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Discussion Starter #1
I have just bought an '04 that I believe was not meticulously maintained but was not neglected either. It has 149,000 miles and I'm confident a valve adjustment has never been performed.

I took it to a local dealership (this dealership has a good community reputation) in Austin and after a brief test drive, I was called and told that the engine isn't clicking so I'd be wasting my money getting an adjustment. They said that they recommend and perform very few valve adjustments.

So, now the ball is in my court to make the decision. The price will be about $220 after tax, but if it's unnecessary, I'd prefer not to waste that money.

My E is at the dealer right now, so any insight from this helpful community is appreciated.
 

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I just did my valve adjustment myself last weekend. I have 115K miles. The intake valves were all pretty much good. ALL the exhaust valves were out of spec too tight.
Tight valves do not make noise. Tight valves can lead to burnt valves. At least this is how I understand it.
Took only about 2 hours to do and only cost $27 for a new cover gasket/seals.
 

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I have just bought an '04 that I believe was not meticulously maintained but was not neglected either. It has 149,000 miles and I'm confident a valve adjustment has never been performed.

I took it to a local dealership (this dealership has a good community reputation) in Austin and after a brief test drive, I was called and told that the engine isn't clicking so I'd be wasting my money getting an adjustment. They said that they recommend and perform very few valve adjustments.

So, now the ball is in my court to make the decision. The price will be about $220 after tax, but if it's unnecessary, I'd prefer not to waste that money.

My E is at the dealer right now, so any insight from this helpful community is appreciated.
For a valve adjustment $220 would not be wasted cash. Especially for an 04 with 149k on it. The general rule is that the engine should be noisy not quiet. When it's quiet bad things happen. I have blown 2 engines. The first could have been totally avoided had I known that there was a need to adjust the valves.

I would suggest that you have some way to insure that the job was done. Ask for the before and after measurements on each cylinder. I'm others will chime in with better ideas. I would hate to see you pay for a job that doesn't get done because the dealer doesn't think it warranted.

Does the 220 include an oil change? Its always good to change the oil when adjusting the valves.

Pull the trigger. :razz:
 

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If they do it right, it will tap a little afterward.

> I was called and told that the engine isn't clicking so I'd be wasting
> my money getting an adjustment.
This makes me think you should take it somewhere else. A Honda dealer of all places should know that the exhaust valves on the K24 tighten up with time, and in that condition don't make noise. I wonder whether these guys, who "recommend and perform very few valve adjustments," get business later on by repairing heads with burned valves.
 

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My sister has an 04 Accord 2.4 180k, valves never adjusted. I insisted she get them checked/adjusted. She had to practically argue with the dealer to have them do it. And then they gave her a crazy price most likely for a V6. I had her bring it out to me and I adjusted them, most all the exh were tight.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for all the advice. I opted for the adjustment. And I asked them to give me before and after specs. I'm picking it up right now and it looks like maybe they did it wrong because there are only 8 valve taken into consideration. See the attached photo of the techs notes. Please comment if desired.
 

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Based on your photo of the mechanics measurements, I strongly suspect your valve adjustment was done with a "pencil". I would find a independent mechanic who specializes in Honda's.
 

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Based on your photo of the mechanics measurements, I strongly suspect your valve adjustment was done with a "pencil". I would find a independent mechanic who specializes in Honda's.
Agree, it appears to be pencil whipped, due to the basic fact the so called tech has no clue there are 16 valves,
 

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I think you'll be ahead to have had it done. I had my former '04 MT/FWD Element done right about 90K miles. The dealer didn't argue one bit against doing it, (profit motive) and afterwards said like most, the intake were within spec but the exhaust valves were tight. Afterward it was a LOT noisier with the valves (normal) but I can't really say one way or another if performance or MPG improved. My current '07 AT/4WD Element has 73K miles on it and I'm tempted to do it soon just to see if the gas mileage improves any. I'm having more of an AT/4WD penalty than I'd hoped over the former Element.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
So here's the breakdown of what happened. I expressed my lack of confidence in the accuracy of this service due to the inconsistencies in the documentation. The tech, who had been working the for 18 years, came out and said the right thing.

He said "I'm not used to writing any of this stuff down for customers... but because I was asked to write this down, I knew I better pay extra special attention because 'something was up'. I just wrote down the numbers for each cylinder because as I was measuring them, each pair of intakes and exhausts measured identicallly within each cylinder. I set the exhaust valves on the more open end of the center of spec because they tend to tighten."

But, the proof is in the pudding. I'd be lying if I said I noticed the car performing better or idling better (I just bought the E last Thursday so I'm not that familiar with it to begin with), but it sounds different now. Maybe throaty isn't the word. Definitely a more mechanical sound. Not exactly a purr but sort of a ticking sound... seemingly in a good way. Ultimately, I think they got it right, because now the engine sounds like the descriptions I've read on here. I don't think I'm getting my next valve adjustment there, though.

Thanks for all of your input.
 

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Looks like it turned out well. Keep in mind that the person behind the counter probably knows absolutely nothing about cars and how to keep them running.
 

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Glad that all worked out and that you were able to talk to the mechanic. It seems like all is well and a tick is a good thing. I was forced to search out another shop as the dealer here does business much like yours. I take mine to a racing shop that builds racing imports. These guys were spot on and knew what I was talking about. Maybe a little more spent but good work and peace of mind are seldom cheap.
 

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I would not believe your mechanic! I would have the job verified and documented by another mechanic. I would not say anything to the second mechanic about the job may have already been done. What are the chances that both intake and exhaust valves are at the same setting after all of those miles. Zero!............. It's your E so you decide what's best. I can say I have seen my share of shaky work done at dealerships. I can also say in my 40 plus years of adjusting valves on cars and bikes, the E has been most challenging. The 1st time I used straight feeler gauges and made the clearance too large; motor sounded like a thrashing machine. The second adjustment was much better with only one valve making a loud noise. Third time, I found the loose valve........ You could also check the bolts holding down the valve cover to see if the dirt around them has been disturbed. If it was me I would double check on this job.
 

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I would not believe your mechanic! I would have the job verified and documented by another mechanic. I would not say anything to the second mechanic about the job may have already been done. What are the chances that both intake and exhaust valves are at the same setting after all of those miles. Zero!............. It's your E so you decide what's best. I can say I have seen my share of shaky work done at dealerships. I can also say in my 40 plus years of adjusting valves on cars and bikes, the E has been most challenging. The 1st time I used straight feeler gauges and made the clearance too large; motor sounded like a thrashing machine. The second adjustment was much better with only one valve making a loud noise. Third time, I found the loose valve........ You could also check the bolts holding down the valve cover to see if the dirt around them has been disturbed. If it was me I would double check on this job.
I'm with this guy!. Sure seems suspicious to me, and I work in a dealership. Is there a cover casket charged out, is the new gasket installed... If he knew something was up before hand he sure would have written down all 16 clearances. Plus at that mileage the exh would certainly have been closer to 0 clearance.

Just my op. Its your car not mine, and not trying to start an argument.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thanks for all of your input. To answer the recent questions, yes the cover appears to have been removed and yes I was billed for a new gasket. Whether or not that gasket is installed, I'm not exactly sure.

In the interest in saving myself some (hopefully) unnecessary worry by taking the rolling approach. I'm going to assume that my valves were adjusted correctly because I took it to the dealership. I questioned them and the service writer, service tech, shop manager and floor manager all had ample opportunity to offer to "take another look to ease my concerns" yet they were adamant that the work was completed correctly. Additionally, my car sounds better than it did before so the anecdotal evidence supports this as well. At some point I just have to trust that something is done correctly, and in his instance I'm going to do just that.
 

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Thanks for all of your input. To answer the recent questions, yes the cover appears to have been removed and yes I was billed for a new gasket. Whether or not that gasket is installed, I'm not exactly sure.

In the interest in saving myself some (hopefully) unnecessary worry by taking the rolling approach. I'm going to assume that my valves were adjusted correctly because I took it to the dealership. I questioned them and the service writer, service tech, shop manager and floor manager all had ample opportunity to offer to "take another look to ease my concerns" yet they were adamant that the work was completed correctly. Additionally, my car sounds better than it did before so the anecdotal evidence supports this as well. At some point I just have to trust that something is done correctly, and in his instance I'm going to do just that.
Trust, but verify. That is my motto. If you are the least bit mechanical, take about 30 mins. and remove the valve cover and check the settings on your valves. If they read properly, reinstall the cover. As new as the job has been the seal will be just fine and you can be sure that you are okay. My two cents. Good luck and enjoy your E!
 

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Make sure valves are completely cool to check if you ever decide to do it. Did your dealership do that?......... I worked at a Honda Motorcycle dealership to help pay for school many, many moons ago. The lead master mechanic at the dealership was always beating book time and making loads of extra money. I asked him how he did it and he told me he skipped adjusting the valves on the bikes. Mind you these were the top of the line, 4 cylinder air cooled bikes and this adjustment was critical to their long term reliability. Wow!
 

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Make sure valves are completely cool to check if you ever decide to do it. Did your dealership do that?.........
Yes, you would really need to leave the E there overnight or at the very least, drop it off first thing in the morning and they couldn't start the job till after lunch.
 
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