The zip tie's working fine for now.
6. I like my floor jack, and I was using it to hold up the engine while I took off the motor mounts. However, sometime into the job I noticed the jack had lowered just enough to no longer provide any type of support to the engine. Thinking I hadn't tightened the jack enough, I jacked it up again until it was again supporting the engine, but darn it the thing didn't lower again juuuuust enough so that it wasn't providing any lift. I don't know if this did any damage to the other motor mounts, but I am hearing a soft "thunk" or "thud" now that I don't remember hearing before I did the belt job.

1. I had all my tools lined out the night before.
2. I used the search feature on this site and downloaded some guides, then re-read them all a few days before beginning the job.
3. I made sure I had someone available to make a parts run for me in case something broke.
4. When the auto-tensioner bolt broke, it came out easily, so thank you, Jesus, for your infinite mercy on this poor soul.
5. I rented the crank holder tool from my local parts store, and the crank bolt actually came out without my having to use the "bump the starter" method. I had my foot on the brake disc and thought I was going to snap my 1/2" breaker bar, but it actually came out.
6. The only reason I noticed that the drive belt had jumped a tooth was because I followed the "rotate the engine and re-check the timing" tip I had read somewhere. I imagine the engine would have destructed immediately had I not followed that advice.
7. Use jack stands. My floor jack, I now know, slightly loses pressure and will not hold a load. I use jack stands anyway, but this was a reminder to myself to continue using them. I actually used a 3rd jack stand under the front just in case one of the other two broke, and seeing my jack lose pressure like that is making me want to continue using that backup jack stand just in case.
8. I drained coolant using the outlet at the engine block, just above and behind the oil filter. Last time I removed my water pump it dumped fluid everywhere, even though I had drained fluid using the petcock at the bottom of the radiator. This method, using the outlet on the engine block, seemed to get way more fluid. When I removed the water pump, I didn't even get all my paper towels wet - it made it much cleaner.

262 Posts
When you first start the van, the ABS system will do a diagnostic check when you hit 10 or 15 mph or so. This is like a "thunk" that you can feel. It only happens after you start it up, though. Might be what you're experiencing.

51 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
When you first start the van, the ABS system will do a diagnostic check when you hit 10 or 15 mph or so. This is like a "thunk" that you can feel. It only happens after you start it up, though. Might be what you're experiencing.
You know, I read that after searching the forum, but it was happening multiple times. Example: If I start the van and drive through five stop signs (drive to the sign, stop, begin driving to the next sign, stop, without turning off the van, etc.), I will hear a "thunk" at maybe two of them as I begin driving forward from a stop. I'm going to keep researching.

Interesting note: I think I discovered my power steering pump is leaking, but not through the two hoses where most people on the forum identify leaks. That is my next project.

545 Posts
The thunk sound, does it started happening after you did the timing belt?

The side engine mount, is it tight? Try to wiggle the engine from left top side. See if you can reproduce the sound. About the power steering pump area. Even if the bolt is tight, there may be still some movement.

37 Posts
As someone getting their ducks in a row for #1 on a modern Honda Thanks!(y)

Your two little side trips will be noted at that time of the procedure.
Here's hoping your motor mount is ok and yes, I too thank God for small blessings. I don't think dealing with stubborn stripped bolts lead to better enlightenment.

5 Posts
Thought I would share my experiences regarding my TB change too.

I have a few thoughts I believe I haven't read prior.

I have worded my comments purposely for the many lurkers that seek input, as I have for a decade.

And I have a major question too - "the Bolt"

I am 3/4 through a TB replacement.

Darkness and temperature stalled operations.
Plan to complete Sunday 12/8/19 beginning 10 - 11 am.

So "the bolt" question is pressing / yearning for input/replies immediately.

2008 Odyssey Touring - 95K - 11 - 12 years on TB
- Wow - Should by a lotto ticket.
Engine was performing wonderful before I started this process.

Wait, I lied.

What started this was the dreaded banging/clicking on cold start. It eventually went away once warm.
Most said it was the TB tensioner. A few said no way. It was the drive delt tensioner bearings.
Well, I pulled tire when cold in am and checked. No doubt this sound was coming from the TB grenade tensioner.

Well I'm here to tell you that I had that banging / loud clicking, then goes away after a few minutes on start up when cold.
Although over time that time increased. That's a bad signal. It is the TB tensioner. Fix ASAP.
We are lucky we got away with 11/12 years of time from the TB. And tensioner.

That ticking/banging was a warning sign I had to act. Glad I did. My TB belt looked fine. lol .
Actually the TB was a completely different shade of color. I technically did not see any crack and whatnot, but .
Of course we all know it could have snapped at any time. But more audibly the tensioner could have failed.
Does any one know of a TB failure after audible tensioner sounds.
Do TB fail due to That TB tensioner?

I'll give Honda credit for the design. Bad TB tensioner for 6 months didn't kill my motor. Yeah Honda.
We have had this sound gradually increasing for a good 6 months.
I feel so lucky we didn't kill this motor.
This TB was only a challenge due to daylight hours and temperatures.
My TB tensoiner pulley adjacent to that grenade tensioner was visually scared/marked. Not good.

I believe the ticking/banging on cold start saved my motor. It made it audible, unavoidable to deal with.
It forced my to deal with it. As I am a procrastinator.

Removing the Drive Belt;

I purchased a slim drive belt whatever removal tool. ($ 30 ~) .... I did not need it.
I used a 3/8 flex racket w cheater bar (yes ratchet) and was fine.
Especially after removing the ground cable, power steering hoses.etc. I had plenty of room.
You don't need a special tool to compress the drive belt hydraulics. IMO

"The Bolt"

Is this bolt issue still a problem?

I used the old bolt on the new Honda part - drive belt pulley assembly/tensioner.
Because I have read all this noise regarding using the new bolt failure.
I purchased a new Honda drive belt tensioner assembly.

The bolt I removed was silver with a #10 on the head of the bolt.
The new bolt, that came with the new assembly, was silver too and had a #10 on the head of the bolt.
They looked identical.

Should I use the new or old bolt?
Has this problem been solved of this bolt snapping?

I have not installed the crank pulley nor drive belt. But I have set the new drive pulley tensioner assembly.

I can still replace this bolt easily IOW.

My thoughts relative to this bolt.
I think "this bolt" is breaking after folks work on the engine - due to the fact they are over stressing this bolt during remove/install the drive/serpentine belt. Or both, which is worse. Stressing twice.
Also w/o replacing unit.

BTW, behind this bolt is a super thin star washer I never read/heard about.
If you find that laying around, it belongs behind "the bolt" against the motor housing.
I think it's just a shipping thing, so bolt stays in place kind of washer, fwiw. IMO
I found this washer laying on a frame member, and went oh sh*t.
The new part laid my fears to rest as it had that thin star washer on the threaded sided of "the bolt"

I did find I may have used too much force on this bolt/assembly than necessary. ... For removal.

As I am applying pressure gradually at 50/60 pounds and feel nothing is happening.
But I know it's moving. The bar/racket/cheater only moved a little over a foot.
I read you needed major area to move/depress this unit.
Well not on the VCM motor IMO. I'm wondering if I over stressed said "bolt"
I was applying lots a presser and wondering why bar/racket wasn't moving to firewall. As I read was necessary. Well perhaps not on the VCM motor.
Then looked up/down and saw belt totally loose @ PS pulley.
Needless to say I pulled drive belt off PS pulley easily. IOW it was already loose.
But wondered, did I push harder than necessary? Likely.

So since I know I may have possibly applied too much pressure on the factory "the bolt" removing drive belt.
Perhaps I should use new bolt, and be careful with pressure during install new belt.

Thoughts on the bolt breaking due to over stressing during removal/install?
This is a great point where two persons may help during install/remove.
I had no idea the belt was loose. I was pushing. Then looked down - totally loose.
I know i pushed harder than necessary now.
A spotter may solve this. Apply only the needed force to remove.

After writing this out.
Thinking this out.
I feel it is best to use new supplied new "bolt"
And use spotter to say stop, enough force, I can slip belt on PS pump, during install of new belt.


Manufacture of Honda Drive Belt Tensioner/ Bracket assembly;

As stated, I ordered a new Honda part, serpentine/drive belt tensioner/pulley assembly.
After opening and inspecting, I see the bracket is made in Slovakia, and the main bolted pulley is made in France.
I thought I was sold aftermarket parts, until I viewed removed factory parts.
Same. The factory tensioner assembly on my 11 - 12 y/o Odyssey matched the manufacturing data points.
Never heard / read viewed anyone mention this.

My factory drive/serpentine belt pulley tensioner bracket assembly that was removed is made in Slovakia and France. Go figure. Exactly matching what was purchased. Old and new, same.

FWIW. My local dealer wanted $263. Found online quick for $185, could get from Majestic for $166 in a week.

Power steering leak

After pulling engine cover it was obvious I had a power steering leak. Darn.
It appears to be coming from behind the pulley. So a seal leak on pump. Darn
Perhaps I waited too long to replaced reservoir and it pushed the seals out ? ? ?
Power steering fluid has leaked down all over the TB covers and turned into sticky paste basically. Wow.
Yes, I did replace reservoir and O-ring ages ago. Perhaps too late.
I saw no leaking then. .... I was hoping a clamp failed or something. Not .
Obviously leaking from behind the pulley, at the bottom.
Ouch. They want $ 400 -500 for that little pump. ... Darn.
It turned several of the TB covers screws into sticky molasses to get out, IFYWIM

Speaking of TB covers.

The lower TB cover upper gasket in my vehicle was still connected to the upper whatever factory installed gasket. It was not separating.
The gasket would not release with the lower TB cover. I had to cut it.

As I am a gentle man, I had to separate the cover from gasket to remove plastic TB lower cover.
Then it was obvious. The gasket appears to be one huge thing when engine built.
It needed to be cut with utility knife at upper joints. So that is what I did. With a little pulling.

Maybe I'm wrong, but that gasket was not moving until I cut it, in my situation.
Then you can see the engine side gasket has little round tabs, so does the TB cover side too.
Never heard / seen / read about this either. fwiw.

Just inspect the gasket on cover and at engine and put the little cylindrical gasket section into place.
I had those little cylindrical gasket pods at the engine, and at the cover. Just reset them.
It obvious once you see the situation.

Also Rear cam TB cover doesn't lay over bottom cover like the front one.
The rear upper cam shaft TB cover actually has to slip into the bottom cover.
Don't recall hearing that tidbit either.
So you have to align slit/slot push it down then push toward engine.
Never heard that before and I watched all the videos.

Ground strap Plastic Assembly;

I majorly struggled with the ground strap "plastic assembly stupid plastic surround shroud" near oil drip stick.
I half destroyed it. They have the ground electric cord entangled on purpose with something to do with the injectors/head or something. That was brutal. Can't wait to try to wrap that back up.
Do they make Super high temp electrical tape? lol.

TB Tensioner/ Grenade pin

I struggled pulling the pin from the grenade TB tensioner / actuator. As others have too.
Even with pliers. Not sure of any recommendations.
Perhaps spray with lube, apply gloves, clamp with mini vice grips, and pull hard, with all your might, fast and quick. Does that have something to do with the battery terminal hold down application?
Or is that for a different engine. I looked. I didn't see how any shaft/bolt would help me.
Of course in the end I got shafted, regarding pulling the pin on the grenade. lol.

Warm Engine Prior to Pull Cover

Forgot to mention. - Engine Cover Tab Broke
First thing I did obviously is pull engine cover. Well I broke that. That was depressing.
I thought, oh, sh*t, I hope that's not going to set the tone/trend for the day.
It did not , thank God.
One of the snap tabs broke off of the engine cover.
Hopefully superglue will solve that. Glue setting up in house as we speak.
Because it is 27 degrees F right now out side. Oh my.
My recommendation for those working in cool temps. Warm vehicle slightly prior to breaking tabs off engine cover / lifting engine cover.. I was gentle. Ironically I wonder if that was my fault. IOW, jerk fast regardless. Doubt it. It was freezing night before. I did not start vehicle. Warm vehicle prior to remove cover IMO.
Will report back how super glue worked.

Crank / Harmonic / Pulley timing marks;

none decipherable
I found none. I cleaned, brushed, eventually removed pulley obviously and still found nothing obvious.
Never heard / read / viewed anyone talking about that. Perhaps I just have a rusty ass unit. lol
My pulley was a bit rusty, but still, after removal, and a little brushing, you would think I could see these three marks near the other one. Not. I saw nada. Weird. But OK. Because I watch all the videos.
Remove pulley. I knew the pulley key was up too. That helped. Line it up with pulley off, using TB sprocket.
That is what I did and it was fine. In fact I think it saved time. I found it hard to align crank pulley with arrow on TB cover. no line of sight. And how accurate is that. Nile. So, ... align TB sprocket with engine housing.
Worked fine. Well after spinning crank around a lot.

Speaking of turning crank around a lot.

Can you spin crank around clockwise as fast as you can by hand with a 16 inch 3/8 racket with TB in correct place without doing damage? Obviously it's slow at compression, but at times it's fast.
That doesn't hurt anything does it?

Off Topic;

Oh,.... also for the newbies. I've heard / read this question asked many times w/o an answer.
BTW, there are no dumb questions. Only dumb answers.

How can you spin the crank with car in park / a wheel on ground?

You can start you car in park, right? The motor revolutions are separate from the transmission.
So when working on TB / Crank, the motor/crank will spin because the transmission is not in drive/reverse.
The transmission isn't engaged.
Just like when you start the car in park and emergency brake applied. Motor turns, car no move.
The crank won't engage the wheels until commanded by you, by way of the transmission, ie; placing in drive/reverse, whatever.
Just like you can't start the car while trans engaged. Well, unless it's a manual trans, and that's a whole nother discussion.
Hope that makes sense.

So to recap

New bolt, old bolt? ( I think I decided to use new bolt )

Can I spin crank/cams around as fast I want w/o damage by hand, w/TB in place, which isn't fast?

Does the battery hold down bolt tension something have any play in my VCM application for assistance with the VCM motor TB install/tensioner help?

Is there high temp electrical tape for my destroyed plastic shroud near oil dip stick ?

Extended thoughts;

I encourage folks to do this in warm weather. Most of my struggles were due to the low temperatures.

I'm am idiot for not dealing with this earlier in the season when it was warm.
In fact, it was difficult to find 2 -3 consecutive dry days that were normal temps recently. Around 47 F peak.
I guess I was blessed with these dry relatively warm days in a row.
Of course I knew to find three dry days in a row just to be sure to complete project.
Did I mention I'm doing this in a driveway w/o a garage or cover.
And the weather goes to hell after Sunday for days. So, .. I hope I get it right. lol.

Everything I dealt with was more difficult in low temps.
Plastic clips, electrical harnesses, tools, gaskets, moving harnesses, belts, human skin and fingers. Oh my.

That's it.

That was a way longer rant than anticipated.

I came to ask a few questions. Funny how that works out.

Look forward to any input.



These audible symptoms were more present during the coolest of times.

Listen ....... and follow you instincts

If the signals reduce during the heat

Seek help and institution expedisiously

Or face a narly unexpected depostion



5 Posts
Drive belt / serpentine tensioner assembly;

extended data points, after closer exam of products.

I can see the vulnerability of said assembly.

The main/only attachment point is secured by a single bolt, at the main pulley.

That bolt inserts into motor housing only one inch. Yet the housing extends out 3 inches.

And is under incredible stresses. PS, A/C, ALT.

As I mentioned there are exterior forces too occasionally, the mechanics. pushing on this bolt.
Belt off, belt on. Even during install, some may install, remove, install. That's three torques.

Are there any data points categorizing who's "bolt" broke?

Is it new bolt installs. New belt installs using existing bolt. etc.

Using new pulley assemblies?

I actually remember the threads years back some what.
There seemed to be no direct correlation.

Is that still valid?

That is why I used old bolt.

So after all this time with the bolt issue, any conclusions?



PS; Massive deja vu I'm going to flamed for some reason. Seriously, this is really weird now.
Lets have it. I have thick skin.

37 Posts
Use that fabric electrical tape.....I forget the brand it's called but sold alongside electric tape. It's great for harnesses as it's meant to tape wires parallel, not at a joint....TEZ maybe?

14 Posts
Getting ready to do this for a second time on my 07. Couple of comments to add....

Being one tooth off will not destroy the engine, but ALWAYS do the rotation test to ensure that you haven't gotten the TB crank pulley off by one full rotation.... if I remember correctly it takes two full rotations of the crank pulley to turn the cam pulleys one full turn. So it would still line up with marks but cams would be 180 degrees off. You also catch the onesie twosie tooth issues. AND make sure you do have the marks lining up and not off a tooth, because the engine will still start and idle ok for a brief period then the computer will start adjusting all over the place to make up for the off tooth. And looking through the little rubber plug inspection holes in the upper timing covers doesn't always show that one of the heads might be a tooth off. Ask me how I know! After a gunked throttle body threw the engine into fits.... the damn thing jumped a tooth on one cylinder head. Stumped me and a honda dealer mechanic that works on these engines all the time for several weeks. It wasn't until he pulled all the timing covers off to check everything under the covers to be ridiculously thorough/inspective did he notice it. Engine ran wonky until corrected, but it was still relatively driveable.

My understanding on the cause of all the serp belt tensioner bolts was due to improper compression procedure after having the belt off for an extended amount of time..... or maybe it's only w new hydraulic tensioners. Something like you must compress the piston three times in a row, and on the third compression you may seat the belt. Otherwise it puts too much pressure on the belt and thus on the bolt and the bolt snaps. This is if memory serves me correct... I think it's in the Helm manual.... but with forums/youtube, who uses those books anymore? heh heh..... but always good to look over the procedure in the shop manual too!
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