Engine & Gearbox CDTI - Timing Chains and Oil Pump Chains

Discussion in 'Honda N-Series' started by chris_seven, Monday 21st May, 2012.

  1. chris_seven New Member Getting Started

    I am sure that everyone is aware of the misery that has been caused by poor timing chain/tensioner design and all of the associated problems that this causes.

    My Honda dealer recently quoted £3k to change the chain on an 04 car that has a value of about £3k.

    Clearly this means that it is cheaper to scrap the car than repairing the fault and then take the risk of the VSA, Dual Mass Flywheel or the tailgate system failing.

    I bought a chain and tensioner and set too to change the chain myself.

    About 10 days later the engine developed an annoying knock and it transpires that No3 Piston has been hitting the cylinder head as the big end bearing has spun and disintegrated damaging the crank and con rod.

    Interstingly there was fresh oil in the sump (Lubetech 0-30) and the oil warning light did not illuminate.

    I offered Honda Technical my congratulations on their Audible Low Oil Level Warning System but inscrutibility won the day.

    Having spoken to at least half a dozen of the Honda Engine re-builders that are to be found on EBay I discovered that none of them fit new chains or tensioners when the rebuild these engines so you spend about £2k and can still end up with chain problems. They all want the old engine as an exchange so I would also lose the new chain and tensioner.:Aghast:

    I have now had the crank ground and have sourced some bearing for the rods - had to re-machine the tang locations and am starting to put it back together. I have now got to the oil change, tensioner etc and have decided to worry about these parts as well.

    I must say that the pump chain doesn't show the same amount of wear as the cam chain , which was in a poor condition but every article I read says both chains wear out.

    Does anyone have direct experience as the cost of the new pump chain and associated parts just make it all too expensive compared to the value of the car.
    Last edited: Monday 21st May, 2012
  2. Ichiban Founder Staff Team

    England CJ Leeds
    Hey Chris, Sounds a bit of disaster but you are not the first to go through the trauma of finding the car is worthless after a timing chain has snapped. Its the oil pump chain which goes first being the smallest one. The timing chain IS the biggest source of scrapping car and it will still rise unfortunately.

    All these parts are required to be changed for the job.

    I also can't see why the 3 rd piston would hit the cylinder hear unless the head is not been torqued down and the bolts not tightened in a sequence.
  3. chris_seven New Member Getting Started

    Thanks for the reply,

    The chain didn't break, it was changed in time.

    The piston hit the head because No.3 Rod bearing broke up after it spun on the journal. This increases the travel of
    the piston as the ineria allows movement in the clearance. It does little damage other than to crack the piston rings - hence more expense.

    Torqueing the head would make no difference to this problem and the head wasn't removed to change the chain.

    The part that I find confusing is that the rod bearing picked up when there was 0-30W oil in the sump and the oil pressure warning light was going out instantly.

    My local Honda Dealer tells me crank problems are not uncommon with these cars and speaking with a couple of Honda engine re-builders they see the same problem.

    I guess that the reality is that any car with a poor service history or that has exceeded the extended warranty offer without having new chains is worthless.
  4. Ichiban Founder Staff Team

    England CJ Leeds
    Hi Chris , Going back in time was the timing chain kit ever replaced on your pre facelift car under extended warranty?
  5. chris_seven New Member Getting Started

    I am afraid that it wasn't and it already had 129k miles when purchased.

    I had assumed that as it was a Honda it would be well engineered and that as the engine had a chain it would provide the same sort of mileages as BMW and SAAB (Isuzu) chain drive diesels and when I learnt of all of the issues with this engine I have to say that I was disappointed.

    It was bad enough to learn of the chain problems and then be faced with the cost of repair but then to find that there are also crank issues, which were not apparent when the car was purchased makes it even worse.

    I must say if I knew about all of these problems up front I would never have bought one of these cars.

    Classic case of Caveat Emptor and assuming all Hondas were well engineered.

    My guess is that the timing chain tensioner excessively loads the chain and causes wear - The old chestnut that chains stretch is of course a myth. (They wear at the pins and the holes elongate.)
  6. Ichiban Founder Staff Team

    England CJ Leeds
    Honda are well engineered and their reputation built on petrol cars. Diesel was their first offering and yes they have they shortcomings that why I made that article about the timing chain issue.

    Its a case of researching before buying I suppose. Timing chain issue on the I-CTDI is 100% down to poor maintenance regime the soot in the oil kills the chain links causing them snap.
  7. Hi Chris/Fenn

    Sorry to hear about the problems you're having.

    Although plenty of these engines do stellar mileages without any major issues.

    If you want to take your chances with BMW or SAAB reliability instead of Honda please be my guest...reliability indices year after year all tell the same story.

    I seem to remember this initial problem was caused by low oil...maybe not below minimum but nevertheless low oil...which seems to bear out what CJ is saying.

    You could trust your visual inspection of the oil pump chain and leave as is...or do what I assume Honda do and just change the chain but not the other parts.

    Good luck with the rebuild...hope it's successful.
  8. Nav Senior Member ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

    all i wanna do is just cry.. :'(

    do they change the timimg blet under the extended warrenty free of charge or do you have to pay extra... how does it work..?? i just checked.. is it 7yrs in total or 7 year just shy of 8..?? like 7 year and 10 minths..??
    Last edited: Tuesday 22nd May, 2012
  9. Ichiban Founder Staff Team

    England CJ Leeds
    The timing chain warranty is 125000 miles or 7 years from the date of sale. Outside the warranty period you have to pay.

    Why don't you call up HH and ask them if this warranty work has been done that will give you that peace of mind.
  10. Nav Senior Member ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

    ok then its not covered.. mine is just shy of 8 years...bol****ks.. this day just keep geting worse and worse.. 3K well looks like my car is destined for the scrapies too... real shame after getting the DMF and clutch done..
    i don't think it has been done.. there is no paper work for it..
  11. alloy36 Club Member ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆


    Chill out. There will be no paperwork for it. I had my car done and asked for paperwork and was not given any. Fair do as I wasn't paying!!
  12. Ichiban Founder Staff Team

    England CJ Leeds
    Not entirely accurate , yes you are not given any paper work but the dealer can look up the warranty history for any Honda car via their VIN number. Dealers on request they will print off the summary and you will have it in black and white.

    just build a rapport with them, that not hard is it?
  13. Can you hear the chain rattling? It sounds like a bag of spanners when it's on its way out.
  14. Beefy Club Veteran ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

    United Kingdom Stoke
    caunt say we have ever seen problems with the cranks on I-CTDI's as yet. we have seen failures of course but they all have there unique reasons maily due to oil starvation or ran on company miles between services with no top up of oil.
  15. Nav Senior Member ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

    no there is no sounds or anything, quite i would say except this weird whistling noise.... just worried after reading a lot of threads whether it will just snap while driving without any warning....
  16. Nav Senior Member ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

    hmm Summary you say eey.. wonder what HH will say if i went there... might give it a go..
  17. Primarycare Club Veteran ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

    United Kingdom Primary c Northampton
    Mine has not had the chain done, the manifold was done recently but chain I was told was quiet. Will Honda replace if it is not making the bag of spanners sound effects? I would take it no?

    Mine has done 75k now with full Honda history from new. Worrying as mine is 7 years old in July :-(
  18. If anyone needs a new chain HH will do the job without it being uneconomic to keep the car.

    If any injectors break on removal to access the chain the costs go up but much of the time they don't.
  19. Ichiban Founder Staff Team

    England CJ Leeds
    Hound your local dealer tell them I want that chain replaced..do it the factory fitted chains will break it is a matter of time.