Parts Just Wear Out Sometimes

A Honda Pilot with over 300,000 miles came into the shop. I can’t remember if it’s the highest mileage I’ve personally seen, but it had to be near the most if it wasn’t. As expected, it had many things wrong with it, but even though it really wasn’t worth keeping this vehicle, the customer decided they did want the timing belt replaced, when a full timing belt job at a dealer costs more than any car with 300,000 miles is worth. As I should’ve expected, I had a few more problems doing the job than usual, just because of how old it was.

One of the very first things I tried to do was remove the serpentine belt, but my socket ended up just rounding off the part of the tensioner you push to remove tension. I ended up just cutting the belt because I was replacing it anyway, and moved on with the job.

Once I removed the tensioner from the engine, I could see that it had rounded off because it’s just aluminum, and these tensioners can take a good bit of force to move.

At first, I attempted to file down the damaged hex to a smaller socket size, which was easy because it’s aluminum, but after finishing the timing belt job, when I tried to install the new serpentine belt, it just rounded off again.

On top of everything the customer had already had to spend on this high mileage car, including a new timing belt tensioner and adjuster pulley, I then had to sell a whole new serpentine belt tensioner. After waiting for one to come in from another dealership in the area, I was able to finally finish the job after multiple delays that day.

Putting such shiny new parts on this dirty, oily, old engine just doesn’t look right.


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-Dan

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