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Discussion Starter #1
Guys I have a question related to maintenance but am concerned about the time taken. This is why I posted under this section.
Here goes- I took my 2005 in to have the timing belt service done, the valves adjusted and a 4 wheel alighnment. I dropped it off at 12:30 today at the dealership and by 5:00 I get a call saying it's done! Is this possible? I understand the Honda Techs can do this stuff quicker than most of us but this time frame seems unreal. Also is there a way for me to verify that the work was done-I'm concerned?

Thanks
 

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At least on my 2001, you can view the new timing belt by removing rubber covers off the view holes in the top timing belt covers. You should also see a new PS belt.
 

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Did you ask for your old parts back e.g. timing belt, water pump, tensioner etc? I was told that valve adjustment and timing do not share any common tasks. Realistically, it does sound little rushed if they did complete timing belt, valve adjustment and 4 wheel alignment under four and half hours. There are good technicians who can do job at twice the book rate but they are rare.

How many labor hours are listed on your invoice?

- Vikas
 

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Discussion Starter #4
It didn't list out the labor hours but the total labor cost of labor was $600 give or take a few bucks. All the parts are listed, water pump, valve cover gaskets, 1 gallon of antifreeze etc. I trusted them being a Honda dealer and didn't ask for the old parts before hand. I hope this doesn't come back to bite me. Is there any way to tell if the timing belt job was done? Any sort of indicators excluding the power steering belt? With all the doubt I have at this point, they could have put a new belt on to make it look like the work was done.

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Look under the hood. Check the crank bolt for signs of removal. Check the timing belt covers for fingerprints. If all comes up negative, go back to the dealer and discuss the apparently short time to complete the work. This is too important to let it go.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for those tips, I hope all comes out OK on this. I just hate to indicate to someone they are dishonest without some sort of real reason on my part to doubt them. The time frame is indeed a concern but I am digging for all the items that will help me with more proof. You guys are helping and I'm making a list for all the things to check. Keep them coming if anyone can add to the list for me to check.

Thanks Guys!
 

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Do not accuse them outright unless you get solid proof. It is possible but difficult to complete all the work listed in such a short time. But if they wanted to cheat you, they could have told you to come next day and had the van parked all the time.

It is trivial to take off the black beauty covers off the engine. Do that and you would then able to see the intake manifold. Look at the dozen bolts. They should have signs of being removed and put back together if they did the valve adjustment.

Look at the timing belt cover. Also look at the stickers applied to it or near it. The timing belt kit comes with a sticker and mechanics writes the mileage and date on and sticks it after the job is complete. Some even sign their name on it! Most mechanics doing timing belt are proud of their work.

If I were in your shoes, I will ask the service adviser for few minutes with the technician who serviced your car. Find out if he did all the 3 jobs himself. Talk to him, "you must be very fast! what tricks did you use to do this in such a record time? I would have expected double the time" and then watch his body language. Ask him how was the old belt. Did it have any cracks? Did water pump had any play? A honest mechanic will be happy to talk to you.

Take it from there. If you get bad vibe, then start digging deeper but not before.

And if you know me, I am the type of person who gives NO benefit to a dealer but it is not productive to come out with guns blazing without any proof. I have personally observed few technicians who are very good and very fast. You might have been the lucky one to find him :)

- Vikas
 

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If they charge you $600 in labor, then assuming between between 100 to 120 as the labor rate, they charge you for five to six hours of book time. A good technician can beat that to get it done in four and half hours easily. My gut feeling is that you got a good guy and he finished it quicker.

Keep us informed.

- Vikas
 

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Discussion Starter #9
What a nightmare this is- I always try to see the best in people and try to trust them. Not saying I'm blind to dishonesty, I just would not like someone accusing me of cheating without a reason for their doubt. With that said, I got home today and looked it over really good. The timing belt appears to have been done from the smell of antifreeze and a new power steering pump belt. There is also some marks where the bolts came off. The valve adjustment is in question for sure. The bolts have no marks on them from a wrench and there are no finger prints around any of the spark plug coils and so on. The dust is still on the coils and dirt in the cracks of the valve cover bolts. Is there anything else to look at on the valve adjustment job? I believe this is the one that was not done.

Also I got a labor quote from another dealer and for the belt and valve adjustment alone was 7.5 hours. A 4 wheel alighnment in my opinion with perfect conditions would be at least 30-45 minutes. So with that - the total hours billed at the other dealer would be a minimum of 8 hours.

Thanks everyone for so much help! I want to be educated when I go in tomorrow with some sort of reasonable doubt questions for them. Everyone is giving me things to look at for verification and to point those things out to them will help my case. If there is anymore, please continue with the help.
 

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Spark plugs don't have to come off although it does make it easier to spin the engine while doing the valve adjustment. So do not go by untouched coil alone. If you are sure that the manifold bolts are pristine, then definitely go back and tell them that you believe technician "forgot" to adjust the valves.

As far as alignment is concerned, if you take it on the highway, you might be able to notice a different tracking and different location of the steering wheel. If so, then the alignment was done otherwise that too would be in question.

This is turning out to be "interesting" in Chinese way :)

- Vikas
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks for all the advice and hints on what to look for. I am taking it in tomorrow and will update everyone on the status. I hope this will go easy-and the advice on forgetting to do the valve job is great. It doesn't create a defesive front on their part. Update coming tomorrow night.
 

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You could remove the upper timing belt cover that goes over the front (radiator side) cam shaft and see if the timing belt looks new. You can fit a wrench into the crank pulley and rotate the engine and make sure you see nice new text on the timing belt so that you know that part is correct. My 100k mile timing belt didn't have any readable text on it.

I'm pretty sure that cam cover comes off pretty easily and you can fit a wrench on the crank pulley without removing all the plastic (there's should be a hole to fit an extension in there).

Not sure how to tell if the valve adjustment was done. For the alignment they should have given you a before and after printout?
 

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No way they did the valve adjust AND the tbelt and alignment in that time. I'm no pro myself, but here's my thought: On 02 and later models, there is a top cover on the intake manifold you have to remove to access the bolts that secure the manifold itself. Take off this cover and have a look at the bottom side of the cover (which are the EGR passages to each cylinder intake location). Is it horribly encrusted with carbon or are there signs that someone scraped them clean with a screwdriver? If totally encrusted, its a bad sign. No tech should have let that slide past him when it is an opportunity to suck more money from your wallet AND do you a favor.

Also look down into the intake. Are there collected pools of oil on top of the bolts that secure it to the block? If so, the intake wasn't removed and the valves weren't adjusted. It takes some time to build up those oil pools in there....
 
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