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.
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.