My stepson has a '99 TL with about 108,0000 miles on the odometer. I
keep after him to have the timing belt replaced. My question: Is the
Acura engine one of those where several valves are broken when the
timing belt goes or is the worst that can happen is that it will have
to be towed? Also, should the water pump be replaced as well at this
milage? Your comments will be appreciated.
Your stepson's engine, like just about every Honda engine ever built, is a
Honda's quality control is such that the belt will travel somewhat further
before breaking than its specified replacement interval, but it's unwise to
It is also not a given that the valves will get damaged when the belt
breaks. Occasionally people get lucky and no major harm is done. The odds
are rather against you, though.
Valve damage repair can run into the thousands. It would be frankly stupid
to delay a $500 invoice in order to risk a $3,000 one.
The water pump should be replaced at the same time as the timing belt. It's
only $60, but you have to take everything else apart to get to it. Do you
really want to save $60 now, then spend another $200 in labor later to
replace it when it starts leaking or making noise? Besides, the water pump
is turned by the timing belt. If the pump should seize, it will tear up the
timing belt and give you the aforementioned $3,000 valve repair bill.
There is such a thing as "false economy". Do not fall prey to the
temptations of false economy.
You're right about the logic of replacing a $60 waterpump. Unfortunately
it's more like $123 for the pump plus labor plus all the associated belts,
fittings, etc. from my Dlr. and so it all ends up a lot closer to a grand
than to $500. Yes, it is a calculated risk to skip the WP but it's not such
a no-brainer when looking at spending $200+ to "maybe" save $300 sometime
later on. I'm still debating.
FWIW, it looks to me like your posts are in text and not HTML.
I think you are underestimating the costs of water pump failure. If the pump
has to be replaced in the future, it will cost as much then as doing the
whole smash now; what you spend now will be for naught. If the pump seizes
(fortunately rather rare in Honda products) it will strip the timing belt
and wreck the engine. The choice is yours, but I recommend doing the pump.
Hmmm...I had not considered that a seized waterpump could cascade into a
timing belt failure. Of course even a new pump still has some risk of
failure so it is always a question of weighing the odds but I do take your
point and I do appreciate your well considered advice.
Some engines are "officially" non-interference only as-built. This simply
means there is some clearance between the parts. The clearance may be as
little as a few thousandths of an inch, so once a bit of carbon builds up,
the engine effectively becomes an interference setup.
Motorsforum.com is a website by car enthusiasts for car enthusiasts. It is not affiliated with any of the car or spare part manufacturers or car dealers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.