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Discussion Starter #41
I've chased the same noise for months on my 08 EX auto
it's hard to tell from the videos but if my description matches your case then I assume it's the same noise, if that's the case I might have an easy fix for you!!!

from a cold start the engine sounds smooth for like 5 seconds and then the tapping begins! , fades a little when engine is fully warmed up but never completely goes away, and it doesn't get louder with revving or load so it's not a bearing/rod knock

I've done multiple short interval oil changes (5-20 and 5-30) , adjusted the valves twice , removed valve cover and oil pan to check oil pump,chain and guides, chain tensioner, camshafts, balance shafts.... all checked out ok so I guess its just piston slap

Here is the fun part, I noticed that the noise goes away when I drive hard, like really hard!! put here in D3 and let her rip ( that's some real Honda DNA in there ) and after about a year of hard driving the noise became much quieter (just the tapping noise, other engine noises are the same) and continued to quieten even further during the three years I've owned my element, I almost don't hear it now except for a couple minutes on a very cold start.

my theory is that these engines never got broken in properly, they were driven easy at a steady rpms early on especially on the 07+ elements with the 5 speed auto were you can stay around 2k rpm on the highway

Please take it back to the dealer and have them double check everything, make sure it's not an actual engine problem (valves/rods/bearings/chains....) that will get worse if you drive harder. if you rule out everything else maybe give my method a try(at your own risk!)
That is the exact description of my noise!
 

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Discussion Starter #42
I'm confused. Cut and pasted this below from OP's first post. Were the valves done twice?:

Here's what's been done recently to the E before I got it, all at the Honda dealership:

04-2020: New Fuel Pump
01-2020: New Rear Brakes
12-2019: New Starter (2,000 miles ago)
09-2019: Valves adjusted (4,000 miles ago)
08-2018: New Spark Plugs (13,000 miles ago)
05-2017: New Injectors (23,000 miles ago)
yeah they were done 4k ago, by Honda
 

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07 2wd 5-speedauto
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So then have the valve clearance rechecked. Maybe when it was last done the engine was not cold. Or the tech simply did a few on the loose side.
 

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So then have the valve clearance rechecked. Maybe when it was last done the engine was not cold. Or the tech simply did a few on the loose side.
Exactly, it seems like you have nothing to lose by taking it back to Honda. The last valve job should still be under warranty.
 

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Won't be under any kind of warranty because previous owner paid for the work. Plus they already blew him off by saying it's normal.

Saying it's normal is dealership lingo for GO AWAY.
 

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Mine sounds like this after 30 min of driving.

Thanks for this video. I am so happy that my Element sounds similar to yours. Never knew what it was supposed to sound like. Thought the lope sound at idle was maybe bad, confused it with 'ticking', silly I know.
 

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When I play that back, it sure seems louder than it does in person. With the hood closed it purrs.
 

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Only 2 things i can add from what you mention (no videos available).

You can switch to 5w-30 to have a quieter engine. 5w-20 gives you a 1mpg gain, but 5w-30 protects your engine better.

And you can use 87 octane as the owners manual states. Anything higher is useless.
Never use anything but 5W20 that is what the Vtec was made for.
 

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Discussion Starter #52
I'd say that's probably a valve out of spec. Can you pull the valve cover and measure valve clearances yourself?
Na, I'm not mechanically inclined enough, I'd rather not try and screw something up! But you think valve noise even though it's at that half-speed of the ignitors and doesn't change with temperature? I can drive it for 3 hours and as soon as I come to and idle the noise is exactly the same. Again, other E's at lights have the clear ignitor noise, but not this knock. I was reading somethings about bad oil pump chains and or tensioners maybe causing this? Anyway I could try to eliminate that, say isolating the area etc? One more tidbit, again this E idles, drives, and shifts perfectly smooth, even with the noise. Yet, I did notice this week as I just started using AC, that when sitting idle and the AC compressor kicks on the idle drops a bit which I believe is normal, but it also introduces just a slight engine roughness I can sorta feel in the wheel, like just barely, and I hear the knock sound change with the idle. So I do hear the knock correlating to engine RPM.
 

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Discussion Starter #54
So I had my mechanic check it again. I requested another valve tolerance check and if needed adjustment and to troubleshoot the noise. I've not got the E back yet so I don't know if the adjustment did anything, but he said on the phone that while in there they noticed that my cam lobes on 3 out of 4 were pretty badly worn and they think that's where the knock is coming from. $7k to replace the cam, $5k for a replacement engine. Their reccomendation is drive it as is, may run 400k more miles, may not, but no way to fix those cams. Should I be extremely frustrated as this E only has 123k on it and been serviced by Honda since day one with all records? I know buying used is always a gamble but how the heck did I end up with a sick engine on this one when kept so well?
 

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7000 american dollars to replace a camshaft or two??? WTF. They are smoking crack. Find a real honda mechanic asap
 

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2003 Honda Element Sunset Orange Pearl 2WD Automatic 135K Miles I Love It!
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7000 american dollars to replace a camshaft or two??? WTF. They are smoking crack. Find a real honda mechanic asap
I couldn't agree more. For $7K you could buy a whole other Element in nice condition. Sounds like that guy wants all of your money either way. $5K for an engine swap is way too high as well (with a good used engine it should be closer to about half that).

The way I understand it, the wear on the cams takes place mainly on the lobes, but not on the base circle. So (in theory at least) if the valves are properly adjusted, a worn cam lobe should not cause valve train noise; it would just reduce the lift and duration of the valve(s).

So if you still have valve train noise after 2 adjustments, either they are not adjusting them correctly or there is something else going wrong in there.

Definitely get a second opinion.
 

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One more thing: Has anyone actually checked your oil pressure? I just read through this entire thread and saw no mention of it.

I mean check it with a separate mechanical oil pressure gauge. This will probably mean that you (or your mechanic) will have to connect the separate gauge with a T fitting or similar (I'm sure something will go crazy if you don't keep the original oil pressure sender online), start it up, and then you can get some hard and real oil pressure numbers as the engine gets up to its normal operating temperature.

That way you can at least know what you have oil pressure-wise, and if it looks normal, you can rule out low oil pressure at idle as a possible cause of your problem.

It's a stretch for sure, but it's just a simple test that you can do; and should do well before you start looking at replacing cams and/or replacing engines!
 

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Sounds like that guy wants all of your money either way. $5K for an engine swap is way too high as well (with a good used engine it should be closer to about half that).
Seems to me this so called mechanic wants nothing to do with it, he just priced himself out of the job. Thats what we do here when It's something we do not want to get involved with. Find another honest mechanic.
 

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Discussion Starter #59
So, even if it was the lobes, replacing a camshaft on these are not that big of a deal? He acted like it was an engine tear down 🤔
 

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Discussion Starter #60
I couldn't agree more. For $7K you could buy a whole other Element in nice condition. Sounds like that guy wants all of your money either way. $5K for an engine swap is way too high as well (with a good used engine it should be closer to about half that).

The way I understand it, the wear on the cams takes place mainly on the lobes, but not on the base circle. So (in theory at least) if the valves are properly adjusted, a worn cam lobe should not cause valve train noise; it would just reduce the lift and duration of the valve(s).

So if you still have valve train noise after 2 adjustments, either they are not adjusting them correctly or there is something else going wrong in there.

Definitely get a second opinion.
So yeah, I was wondering this too. Even if the cam lobes are wearing at only 123k, there’s no roughness, no codes, no issues, so if they were bad enough to be a problem I’d start seeing some of those problems right way before a knock right? Also, would worn cam lobes actually cause a knock? Doesn’t make sense to me that they could??
 
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