Can a poor timing belt service lead to needing an engine replacement?

pullinghairpullinghair Member Posts: 4
edited June 2014 in Honda

We have a 2005 Honda Odyssey that has been having trouble since we had the timing belt replaced last year. I complained about it running rough from the beginning but the dealership told me the trouble was unrelated. Each time we went it we spent an average of $400 replacing parts. I kept telling them it started with the timing belt replacement. It has been throwing codes, stopped running while driving a few times and has been running rough. Yesterday, I took it in because it was "dieseling". I have been bringing it in every 2-3 months since the timing service. They are now telling me I need an entire engine because the head is blown and the pistons are bent. They told me it has very low oil. The car was at 80% oil life when I brought it in yesterday and I have not seen any oil leaks in our garage or where I park. The car has 128k miles on it. I was told a rebuilt engine is $7000 or an engine of unknown history and 102k miles for $4200. It seems to me the timing belt service was done improperly. Any thoughts or suggestions?

Best Answer


  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonMember Posts: 20,338

    The way you worded your post makes it difficult to understand.

    If your old timing belt actually broke, engine damage could have occurred. If it were simply replaced as routing maintenance, it's unlikely that this has anything to do with your current problem. Cylinder heads don't "blow" and pistons don't "bend".

    If a timing belt snaps, it can cause the valves to collide with the cylinder heads thus causing a lot of damage. If this is what happened, the shop should have known that when your Odyssey was towed in.

  • pullinghairpullinghair Member Posts: 4

    Sorry, I am just going with the terminology I was given by the dealership. They said the car has "blown a head gasket" and the "piston rings are bent and fouled". Our timing belt service was a routine service that we did as preventative maintenance. It did not break. Does it make sense to spend $7000 on a rebuilt engine for this car? Can you suggest options? Thanks!!

  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonMember Posts: 20,338

    Yes, cylinder head GASKETS can blow but pretty unusual on a Honda unless it got overheated or something. Never heard of a "bent" or "fouled" piston ring but I guess it's possible? I'm wondering how they know these things without taking the engine apart.

    Dealerships and Indy shops don't rebuild engines like they used to. They would rather just install a remanufactured one.

    On a nine year old car with 128,000 miles you are in a tough spot decision wise.

    If it were me, I think I would shop around for a good used engine. 4200.00 sounds high but these days with shops charging over 100.00/hr. for labor I could be wrong.

    A lot of wrecking yards will run the engines and listen for problems. Some wrecking yards even do the installs right there. If you do go that way, I would change the timing belt no matter how good it looks. It's not a hard job if the engine is out of the car.

    Another option is to sell the car but in it's condition nobody is going to pay you much unless the rest of the car is in pristine condition.

    I wish you well on this.

  • pullinghairpullinghair Member Posts: 4

    Our dealership rallied for us with American Honda and we will have a newly rebuilt engine for $2000! It pays off to bring your car to the dealership religiously.

  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonMember Posts: 20,338

    Good ending to your story.

    Yes, dealerships tend to go to bat for their loyal customers and it can certainly pay off!

    Once a car is out of warranty, a lot of people skimp on service. They go to Wal Mart or a Quickie Lube and seek out independent shops that charge 5.00 less an hour for labor.

    I'm happy it worked out in your case!

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