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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is long, stay with me: I took my MDX (118K miles) to a reputable shop and it needs a new PS pump, timing belt, alternator, plugs, swaybar links, and radiator due to deteriorating ATF cooler lines. Also, 2 plugs are seized. Total bill is about $5K.

I'm 2nd owner, had it for about 4 years. The first owner maintained it well, and the interior is still like new. My wife loves the car and I like finding older cars that are in great shape and taking care of them. The mechanic recommended that we trade it or sell it and put the money toward a newer model.

Normally, I would happily pay the bill because it's still cheaper than putting money into a newer car, but there seems to be several other problems that have been popping up recently at about the same time.

So, what do you think? I would tell him to go ahead w/ the repairs, but the seized plugs are the kicker. He says it's a huge gamble since a broken plug or stripped threads means replacing the engine.

I can't believe that a Honda product with only 118k miles would have issues with deteriorating coolant lines or seized plugs, but evidently it's a thing and it makes me pretty angry.

So MDX community, if I have it fixed, are there other expensive surprises ahead? Do I leave the plugs alone and have the other repairs done? Or, do I go shopping? (carmax will give me $7500 for it, btw).

Thanks in advance for your advice!
 

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Because you don’t take proactive prevention maintenance. You have waited until everything started to fail all at once.

Get 2021 A-Spec MDX. It’s NICE!


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This is long, stay with me: I took my MDX (118K miles) to a reputable shop and it needs a new PS pump, timing belt, alternator, plugs, swaybar links, and radiator due to deteriorating ATF cooler lines. Also, 2 plugs are seized. Total bill is about $5K.

I'm 2nd owner, had it for about 4 years. The first owner maintained it well, and the interior is still like new. My wife loves the car and I like finding older cars that are in great shape and taking care of them. The mechanic recommended that we trade it or sell it and put the money toward a newer model.

Normally, I would happily pay the bill because it's still cheaper than putting money into a newer car, but there seems to be several other problems that have been popping up recently at about the same time.

So, what do you think? I would tell him to go ahead w/ the repairs, but the seized plugs are the kicker. He says it's a huge gamble since a broken plug or stripped threads means replacing the engine.

I can't believe that a Honda product with only 118k miles would have issues with deteriorating coolant lines or seized plugs, but evidently it's a thing and it makes me pretty angry.

So MDX community, if I have it fixed, are there other expensive surprises ahead? Do I leave the plugs alone and have the other repairs done? Or, do I go shopping? (carmax will give me $7500 for it, btw).

Thanks in advance for your advice!
If you can get 7500 just sell it. These cars are only cheap to own if owners take care of them. Most of your issues can be taken care of with $2k if you are responsible.

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Try penetrating oil like PB Blaster or Liquid Wrench. Just remove the coil pack, give it a good spray until you can see it flooding around the plug and let it sit overnight. Try to remove the plug a little at a time with a short breaker bar or if you're not mechanically inclined, put the coil packs back and take it to your mechanic to let him try. Even if the plugs are frozen, the worst that can happen is you will have to remove the heads and take them to a machine shop for repair but you will be able to clean the piston tops, do your timing belt, alternator, power steering pump, radiator, change plugs and adjust valves at the same time. Basically all those things that you have to change would have to come off anyways to do a head job except for the radiator so it shouldn't add that much more to the head job bill aside from parts. He can't charge you full price for all the repairs separately if he is doing a head job so ask him what it would cost beforehand.
 

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Try penetrating oil like PB Blaster or Liquid Wrench. Just remove the coil pack, give it a good spray until you can see it flooding around the plug and let it sit overnight. Try to remove the plug a little at a time with a short breaker bar or if you're not mechanically inclined, put the coil packs back and take it to your mechanic to let him try. Even if the plugs are frozen, the worst that can happen is you will have to remove the heads and take them to a machine shop for repair but you will be able to clean the piston tops, do your timing belt, alternator, power steering pump, radiator, change plugs and adjust valves at the same time. Basically all those things that you have to change would have to come off anyways to do a head job except for the radiator so it shouldn't add that much more to the head job bill aside from parts. He can't charge you full price for all the repairs separately if he is doing a head job so ask him what it would cost beforehand.
The problem is the OP can’t do these fixes by himself. He wouldn’t have these problems if he had taken good care of the vehicle.


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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
The problem is the OP can’t do these fixes by himself. He wouldn’t have these problems if he had taken good care of the vehicle.






Try penetrating oil like PB Blaster or Liquid Wrench. Just remove the coil pack, give it a good spray until you can see it flooding around the plug and let it sit overnight. Try to remove the plug a little at a time with a short breaker bar or if you're not mechanically inclined, put the coil packs back and take it to your mechanic to let him try. Even if the plugs are frozen, the worst that can happen is you will have to remove the heads and take them to a machine shop for repair but you will be able to clean the piston tops, do your timing belt, alternator, power steering pump, radiator, change plugs and adjust valves at the same time. Basically all those things that you have to change would have to come off anyways to do a head job except for the radiator so it shouldn't add that much more to the head job bill aside from parts. He can't charge you full price for all the repairs separately if he is doing a head job so ask him what it would cost beforehand.
The problem is the OP can’t do these fixes by himself. He wouldn’t have these problems if he had taken good care of the vehicle.
Funny, I asked the mechanic if these problems arose due to neglect, and he said no and even commented that the car looks great. Timing belt is due, PS pumps fail in a lot of cars and the coolant line issue and spark plug problem is common if owners have low miles on their cars, but have owned them for several years. So, I'm very impressed that you concluded I haven't taken care of it without knowing me or the car. I guess the 29-year Acura mechanic is just inexperienced.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Try penetrating oil like PB Blaster or Liquid Wrench. Just remove the coil pack, give it a good spray until you can see it flooding around the plug and let it sit overnight. Try to remove the plug a little at a time with a short breaker bar or if you're not mechanically inclined, put the coil packs back and take it to your mechanic to let him try. Even if the plugs are frozen, the worst that can happen is you will have to remove the heads and take them to a machine shop for repair but you will be able to clean the piston tops, do your timing belt, alternator, power steering pump, radiator, change plugs and adjust valves at the same time. Basically all those things that you have to change would have to come off anyways to do a head job except for the radiator so it shouldn't add that much more to the head job bill aside from parts. He can't charge you full price for all the repairs separately if he is doing a head job so ask him what it would cost beforehand.
Great info, and thanks for actually providing a very helpful response--you must be a mechanic. I've owned many vehicles and I've taken good, though not always perfect, care of them. This is the first car I've owned with stuck plugs. (I also drive a '05 Sienna with 208K miles (owned since 5K miles) and that vehicle has been amazing.)
 

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it is much easier to remove plugs from aluminum head when engine is hot.
 

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About your PS pump. Is it just leaking? If yes, it can be repaired with a seal repair kit plus one bearing for under $100 including labor.

I would change the pump only if the steering rack is locking up at the extremes (left, right, or both) or the PS pump pressure is so low that the steering wheel is hard to turn.

If you really need to replace the pump, do not use a reman pump, not even by Acura. I just replaced for a friend a reman PS pump by Acura with less than 10K miles of use. The steering rack was locking up at the extremes (left and right). That was a hard lesson for my friend. His mechanic wanted to replace the steering rack, a $1K+ bill instead of $500 for a new pump. I bet on the pump, followed my advice, and the steering is good now.
 

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You won't get much for trade in. I tried to trade my 2011 MDX with 139K for a 2018 RDX base. They gave me $6k, $7.5 if they increase the RDX price.
So I fixed my own oil pump leak, valve adjustments, and a bunch of other o-ring oil leaks. I've never done these before but I did it. Took me about 4 weeks which includes time waiting for parts from online dealers.......
 

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You won't get much for trade in. I tried to trade my 2011 MDX with 139K for a 2018 RDX base. They gave me $6k, $7.5 if they increase the RDX price.
So I fixed my own oil pump leak, valve adjustments, and a bunch of other o-ring oil leaks. I've never done these before but I did it. Took me about 4 weeks which includes time waiting for parts from online dealers.......
Good job! I replaced my front camshaft, valves adjustment, oil pump resealed, timing belt, front axles, ADS conversion, front/side engine mount, timing belt, starter motor, alternator, inner and outer tie-rods, end links sway bar, sway bar bushings, radiator fan, down stream oxygen sensor, spark plugs, ATF flush, brake fluid flush, and other stuff I can’t recall.

you have rear main seal leak? I do but I can’t fix it myself.


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Good job! I replaced my front camshaft, valves adjustment, oil pump resealed, timing belt, front axles, ADS conversion, front/side engine mount, timing belt, starter motor, alternator, inner and outer tie-rods, end links sway bar, sway bar bushings, radiator fan, down stream oxygen sensor, spark plugs, ATF flush, brake fluid flush, and other stuff I can’t recall.

you have rear main seal leak? I do but I can’t fix it myself.


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Is there any mechanical part currently in your car which came from factory and has not been replaced?
 

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No, thank goodness it wasn't the rear main seal. I checked after several times I drove the car. I'll have to check it again and again. It may have been dripping from the oil pump leak or the spool valve or the valve cover. I was at AAP and asked a guy at the counter if anyone is doing the rear main seal on the side. He had one guy willing to do it for $1k labor, no warranty of any kind.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
About your PS pump. Is it just leaking? If yes, it can be repaired with a seal repair kit plus one bearing for under $100 including labor.

I would change the pump only if the steering rack is locking up at the extremes (left, right, or both) or the PS pump pressure is so low that the steering wheel is hard to turn.

If you really need to replace the pump, do not use a reman pump, not even by Acura. I just replaced for a friend a reman PS pump by Acura with less than 10K miles of use. The steering rack was locking up at the extremes (left and right). That was a hard lesson for my friend. His mechanic wanted to replace the steering rack, a $1K+ bill instead of $500 for a new pump. I bet on the pump, followed my advice, and the steering is good now.
Thank you for the reply. It's whining/groaning pretty loudly after I reach highway speeds, so I assumed it needs replaced and it seems a little hard to turn, but it's always seemed tight to me, which I like (but my wife doesn't)
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
You won't get much for trade in. I tried to trade my 2011 MDX with 139K for a 2018 RDX base. They gave me $6k, $7.5 if they increase the RDX price.
So I fixed my own oil pump leak, valve adjustments, and a bunch of other o-ring oil leaks. I've never done these before but I did it. Took me about 4 weeks which includes time waiting for parts from online dealers.......
Yeah the dealers have been offering me $6, so we might just go with carmax's offer. Like I said, we've always loved driving it, but I've dealt with some weird issues, one after the other, and I'm kind of growing tired of them. E.g. the voice command system failed, which kept draining the battery (took me a while to figure out that one), and and ABS sensor failed which triggered a million codes that the local shop had trouble clearing. And, I recently noticed the mirrors no longer tilt down when I reverse--so there must be motors that are failing in those. The siezed plugs and radiator line problem are kind of the last straw. We don't need a replacement car right now, but when things settle down, I'm pretty sure I can find a nice replacement for $15K (residual value + repair costs). The whole situation annoys me cuz I like maintaining cars, but I'll get over it :)
 

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Yeah the dealers have been offering me $6, so we might just go with carmax's offer.
Take the Carmax's offer and avoid the aggravation. I have 5 cars for 4 people and I really like the MDX ride and handling and I just got snow shoes for it.......so I'm fixing it. Also, I like the satisfaction of getting things fixed.........and telling my wife, "see, I fixed it and saved thousands of $."
 

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Take the offer!!!! Trust me. You don't want to deal with a strawberry milkshake, which was painfully hard to fix. I also have a 2008 MDX, and being a Midwestern vehicle, the lines in the radiator were corroded. I replaced the radiator and alternator on mine (and a lot more), but would advise taking the money and buying a newer MDX.
 

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Thank you for the reply. It's whining/groaning pretty loudly after I reach highway speeds, so I assumed it needs replaced and it seems a little hard to turn, but it's always seemed tight to me, which I like (but my wife doesn't)
In my opinion, that sounds like a bearing problem. Not related to PS pump internals. Bearing cost is between $5-$15 depending on where you get it. Pump seal kit is between $15-$30.

Check serpentine belt idle bearings too. Grinding sound might come from them. Bearings cost is between $5-$15 each depending on where you get them.
 
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