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That bolt secures the stay which is part of the front subframe mounting structure.

It's probably safe to drive for a short distance at slow speed, but it's not something to ignore.

I think you are right that the unseen nut used to be welded in place. I would formulate a plan before taking it to a garage. Maybe to drill a hole in that member beside it big enough to get the head of a box end wrench on it?

Dave
 

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Discussion Starter #5
That bolt secures the stay which is part of the front subframe mounting structure.

It's probably safe to drive for a short distance at slow speed, but it's not something to ignore.

I think you are right that the unseen nut used to be welded in place. I would formulate a plan before taking it to a garage. Maybe to drill a hole in that member beside it big enough to get the head of a box end wrench on it?

Dave
Dave,
The way the bolt was behaving, I am thinking It was loose for years until I disovered it yesterday.
Now I know, I still am not comfortable driving the van without having it fixed, atmost I will drive it to the nearest mechanic who can do this work. That said..
Any idea what it might cost? is it a simple job or one that takes the entire subframe to be disasembled and reassembled? Also can anyone confirm the part number? I just want to be sure because the image from the parts diagram is a bit confusing, there seem to be 2 separate components that look alike
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Here is a direct link to the parts explosion
Is the part number in question #6 ?

How easy/difficult to swap this out? Do I need to swap out both 6 and 7 ?
Which type of shop typically does this sort of thing? I presume the average muffler guy wont.
 

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Yes, I agree with you that the bolt looks like it has been loose for some time, possibly since it left the assembly line given the floppy fit of the bolt. Hats off to Honda engineers for overbuilding the subframe mounting hardware that it has endured all that time.

Yes, that looks like the correct part. (#6 and #7 are the same part, just for left and right sides)

However, I don't think it requires replacement, but the the bolt may need replacing due to thread damage. I think that getting the bolt tight again will make it all copacetic (54 ft/lb BTW).

This is uncharted territory so it's tough to say who can best fix it or how much it will cost. I would skip the local garage and seek out a shop that also races their own cars. They would have more experience in fabrication and machining, and could even cost less due to less time finding and completing a solution.

Dave
 

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I personally would not worry much about his bolt considering it has been loose for sometime from the amount of rust on the thread. Is it a to do item, yes it is but not one I would park it for or tow to a shop. Until you saw it you drove without issue. Just my 2 cents.

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Discussion Starter #9
I can’t just ignore it now that I know it’s there. Any suggestions on getting it fixed? Dealer or a custom shop? Also the engine and transmission are resting on that subframe, can’t do anything DIY without experience or knowledge
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I just setup an appointment for friday with Auburn Drive Train, the same shop that rebuilt transmission in 2013 successfully. They agreed to take a look, I will also give them the task of replacing the serpentine belt and alternator and add a tow/hitch. They are the only shop I trust and this based on my past experience with them, they earned it.
 

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Also the engine and transmission are resting on that subframe,
Yes; also, engine and front braking forces are transmitted to the entire body through the subframe fasteners. Awesome when you think about it...

Dave
 

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The spot weld on the nut inside probably broke and now its just spinning. Or even worse, they stripped the bolt (tranny shop who last touched those subframe bolts). The only way to access that is to enlarge or drill another hole to the left of the existing hole on the frame so as to be able to reach the nut with a wrench. Pay attention how you will insert the long wrench (orientation/access) so you will be able to reach the nut inside before drilling the hole. Jobs like this is best done by yourself or a place where they do welding and cutting metal like a muffler shop maybe? I would just drill that hole bigger or drill another one to the left of it first just to see how the inside looks like. Use a metal hole saw and go slow.

Question is, will opening up the metal frame big enough for a wrench to go in weaken the whole frame? Should you just let it be?

If the spot weld on the nut broke, you will only be able to spot weld it back on one side of the nut due to access restrictions. Should be enough, but sticking a welding tip to reach a proper angle will not be easy. You can just put a new nut/and or bolt (or use the same ones) and tighten it to specs without welding it I suppose. That could work.

I am inclined to just leave it. The main bolt that holds the subframe is the long one on the left of the pic. The other 2 shorter bolts is to hold the stay so it will not move out of alignment. You still have one there. At present, it seems the stay is still tight. Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
The spot weld on the nut inside probably broke and now its just spinning. Or even worse, they stripped the bolt (tranny shop who last touched those subframe bolts). The only way to access that is to enlarge or drill another hole to the left of the existing hole on the frame so as to be able to reach the nut with a wrench. Pay attention how you will insert the long wrench (orientation/access) so you will be able to reach the nut inside before drilling the hole. Jobs like this is best done by yourself or a place where they do welding and cutting metal like a muffler shop maybe? I would just drill that hole bigger or drill another one to the left of it first just to see how the inside looks like. Use a metal hole saw and go slow.

Question is, will opening up the metal frame big enough for a wrench to go in weaken the whole frame? Should you just let it be?

If the spot weld on the nut broke, you will only be able to spot weld it back on one side of the nut due to access restrictions. Should be enough, but sticking a welding tip to reach a proper angle will not be easy. You can just put a new nut/and or bolt (or use the same ones) and tighten it to specs without welding it I suppose. That could work.

I am inclined to just leave it. The main bolt that holds the subframe is the long one on the left of the pic. The other 2 shorter bolts is to hold the stay so it will not move out of alignment. You still have one there. At present, it seems the stay is still tight. Good luck.
Thank you for the detailed response.
I am not comfortable drilling holes in structural components as I know first hand what holes do, they become sinks for stress concentration and could be the point where failure (crack) begins. That leaves me with ordering parts needed and having the transmission shop take care of it. Glad you reminded me that it is possible they may have stripped the weld nut because they did access it back in 2013. Atleast I have something to remind them about and maybe get a break on the cost.

If I were to order new parts, what do I need besides that stay bracket and 3 bolts?. What is the part to which the weld nut is welded onto?. I am inclined to order these parts and have the transmission shop fix it up.
 

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Besides the bolt and nut, the stay looks good and can be reused. However, the nut where its spot welded on is part of the unibody frame of the van. You are not replacing that. Hence, the cutting open of the metal frame is necessary. This is were shops usually decline you because of liability issues/insurance. If you find a shop willing to do it, you still have to sign a liability waiver. So, try looking again on that loose bolt and go 360 degrees to find an opening where you can see into the nut. I vaguely remember spraying some wd40 on the inside of those bolts last Dec. But the long bolt (left of your loose bolt pic) has definitely no access.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Got it!. I am wondering though if seam welding is an option especially given that my alternative. if the bolts do the job of only keeping the stay in place, then a weld (between the stay and body) could do just that. Or maybe do nothing, what is the worst that can happen if I do nothing?
 

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Got it!. I am wondering though if seam welding is an option especially given that my alternative. if the bolts do the job of only keeping the stay in place, then a weld (between the stay and body) could do just that. Or maybe do nothing, what is the worst that can happen if I do nothing?
Not much will happen since it's been that way since probably they did the transmission repair. If it was me I would place some washers in between the bolt and stay. You may have to cut them into C-shape washer and slid them in. Cheap and free.

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if the bolts do the job of only keeping the stay in place, then a weld (between the stay and body) could do just that.
I wouldn't weld the stay to the frame. The frame is likely high strength steel and so would be weakened by the heat. Besides that, it would obviously be difficult to remove the stay, and so the subframe, in the future, should transmission removal be necessary.

I think your options are to drill an access hole or to leave it alone.

Dave
 

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Got it!. I am wondering though if seam welding is an option especially given that my alternative. if the bolts do the job of only keeping the stay in place, then a weld (between the stay and body) could do just that. Or maybe do nothing, what is the worst that can happen if I do nothing?
I am wondering if drilling and tapping a hole on either side of the nut would fix it in place. Alternately, you could drill and wire weld the nut to the holes in the frame. It might get you enough strength to get the bolt out and have an opportunity to further weld the nut back into the frame. Then you can clean the thread race and cleanly remount the assembly.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Honda of Bellevue told me that the loose bolt was not compromising safety, phew!. to fix the bolt, will require the entire subframe to be dropped it seems, this is what my transmission guy told me. He also said to just ignore it as there is another main bolt which is taking the load.
 
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