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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I'm considering changing the timing belt myself on our 2014 Honda Odyssey. I've never changed a timing belt before, but I've done several DIY car repairs - brake pads, rotors, struts, control arms, serpentine belt, etc. I've watched several youtube videos and it seems very straight forward. Do you think I'm okay attempting this job myself? My mechanic charges $1085, but the parts only cost $170. Seems very compelling to save money and do this job myself. Am I biting off more than I can chew? Should I leave this job to a professional?
 

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I have a similar level of experience as you. I’ll probably pay a professional to do it. Could I do it? I’m very sure I could, but it would likely take me an entire weekend and I’d rather pay somebody for that.

If you tackle it yourself, be aware there’s a bolt that requires a tremendous amount of force to get it off. People have recommended sticking a breaker bar on it and using the engine starter to knock it loose. Others said their impact wrench took it off no problem. Its suggested you try this first when you DIY because if you can’t get that loose upfront, you would have been screwed and would need a tow had other components been removed first.

That being said, I’ll probably end up doing my own valve adjustment to save money after the belt is replaced. Long way off for me to save up in the meantime :D
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Oh yes, I've read all about that notorious crank bolt! :D I would definitely make sure that I can remove that bolt before starting anything else. There's a beefy impact socket that many people recommend for this bolt (Lisle 77080).

I have spent a lot of time watching youtube videos and I feel confident about the procedure. My only concern is any unexpected gotchas with this interference engine. I've read that the rear cam can be jumpy after the timing belt has been removed. That would be a nightmare situation if the cams moved from TDC after the belt was off. I suppose it boils down to spending $1000 to have someone else deal with it or attempting this myself with all the risks and 8+ hours involved.
 

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I do all the other maintenance and small repairs on the van so I will not feel bad about paying a professional to do things like the timing belt when the time comes. The consequences to goofing up the timing belt are too rich for my blood; we've heard more than a couple of stories about bent valves and new engines around here. Personally, I can't afford to risk the time or the money that goes along with a mistake.

Lose the van for a day or two while a pro does it? That can be planned around. Losing the van for a week or two while trying to get the engine rebuilt or replaced? That'd be a tougher sell at my house.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I do all the other maintenance and small repairs on the van so I will not feel bad about paying a professional to do things like the timing belt when the time comes. The consequences to goofing up the timing belt are too rich for my blood; we've heard more than a couple of stories about bent valves and new engines around here. Personally, I can't afford to risk the time or the money that goes along with a mistake.

Lose the van for a day or two while a pro does it? That can be planned around. Losing the van for a week or two while trying to get the engine rebuilt or replaced? That'd be a tougher sell at my house.
Well said. Maybe I should cough up the $1000 and have a professional do this. There's still that frugal voice in my head that says "look at all the money you'll save if you do it yourself!". And, I do enjoy the feeling of accomplishment when I successfully complete a DIY repair. But, as you mentioned, the costs are very high if I did make a mistake on this repair. Maybe I should reconsider. Thanks for your reply!
 

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Check around for deals on this service, dealers will sometimes run specials to get you in there and hand you a list of 400 other things they "claim" they need to do immediately.

I know this is an older Odyssey, but we were being quoted $900-1050 for the timing belt and water pump replacement on our 2002 EXL and then the dealer ran a $699 special; done! And they handed us a list of something like $3800-4200 worth of work they thought we should be doing, we went to Midas and had the rear brakes done for $250 and called it a day. ;)

And no, this isn't something I would so myself. Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
The quote of $1085 is from an independent mechanic that we've used for many years. Very trustworthy and reliable in our experience. I just assumed the dealer would charge a lot more for a timing belt service. But, as you suggested, maybe it's worth giving them a call to see if they might have any specials going on right now. Thanks! :)
 

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I've done several DIY car repairs - brake pads, rotors, struts, control arms, serpentine belt, etc. I've watched several youtube videos and it seems very straight forward.
Watch and study those videos...make notes...make lists of tools and parts and sequence of disassembly. Do your due diligence and have all your ducks in a row, so to speak. It's just disassembly and re-assembly.

Since you had the gumption to do all the jobs you listed...I'm sure you can do this.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Watch and study those videos...make notes...make lists of tools and parts and sequence of disassembly. Do your due diligence and have all your ducks in a row, so to speak. It's just disassembly and re-assembly.

Since you had the gumption to do all the jobs you listed...I'm sure you can do this.
Thanks. Honestly, I go back and forth about this. I'm very tempted to try this job myself. The parts are so cheap and it's a very straight forward step-by-step procedure. As long as I make absolutely sure that all the timing marks on both cams and the crankshaft are perfectly lined up, I don't see how this could go wrong.

I've always enjoyed working on cars, and I think this would actually be a fun weekend project. I just have to convince myself that it's worth my time and hassle to do this myself versus paying $1000 for a professional mechanic to do the job. :D
 

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If your waffling then don’t do it. You have to have some confidence to do this task. It’s not easy and things can go very wrong if not careful. I had a cam shift on me while the belt was loose. Luckily no damage. I enjoy working on the vehicle so I do it myself. I could easily pay for the service but I enjoy the task and the money savings that goes with it.

To be honest for every 20 DIY repairs I may have one go completely wrong on me. I think that’s fairly low percentage so I’ll continue to do DIY.


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Discussion Starter #11
If your waffling then don’t do it. You have to have some confidence to do this task. It’s not easy and things can go very wrong if not careful. I had a cam shift on me while the belt was loose. Luckily no damage. I enjoy working on the vehicle so I do it myself. I could easily pay for the service but I enjoy the task and the money savings that goes with it.
Just like you, I also enjoy working on cars. So, why not give it a shot? Even if a cam shifts on me, as long as I move it back to TDC and triple-check the timing marks on the engine block before releasing the tensioner, I really don't see what could go wrong. Yes, it's a labor intensive job, but it doesn't look that difficult. You definitely have more experience on this topic, so If I'm missing something, please let me know. Thanks. :)
 

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When getting quotes on this service, make sure you know exactly what is included. Some will have the spark plugs in there and those are not cheap. Also, if buying the kit for dyi or even to take to your independant (if you can find one willing) make sure it is the Aisin kit.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
When getting quotes on this service, make sure you know exactly what is included. Some will have the spark plugs in there and those are not cheap. Also, if buying the kit for dyi or even to take to your independant (if you can find one willing) make sure it is the Aisin kit.
Good point on checking exactly what's included as this would definitely affect the final price. If I end up doing this DIY, I'll be sure to get the Aisin TKH002 timing belt kit + Honda serpentine belt.
 

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Agree get the ASIN kit with all the idlers. Some kits skimp and don’t give you the idlers. Get a new serpentine belt as well and replace the seal on the crank. The cam seals can normally wait till second time around. They spin at half speed so last a bit longer.

Make sure you pick up some Honda antifreeze and a new thermostat is recommended as well. While doing this it’s easy to dump power steering fluid and cycle that at same time.


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Discussion Starter #15
That's a great point about the cam seals lasting longer since they turn at half the speed as the crank. I hadn't thought about that. Yes, I'll be sure to replace the thermostat and upper/lower radiator hoses as well before refilling with Honda type-2 coolant. Thanks again!
 

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The biggest mistakes are not lining up the cams and crank properly, or moving the crank when the belt is off. Don't ever move the crank when the belt is off. If a camshaft happens to move on you while the belt is off, don't turn it all the way around, just move it back where it was.

The best tip I can give is to mark the old belt and sprockets. Then transfer those marks to the new belt and put the belt on in the same exact locations on the sprockets. There's virtually no way to screw it up when you do it this way.

Another tip is in removing the old hydraulic timing belt tensioner. Remove the lower bolt completely. Then loosen the upper bolt. The tensioner will then pivot on the upper bolt under the pressure. If you loosen them both at the same time you will have pressure on both bolts and you can damage the threads in the block when removing.

Lastly, when putting the belt back on, line up your marks on the belt with the marks on the sprockets. Then put the idler pulley on loosely. Then put the tensioner pulley and tensioner on but don't pull the tensioner pin. Tighten the idler pulley down which should make that side of the belt tight. Then tighten your tensioner pulley and pull the tensioner pin.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thanks John. Those are all great tips! I think transferring the marks from the old belt to the new belt is a genius idea. Seems fool-proof to me. Your other tips about the tensioner bolt and pulleys should make this job even easier. I've also read that it's recommended to replace the right engine mount. I think I'll go ahead and do that. Might at well. They're very cheap ($25).

My only remaining concern is the final torque of the crank bolt on reassembly. I don't have a torque wrench for the spec'd 181 ft-lbs. But, I've read that an alternate approach is 47 ft-lbs + 60 degrees. I should be able to do that by marking the bolt and the engine block and then further tightening the bolt with a breaker bar until the marks line up.
 

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The 47 ft-lbs + 60 degrees is what the factory service manual lists. It's almost too much for a 1/2" breaker bar. I use my 3/4" breaker bar and a cheater pipe. You'll need the pulley holding tool, as well.

For the crank bolt I remove it with my Milwaukee 2767 1/2" impact and the Lisle socket. You need a high torque impact and that heavy mass socket. Not much else will do it.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
What do you think about using an impact to tighten the crank bolt? I know that Honda specifically says not to use an impact on the crank bolt.
 

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You shouldn't but sometimes you can get away with it. I did it on my 08 the first time I did the timing belt. I'm not sure what the difference is between removing with impact and installing with impact. On some of the engines the crank sensor is right behind the crank pulley but on this one it's not. Much of the time I forget to but you can mark the bolt and pulley before you remove it so you can put it back in the same place.
 
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