97 tl acura motor mounts

just replaced the timing belt and water pump on my '97 Acura TL. (80k mi), It now vibrates in gear at idle,but runs like a champ above 1000 RPMs. Didn’t do it when I took it in. Our trusted mechanic says it’s the motor mounts. I say “how do motor mounts go bad overnight?” There are small drips on my driveway under the car. Our car guy says the mounts are pricey ($400. ea.). Can a cheaper mount be used?

I’d be more inclined to suspect the cam timing. Has he rechecked that? He can do so with a vacuum gage.
If you do have a bad mount, he should be able to show you. Ask him to.

says, when they lift the motor, the vibration stops. he has checked everything else. even replaced the spark plugs.

My first thought was with mountainbike so he’s right on with that possibility. Based on the original post and the followup I have a few questions.

Did this engine vibrate at idle when you picked it up and did you have to return to bring this to their attention?
If so, then I question why they ran the vehicle out the door of the shop and allowed you to pick it up without saying anything about these bad mounts?

You say there are drips under the car.
Was the water pump and/or any oil seals replaced during this timing belt job? If those drips are engine coolant then you run into a couple of scenarios.

  1. The shop did not replace the water pump at the same time as the T-belt so the new belt is likely contaminated with coolant and must be redone. Proper repair means a new pump.
  2. The shop did replace the pump and made a mistake during the installation. Same as above; a redo, and not at your expense.

As to the bad mounts, or allegedly bad mounts, does that price include labor or are they saying 400 dollars total parts/labor for EACH mount? If so, that’s kind of obscene. Mounts can be had for 30 to 100 dollars, all depending upon which one.

To be honest, I could see a number of scenarios here that would not reflect too well upon the shop but hate to bring them up at this point without detailed info.

THANKS…will ck it out. may get a 2nd opinion!

You are off one tooth on the T-belt…could be as simple as that, that engine should run as smooth as glass. I have done more than 100 T-belt jobs…some easy some very complex. Each T-belt job has its challenges…BUT THE MOST IMPORTANT THING…when doing this job is to get your cam timing CORRECT… There is only ONE way to do the Cam timing…and that is SPOT ON… Nothing else will suffice. After you put the T-belt on you or your mechanic should have rotated the engine BY HAND…to check and then recheck the Cam timing marks…it MUST be DEAD ON… There is no room for error…this should be the rule at hand…SOME engines don’t mind when the T-belt breaks but MOST do, and they mind greatly…it is better to adhere to the ZERO tolerance rule of thumb…

You need to recheck your Cam timing AND>…if this is a 4 cylinder …Do you have the balance shaft timed properly also? The balance shaft…if done incorrectly will induce a vibration…as it would not be in phase with the rotating assy that it is trying to balance…On Honda engines it IS possible to have the bal shaft out of phase. The 4 cyl should be the only engine with this shaft…the V6 I believe doesnt have one.

Check your T-belt work…and then check it again…then rotate by hand and check it again.


The 4 cylinder has two balance shafts, the V6 MAY have one. But I don’t think there ever was a 4 cylinder TL.

mine is a 5 cylinder. I’ll run All of this by my guy…thanks for the info!

P.S. keep any ideas coming, I have until Friday to make a decision.

Ideas?..we don’t need no more stinkin ideas…we hit it on the head my man… :wink:

Hey Keith which 4cyl Honda engine has 2 bal shafts? You sure you arent confusing the oil pump pulley w/a 2nd bal shaft? Ive seen many peeps refer to the oil pump shaft/cog as another bal shaft.

The Hondas I have the most experience on are the H22, F22/23, D1.6 etc Some B motors but they have all been the same thus far… One bal shaft…and the other shaft that does the pump…but maybe the pump also has a balance assy included on it? Hey that might be possible…but I don’t think so

I haven’t done a 5cyl yet, just by random luck i guess…they weren’t near as widespread as the 4


I guess that clears up any questions I had. Or not.

F22B1, F22B2 I’m going to make a rash statement here, all 4 cylinder engines that have balance shafts, have two of them. V6’s with balance shafts, usually 90° models, have only one.

“…but maybe the pump also has a balance assy included on it? Hey that might be possible…but I don’t think so” No prob…with as many engines as I work on…its OK with me to forget about a detail on one of them…

What matters is that when I work on them…I look up my info, get it right, and proceed. Sitting here at my computer, and not doing an F or an H motor…its IS possible that I forgot a detail. My apologies. Thank you for the correction.

What I thought was only the oil pump drive also has a bal shaft attached, no worries. One of the shafts has to be timed and the other…with the pump can only be aligned in one one way… No worries on my end… I get em right every time. This is just semantics at this point no? I learn something everyday, and am grateful for it

The main point here is that the guy who did this engine is either one tooth off on a cam or has the Phased bal shaft out of phase… This is the main point…right? Or is it that I forgot something? It’ll happen again I assure you

I agree with you on the timing belt being off a tooth. The 97 TL did not come with a 4 cylinder engine. It was available with a 5 cylinder and the V6. I don’t know if either one of them had a balance shaft or shafts, but if they do, then that too is a possibility. I’m leaning to the timing belt though.

HB, I am glad that you are the type that look things up. On the F22 engine, the rear balance shaft does not have any alignment marks. I think that is why this shaft gets out of position. There is a hole at the back of the engine that you stick a 4mm x100 mm bolt in, and it only goes all the way in when the rear balance shaft is aligned correctly. It has to go all the way in because there is another position where the bolt will go in a little more than half way, but that is not the correct position.


The rear one is the shaft that is phased…and A LOT of knuckleheads get that one wrong… If you use the wrong size pin…you are EXACTLY CORRECT…you can pin it (halfway and incorrectly) in the wrong place. That is why the diameter of the pin needs to be exact. I believe if it is too small it will go straight thru in BOTH instances…that’s why it has to be the perfect pin…I made one long ago…its in the top of my upper tool chest…Along with the other Frankenstein T-belt tools I had to fabricate…with my welder…Allen keys, cut off wrenches… LOL you should see some of the stuff I have had to make either to be another set of hands for me or to mimic the expensive Factory tool. I do it all the time…But again you gotta be exact.

You are the only person thus far who has mentioned the importance of that back shaft and the Caveat that you need to be aware of… I have known about it since my first H22 T-belt Job…a long long while ago. Good Call for sure. I bet not too many can come up with that one…and Ive seen many do it wrong…I just shake my head and tell them that the “Devil is in the DETAILS my man” ESPECIALLY when you are messing with Cam timing.

I’m well aware bro. Jeezu if I didn’t check and recheck my memory banks I’d screw up for sure. I know when to look up and when I don’t need to…but of course get it right the first time…leave nothing to chance especially if you are second guessing yourself. The Cam timing is not an area to be hit or miss on…Hardly! LOL…too many folks have a bit of a cavalier attitude to doing T-belts…amazes me still. Could you imagine guessing when you are setting your cams? That doesn’t play in my world.

Good Call though Keith…very sharp.


There is also a trick to the rear bal shaft…and I forget which way it is, BUT…When you have that shaft 180 OFF when you line up the mark (there IS a mark actually) and let it go it will rotate a certain way…(swear its clockwise=BAD) In one position it will go clockwise twd the mark and the other it will go counter clock away from the mark… And when it goes counter clockwise lets say…then you know that you have it near the right way to pin it. It has to do with the weights on that shaft and their position. Easy if you can picture the shaft in your head ( I can)

I got that info off of a Honda tech one afternoon…its a great indicator…If you can just remember which way is the good way… Swear its counter-clock away that is the GOOD indicator…again…my notes…lol. You can also do the test after you pin the shaft properly…unpin it, let it go…and it will do that trick for you.

NONE of that is important IF you just use the correct pin size…bec like you said it will only pin properly in one position.

Damn wish I had my notes so I could appear sharp, but at least I know when its time to look it up… LOL


KEEP IT COMING…I’m printing this all out!!!

No need, just tell the doods that did the job that you are probably off one tooth on the cam/s or the bal shaft is out of phase… Or you suspect these things to be true…please double check the CAMS first…If those are dead on then …unfortunately the only way to check the bal shafts is to do a T-belt teardown…they wont be happy about that for certain… However they need to get this right.

Make sure your cams are DEAD ON…there is no other way to do them…
Make sure you don’t have a bad spark plug or wire…causing a miss

After that its the bal shaft/s


He’ll have plenty of time to get it right. I don’t need it for the holidays. He has been working on our cars for 30 yrs, but this is the first time he has had my Acura. My ABS light came on and it was time for insp, so I took it to him, instead of Acura, for that. We decided with 80k mi. it was time for some work.(planning a trip cross country in the spring) I have not put a dime into this car since I got it He agrees that motor should run smooth as silk, but needed to spend more time with it . I couldn’t give it to him til Friday. Love all this info you folks are giving me…never hurts for a gal to sound like she knows what she’s talking about!!