The Honda 2.4 VCT issue.....long term damage...

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Well I got my car back from the dealer this evening. I had the brakes flushed, the tires rotated, and the noise (VTC noise) issue looked at. The dealership actually admitted to hearing the noise! In the paperwork they said that they heard a "rattle" on start up, and that it sounded like it was a rattle from the VTC actuator, and that Honda has asked them to wait for further instructions on the fix for this problem. I am glad the issue was acknowledge and then documented. They also referenced TSB 09-010. So at least it was documented, I hope and pray that Honda will come up with a permanent fix for this issue, and that my car will be included in the fix. Futher info: the dealer left a message on my cell earlier in the day that the car was ready. I listened to the message and he mentioned the TSB and said that with this engine its important to use a good oil and change it frequently to keep the engine clean and sludge free so the VTC / chain tensioner will live longer and help prevent more engine damage. Little did he know I am a BITOG member and am already obsessive about changing my oil. Guess I will stick to PPPP at 5K/6 months or slightly less with a Fram Ultra every other OCI to keep things clean!
 
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Have you tried the "key on, key off, start" sequence that seems to help a lot of people. A pain in the butt, but might make sense as a way to minimize potential damage (if there is any) until or if a fix is found. This problem existing for seven years now and no fix is astounding. Even more astounding is how widespread this is, and yet very little publicity. Its all over the place in Accord, CRV and somewhat in Civic Si forums, but nothing in the general press. Consumer Reports, where are you? You called out a lot of makers for oil consumption and slapped Honda for cheapening the 2012 Civic and that was enough for them to redo the model in one year.
 
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dlayman said:
Have you tried the "key on, key off, start" sequence that seems to help a lot of people. A pain in the butt, but might make sense as a way to minimize potential damage (if there is any) until or if a fix is found. This problem existing for seven years now and no fix is astounding. Even more astounding is how widespread this is, and yet very little publicity. Its all over the place in Accord, CRV and somewhat in Civic Si forums, but nothing in the general press. Consumer Reports, where are you? You called out a lot of makers for oil consumption and slapped Honda for cheapening the 2012 Civic and that was enough for them to redo the model in one year. [/quoteHow was your week?] No, I have only heard of bump starting it, but wasn't fond of that because of potential starter damage...I didn't know the key trick was an option.
 
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I'm not sure why but it seems to help reduce or eliminate for at least some people. Most people have the problem only in cold weather. Its rare for it to happen in a warm climate like yours
 
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Originally Posted By: Phishin
Originally Posted By: ARCOgraphite
Grinding? Could this be a tct issue? IIRC a VCT problem would be a clattering sound. My 1.5 honda had a mechanical / non-hyd TCT. Does the 2.4 have a hyd cam chain tensioner? Maybe sticking tensioner.
ARCO....it's a known problem. It's the VCT solenoid that bleeds down over time...supposedly. I just don't understand why it only happens when it's cold. My Accord can sit for 2 months without a start in July and August, and it starts just fine. But over night or longer when it's below freezing, and the noise is scary.
thermal expansion. the various parts of the variator or control valves will shrink, adn due to dissimilar metals there's something that shrinks more (or less) and creates a void for the oil to escape.
 
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Originally Posted By: dlayman
I'm not sure why but it seems to help reduce or eliminate for at least some people. Most people have the problem only in cold weather. Its rare for it to happen in a warm climate like yours
Must be the control valve that's sticking if the cycling helps. It'll make the control valve move and unstick itself?
 
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Based on what I've been able to understand by reading and studying it, that does seem to be an accurate description of the problem, so your explanation makes sense. If I owned this engine, I would be sure to use this method as a possible preventative measure. But really, after this many years, step it up Honda. What ever happened to the old credo that Honda is an engine company that also builds cars?
 
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I would like to think it's not causing much damage...think of all the cars that have this issue. Yes I have only heard of 1 engine failure, and I'm not even sure if they can trace the failure to the VTC actuator issue.
 
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I would like to think it's not causing much damage...think of all the cars that have this issue. Yes I have only heard of 1 engine failure, and I'm not even sure if they can trace the failure to the VTC actuator issue.
 
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Also....if its a problem of oil draining then the problem should be worse in the summer heat as thinner oil would drain more quickly. The car is going to be sitting for 2 days so I'll see how it starts up on Monday.
 
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All the reliability data I've seen for cars using this engine indicate the engine has excellent reliability, so I think you're right about it not causing a lot of damage. I think the main danger would be if the actuator actually failed. My understanding of how the piece functions, is that it could cause damage similar to if a timing belt broke on an interference engine.
 
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I wasn't going to comment on this thread until I came to a post above which linked a four or five-year post on another board (driveaccord.net) in which that poster (Rattmann) claimed this issue destroyed his Accord engine. Suffice it to say "Rattmann" had little credibility on the Accord board. He also had a long history of abusing his Honda Accord, and he finally succeeded in destroying his engine. He claimed it was related to the VTC actuator, and Honda handled it as a warranty issue. Returning to the issue at hand, as noted above, for several years Honda authorized VTC repairs. That apparently is no longer the case. There are several reasons for this, the principal ones being the repair took hours, and more importantly, the repair procedure required extreme care in re-aligning the VTC system. If that wasn't done, the "repair" would fail within "x" number of miles, and the problem would recur. (This happened so many times, in fact, that Honda issued a second video which discussed only the mistakes being made in aligning the VTC mechanism.) Honda now insists the repair previously authorized is unnecessary. Yes, it is noisy -- it does sound terrible -- but, again, Honda now insists it will not result in any additional mechanical issues. Only time will tell. As for how the system operates and why various "work arounds" MAY avoid the frequency of the grinding sound, this goes back to the how the system is designed to work. (There are several excellent YouTube videos that demonstrate how the system works, and I'll leave it those who are really interested in the subject to hunt them up.) Yes, the system works on oil pressure, but -- as reflected in the videos -- the initial "setting" of the VTC system is electrical: An electrical impulse "re-sets" the VTC actuator to the start position. This MAY explain why keying the system initially before trying to start the engine mitigates the problem. Namely, the VTC system is reset by keying it once before actually starting the engine. In this regard, FWIW, for YEARS I have been turning the ignition key to the start position on several Hondas (Civics Accords and CR-Vs), waiting several seconds for the dash lights to cycle (2 seconds or so) -- which also allows the VTC actuator to return to the start position -- before I engage the starter. In other words, I do not "bump" the starter as others have described. It may be pure luck, but I've only experienced the issue once, five years ago. That single incident is what took me online where all of this is laid out in great detail.
 
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Originally Posted By: Hounds
I wasn't going to comment on this thread until I came to a post above which linked a four or five-year post on another board (driveaccord.net) in which that poster (Rattmann) claimed this issue destroyed his Accord engine. Suffice it to say "Rattmann" had little credibility on the Accord board. He also had a long history of abusing his Honda Accord, and he finally succeeded in destroying his engine. He claimed it was related to the VTC actuator, and Honda handled it as a warranty issue. Returning to the issue at hand, as noted above, for several years Honda authorized VTC repairs. That apparently is no longer the case. There are several reasons for this, the principal ones being the repair took hours, and more importantly, the repair procedure required extreme care in re-aligning the VTC system. If that wasn't done, the "repair" would fail within "x" number of miles, and the problem would recur. (This happened so many times, in fact, that Honda issued a second video which discussed only the mistakes being made in aligning the VTC mechanism.) Honda now insists the repair previously authorized is unnecessary. Yes, it is noisy -- it does sound terrible -- but, again, Honda now insists it will not result in any additional mechanical issues. Only time will tell. As for how the system operates and why various "work arounds" MAY avoid the frequency of the grinding sound, this goes back to the how the system is designed to work. (There are several excellent YouTube videos that demonstrate how the system works, and I'll leave it those who are really interested in the subject to hunt them up.) Yes, the system works on oil pressure, but -- as reflected in the videos -- the initial "setting" of the VTC system is electrical: An electrical impulse "re-sets" the VTC actuator to the start position. This MAY explain why keying the system initially before trying to start the engine mitigates the problem. Namely, the VTC system is reset by keying it once before actually starting the engine. In this regard, FWIW, for YEARS I have been turning the ignition key to the start position on several Hondas (Civics Accords and CR-Vs), waiting several seconds for the dash lights to cycle (2 seconds or so) -- which also allows the VTC actuator to return to the start position -- before I engage the starter. In other words, I do not "bump" the starter as others have described. It may be pure luck, but I've only experienced the issue once, five years ago. That single incident is what took me online where all of this is laid out in great detail.
Interesting...I will try this key trick and see if the noise goes away. Do you not have problems in the cold of winter either?
 
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Originally Posted By: gregk24
. . .I will try this key trick and see if the noise goes away. Do you not have problems in the cold of winter either?
I'm not sure "trick" is the right word. It's more a matter of patience; waiting until the dash lights have finished sequencing before engaging the starter. I only experienced this problem once. However, as discussed in the video linked below, once the VTC actuator pin is bent to the extent that it cannot engage properly -- and you'll know that if the actuator grinds virtually every time you start your engine -- the only fix for that is to repair the actuator. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QTnufuKpp6c&feature=player_embedded
 
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Mazda had this issue with the 2.0 engine in its Mx5. Unlike Honda, Mazda issued a TSB and replaced the VTC actuator whenever there was a start-up noise. As implied here, the noise was caused by the pins in the VTC not engaging promptly. I had this done and it seems to have been a durable repair. Don't know why Honda's system is so much fussier. Or maybe it isn't...
 
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Well I have been doing the key "trick" or whatever you want to call it, and so far...NO START UP RATTLE! I am almost in disbelief that something this simple could cure such a widespread issue. I am hoping that this will permanently fix my issue. We will see what the winter months hold.
 
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So doing the key dance resets the actuator valve to it's correct starting position? It sounds like a firmware update to the ECU could be the fix.
 
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Originally Posted By: dishdude
So doing the key dance resets the actuator valve to it's correct starting position? It sounds like a firmware update to the ECU could be the fix.
Honda has known about this issue since 2008...I just don't know why they haven't rolled out a fix if this key trick really works.
 
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