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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,
Hoping to gather some insight on when it's necessary to perform a valve Adjustment. My " mechanic says mine are " too tight" meaning he can't get the tool used to set timing underneath the valve at the recommended ratio. He says it should slide under with some resistance, but very little. My question is, how, over the course of 190,000 miles do valves actually tighten themselves? Loosen, yes, but it makes no sense to me. Also I'm wondering if he has the correct ratio, I have a ex fwd. Anyone have any info or experience on this? And I hear it can be tricky and can easily be messed up. Says Eric the car guy. Should I just leave it alone? My mechanic is good, no doubt, but he's more old school and maybe is use to working on Ford or Chevy.
Thanks
 

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07 2wd 5-speedauto
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Valve clearance will become tighter over time due to the valve seat receding/ wear. This puts the valve stem further out of the head and closer to the rocker arm.
As for your mechanic, if he is truly old school he would know this, and adjust as necessary. This is not rocket science, both Ford and chevy use solid lifters in the past. Mayb time to find another mechanic.
 

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Sounds like it’s just an erroneous usage of the word “tight”. If the spacer doesn’t fit in the gap, the spacer is “too tight.” Right?
 

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2003 Honda Element Sunset Orange Pearl 2WD Automatic 135K Miles I Love It!
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Hello. Your mechanic is correct. It is indeed possible for your valve train to tighten with usage.

What happens is the valve face starts pounding into the valve seat, causing the valve stem to raise slightly; thereby tightening the valve train. It usually happens like this only on the exhaust valves. Eventually, the valve train will become so tight that it will not allow an exhaust valve to close all the way; quickly burning that valve, and turning a small inexpensive job into a very large expensive job. And you don't want that!. So don't allow this to happen to your engine!

The intake valves (probably due to less heat) will usually loosen slightly.

The engine must be stone cold room temperature before doing the valve adjustment.

The Eric The Car Guy video is a very good one on this subject.

If your mechanic already has your valve cover off (about half the job), just let him go ahead and do the adjustment.
 

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I find this strange. If I’m there checking the valve clearance, I’m adjusting it at the same time. Seems quite weird to check it, know it’s not correct, and then not do anything about it.

I do not remember the factory recommendation, but I believe the valve clearance adjustment is supposed to be scheduled at either 100, 105, 110, or 160k miles. It’s in the owners manual somewhere. I think you’re past all of those marks at 190k.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Hello. Your mechanic is correct. It is indeed possible for your valve train to tighten with usage.

What happens is the valve face starts pounding into the valve seat, causing the valve stem to raise slightly; thereby tightening the valve train. It usually happens like this only on the exhaust valves. Eventually, the valve train will become so tight that it will not allow an exhaust valve to close all the way; quickly burning that valve, and turning a small inexpensive job into a very large expensive job. And you don't want that!. So don't allow this to happen to your engine!

The intake valves (probably due to less heat) will usually loosen slightly.

The engine must be stone cold room temperature before doing the valve adjustment.

The Eric The Car Guy video is a very good one on this subject.

If your mechanic already has your valve cover off (about half the job), just let him go ahead and do the adjustment.
Thanks I appreciate the backup opinions and it further gives me more confidence in my mechanic, because, indeed he did know what he was talking about.
I find this strange. If I’m there checking the valve clearance, I’m adjusting it at the same time. Seems quite weird to check it, know it’s not correct, and then not do anything about it.

I do not remember the factory recommendation, but I believe the valve clearance adjustment is supposed to be scheduled at either 100, 105, 110, or 160k miles. It’s in the owners manual somewhere. I think you’re past all of those marks at 190k.
Thank you, and the only reason i couldn't allow for adjustment at the time was because the engine was still warm and I had to get back to work.
 

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If the engine was still warm you could not be sure about valve lash measurements. They would appear too tight.
 

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If the engine was still warm you could not be sure about valve lash measurements. They would appear too tight.
I agree. Measuring should be on a cold engine.
 

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2007 Element EX TRP
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The warm engine issue aside, I have adjusted my valves twice - @62 and 162K, BOTH times the exhaust valves were too tight. So, yes, they will tighten/wear over time. Once adjusted, back to idling/running fine! :cool:
 
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Removes the valve cover, and checks the clearance while the engine is not cold...Then puts it back together?🤡
Like I wrote before, Time to find a new mechanic
 

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The valve adjustment on this engine is something that I cannot recommend more highly. I've never seen such a dramatic change in the performance of an engine than I saw after having the valves adjusted on mine, so much so I'm planning to have mine done every 50,000 miles. The difference was night and day. Do it, have it done....
 

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2011 Honda Element EX AWD
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Seems strange but it’s common for the K-series engine. Exhaust valves get tighter (less clearance) and intakes usually go loose (more clearance). Your mechanic should have known that tight clearances can cause the exhaust valve to over heat and burn out since they won’t fully seat if the clearance is too tight. Did he not adjust them?
Also be prepared, once the valves are properly adjusted, expect a little more valve train noise. Those tight clearance have been opened up a bit. Some mechanics that aren’t aware of the K-series engines oddities will say the valve don’t need adjustment because the valve train noise in low. That may be true for some engines, but not the Honda K-series engine.
 

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I don't know average, but my local Honda dealer (Tampa Bay area) was asking $250 to do the job when inquired.
 

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Hi all,
Hoping to gather some insight on when it's necessary to perform a valve Adjustment. My " mechanic says mine are " too tight" meaning he can't get the tool used to set timing underneath the valve at the recommended ratio. He says it should slide under with some resistance, but very little. My question is, how, over the course of 190,000 miles do valves actually tighten themselves? Loosen, yes, but it makes no sense to me. Also I'm wondering if he has the correct ratio, I have a ex fwd. Anyone have any info or experience on this? And I hear it can be tricky and can easily be messed up. Says Eric the car guy. Should I just leave it alone? My mechanic is good, no doubt, but he's more old school and maybe is use to working on Ford or Chevy.
Thanks
Absolutely, every 120,000 miles or so. Hondas are one of the few models where the valves actually get tighter instead of looser as the car goes on down the road.
I have a 2003 and have had 2 and everytime I can feel a slight difference I think my last one was $200.00 or so at a trusted mechanic.
I have just about given up on my local dealer where I bought the vehicle.
 

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I just did an adjustment on my valves last weekend. Honestly it was not on my radar to do before, then one day I took note of how noisy it was getting. Bought the valve cover gasket and fortunately was able to borrow a valve adjust tool. All I can say is wow, how much smoother it runs! The exhausts were indeed tight. Below spec in fact. The intakes were a little loose. 225k miles. That poor E, I had no idea. Definitely have to make this a regimen from now on! One tip, when reassembling use a bit of Hondabond in the two places where the gasket goes around a hard corner (right end of head) to ensure it stays leak free.
 

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It's funny, I only vaguely recall doing the adjustment when I first bought the car and only confirmed it was done by searching my old posts here. I suspect I did not replace the gasket or use any RTV though I probably should have. Exhaust valves were tight, intakes were loose.

Tighter valves are quieter, but riskier--don't count on the noise to signal a problem, a little valve rattle is apparently healthy for this engine. Check it yourself to be sure, and verify your feelers with a micrometer too.

Any recommendation on an interval to recheck for higher mileage cars?
 

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It's funny, I only vaguely recall doing the adjustment when I first bought the car and only confirmed it was done by searching my old posts here. I suspect I did not replace the gasket or use any RTV though I probably should have. Exhaust valves were tight, intakes were loose.

Tighter valves are quieter, but riskier--don't count on the noise to signal a problem, a little valve rattle is apparently healthy for this engine. Check it yourself to be sure, and verify your feelers with a micrometer too.

Any recommendation on an interval to recheck for higher mileage cars?
the 03 element had the valve adjustment interval at 110k miles.
 

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the 03 element had the valve adjustment interval at 110k miles.
Yup. I was thinking about subsequent adjustment intervals, since it's feasible that parts will need attention more frequently as they wear. The manufacturer's recommendations are projections, ours should be based on experience.
 

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I do mine every +/- 100k. It’s an easy number to remember and I do it with the plugs. Usually I find 1 or 2 barely out of spec, both on tight and loose sides.
 
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