In their defense, it is a bit of a struggle to get the belt to go on right;
the cam doesn't like to sit at TDC. (That's why so many of us were
suspecting it!) But you're right - professionals should not only get it
right, they should triple-check it is right before buttoning it up.
One point I forgot to mention: having to readjust the ignition timing after
timing belt change is a *huge* red flag pointing to getting the timing belt
a tooth off. The engine runs terribly if not readjusted and badly if it is,
but simply having to change the timing means the belt didn't go on the way
it came off. Feh!
That's the wierd thing. It idles a bit rough, I think, but someone who
didn't know the car would likely think nothing of it. Then of course
the idle dropout (clearly something new, something wrong). And lastly,
the sense at high speeds that the car is really struggling. It used to
cruise at 85 mph down the Mass Pike no problem. Now, it's clearly
topping the engine out. I'm amazed that it runs at all with the valves
opening/closing ~10 degrees before (after) they should!
usually just the apprentice. and i guarantee they never followed the
honda service manual to the letter - which you absolutely must do. in
this respect, you might be better off doing the job yourself now you
have the lid off.
anyway, congrats on persisting enough to get the diagnosis done!
after all this, you may not need the idle adjust done at all! add valve
lash to the list of things to do as now's the time to do it with all the
They did the valve clearance adjustment, twice! First time car seemed
like it didn't just have tons of work done ---- felt even "older".
After I insisted, they re-checked clearance, found it "way too loose",
and corrected it, at which point the car is now, with much improved
idle problem. The offset T-belt shouldn't affect valve clearance,
should it? Or does the T-belt/timing need to be correct so that you
know that the valve is closed/open the right amount at the right time?
(Is valve lash is same as valve clearance?)
cam timing affects performance big time. valve lash much less so, but
still a factor.
either way, judging by your experience with these guys, you should
consider absorbing the extra cost and just take it to an independent
honda specialist. continued ineptitude will cost you a good deal more
in the long run. if you want to take it back to the same place to prove
a point, /insist/ on having a senior mechanic do the work. insist on
meeting them - before and after.
I'm a glutton for punishment, I guess. Back to Honda this morning, met
w/ the sr. mech. He seems sharp (as wasn't the one who did the
incorrect valve lash the 1st time). They tore it apart, and together
we examined the timing marks. They actually did the T-belt right,
which is a relief. The confusion is shown well here,
http://www.cadvision.com/blanchas/54pontiac/honda.html ; you use the
horiz. marks on the cam pulley for the 1.5L engine (which I have), and
at the pointer for the 1.6L VTEC. Also, there's two white marks
painted on the *inside* of the cam pulley, that line up w/ the cyl.
head for the 1.5L.
That settled, they're a bit at a loss as to why the distr. is set so
far forward. But, will replace distr. head & rotor w/ genuine Honda,
as they say they've had bad experiences w/ off-brand parts.
IACV/idle stumble also clearly still bothers them. Coolant was indeed
bled to remove bubbles. They're putting in a new thermostat. When I
disconnected the IACV elec. conn., it should have generated an Check
Engine code, but it didn't. Hmmm. They also are thinking that there
could be a blockage inside the throttle body. Any more suggestions/
ideas RE: IACV/idle?
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