Cracked engine mounts on 2003 Honda Pilot

On a routine service visit, the dealer informed me that 2 engine mounts were cracked and needed to be replaced. My 2003 Honda Pilot has about 65K miles on it. I made a claim to Honda to repair them outside the warranty, but the claim was declined.

Does anyone have any thoughts or experience on this? The vehicle was subject to normal, light city driving. A year ago, a bolt that holds the water pump broke due to improper tightening and Honda rebuilt the engine at their expense. The vehicle was sent out to a machine shop as well. Not sure if that had anything to do with this or not.

Miserable ownership experience with a new vehicle from an otherwise reputable car manufacturer. Thank you.

“Miserable ownership experience?” A bolt broke and you got a rebuilt engine FREE. What’s so bad about that?

Engine mounts do wear out, although I agree this is rather soon. The first removal of the engine for rebuilding “may” have accelerated the engine mount wear, but it would be impossible to prove.

Since the warranty no longer applies, I suggest allowing an independent mechanic to replace the motor mounts. It would likely save you some money as compared to the Honda dealer.

There is certainly no reason to complain over the vehicle at this point.

There are some things I’m curious about.
First, with the mounts. Any problems with vibration, thunking or clunking noises, etc.? If not, maybe they’re referring to minor dry rot cracks in the rubber and this hurts nothing.

Second. Was the water pump replaced, who replaced it (dealer, ind. shop, etc.) and why in the world would one lousy broken bolt cause a catastrophic engine failure?
Someone change a timing belt and do this and did you continue to operate the vehicle overheating or did it somehow shed the timing belt and cause cylinder head damage?

If the engine was removed, this work was done at an outside machine shop, etc., then how would it be Honda’s fault if someone screwed something up?

There’s a lot to this story and I’m just curious.

Problem with the engine mounts is cracking in the rubber. I haven’t noticed any vibration or clunking.

Yes, the water pump was replaced under a recall or TSB. The bolt holds the water pump on one side and the timing belt on the other. Bolt broke, timing belt lost, rods and cylinder head damaged.

Yes, the machine shop did some of the work, but the dealer that I delivered it to subcontracted that part of the work. My relationship was with the dealer, not the machine shop.

It sounds like what happened here is that the tech in the service dept. made an error (possibly unemployed now?) and the dealer basically covered the cost rather than Honda Motor Co.

The rubber in the mounts is basically 5 years old and some external cracking in the rubber is entirely normal. This is true of any vehicle and you’ll see the same thing in belt rubber, tires, etc. after it ages a bit.

If there is no clunking, vibration, or excessive engine movement then I would not even worry about it.
Hope that helps anyway. :slight_smile:

I was just told I had the same problem on my 2003 Pilot with 61k miles. My car is basically babied as well; not into the 4-wheel driving kind of thing. I am taking it into an independent for a 2nd opinion. I think it is the rubber that is worn because I am not having any “shaking, rattling and rolling” either. Thanks for the post.

I would say that both Mr. Thatcher (the OP) and “anonymous” should post their motor mount failures on the NHTSA website. It is beginning to look like this might not be a freak occurrence since both of them had the same parts fail at a little over 60k.

By posting these failures, it is possible that a safety campaign/recall could result, and this could result in retroactive reimbursement for these repairs. Certainly you have nothing to lose by posting it on NHTSA’s site.

I bought an off lease '03 Pilot earlier this year. The previous owner was meticulous about keeping records. At around 40,000 (I don’t have the records in front of me) an engine mount was replaced.

Today I took the vehicle in for its 52,500 checkup. They found a right side cracked mount. They also said the rear brake pads had on 2mm on them and that I should also have the rotors turned.

I have put about 7,000 miles on it since April. I have come to the point where I don’t trust a damn thing they say at Honda Service departments. If the engine mounts are going bad this early there must be some type of manufactures defect. When I questioned the service rep he said he wasn’t aware of this being a common problem.

I have a freind that used to work for a Honda Dealership who now owns his own body shop. He is going to do the pad and look at the rotors and mount. He is very skeptical that the rotors would need turning already.

All in all they were trying to get about $700.00 out of me on my basic $120.00 service.

I think it is a business practice of these service departments to grab as much cash as possible once you are there.

If the pads are down to 2 MM then they need to be replaced. If this is done the rotors should be machined, or more than likely, replaced.
That is the proper repair, and yes, many brake pads and rotors need replacement long before 60k+ miles.

Some people will go through brakes every few months; it all depends on the driving habits and conditions.

As to a broken motor mount; well, things happen. If the mount broke and needs replacement then I fail to see how either the mount or the brakes are the dealer’s fault.

What would your reaction be if the dealer had ignored your brakes and you promptly went out and smacked someone due to brake failure?
Should the dealer act like the 3 Monkeys? Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil?

I have no problems with the brakes being replaced. I checked the records and at 46k the front brakes were replaced and the rear had 3mm. So it is probably realistic that the rears need to be replaced at 54k. I will find out tomorrow if the rotors need to be turned.

I find it odd that two engine mounts have broke with this low a mileage. Yes, if they are broke they need to be replaced. But why after so few miles? I had a Volvo that had 227k on it when I sold it and it never had to have engine mounts replaced.

The reason why rotors are difficult to turn, or impossible to turn, is that many rotors are made thinner now (weight saving and penny pinching).

Often machining will place the rotors under the Minimum thickness and this becomes a safety factor.
Also, shop labor rates are somewhat high. If the flat rate book specifies an hour to machine a rotor and the shop rate is 70 bucks an hour, then that means you’ve spent 70 dollars and have a used rotor that may be at or near the MIN. Thickness; or even under the MIN. Thickness by the time it’s cleaned up.
Thinner rotors are also more prone to warpage. (Heat)

As to the motor mount failure, and if this turns out to be a chronic thing, then it’s possible that it could just be a faulty design. Every car on the road has weak points somewhere and maybe the mounts are the Pilot’s Achilles Heel.

You could try contacting the regional office for Honda and ask them if they could do what is called a “good will” warranty. The zone offices have some leeway to do things like this.

Keep it very polite and professional and be sure to mention the mount has been replaced previously.
They may authorize a local dealer to repair this for you free considering it was done once already. It’s worth a shot anyway. Hope some of that helps. :slight_smile:

We spent several hundred dollars last year replacing 1-2 engine mounts in our 2003 Honda Pilot. It was very frustrating. When I said I’d never had this problem with either of the Accords I’ve had, they said the Pilot engine was very heavy and the mounts are giving out faster. We ALSO have had the transmission replaced at 70K and the NEW transmission is now acting up, too. I’m so disappointed in Honda.