Best you get to that "timing belt" replacement...right now!

I’m just yer average shade-tree mechanical kinna guy, maybe a tad above average, but I enjoy maintaining my 1996 Honda Odyssey van, I love the way the thing drives. I’ts not much of a babe magnet or dating ride, I mean you’re not likely to see a YouTube video of one of those big-chested cuties bouncing their charms while in the passenger seat of a 1996 Honda Odyssey, but I digress. My little 5 door wagon just turned over 202,000 miles and is running great, but In Feb. of 2013 I was tooling along at 45 per when the motor just quietly “quit” as I was passing a Dodge dealership, so I coasted into their lot. It wouldn’t make a sound with the key, so I had it towed to my mechanic, and he found it was a “broken timing belt,” which my local Honda dealership in Boone, NC had warned me to replace…but nooooooooooooo, I was gonna make it last. Don’t do what I did, it cost me BIG TIME ! When the belt broke, it damaged the valves and required me to buy a reconditioned head, water pump, gasket kits, labor, ect., resulting in about a $1200-$1400 repair bill ??? I justified this amount by looking at my low mileage van, ( 200K ) the fact that the air still works, it uses very little oil, is comfortable, has 5 “opening not sliding” doors, and with the seats removed its an enclosed truck or a camper with a single bed mattress in the back ! This thing amazes me, with a 2.2L 4 banger, it can cruise at speeds not encouraged by our peace officers ( like 90 mph is no problemo ) so its a defintely a keeper for me.

That is a good story.

Glad to hear your van is worth keeping

Hopefully this will prompt somebody to have their overdue timing belt replaced

Is there a question? A $1400 dollar repair bill? By the time you drive it home, I’m betting $2500…

Even Honda has moved away from timing belts and returned to a chain running in an oil bath…Consumers got smart fast…

If it comes down to it, I would rather replace a timing belt on a V6, versus replacing 3 chains, rails, multiple tensioners, etc. on a modern overhead cam V6

Chains do eventually stretch, and so do rails. The rails are often plastic . . .

I’ve gone 225k on chains with no problem.

That is good news

However, there are some engine designs out there that aren’t so reliable

I've gone 225k on chains with no problem.

So have I. But I tend to keep my vehicles longer then 225k miles.

Physics is physics. Over time chains will stretch. In most cases the chain will start making noise when they do stretch. This will give you time to replace it. I have two vehicles with chains AND are interference engines. Chain may not break…but it will stretch and can slip a tooth or two. And when this happens…it’s the same as if a timing belt breaks.

When the time chain starts rattling (which it will - but hopefully NOT before 300k miles)…it’ll be a tough decision on if I want to replace the chain or get a new vehicle. My wifes Lexus…I won’t even touch…so it’ll cost me dearly to have someone replace it. I’d tackle the chain on my 4runner since there’s a lot more room to work. But it’s still a much more involved job then the timing belts were on my 90 and 98 Pathfinders.

I don’t see that you are out much, If you had replaced your timing belt twice already and wouid have spent just as much.

I’m skeptical of the $1200 bill. That seems awfully low to me.

“I’m skeptical of the $1200 bill. That seems awfully low to me.”

The incident did occur way the heck out in the sticks, though. Boone, NC is a good ways west of Raleigh/Durham.

If the $1200 dollars is a typical bill for replacing a head gasket where the OP lives…then replacing a timing belt should be under $300. Have to compare apples to apples. But I still think $1400 is very low. Just removing a head and replacing a head gasket in most places is going to cost that much.

Thanks for all the comments, folks, this was my 1st post and I forgot there was supposed to be a “question” somewhere. I also should have stated this $1200-$1400 repair bill was the actual cost of having this done. (somewhere inbetween) Here in Boone where I reside, the cost to have a shop replace your timing belt & water pump is around $550-$600 or so, so I had to pay at least twice this amount from not doing it proactively and damaging my engine. I believe a timing belt is supposed to be replaced every 70-90 thousand, so I just wanted to warn people to not put off doing it. Oddly enough, since having it done, my engine seems to run hotter as evidenced by the cooling fan running every trip out and back, which it did not do before the repairs.

Let me finally throw a question in here about my 1996 Odyssey with the 2.2 L engine. Does anyone else who drives one like mine ever have a problem with their engine idle dropping down so low that it almost cuts off…or sits there just kinna gasping…and its not even when under a heavy load like using the air or a lot of electrical components. I’ve often wondered if changing out my oxygen sensors would solve this problem. Anybody ?


What is the hourly labor rate of that shop you used?

It should be on the invoice

“idle dropping so low that it almost cuts off” . . . could be a bad idle air control valve

I’m not sure if your van’s got one, but most vehicle still had one back in 1996

Another possibility is vacuum leaks . . . hear any hissing at idle with the hood up?

If you’re still around, give us an itemized list of the $1200-$1400 repair bill. I’m with the others, that seems ridiculously low for a replacement head and timing belt kit.


Is it possible that the shop repaired your own head, rather than selling you a rebuilt head?

Is it possible that the shop repaired your own head, rather than selling you a rebuilt head?

It could have been no damage to the head…or just one valve. Don’t know how much damage.

A head gasket replacement was the first repair I ever did to a car at the age of 16. I realise they are a lot more complicated now, but given their high cost, I am surprised more people don’t do their own.