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I liked my Hondas until I tried to do some DIY maintenance on our 2002 and 2014 CR-Vs. Here is what I found out:
1. Brake pad changes require 4 bolts, removal of a bracket, and some strange retaining clips. Requires a lot of cleaning to put the clips back in. Over the past 40 years in US engineering colleges I have seen zillions of Japanese students snapping photos everywhere. Apparently they did not take any pictures of the brake pads of a Porsche 911 (my experience with 1982 and 1987 models). No bolts except for the lug nuts. For brake pads, just 2 retaining pins that easily get tapped out, then the pads just slide out, new pads in, tap the pins back in place, bleed the brakes, done. My grade for the Japanese brake design: F
2. Why can I not totally flush the ATF, the Differential fluid, and the coolant, from a bottom drain, then refill each from near the top of the fluid system? Is this too difficult to design?
3. Radiator in-part coolant renewal (at 1.6 gallons, it is not a flush): After refilling carefully, front of car on jack stands, and squeezing the lower and upper hoses repeatedly in the process (measured 1.6 gallons drained, 1.55 gallons in, almost no air pocket due to my careful fill, took 20+ minutes...) guess what? The engine just cannot reach a temperature to open the thermostat. Air pockets??!! The thermostat reaches near operating temperature, and stays there, it just does not open. I have read people leaving their engines running for 20, 40, 90 minutes for the thermostat to open. Guess what temperature the cylinder head reaches in between with no coolant circulating? I mentioned this to the local Honda parts guy, and he just smiled. He had thought of it before, but that is what one has to do!!! Oh, yes, and turn the heater on. I am currently in 98 degrees ambient temperature, and the highest setting on the heater system is 90 degrees. What genius put the thermostat at the lower radiator hose, and no bleed valve anywhere? A plastic housing for the radiator?!?! My 1964 Plymouth Valiant had a better radiator/thermostat design! Again, F for the Japanese design.
I liked my Hondas until I tried to do some DIY maintenance. Oh, yes, I am a professor of engineering. I teach the capstone mechanical engineering design courses regularly. With grade inflation, almost everyone gets an A in these classes. But if my students turned in these inferior designs, I would award them Ds (only because F would mean I would have to explain why to administrators), and never write these students a recommendation letter for any engineering job.
 

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Weird - my 1990 Accord had a bleeder valve on top of the engine that started to drip antifreeze and had to be replaced.
Too bad to save weight, the radiator petcock has been removed as have the bleeder valve on the engine block.

You can tell that bean counters and not engineers are making the decisions.

Their new slogan (with apologies to Dilbert) "We put the 'K' in quality engineering".
 

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To change the air cabin filter on the first generation you have to take the dash apart 😂

it’s lucky you don’t have to remove the engine to change the oil filter (although it’s almost impossible to reach and I can only get to it left-handed, and it drops oil down on things).

At least it’s still kicking after 24 years, so it’s not all bad 😉
 

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Now how much more does a 911 cost over a CRV? Bet it's more than a few hundred dollars.🤣 Let's see a 911 Turbo S Cabriolet can be had for around $220,00+. For that price I could just trade out and get a new CRV when it's time for service and come out ahead😉
 

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Now how much more does a 911 cost over a CRV? Bet it's more than a few hundred dollars.🤣 Let's see a 911 Turbo S Cabriolet can be had for around $220,00+. For that price I could just trade out and get a new CRV when it's time for service and come out ahead😉
I liked my Hondas until I tried to do some DIY maintenance on our 2002 and 2014 CR-Vs. Here is what I found out:
1. Brake pad changes require 4 bolts, removal of a bracket, and some strange retaining clips. Requires a lot of cleaning to put the clips back in. Over the past 40 years in US engineering colleges I have seen zillions of Japanese students snapping photos everywhere. Apparently they did not take any pictures of the brake pads of a Porsche 911 (my experience with 1982 and 1987 models). No bolts except for the lug nuts. For brake pads, just 2 retaining pins that easily get tapped out, then the pads just slide out, new pads in, tap the pins back in place, bleed the brakes, done. My grade for the Japanese brake design: F
2. Why can I not totally flush the ATF, the Differential fluid, and the coolant, from a bottom drain, then refill each from near the top of the fluid system? Is this too difficult to design?
3. Radiator in-part coolant renewal (at 1.6 gallons, it is not a flush): After refilling carefully, front of car on jack stands, and squeezing the lower and upper hoses repeatedly in the process (measured 1.6 gallons drained, 1.55 gallons in, almost no air pocket due to my careful fill, took 20+ minutes...) guess what? The engine just cannot reach a temperature to open the thermostat. Air pockets??!! The thermostat reaches near operating temperature, and stays there, it just does not open. I have read people leaving their engines running for 20, 40, 90 minutes for the thermostat to open. Guess what temperature the cylinder head reaches in between with no coolant circulating? I mentioned this to the local Honda parts guy, and he just smiled. He had thought of it before, but that is what one has to do!!! Oh, yes, and turn the heater on. I am currently in 98 degrees ambient temperature, and the highest setting on the heater system is 90 degrees. What genius put the thermostat at the lower radiator hose, and no bleed valve anywhere? A plastic housing for the radiator?!?! My 1964 Plymouth Valiant had a better radiator/thermostat design! Again, F for the Japanese design.
I liked my Hondas until I tried to do some DIY maintenance. Oh, yes, I am a professor of engineering. I teach the capstone mechanical engineering design courses regularly. With grade inflation, almost everyone gets an A in these classes. But if my students turned in these inferior designs, I would award them Ds (only because F would mean I would have to explain why to administrators), and never write these students a recommendation letter for any engineering job.
Are all basic maintenance items on a Porsche 911 that easy. Spark plugs, air filter. Would never bash on Porsche engineering. These are wonderful machines. After all these cars have been refined through racing (2 pins to change brake pads) for over 50 years. I’ve owned a lot of Hondas and done every brake job. I find them relatively easy to do. 2 bolts not 4 to change the pads. If you’re pulling the rotor then you need to remove the caliper holder which would make it 4. Really doesn’t get much easier for a basic passenger car. The only thing easier would be 2 pins to change the pads. I really don’t expect that from a vehicle of this type.
 

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Honda could improve the design for DIY or even basic maintenance. Someone mentioned the first gen CRV, I had one. The oil filter was horizontal at the back of the engine, it was a pain to get to and always leaves lots of oil running down the side of the engine. The cabin filter was hidden behind a metal bar that was held on with 2 M10 nuts which was almost impossible to get to both taking it off and putting back, guaranteed to scrape up your knuckles. I ran this for 17 years and learned that if you drained oil and leave the drain plug off for about a hour, there will not be any oil coming out of the filter when removed. The normal maintenance items (oil changes, transmission and diff fluids are very easy to do. Changing brake fluids is just involved but still simple to do
 

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I liked my Hondas until I tried to do some DIY maintenance on our 2002 and 2014 CR-Vs. Here is what I found out:
1. Brake pad changes require 4 bolts, removal of a bracket, and some strange retaining clips. Requires a lot of cleaning to put the clips back in. Over the past 40 years in US engineering colleges I have seen zillions of Japanese students snapping photos everywhere. Apparently they did not take any pictures of the brake pads of a Porsche 911 (my experience with 1982 and 1987 models). No bolts except for the lug nuts. For brake pads, just 2 retaining pins that easily get tapped out, then the pads just slide out, new pads in, tap the pins back in place, bleed the brakes, done. My grade for the Japanese brake design: F
2. Why can I not totally flush the ATF, the Differential fluid, and the coolant, from a bottom drain, then refill each from near the top of the fluid system? Is this too difficult to design?
3. Radiator in-part coolant renewal (at 1.6 gallons, it is not a flush): After refilling carefully, front of car on jack stands, and squeezing the lower and upper hoses repeatedly in the process (measured 1.6 gallons drained, 1.55 gallons in, almost no air pocket due to my careful fill, took 20+ minutes...) guess what? The engine just cannot reach a temperature to open the thermostat. Air pockets??!! The thermostat reaches near operating temperature, and stays there, it just does not open. I have read people leaving their engines running for 20, 40, 90 minutes for the thermostat to open. Guess what temperature the cylinder head reaches in between with no coolant circulating? I mentioned this to the local Honda parts guy, and he just smiled. He had thought of it before, but that is what one has to do!!! Oh, yes, and turn the heater on. I am currently in 98 degrees ambient temperature, and the highest setting on the heater system is 90 degrees. What genius put the thermostat at the lower radiator hose, and no bleed valve anywhere? A plastic housing for the radiator?!?! My 1964 Plymouth Valiant had a better radiator/thermostat design! Again, F for the Japanese design.
I liked my Hondas until I tried to do some DIY maintenance. Oh, yes, I am a professor of engineering. I teach the capstone mechanical engineering design courses regularly. With grade inflation, almost everyone gets an A in these classes. But if my students turned in these inferior designs, I would award them Ds (only because F would mean I would have to explain why to administrators), and never write these students a recommendation letter for any engineering job.
I just replaced front brake pads on my 2014. The setup isn't different than any other cars that I've worked on. My jeep had the retaining clips also. They are not hard to come off. I don't live in the rust belt. The bracket doesn't have to come off. I took if off in order to file the rust off. But that is the same for most cars, if not all.

As for atf drain and fill. There is drain hole and a fill hole. The process is very straight forward. Are we talking about the same cars?

The fill hole is where the atf dipstick goes in.
 

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As we know, engineering is always about compromise. If engineers did all their designs for the benefit of DIYers then the cost could be much more. Sort of like comparing Porche with Honda. I agree that Honda could have done some things better. I mean that I look at a Camry and see the starter motor near the top and easy to get to. Alternator is much easier to change than on the CRV. I get it. But, the part that is most important to me is that the vehicle continues to run and run and run. My next vehicle will be a Toyota.

Wait, did anyone look at Fords and GMs? Hate the turbo boost engines. Adding turbo just means more stuff to break down and more expense to fix. Sorry, this rant could go on forever ....
 

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At least Honda never made it a requirement to remove the bumper to replace the headlamp like on some Ford vehicles
On my 2007 CRV to replace the headlamp assembly,
it does require to remove the bumper but not to replace the bulb
Although on one side, one may need to remove the battery if one's hands are rather large.
But, I do know what you mean.
Have you ever had the spark plugs blow out of the engine block on a V8??
 

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Weird - my 1990 Accord had a bleeder valve on top of the engine that started to drip antifreeze and had to be replaced.
Too bad to save weight, the radiator petcock has been removed as have the bleeder valve on the engine block.

You can tell that bean counters and not engineers are making the decisions.

Their new slogan (with apologies to Dilbert) "We put the 'K' in quality engineering".
So cynical.

The reality is that eliminating components that serve no direct useful purpose for modern motor vehicles, reduces possible points of failure, which means a more reliable customer experience in general. So, no this is not the bean counters, it's actually the Total Quality Assurance engineers at Honda that dog the design teams to make things simpler when possible.

You sound like you should stick with over-engineered, overly complex components, and components that are precision tooled to the point they tend to fail if not routinely nurtured in the consumer motor vehicle space. For that you want a BMW/Porsche/Benz, in my view.... where even routine maintenance can run over a thousand dollars.
 

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I liked my Hondas until I tried to do some DIY maintenance. Oh, yes, I am a professor of engineering. I teach the capstone mechanical engineering design courses regularly. With grade inflation, almost everyone gets an A in these classes. But if my students turned in these inferior designs, I would award them Ds (only because F would mean I would have to explain why to administrators), and never write these students a recommendation letter for any engineering job.
This clearly explains your hardline perspective. You want it engineered your way, or else. Odd... because one would think you would relish the required attention to detail and even admire some of the engineering in the Honda components used. But I guess not.

Anyone that has followed Honda design engineering and evolution over the years knows that Honda takes the approach of reducing the amount of maintenance and service required to keep a Honda tip-top... NOT design for DIYer convenience. They also focus on specifying higher quality components for key things like alternators, starters, etc... so they generally run trouble free for many years. DIYers tend to put in cheap after market replacements and end up with problems and have to replace the replacements.

I personally do not want the historically strong reliability of Honda brakes compromised by cheaping out the design to make if faster and easier for DIYers. Brakes are critical safety systems, and are complex now days (this is not a 57 Chevy). It that makes a DIY brake service a bit more complex for the determined DIYer... that is their choice.

As for changing the coolant, meh... Honda has their procedure and requirements and there is nothing complex about it... just more time consuming. DIYers complaining about time consumption are not going to get any traction with Honda.

Besides, the general reality today is less and less on these modern vehicles is actually DIY serviceable. More and more specialized equipment is required to even diagnose, much less service. Your older CRV less so of course.... but I think you get my point.
 

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The engine just cannot reach a temperature to open the thermostat.
Easy workaround:

Run engine for 5 minutes. Then turn off, have a beer. Return in 10 minutes. CHUG :giggle:

The warm coolant will then open the thermostat (its at the bottom in Hondas with reverse-flow cooling systems).

The partial drains of fluids is accounted for in the replacement intervals published by Honda (and triggered by the Maintenance Minder). TOTAL replacements are NOT needed.

Don't try to make maintaining the cars more difficult.
 

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Besides, the general reality today is less and less on these modern vehicles is actually DIY serviceable. More and more specialized equipment is required to even diagnose, much less service. Your older CRV less so of course.... but I think you get my point.
Yes, more modern vehicle are not DIY friendly.
For example, Tesla only wants Tesla techs to service their vehicles.
Vehicles can not be repair by the owner, doing so voids the warranty.

German made vehicles require so many specialized tools that
the average guy can not do any repairs on their vehicles without them.

I remember back in 2000, my Nissan Sentra stalled in the streets.
Alternator failed. I wanted to replace it myself.
I took one look and saw that there was no way to get a wrench on the bolts.
Cost me over $400 dollars to replace an alternator by the mechanic.
The replacement alternator was about $40 and the rest was labor.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thank you all for your contributions. Here is my update.
1. I teach my students that, unlike mathematics homeworks, many different engineering design solutions are perfectly acceptable and can get top grades. A Black & Decker 3/8" drill will look very similar to a DeWalt design. Basic requirements, one axial and one radial bearing. I just rate the 2 pins for 911 brake pads far superior to what I see on my CR-Vs. They both work, but grade A vs. grade D (inferior in maintenance).
2. I agree ATF, and rear differential fluid, partial flush were easy (and I understand the reasons for the partial flush on set intervals). Just a "dumb" observation (thank goodness I measured what I drained). ATF says 2.7 qts for partial flush (4wd). My 2 vehicles were to top of cross-hatch on dipsticks, drained 3.3 qts each, on refill showed dry dipstick at 2.7 qts, and required 3.2 to 3.4 qts each to get to cross-hatched area on dipsticks. Measured correctly, before anyone rushes to assume I messed up. The dealer's mechanic confirmed they use 3.0 to 3.2 qts. too. This time, A for design, F for accuracy, or for keeping to tolerances.
3. Radiator partial-flush suggestions: Repeat, my suggestions. Throw the Lisle funnel in the bin (I did not buy one). Fill in very slowly from the top via a thin funnel, making sure there is always air flowing around the funnel during the fill (allow free airflow from inside the radiator to atmosphere, as fluid is going in, at all times). Keep stopping to squeeze the lower and upper hoses, repeatedly. Important: Looking down the radiator fill port, fill fluid to above the heat exchanger surfaces, AND to below the top of the radiator cap. Stop somewhere in between. Run the engine at idle, looking at temp sensor and at fluid from top of radiator cap. As the engine warms up you will see some bubbles, but nothing will spill. Top up as needed keeping the level as described above. You may need to do the 5 minute, cap on, let it cool, cap off, repeat the process a few times. At some point, you will see the radiator fluid in the gap above the heat exchanger surfaces moving from left-tire side to right-tire side. In my case, when this happened, the fans had not kicked on yet, but guess what? The thermostat was open, evidenced by the flow. At this point, turn on the heater, repeat the cool-down/redo process as needed. In my case, turning on the heater, 82 degree ambient, heater set to 89 degrees, turned on the A/C (evidenced by WATER dripping from the drip hose, it was hot and humid even in early morning). Fill up, close cap. Repeat as needed (and check again after you turn the heater on in the winter). In my case, no radiator fluid was spilled with this process.
The moral of the story: With engine idling, even in high ambient temp, the engine surface plus radiator dump enough heat to the environment to NOT need the extra cooling air-flow from the fans. Waiting for the fans to kick on twice to confirm the thermostat opened is pointless. Waiting for the flow to kick on twice, which can only be done with the thermostat open, was more practical. The Lisle funnel would not let you see the flow inside the radiator when the thermostat opened, and I would still be waiting for the fans to kick in.

Disclaimer: Your experiences may vary. I hope others find this useful. Now I can move on to fixing up my daughter's Civic.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Yes, more modern vehicle are not DIY friendly.
For example, Tesla only wants Tesla techs to service their vehicles.
Vehicles can not be repair by the owner, doing so voids the warranty.

German made vehicles require so many specialized tools that
the average guy can not do any repairs on their vehicles without them.

I remember back in 2000, my Nissan Sentra stalled in the streets.
Alternator failed. I wanted to replace it myself.
I took one look and saw that there was no way to get a wrench on the bolts.
Cost me over $400 dollars to replace an alternator by the mechanic.
The replacement alternator was about $40 and the rest was labor.
My 1987 911 requires a special "spanner" to take off the alternator belt, but it comes in the pouch of tools supplied with the car. No other specialty tools needed. The alternator cost 30% more than a Honda alternator, replaced once in 30 years. The parts I have used in over 30 years of Porsche ownership were marginally more expensive than Honda parts (10%-30%). The Porsche needed a lot less frequent maintenance than the Hondas. In the end I spent less on Porsche repairs and maintenance than my other cars (2 911s, a 924, several Hondas, a Mercedes, a Lexus etc. etc. My first car was a 1964 Plymouth Valiant).
 

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Over the years, Hondas have received criticism for requiring more maintenance than other cars. Our 1990 Accord recommended valve-lash checks every 6,000 miles.

Can you imagine having to pay a shop twice a year? Neither could Consumer Reports. o_O

So, around the late '90s, Honda decided to arbitrarily increase valve check intervals to 100,000 miles. In other markets, the recommendation was 30,000 miles.

Guess what? The B-series engines in Gen1 CR-Vs often suffered burned exhaust valves. Honda replaced MANY cylinder heads on warranty, most of them on goodwill.

I guess this anecdote emphasizes that Honda never thought that doing maintenance was a 'bad thing'. Some of the maintenance was dictated by unique design of the assemblies.


The RT4WD system was unique in that it didn't require locking clutches/differentials, yet was 95% as effective as those that did. Less weight, better fuel economy than other designs, too.


Now, I have nothing against Porsches (owned one!) and I know that one time, Porsche was challenged to design components that were very robust, and they did it! Would have cost a significant amount more than the then-current prices. (Couldn't find that old article just now)
 

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So, around the late '90s, Honda decided to arbitrarily increase valve check intervals to 100,000 miles. In other markets, the recommendation was 30,000 miles.
So 30ish years ago.. Honda had valve lash problems with their engines. That painful experience probably got factored into future engine designs though.... knowing Hondas historical penchant for continuous improvement in design. :)

Time to put the "way back machine" away here. :p The new engines don't really need valves adjusted now days.

In the modern era of maintenance and service, Hondas keep getting better in terms of the amount of maintenance required. However, when something in the vehicle does break, the cost to repair is higher and higher with all the high tech components. Cost to routinely maintain CRVs though is among the lowest in the industry. Of course labor costs keep going up, so it is amazing we can properly maintain a modern CRV at such low ongoing costs. :)
 
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