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Discussion Starter #1
I have a 2003 Odyssey now 7 years old 48K miles. I called the dealer to schedule the 45K service and was told that the timing belt needs to be changed at 7 years. Is this correct? I thought the timing belt lasts 100K miles? Is there a time limit on the timing belt also?

Also the bill for the timing belt change is ~$1K. Is this reasonable?
Thanks!
 

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Correct - 7 yrs or 105k which ever comes first.

I don't have my service records in front of me, but it was cheaper than 1k, but the previous owner had a private shop do the TB/Water pump at the same time and bought their own parts.

As I recall in the $700 range.

Good luck and let us know if you have any questions.
 

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I won't tell you not to replace the timing belt but I think 7 years and 50K miles is early IMO. Most will tell you that if the belt breaks the engine is toast.
 

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There is a lot of debate about this. None of us wants the responsibility of telling you to do the wrong thing, of course. The engine is an interference type, which means that if a belt breaks it is highly likely that the engine will suffer serious damage as a result of moving pistons contacting non-moving valves that protrude into a combustion chamber. Other posts report repair estimates of several thousand dollars as a consequence, usually enough to justify installing an entire replacement engine. (Perhaps ironically, if the replacement engine comes from a used vehicle, it is recommended to change the timing belt on that engine before installing it.) So it is a justifiable expense to change the timing belt preemptively to avoid a potential catastrophic loss of money (and time).

Usually, when the timing belt is replaced it is a good time to replace the camshaft and crankshaft oil seals, the water pump, and the automatic tensioner/pulley and idler pulley. Most people replace the water pump, but many choose not to do the tensioners and/or oil seals on the first timing belt replacement if they seem okay. This accounts for some of the cost variability among different shops.

I changed the timing belt (+ water pump + tensioners + spark plugs) in our 2001 model at 125,000 miles a couple months ago for a parts cost of $400, but it took me more than 9 hours. (Estimates from local shops/dealers were between $700 and $1000). Contrary to what others report here, the old belt did not look new, it was drier and more flexible than the replacement belt, and there were some strands sticking out of the middle layer of the belt here and there. Also, my crankshaft oil seal was leaking, though not onto the belt. So replacing the belt in my case was probably the right thing to do at that time, but one never knows.

Based on the information in this forum, belt failure is very rare at lower mileages, but the effect of time is hard to judge. If you are in a mild climate you should be able to go much longer on your belt than someone who lives in a desert or winter climate. But belt life can also be shortened by a coolant or oil leak, or exposure of the belt to the elements through leaking or damaged timing belt covers. Without inspecting the belt you cannot really know if this could be happening.

I'd say, if an inspection of the belt (by looking under one of the upper timing belt covers) reveals that the belt is not dirty, oil- or coolant-soaked, and there is no obvious clicking noise from the pulleys, and you have no coolant loss or cooling issues (which could result from a worn water pump), you could probably safely wait at least a couple years before getting the belt + water pump replaced. If you live in an extreme climate or are risk-averse, just get them replaced now and sleep better at night.
 

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Good Advice - It's a gamble to wait, but it's triple the cost if you end up being wrong.

After reviewing my service records:
The previous owner paid in labor $432.19 + 307.27 in parts

total = $739.46
 

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What kind of weather do you have locally?

Dry or humid?

If your humidity is usually low like 10-30 percent then go ahead and replace it at the next oil change. If your humidity is usually high, wait till 70k.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thank you so much everyone for providing info/suggestions. :)

Winter here is cold and dry so I probably will go ahead and have it done. Just out of curiosity I may take a look at the belt myself. So ...

How do I go about inspecting the belt? Almost the entire engine compartment is covered with plastic shells. I suppose they need to be removed? If so, how? Thanks again!
 

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Mine also looked really good and I did it at the mileage not year but it was only a little over 8 years old. if you can't tell by my name, I live in New Hampshire if looking to compare climates... ;)
 

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2003ody2 said:
Thank you so much everyone for providing info/suggestions. :)

Winter here is cold and dry so I probably will go ahead and have it done. Just out of curiosity I may take a look at the belt myself. So ...

How do I go about inspecting the belt? Almost the entire engine compartment is covered with plastic shells. I suppose they need to be removed? If so, how? Thanks again!
Cold and dry will take its toll on rubber parts of your vehicle. Consider getting your coolant hoses checked while you are at it.

As for getting access to the timing belt, Look up the process to change it. There should be a cover on the side. You won't be able to really tell by looking at it unless there is obvious dry cracking in it.
 

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gregersonke said:
Cold and dry will take its toll on rubber parts of your vehicle. Consider getting your coolant hoses checked while you are at it.
Maybe yes, but I'm pretty sure I read somewhere once that it was 03 (ground level ozone) that caused rubber belts to fail....so unless you store your van in a vacuum, 7 years sounds about right,
 

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I JUST got off the phone with a Honda dealer quoting a 2003 Odyssey [102k] timing belt job. $672. Now, he told me they NEVER [ducking for cover] replace the water pumps on 2nd Gen Odyssey, because they are not "under tension"(??) and generally don't fail. Many of the smaller shops will do the job for about $450, and a friend of mine did his own and called it "easy" (quite subjective I'm sure) in comparison to most.

My point was the water pump and price. Sorry to ramble.
 

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I'm a full-time auto technician, and I cannot imagine doing the timing belt job and not replacing the water pump. Perhaps, if I was about get rid of the vehicle at the auction...maybe. But if I was getting rid of it, I wouldn't be doing the TB job at all, I suppose. Anything that contacts the TB (or any properly fitted belt) IS under some tension. But what if the seal on the TB-driven water pump develops a coolant leak soon after the job? I've seen plenty of timing belts get replaced EARLY because of WP leaks, so to bet that the existing pump/seal will go the distance for the new TB is asking for trouble. In fact, on my wife's '03 Ody w/107,000 miles, I replaced the pump, idler pulley, tensioner pulley and tensioner. The oil seals were bone-dry, so I left them alone. I also threw a thermostat at it, while the coolant was drained (cheap insurance), and fitted new Alt-A/C+PS belts, since the old ones had to come off anyway. Not all timing belt jobs are created equally, as you can tell. Make sure you're comparing apples-to-apples as you shop for quotes. Be suspicious of lowball quotes and cut corners. Yeah, you can do it cheaply if you skip most of the "optional" steps. Watch out for cheap, white-box-special, Chinese, no-name aftermarket (afterbirth) parts. Genuine Honda TB parts are competitively priced. Don't cheap out on such critical stuff, and say "see you in another 100k"
 

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@StrangeRover - If you don't mind me asking, what was the cost of all the items you replaced? Could you list them? I'm assuming you provided all the labor yourself.
 

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@WormGuy - Did you have experience before you replaced yours, or did you just buy a manual and/or find advice online and go for it? [or call a friend?]

I'm asking because shortly after paying to have my 1996 Ody done, an acquaintance with a 2nd Gen bragged about how he did his own. I only paid $450 [w/pump] from a local ex-Honda guy, but still it made me wonder if it wasn't something I should have at least attempted.

I'm looking at purchasing a California 2003 Ody with 103k on it. I've got a LOT more tools than I did 6 years ago. Is a TB job moving to the 'big leagues'? Am I ready? [lol] :)
 

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I did my 2002 timing belt without any experience. Reading posts from this web site, and the Honda service manual were enough. Along with the time and desire. I bought the crankshaft pulley tool online (just used it when putting the pulley back on.) I used the starter to loosen the pulley bolt.

Cost of timing belt: $15. Cost of pulley tool: $25
 

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@aaronm - Good deal. Thanks for info. I'm definitely more leaning toward doing it myself if I get the 2003.
 
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