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2006 Honda Odyssey Valve Noise

I have a 2006 Honda Odyssey with 40K miles. The valves have been making a chattering noise for awhile now. I have tried different brands of gas (highest grade) - no luck. I took the car in to the dealer while it was still under warranty they could not find anything wrong. I took it again lately and they said not to worry. Well… I am a little worried. It seems like some sensor is not functioning properly but I could be wrong. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you.


Take the vehicle back to the dealer and ask that they check the valve lash.

Honda recommends that the valve lash be checked whenever the valve train begins to make noise.


Who has identified the noise as “valve noise”? Changing grades of gas won’t help “valve noise” anyway. Your core problem is really undefined at this point. If you wish have the valve “adjusted” by the Honda dealer, or any good Honda knowledgeable shop. The noise may or may not go away, but you can at least be sure the valves are OK.

I"d guess either the valves need adjustment as @Tester says – which is not an uncommon problem and is relatively easy for a shop to do – or based on that fact that you driving habits yield not many miles per year, that you have some oil sludge build-up and a valve lifter is sticking. I doubt it is a sensor problem. If this were my car the first thing I’d do is change the oil (use the SAE grade and weight spec’d in the owner’s manual) and filter, then I’d bring all the routine engine maintenance (as spec’d in the owner’s manual) up to date. If that didn’t fix it, I’d ask back here for a recommendation on oil additives. The experts here have experience with that and it might help.

What exactly is making the noise? Can the the dealer explain to you precisely what is the issue? Is it valve train noise? Is it Pre-ignition due to bad timing? Is it upper cylinder carbon issues causing engine knock? The van has the 3.5L OHC motor? Does it have variable valve timing? Is it a worn timing belt or worn timing belt tensioner?

I’m reading this as a problem which only occurs when the engine is under a load (passing, uphill, etc) and which does not occur while at an idle. Right or wrong?

If right, and given the age/low miles on the car, I might suspect an EGR system fault which may or may not set a code. It could be that the EGR passages are clogged and need to be cleaned out.
Think of it as the automotive equivalent of bringing in a chimney sweep to clean up a home fireplace.

Thank you all for comments and suggestions. I change oil+filer every 5K miles. I use Mobil 1 Synthetic 5-20. All maintenance is up to date. The noise is from the engine and is there no matter if one has driven it for just a little bit or an entire day. Interestingly, I live at 7400ft above sea level and the dealership is at 6000ft. The noise almost seem to disappear (of course) when I take the car down to the dealer.
The engine had variable valve timing. When i raised the issue of needing valve adjustment with the dealership they said that it was unlikely - although the manual says that vales need to be adjusted as needed.

Well? There you go!


@shannm1 your valve lash definitely needs to be adjusted.
Here’s what’s going on.
Your valves are too loose.
When you drive the car, valves get tighter.
By the time you make it to the dealer, the valve lash is decrease and there’s no more noise.

Valve lash is checked with a cold engine.
You need to bring the car to the dealer and leave it there.
They need to check it cold the next morning.
Then they’ll see that the valve lash definitely needs adjusting.

Don’t accept their BS opinion that the valves don’t need adjusting.
Tell them to do it. If this continues, the valve faces and seats could theoretically get damaged.

I understand about the noise being present but it’s still not clear to me if this noise is present with the engine idling and the vehicle not moving.

You state the noise almost disappears when you make a 1400 foot descent to the dealer. Well, a pre-ignition rattle will be lessened on a downgrade and will be worse on an uphill.

In theory, maybe a valve lash issue but the complaint is still too fuzzy for me.

Since when is valve lash checked with a cold engine?

Most vehicles with mechanical lifters are checked when cold or warm at most. There’s enough leeway in the spec that it’s not a problem.

@db4690: Thank you. I will take it to them to adjust.
@ok4450: Yes the noise is there (albeit less pronounced) when idling.
I will try to record the noise and then post.

Are You Sure You’re Hearing Valve Noise ?

Honda says that some pinging, rattling, or squealing noise in some Honda models, including 2005 - 2006 Odyssey vehicles can be mistaken spark knock. They issued a technical service bulletin to help their technicians to help remedy the noise.

The Honda bulletin says, “While driving under light acceleration, you hear an intermittent pinging, rattling, or squealing from the engine compartment. The noise can easily be mistaken for an engine ping or spark knock. In some cases, the noise happens only during engine warm up.”

The fix is replacement of the intermediate shaft heat shield with a new part.
Honda dealers and others have access to this 12 page TSB # 07-028 .

If you’d like a look at the bulletin, try an online search free downloadable copy.


Hmm, I wonder if the dealer at 6k elevation ever hears about erratic engine operation? You would think a high tech Honda shop would be very familiar with standard customer complaints? The 3.5 motor has been around for 10 yrs now. And vvt has been around for quite awhile. The OP still has not detailed WHAT is wrong.

@shannm1 is the noise directly related to the engine speed? If the engine speeds up, does the noise speed up?
If yes, the noise is almost definitely caused by valves.

Seeing as how the noise is there while the engine is idling and the car not in motion then it sounds like a loose valve lash issue.

Record the noise at idle and post it for us. Rocketman

If the shop isn’t exactly sure where the noise is originating, maybe a mechanic’s stethoscope would help narrow it down.