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Discussion Starter #1
My 2003 Honda Element just recently developed a top-end ticking noise (2.4 litre engine). This vehicle has exactly 100,000 miles on it, and I have owned it since the 38,000 mile mark. Anyway, I looked in my manual and it says the first scheduled valve adjustment is at 110,000 miles. So I decided, with the top end noise, that I'd better check things a little early.

This engine has always been maintained perfectly, and I have been using Amsoil with 7000 mile OCIs for some time (with Pure One filters). When I pulled the valve cover, it looked absolutely beautiful and clean. However, as I set the valves I discovered that one camshaft lobe (exhaust, cylinder #1) had a damaged lobe. It is not on the ramp area, but rather it is on the heel of the lobe. It looks like the hardness "wore-off" and the lobe became pitted. Needless to say, the ticking will not go away until I change the camshaft. At $400.00, this kind of sucks. I am kind of in shock right now.

Any ideas on what could have caused this problem?
 

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Not news, sadly. Search the forum for "camshaft" and you'll discover you have company.
 

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if it's not on the lobe it shouldn't make any problems,or noises,as long as you can get the clearance corect. as for the pits how do you know they werent there befor you got the car? did you check the rocker to see if it's ok? I dont know if the cam is cast or billet,if it's cast it could be a casting flaw. there is no load on the heel. but I am not an expert on this head.with that said I have been machining &building performance engines 35+ years.look a little deeper try to destingwish if it's casting,fategue,rust,or whatever. without seeing it my self it's hard to say. sorry not much help.keep looking that might not be the problem.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Camshaft

I tried searching "camshaft" in this forum but could not find anyone else with this problem. Could you please point me to the thread? Thanks!
 

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Good luck with the repair OP.

As far as this "condition": Anything other than observing responsible oil change intervals that can be done to avoid this?
 

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Apparently attention to oil quality has little or no bearing, although one of the folks got my attention in having run Royal Purple for 20K or so, and I have been close to a bad experience with RP shortening engine life. Anyway, judging from the discussions something happened (in manufacturing) with the surface hardening on this particular batch of cams that left the #1E cam vulnerable to spalling.

I have to wonder if there are 2003 CR-V's with this problem. It's really only showing up on a handful of vehicles right around the 100K mark, and lots of folks are just getting there now.

I'm crossing my fingers that my own 2003 was very-late-production-enough to leapfrog the problem, and maybe that the 6-speed mod is going to have reduced the wear-and-tear enough to give me another year before having to be concerned.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Still Ticking...

Hi there. I just thought I would take a minute to return to this thread about my 2003 Honda Element engine ticking noise. I indeed changed the bad exhaust camshaft some time ago, complete with new rollers. Much to my chagrin, the engine continues to make a ticking sound. The valves have been triple-checked and their adjustment is perfect.

This is really starting to bother me. I did some web searches and found out very little in regards to this problem. I did, however, find some threads about older Honda 2.0 engines making use of something called a "Loss Motion Assembly". These "LMAs" are a spring (of sorts) that are supposed to hold up the intake rocker when not in VTEC mode. Many people with "LMAs" have reported the springs going bad over time, resulting in a pronounced ticking sound.

However, my 2.4 does not have these LMAs, so I am now at a loss.

I should mention one other thing: this ticking noise is NOT there on cold startup. It seems the engine runs for a little while at idle, the the ticking begins.

The weirdest thing is that I have heard the sound completely disappear at times, although that is getting more rare.

Any good Honda techs out here that may help me zone-in a little further on this problem?
 

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Hi there. I just thought I would take a minute to return to this thread about my 2003 Honda Element engine ticking noise. I indeed changed the bad exhaust camshaft some time ago, complete with new rollers. Much to my chagrin, the engine continues to make a ticking sound. The valves have been triple-checked and their adjustment is perfect.

This is really starting to bother me. I did some web searches and found out very little in regards to this problem. I did, however, find some threads about older Honda 2.0 engines making use of something called a "Loss Motion Assembly". These "LMAs" are a spring (of sorts) that are supposed to hold up the intake rocker when not in VTEC mode. Many people with "LMAs" have reported the springs going bad over time, resulting in a pronounced ticking sound.

However, my 2.4 does not have these LMAs, so I am now at a loss.

I should mention one other thing: this ticking noise is NOT there on cold startup. It seems the engine runs for a little while at idle, the the ticking begins.

The weirdest thing is that I have heard the sound completely disappear at times, although that is getting more rare.

Any good Honda techs out here that may help me zone-in a little further on this problem?
I was about to suggest to dp to get a trusty, 4 ft piece of 5/8" heater hose and go noise searching. It's the old school stethoscope method and works very well. Plus, if you happen to stick it into something moving while the engine is running, it won't likely hurt you.

I keep bringing this up because, even though it is very unusual, it could happen to someone else's E. This method helped me identify an intermittently ticking drive belt tensioner pulley that I would have bet a hundred bucks was a valve tap. If our OEM pulley started failing at 70K, it could happen to others.

Let us know what the outcome is.
 

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This method helped me identify an intermittently ticking drive belt tensioner pulley that I would have bet a hundred bucks was a valve tap. If our OEM pulley started failing at 70K, it could happen to others.
See this post in a timing chain thread.

I'm no mechanic (my dad is though...) but, I'd try looking at the chain tensioner pulley.

Also, the above advice of using a "stethoscope" to find noises is a tried and true method. My dad has one in his tool box with what looks like it has an awl at the end. It's used to pinpoint noises. It saves the trouble of dissembling the wrong part.
 

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See this post in a timing chain thread.

I'm no mechanic (my dad is though...) but, I'd try looking at the chain tensioner pulley.

Also, the above advice of using a "stethoscope" to find noises is a tried and true method. My dad has one in his tool box with what looks like it has an awl at the end. It's used to pinpoint noises. It saves the trouble of dissembling the wrong part.
I heard that too, about the timing chain tensioner. Ours was the drive belt pulley. Weird stuff huh? I also have a regular stethoscope, but find it amplifies too much to pinpoint. So, I usually go back to my good 'ol heater hose. You can't take the red out of the neck.:razz:
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Still Ticking Away!

Hello again. Sorry to revive an old thread, but I have finally had time to get back to chasing my engine ticking noise in my 2003 Element. For a little more history on this problem, please go to the first post in this thread.

I have yet to solve this problem, and it is back to driving me crazy. So much so, in fact, that I went out to the garage with some recording equipment today. I have recorded a sound clip in the hopes that someone here may be able to recognize this elusive noise. There is an audio explanation at the beginning of the clip then I start the engine. It is all pretty self-explanatory when you hear the clip. And now, here's the link...

http://www.darrenpallen.com/hondanoise.html


Thanks in advance for any and all suggestions/comments.

Darren
 

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The speed Of the click is consistent with valve noise. It may be a follower that has become worn. They can also make noise.

I would start with the valve cover off. Then use Hotrodders method of hunting it down, and isolating it to a specific cylinder. I also use the Hose to hunt down noise in the engine compartment. Or some times a 3" long screw driver. From your recording, it sounds like valve train noise to me. It's far slower than a piston rod slap would be.

( Warning: This method will have Oil Splashing all over the place !!! Remember it will be HOT Oil at that !! )

It is a tried and true method though. Some of us old timers had no choice of doing it any other way. We would set the valves hot on a running Engine. I always set the valves on my 409 cuid short track racing engine wile it was running.


Remember you will have to ground the coil packs to get the engine to run, with the valve cover off. On this type engine I use an old length of aluminum angle, With holes drilled in the proper place. ( Use the Valve cover holes for a guide. ) Then stick a jumper cable on it and ground the other end. Don't run the engine with them flopping around loose !!!!

One thing, you neglected to tell us though. What weight oil have you been using? In the Elements engine that becomes a crucial factor.


Dom
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks Dom

Hi Dom. Thanks for the advice. We actually used to work on small block chevys while running with the valve cover off. I just wasn't sure how much of a mess the Honda 2.4 would make with the cover off, so I have yet to try it.

When you talk of a possible "follower" gone bad, to which part are you exactly referring? Are you talking about the roller that is a part of the rocker arm? Please advise.

Thanks!

Darren
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Oil

Sorry, Dom. I forgot to answer your question in my last post. I have always run 5W-20 oil, and the longest oil change interval ever was 7000 miles. I always use synthetic, and always change the filter. I have (and still do) use oils like Mobil 1, Pennzoil Platinum, Amsoil (rare because I have to get it shipped to me), and Quaker State.

When I pulled the valve cover over a year ago to change the worn camshaft, the engine looked like brand new inside. There wasn't a hint of sludge anywhere, which makes me surprised that I am having any problems at all with this particular engine.

I am a huge maintenance freak, but in this case I guess my program isn't working...

Darren
 

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a thought

Hi,

I don't want to split hairs on the issue, but if you are following the Honda maintenance schedule, or doing better, it isn't your program that is not working, it is a component issue or design issue.

I acquired my E last March, with 150,xxx kms. Got all the service records, all Honda dealer maintained. Most likely regular oil, but changed faithfully.

I do not have a noticeable ticking or noise issues, and I re-adjusted my valves at 161,xxx kms, after a can of BG 44K. The intake valves were within spec, the exhaust only just out of spec and tight. I opened them to the larger tolerance, and seemed to hear a tad more valve noise, but it might be my imagination/bias after doing the adjustment. Same story hear about a very very clean looking cam/valve train when I was in there. A tad coffee/tobacco stain colouring, but other than that, very clean.

I changed the plugs too, but could have left them in as they were in fine shape also.

My 03' is serial number 175, which is, I think, the 175th E that was shipped to Canada.

It may be possible to see if others with these problems are close to the same production number/time frame, to see if there is some range during the initial manufacturing where these assorted noise/ticking problems seem to converge.

From that point, we may figure out if there were changes in part numbers for the components that have been found to fail prematurely.

Hoping you find the troublesome component soon. Problems like these keep me awake at nights.

Best of luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Ticking Element

Hi Hathi. My Element was actually bought in the States; I went down to Michigan about five years ago and bought it with about 38,000 miles on the clock. At the time of purchase, the engine was whisper-quiet. It did not start making this strange ticking sound until the 100,000 mile mark which was more than a year ago.

It is a particularly annoying thing for me due to the fact that I take great pride in maintaining my vehicles. My wife has a 2000 Camry with close to 100,000 miles and that car has been absoultely flawless (save for regular maintenance like brakes, which is expected).

If I get time this week, I am going to pull the valve cover and give a listen while the engine is running. Hopefully, I will be able to find the issue.

Thanks for everyone's comments thus far!

Darren
 

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Camshaft Issue in 2003...

I too brought my E (@ 100k miles) in to have the valves adjustment by my master mechanic (Saab specialist) He was surprised to find my exhaust cams well worn. After doing his homework, he discovered that this was an issue with the same engine in Acura's as well for 2003. It has something to do with where the camshaft's were manufactured - they are "soft."

He replaced the cam and no problem since, well I shouldn't say no problem(s)...knock sensor code/ replaced it/ code comes up every month or two for a hundred miles or so and disappears. My mechanic told me to bring this in to a Honda Dealer. It's a computer related issue.

My guess is most of these issues are 2003 related only.
 

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Another shocking camshaft surprise

Got the surprise today from Honda. I was shocked when they told me about the cam on my 2003 Element was toast and that they wanted to $4000 to replace the whole head and that it was my fault for not changing the oil regularly (which I do) or that I had overtightened the valve.

I said see you later, came home and opened the valve cover to find the shocker. With any luck, a new exhaust cam and #1 rocker arms (put in by myself) should get me another 100,000+. Odd thing is that it looks only like #1 exhaust had any issues??

I knew in the manual it stated 110,000 to adjust them, so I figured an extra 10,000 wouldn't hurt. I guess next time I'll check them every 60,000.
 

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Thanks for the thorough thread dpallen. I have no doubt you are a stickler on maint. I have a bit of a tick in my 07 at 52K. I'm not really worried about it, but I will have the valves adjusted sooner rather than later.
 
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