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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I have a 2008 CR-V AWD w/ 115k miles in excellent condition.
I did a Search and read a lot of replies on this Forum before posting.

I had NO IDEA that there were timing chain problems with the 2.4K Engine until talking with a fellow who had 2 engines crater due to timing chain guide failures, and scared the crap out of me. He now uses after-market chain tensioners and guide rails.

That prompted me to visit my Honda dealership today where my car was always maintained, including oil changes, prior to me buying the car last Summer. I asked 2 service advisors, and both said there is little reason for concern UNLESS the car was run low on oil, or the oil was not scrupulously changed on schedule. They seemed surprised I was even asking.

They said that typically a timing chain should last as much as 150k miles, and they charge $1300-1500 for it. They said they do the job IN THE CAR, though there doesn't seem to be much room along side of the engine. I had to change the A/C compressor clutch assembly when I bought the car, and believe me, there was not much room to work and do that without removing the compressor (Honda wanted $1300 for the job is why the owner sold me the car, but thankfully I did it for $75 w/o removing the compressor). The serpentine belt looks evil to access as well.

I read a bunch of articles online that spoke of stretched chains, and tensioners failing causing catastrophic engine failure, and an after-market tensioner was recommended (about $170-$300: https://www.hybrid-racing.com/products/hybrid-racing-timing-chain-tensioner-for-k-series-engines or https://skunk2.com/engine/support-parts/340-05-0002.html)

It seems SOME people need to change their chain and tensioner by as little as 65,000mi while others have over 200,000mi on their original chain. It seems the tensioners fail (teeth shear off allowing timing to jump and bend valves/destroy pistons) while sometimes the chains just wear and "stretch" until a timing code (P0341) is thrown indicating a new chain is needed without engine damage).

I must say I am thoroughly confused and concerned at this point. I like the car, but I don't want to keep a future money-pit.

The dealership advised monitoring how clean the head, visible through the oil-fill cap, is, and if it's dirty/sludgy, I should have the chain/tensioner changed immediately (dirty oil damages the tensioner causing it to jump), but if it's spiffy clean, at 125-150k have them remove the timing chain cover for a look-see visually for timing marks, etc), and then assess the situation.

One Indy shop told me that to change the chain, the engine should be removed, or the whole eng/trans dropped out the bottom. The dealer said that they could change everything in place, though when I said even changing the serpentine belt looked ugly, they said even the serpentine belt is miserable.

SO- WHAT ARE THE RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE GROUP?

RE THE WATER PUMP-

How long do the water pump and belt idler/tensioner bearings usually last?

When should I bite the bullet and have it ALL done? It would seem doing the serpentine belt, idler/tensioner, water pump and timing chain/tensioner at ONE TIME would save repetitive labor charges.

Were there any "upgrades" to the K engine during production years based on reliability standards, so later K engines may have better components than earlier ones? In other words, are newer cars equipped with superior components based on failures of earlier built cars from which Honda learned lessons, making my 2008 less liable to problems reported in pre-2008 cars?

Thanks-
Bob
 

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I've got about 150k on mine and have had no issues with any of it. It had an extensive service history from the dealership that I bought it from too. The only thing that had been done prior to me buying it was the rear wheel bearings. I honestly think a lot of those problems stem from people not checking their oil and keeping it changed like they should. My water pump isn't leaking yet either. Probably going to wait until it starts before I bother to dig it out.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I hear you, but I've read of dealer-maintained K engines having timing chain and tensioner failures as soon as 62k miles.

Maybe it's luck of the draw, plus some deficient monitoring.

Evidently there IS a deficiency with the tensioners with regard to damaged ratchet teeth and insufficient spring pressure (that the after-market tensioners claim to remedy), but clearly some folks have gotten well over 200k miles from their OEM units.

My dealership DOES generally recommend chain inspection with possible replacement at 150k mi as I learned today, which I learned only by asking direct questions.

Based on my other chain-equipped OHC vehicles (Bmws, MBs, Toyotas) this low-mileage failure estimate is most unusual and an engineering shortfall.
 

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I think you may have accidently been infected with the chicken little virus. No slight intended, just a little humor. There are horror stories out there on anything and everything if you want to look for them. But I've seen nothing of the sort here or in life, so far. I note that your link is to a racing website. IMO no racing-related data is realistic in real world conditions. So, unless you are planning to do some kind of racing I wouldn't worry too much. If you are having issues that point to such a problem, that's one thing. But to worry about it just because you read something? I'm not worried about mine. With good sense and relative care these engines are generally good for 250k+ miles with no internal issues, excluding the Gen5's with the oil dilution problem, on which the jury is still out. So, as far as I can tell, the sky is not falling yet. My recently acquired '07 with 92k on it is smooth as silk and I expect it to last for years. Especially since I don't plan to race it.
 

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If it's had synthetic oil used it's fine till about 150k. Then just change the chain and tensioner unless there is an issue with the other guides. Guide failure is not a issue actually. They failed because of chain being too loose and not being changed.

Those that loose a motor are imbeciles because they didn't get it fixed when the noise began as well as drove it like a race car. Having a timing chain fail isn't the end of the world.

Also DO NOT RELY ON THE DEALERSHIP FOR EVERYTHING!!! That is by far the biggest issue with any repair work. Dealerships charge twice what any small shop does. Doing a chain in a K series engine is actually quite simple IMHO. Don a few of them including having done mine at home instead of at the shop I work at.

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The dealer may have maintained the car, but if an owner didn't check oil (and let it get low) there could be TC issues. You just wouldn't know.

@Tigris99, are there noises that foretell a loose chain? I know that CELs due to stretched chains can occur.


That said, our '06 has 180K miles on it without any timing chain issues. I DO check oil and perform all the maintenance (synthetic oil changes every 7 - 9K miles)
 

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135,000 with zero timing chain problems. Have owned since new. I've been on this forum for years and this is the first mention of chain problems that I've seen. Apparently a non-issue.
 

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Only time timing chains on any car I know have failed, it's a symptom of poor maintenance.
There is quite a bit of disassembly involved to get full access to any timing chain.
 

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The dealer may have maintained the car, but if an owner didn't check oil (and let it get low) there could be TC issues. You just wouldn't know.

@Tigris99, are there noises that foretell a loose chain? I know that CELs due to stretched chains can occur.


That said, our '06 has 180K miles on it without any timing chain issues. I DO check oil and perform all the maintenance (synthetic oil changes every 7 - 9K miles)
CEL is comes pretty late. If it gets to that point someone hasn't maintained their vehicle and is one that ignores everything till the light comes on or is stranded.

Rough idle, chattering or ticking noise (different than lifter noise and if you know how yours sounds normally it'll be obvious) especially at cold start.

@Rocky:. Timing chains are not much if any more work than timing belts. Major difference, a lot more bolts to take out to get the cover itself off.

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Discussion Starter #10
CEL is comes pretty late. If it gets to that point someone hasn't maintained their vehicle and is one that ignores everything till the light comes on or is stranded.

Fortunately, since I have had the car, it has not used measurable oil in 2000mi of driving, so hopefully the oil was never driven-low between changes. The dealer oil sticker on the windshield indicated the dealer specified 5000mi between changes, so given my consumption (maybe 1/4th qt in 2000mi) the vehicle hopefully never exceeded 1 qt low between changes if the owner brought it in on-time (I have not requested full service records from my local dealer that sold and maintained the vehicle).

Rough idle, chattering or ticking noise (different than lifter noise and if you know how yours sounds normally it'll be obvious) especially at cold start.
Cold, the engine could use a valve adjust (slight tick until temp comes off the cold peg), and I'll see what the cams look like when I get a valve cover gasket w/ plug o-rings and pull the cover.

@Rocky:. Timing chains are not much if any more work than timing belts. Major difference, a lot more bolts to take out to get the cover itself off.
Many more bolts = more work, plus oil dripping everywhere, and there there appears to be NOT much room on the passenger side compared to most I-4 Honda belt-engines. I did a Honda Ridgeline belt the other day and it had lots of room, though it was more work than the Honda B/D engines to get access. But yes, with the engine hanging on an engine stand, the chain is no big deal.

I was just surprised that Honda chains appear to be more "needy" than other makes, though it sounds like in most cases, good preventative maintenance (good oil on time) may be a huge factor the owner can control if he buys the vehicle new. It was said (Tigres99) "If it's had synthetic oil used it's fine till about 150k. Then just change the chain and tensioner unless there is an issue with the other guides."


In my book the author was describing GOOD MAINTENANCE (a best-case situation: synthetic oil changed on-schedule), and the dealer also set a 150K limit for a chain change, and based on other chain equipped engines, that is below-par for expected chain life given that most chains exceed the life of most vehicles they are installed in without adverse consequences.

Given that most modern engines are interference design, belt or chain failure are catastrophic events with repair costs easily exceeding the cost of a used engine, and sometimes more than the value of the car itself. That is a BIG DEAL.
 

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I've done a couple timing chains so far, one in mine (229k on it now did it last year) and wasn't bad at all. Try working in a modern US branded engine with timing chains (which every make that uses a overhead cam and chain drive has tons of problems, Honda is the best by far compared to them). Once the cover is off there is tons of room.

Mine was done because of exhaust cam wear which was a known issue for early gen 2s. So since I was in there, I did the chain. It had stretched a fair bit so saved myself doing the job a second time later.

Your thinking old chains which is a really short chain from crank to mid block located cam and that was it. Ya those lasted (but rarely did they ever make 200k miles). I've been a tech for a long time, and Honda so far has had the longest lasting and non-problematic system of every vehicle I've touched.

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
I've done a couple timing chains so far, one in mine (229k on it now did it last year) and wasn't bad at all. Try working in a modern US branded engine with timing chains (which every make that uses a overhead cam and chain drive has tons of problems, Honda is the best by far compared to them). Once the cover is off there is tons of room.

Mine was done because of exhaust cam wear which was a known issue for early gen 2s. So since I was in there, I did the chain. It had stretched a fair bit so saved myself doing the job a second time later.

Your thinking old chains which is a really short chain from crank to mid block located cam and that was it. Ya those lasted (but rarely did they ever make 200k miles). I've been a tech for a long time, and Honda so far has had the longest lasting and non-problematic system of every vehicle I've touched
.


No- I was not thinking of old US designs, actually, and BTW I appreciate your Honda experience and expertise. And yes, those old US (and others) OHV engines rarely made 200k (partly due to design and metallurgy, and partly due to inferior oils back then I suspect, but few engines made 200k back then).

I have actually been doing automotive work professionally for 50+ years and even now at my age (older than dirt) operate an independent, mostly European Import shop in Olympia, WA. The old US (and British, which I did a lot of in the day) OHV engines were actually easy with their short chains once you got the timing cover off, as there was usually plenty of room between the radiator and front of the engine to work. Same with longitudinally mounted OHC engines, and MBs make it easy to simply wind new chains in by attaching the new one to the old one and rotating the engine to drag them though (assuming the guides were OK).

On a few engines I had to (or it was easier to) pull the engine for timing chain work (US market MB 380 V8s had single row chains in the early 80s that would break and we retrofitted dual row chains like the Euro cars were fitted with), but mostly it wasn't bad. Mostly Euro cars, as well as Japanese chains were life-time affairs (though certain MB engines tended to "stretch" chains).

I confess I really dislike transverse engines in general, and looking at the K in the CR-V it just appeared to me to be very tight on the timing cover side, but I will take it as good news that it's not as bad as it looks. Many things in life are like that-the first one is the worst.

I was just rather shocked that unlike most chains I am familiar with that the Honda engines (of all brands) would need chain work that soon, and that tensioners tend to strip ratchet teeth (I don't know if you just use Honda OEM or the so-called "improved" after-market tensioners I read about). I regularly see Civics with 250+k miles that are in great shape (of course, with replacement T-Belts), though Honda auto transmissions seem somewhat intolerant of owners who don't change their fluid regularly (compared to Aisin in Toyotas and Lexuses anyway).

I don't "enjoy" replacing timing belts on transverse engines (though it's good money), but in the Civics/Accords/ Gen 1 CRVs I've done, and even the Ridgeline the other day at least there is room to work. It just struck me that 1) room appears minimal in my '08 CR-V, and one tech told me some pull engines to do the chain (apparently unnecessary), and 2) if Honda went to a chain, why not make it a longer-lasting one, assuming that 150k is the generally accepted chain replacement period for the K engine (as even the local dealer stated to me). If Toyota, Nissan, and Mazda, as well as BMW and MB can make chains that last much longer (the early Mazda single-row chains with a spring-only tensioner from the 1970s aside), why not Honda? I did read that the steep cam angles on the K tend to "shock" the chain and tensioner, and damage the tensioner teeth vs. belts that absorb the stresses better, but I have no direct knowledge, of course. I am just learning.

Don't get me wrong, I am NOT a "Honda Hater" coming here to be a troll. I LIKE Hondas, and compared to modern BMWs, and even MBs (which are crap compared to 70s and 80s cars, and even some 90s models) Hondas are top notch, but I am just trying to wrap my head around whether I will REALLY have to do my chain (or if 99% with well maintained cars will reach 200k) at 150k or less.

I admit to no longer especially liking to work on my own cars (except a couple older MBs and BMWs I own for fun) anymore, so appreciate low maintenance and ease of service (Subaru comes to mind here if you ignore their old head gaskets).

Now, you said you replaced YOUR chain at 229K. If with frequent oil changes w/ good synthetic oil can achieve that kind of chain longevity, I will quit complaining and relax, figuring I just got some bad information, and as someone said, did the "Chicken Little" thing, but of course, that's why I came here first to ask before having to be scraped off the ceiling.

Just curious- I have not pulled a valve cover on a K engine. Can you see down low enough on the cam sprockets w/ the cover off off to actually see the timing marks to see when there is enough wear to justify a chain-change? I plan to do a valve adjust after I order a cover gasket and hope that I will be able to see the marks to make a preliminary judgment on mine.

I really WANT to love the '08 CR-V as I loved my old '98 CR-V as a winter/utility driver (until the transmission started acting badly). I bought that CR-V in otherwise excellent condition except the owner was told he never needed to change the trans fluid (and didn't for 175k miles). I am inserting a photo of the drain plug as I found when I changed the fluids when I first got that vehicle to illustrate. Amazingly, the trans was even then quiet and upshifted beautifully, and only the 3-2 downshift was unpleasant, despite all that metal.
CRV Drain Plug.jpg

Thanks,
Bob
 

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Mine was done last year so around 220 I'm guessing.

Many people don't use synthetic oil on vehicles till it's required so chains wear sooner. As well as slack off on intervals, beat the crap out of them etc. Read of plenty that were pushing around 250k with factory chain.

I used OEM style replacement myself. The big issue with eating tensioners, again is beating the crap out of the engines. Granted I'm not nice to mine so I have a spare tensioner (and they are easy to change IMO there is an inspection cover on the timing cover to access it). But if you drive like a relaxed person then that will also increase life span. Most that eat them treat Honda's like race cars.

Remember on thing, Honda for a base level production engine is hard to beat for power. VTEC was something all other brands spent forever trying to duplicate. Toyota isn't known for power, known for doing half a million miles before finally dying lol. Honda built everything else but the timing chain to last forever. Might have been intentional lol. I have seen timing chain problems from about every make there is except for Toyota (they found their own set of issues though, head bolts ripping out of the block for no reason) but I haven't done much on EU vehicles.

As for valve lash work. Nope you aren't going to see crap down inside. Crank pulley IIRC has line up marks on the cover though. Either that or I just look at cam positions to figure out what stroke I was on for cyl 1 and lined up cam marks. I found lash really easy to do as well. Hell I like working on my CRV. Rather work on it than most modern crap. Thankfully that's rare but I enjoy it because perfection pays off.

New stuff really has no room, do have to pull engines to do stuff. On these for the chain, worst part is getting crank pulley off. Pull the motor mount and splash shield in fender well and you find other than 3 cover bolts being annoying to get to it's easy. Crank bolt is something you better be prepared for though. They laugh at my brand new Mac tools 1/2 gun. Best way I found was jamming breaker bar into things and hitting the key LOL. If you do one you'll understand. They DO NOT come loose and sure as hell are far tighter than torque spec by at least double.

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You can see the necessary timing marks on the cams with the valve cover off.
 

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Crank bolt is something you better be prepared for though. They laugh at my brand new Mac tools 1/2 gun. Best way I found was jamming breaker bar into things and hitting the key LOL.
I did that in a dumpy Merkur XR4Ti I used to own. Fought that thing for a few days until I stuck a brick on the frame, laid the breaker bar on it, hit the starter and she spun right off.

On the Hondas I've worked on so far, the engine rotates in the wrong direction to spin that bolt off. Are you saying the K-series engine spins in the opposite direction and I can do that again?

I'm doing a cylinder head on the 2004 Civic, but I'm guessing that engine still rotates the "wrong" way to use the starter trick. I wasn't able to move that bolt at all when I tried it before winter hit. A newer breaker bar just flexed on me! I need to find some 60-70 year old Craftsman (same as my shorter breaker bar that I inherited) and probably a pipe to lengthen it a bit, before it'll let loose.

Fun times. :D
 

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I did that in a dumpy Merkur XR4Ti I used to own. Fought that thing for a few days until I stuck a brick on the frame, laid the breaker bar on it, hit the starter and she spun right off.

On the Hondas I've worked on so far, the engine rotates in the wrong direction to spin that bolt off. Are you saying the K-series engine spins in the opposite direction and I can do that again?

I'm doing a cylinder head on the 2004 Civic, but I'm guessing that engine still rotates the "wrong" way to use the starter trick. I wasn't able to move that bolt at all when I tried it before winter hit. A newer breaker bar just flexed on me! I need to find some 60-70 year old Craftsman (same as my shorter breaker bar that I inherited) and probably a pipe to lengthen it a bit, before it'll let loose.

Fun times. :D
I just use a 3/4” impact to take them out. But, a lot of people don’t realize you lose a huge amount of torque with extensions and thin wall sockets. They make a really heavy wall socket for taking those crank bolts out. From what I’ve seen they work well.
 

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Wildcat - Interesting point on the old Craftsman tools. It's a well-kept secret, and one I learned many years ago, and I became a collector. I have a full set of the early versions of the old shiny Craftsman tools, which are sturdy enough, but I also have a full compliment of the old '50's gray ones, in 3/8 and 1/2" drives, though there were no metrics back then, so it's mix and match. Add to that a good strong set of Williams and early Snap-on stuff and I have the best of the best. You cain't hardly find that early stuff now, and when you do you will pay a premium price, but if and when you ever run across any, snag it if you can. It's bulletproof. I rebuild Quincy compressors, and if you think it's fun pulling those crank bolts, wait till you try to break loose Quincy valve assemblies after 50 years of running with 160-180 ft-lb's of torque on them.
 
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