Wednesday, November 11, 2020

How to Replace the Timing Belt and Water Pump on a 3.5L Honda Pilot, Odyssey or Ridgeline

 At 125,000 miles my 2012 Pilot was overdue for a timing belt and water pump replacement. I gathered parts, tools and materials and proceeded to tackle the job in my garage in early January. I hoped my new garage heater was up the job. 

                                                     The job at a glance

  • Tools: Floor jack, metric sockets, ratchet, wrenches, large breaker bar, Honda 15mm crankshaft  pulley holder, Lisle spill free kit 24680 (for coolant addition) 
  • Parts: Timing component and water pump kit ( used Aisin kit TKH-002)
  • Materials: Coolant (used Xerex Asian blue) 
  • Time: 6-8 hours
 One of the difficulties of this job is removing the crank bolt. To call this fastener stubborn is to understate the difficulty. A powerful impact tool is recommended for removal.    

Tear down of the Front of the Engine

1) Break the lug nuts of the right front wheel. Jack up the right front and remove. Set down on  a stand or block. 
2) Remove the wheel well cover. This is complicated piece held on by many screws and panel fasteners

Mark the many fasteners to aid assembly

3) Disconnect the battery
4) Remove the power train control module.  First unsnap and remove the PCM cover to make bolt removal easier. There are four 10mm bolts to remove. the lower one is below this cover and wiring harnesses. Unplug the three wiring harnesses from the bottom of the PCM. Now the the 10mm mounting bolt is visible.  Disconnect another harness that comes in from the left. For full removal, cutting a wire tie holding the left harness is necessary. 

Four 10mm bolts hold down the PCM

5) Move the large wiring harness out of the way. There is a bracket held in by a 10mm bolt holding the harness that must be removed. Then the harness can be pushed toward the firewall to ease coming disassembly. 

6) Support the engine with a jack under the oil pan. Be sure to place a block of wood atop the jack to spread the weight. 

7) Remove the front engine mount. There are two parts., the wheel well and the engine mount.  Remove three 17mm bolts mounting the wheel well part to the vehicle.  A wobble socket is helpful here for the two outside bolts as they are slightly under the mount.  Then remove two 14mm bolts holding this part of the mount to engine part. Now remove it. 

Remove 5 bolts, left three are 17mm, right two 14mm

8) Remove the serpentine belt by retracting the tensioner with a 14mm wrench while pulling the belt off the the pulleys.

9) Remove the plastic engine cover. Turn two plastic retainers ninety degrees toward the front and pull it off.

10) Move the power steering pump out of the way. It's helpful to pinch off the upper hose to prevent loss of fluid. Pull the clamp off the pump fitting and seal both ends to keep out contaminants. Now remove the two 12mm mounting bolts and set the pump up out of the way atop the engine. 

Set the pump out of the way atop the engine

11) Remove the tensioner. One 14mm bolt above and one 12mm below. 

Remove upper 14mm bolt 

Remove lower 12mm bolt

12) Remove the two upper timing belt covers, ten 10mm bolts. 

13) Hand crank engine in a clockwise direction until both cam timing marks are aligned with marks on the engine.

Both cams look like this when aligned with engine marks

13) Remove the crankshaft pulley bolt. Acquire a Honda pulley holder designed for this purpose. This bolt is highly torqued and presents a big challenge in removal. An air or electric power tool is ideal for this job. A special socket is also a plus for removal. We chose to remove it by hand with a breaker bar, a handle extension (i.e. cheater bar). After great effort and many tries it broke loose. 

You will need this...

Along with ratchet to hold the pulley...

and this set-up got it done!

14) Remove the harmonic balancer and the domed washer behind it. This required jiggling two pry bars 180 degrees apart under the balancer. Note, the domed side of the washer faces outward, toward the belt.

Two pry bars got the balancer off

15) Remove the lower timing belt cover. There are seven 10 bolts to remove. 

16) Remove the other half of the engine mount from the engine. There are three 14mm and one 10mm bolts to remove. That completes the front end teardown. 

Removal of Timing Components and Water Pump

Belt path components

1) De-tension the belt using the battery hold down rod. Bevel the threaded end of the rod and insert into the hole provided for this purpose. Turn in rod just far enough to remove tension from the belt.

De-tension the belt with J-hook against tension idler

2) Remove the lower idler (just below the water pump) with a 14mm socket. 


3) Remove the timing belt

4) Remove the tensioner pulley. There is one 14mm bolt.

5) Remove the hydraulic tensioner. There are two 14mm bolts.

6) Drain coolant. This is optional and will not prevent considerable loss of coolant when removing water pump. It is due for replacement on this Pilot. 

7) Remove the water pump by taking out the five 10mm mounting bolts.  If it sticks, take care not to mar the engine mating surface when prying the pump from the engine.

Installation of Water Pump and Timing Components

1) Install the water pump. Make sure engine contact surfaces are clean and dry. If the new gasket is not installed carefully fit it on the pump. The pump in our Aisin kit came with gasket installed. Torque the 5 bolts to 9 ftlbs carefully and evenly. 

2) Install the two hydraulic tensioner 10mm bolts and torque to 9 ftlbs. 

3) Install the tension pulley 14mm pivot bolt and torque to 19 ftlbs. 

4) Install idler pulley and torque to 33 ftlbs. 

5) Verify all timing marks and install the timing belt. Start at the crank pulley and proceed toward the radiator side, allowing no slack on this side as it is routed around. The final component on the counterclockwise install is the tension pulley. Double check all timing marks and pull the pin on the hydraulic tensioner. It may be necessary to turn the threaded rod in further if the tensioner pin won't budge. When the pin is pulled the rod can be removed and re-installed as a battery hold down. 

The crank marks aligned 

6) Temporarily use the crank pulley bolt to rotate the engine twice around. Verify smooth operation and return to aligned timing position. Remove the crank pulley bolt. 

Installation of Front End Engine Components

Aisin TKH-002 has excellent instructions 

Note: Blue locktite is recommended when installing bolts

1) Install engine mount on the front of the engine with three 14mm and one 10mm bolt. Note: the lower one is shorter as it doesn't go through the water pump. Torque the 14mm bolts to 33 ftlbs.

2) Install the lower timing cover. Torque the seven 10mm bolts to 9 ftlbs.

3) Install belt retainer washer with domed side toward engine.

4) Align keyway and install harmonic balancer. 

5) Install crank bolt and torque to 47 ftlbs plus 60 degrees. Lock the balancer using the same Honda fixture used during disassembly, but this time the breaker bar must be against the lower side of the control arm. 

Holding tools set up

Set up for additional 60 degrees

6) Install the two upper timing belt covers. Torque the ten 10mm bolts to 9 ftlbs. Be careful to seat the groove in the front cover into the the ridge in the lower timing cover and push down.

7) Install the serpentine belt tensioner. Torque the 14mm bolt to 33 ftlbs and the 12mm bolt to 16 ftlbs.

8) Install the power steering pump. Torque the two 14mm bolts to 16 ftlbs. Reconnect the hose. 

9) Install the serpentine belt using a 14mm wrench or socket to retract the tensioner. 

10) Install the engine mount with three 17mm, two 14mm and one 10mm on the engine ground. No torque specs found for these.

11) Install the PCM with four 10mm bolts. Plug in the lower connector first, the one that runs under the three PCM cables. It has a locking lever. Then plug the three connectors into the PCM. There is also a 10mm bolt that holds a harness to the engine mount. Finish by snapping the wire clamps into the guides. 

12) Install the PCM cover.

13) Fill with coolant. I used Zerex Asian blue coolant. I also used a Lisle spill free kit fill kit 24680. 

14) Connect battery and run to operating temperature, allowing the air to burp out of the radiator through the kit.



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