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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
While driving my 2005 MDX with 189000 miles on it stalled and wouldn?t restart. It blew a power steering pressure hose but that?s all. The check engine light came on as well as VTM 4 light. I was on my way to read the codes. When trying to restart the engine it acts like it has a lot of compression and struggles to turn over. Thinking a sensor but most likely something in the timing of the whole engine. Any help is appreciated.
 

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It might possibly be something related to the valves needing to be adjusted. Not too long ago my aunts 2006 had a check engine light and VTM-4 lights both come on at around 164,000 miles. The car was having massive misfires that would cause very bad shaking. The regular mechanic couldn't figure out why was wrong. He diagnosed it as spark plugs but that did nothing to help. The car would barely even start. She then brought it into the dealership and they said that the valves were too tight. I'm not sure but that might be putting the engine under tremendous compression if it can't breathe properly.
 

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Doesn't sound good. My first thought is that the timing belt might have broken (has the timing belt been changed?)

When the starter works, but "suddenly" can barely turn the engine over, it's never, ever a good thing. The fact it seems to have happened all at once really makes me worry that you DID break a timing belt (I believe that if the belt just slipped, you'd most likely have less compression, but it's possible that it would just mess up the timing enough to cause what appears to be too much compression). Does the engine make any odd noises while it's trying to turn over, or when it stalled (looking for evidence that the pistons got in a fist fight with the valves).

I'm curious if the power steering hose blew when the car stalled, or maybe you just noticed the fluid all over the engine when you popped the hood to figure out why the engine stalled. Taking it a step further, if the power steering hose (which runs right over the rear bank timing belt cover) was leaking, it's possibly going to get power steering fluid all over your timing belt, which can lead to the slipping or breaking.

IF your timing belt slipped, BUT not far enough to get the valves into the pistons, its possible that the fix is to just do a timing belt change (around $1000 at most independent shops), or $250 if you DIY (not really a horrible job, but not for someone without the right tools).
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Still waiting to hear from mechanic. There was no loud noises from the engine like pistons hitting valves. It just suddenly died and will not restart. It had a check eng light on and VTM4 light I had fixed everything else. Had. Buddy tell me it could be cat converters but doubtful. I was planning on taking it to him to get the valves adjusted. Hoping for easy fix but fear motor is trash now.
 

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You won't hear noises on a mis aligned valve (If you hear noises, you just broke all your valves)
However suddenly is odd , misaligned valves wouldn't 'suddenly' happen, they would throw the codes for a few weeks.

Blown Head Gasket, broken Timing Belt, etc would also cause something suddenly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I?m thinking something electrical. Just had head gaskets done literally. Unless the timing was never right. Idk. The chassis ground wire was bare and the VSA light was on along with VTM4 light. Someone told me trans issues but I?m thinking crank sensor or cam sensor. Possibly ECM.
 

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I hope you're right - but can't imagine why anything would change all at once AND cause hard cranking. Maybe the timing wasn't right after the head gasket job, but that doesn't cause the immediate problem you're seeing.

If you had head gaskets done, I'm guessing (in lieu of input from you) that you had the timing belt replaced already.
 

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Sounds like there is more to the story.

Why was the headgasket replaced? Its not a wear and tear item, and doesn't just leak from age and normal use. Well maybe after 350,000 mi or somethings.

The ps hose is unrelated to the engine stalling and not starting. One time I momentarily forgot to remove a rubber plug from inside the ps pump inlet and the engine ran just fine.

Before the permanent stall, did the engine run rough, especially after warming up; idling rough at red lights and long stops, but drive okay at speed?

I suspect the cause of the headgasket failure is also causing continued problems. Also, if the gasket replacement was not done professionally, most likely the valve clearnaces were not adjusted, the timing belt may not have been replaced, nor the water pump and belt tensioner. With that many miles, the cam seals and front crank seal should have been done at the same time. If its just a minimum effort headgasket job, none of these important services would have been done.
 

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I don't think any of us are going to be able to help Ryan3443 very much, at least until he starts passing along the info that others have asked him for (that might help us understand what might have happened to his MDX). Between the sludge, the warped heads, and the fact he's got a rebuilt transmission (see other thread) with too much burnt fluid and broken wires, I think the vehicle is probably suffering from bad wrenching more than anything.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Most of the work prior to me owning it was done by local Acura dealer. I had the heads done by local mechanic after Acura quoted me 1500 a side to fix the warped heads. Previous owner spent over 6500 on this car and still not right. Just scratching my head on it. I guess I could have a locked up A/C compressor or alternator. I?ve seen them lock up and stall a motor and not allow to turn over.
 

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Hi Ryan, thanks for clarifying on the trans and providing more info. A few more questions that could help us help you.

Did the mechanic ever tell you the check engine codes?

What did the mechanic find so far or rule out?

When you said the head gaskets were literally just changed, about how many miles since the gasket to when the engine died? Although you said the timing belt was changed 29K miles ago, if the mechanic that changed the gaskets did not check everything out after reassembly, it could be as others have said, your timing belt, valve timing and/or valve adjustment.

Tell us any other details that come to mind. Remember, we can?t see and hear your X so the only thing we can go by is what you describe. (Not sure if pictures or video would help in this case.)

Re locked compressor, you could remove the serpentine belt and try cranking the engine.

Thanks and good luck.
 

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Ryan, couple more things. Do you know what caused the heads to warp - what were the symptoms and diagnosis that the head gaskets needed to be changed? Did it run out of coolant? Super low or out of oil? Those could point to other damage in the engine that gaskets wouldn?t fix.

You mentioned the water pump but that was also 29K miles ago. Just guessing - unless it was just a leaky pump caught in time, maybe the previous owner did not fix the damage if the water pump went out and a lot of coolant leaked out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I bought this knowing it had head gasket issues. However there was no oil in the coolant or vice Versa. As far as the previous owner I believe he was a coward and upfront as could be. Found a note from the Acura dealer stating a recommendation of replacing engine due to heavy engine sludge.

All I can say is I was driving and coming to a stop light and was out of the throttle. Engine rpms around 800-1000 and the engine died as I turned the corner and would not restart
 

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Can you hear the fuel pump if you turn the ignition to the on position? Honda fuel pumps don?t fail much from what I know. Unfortunately I?m not sure if you can get to the connector to test it without removing the tank. But a bad pump would fail suddenly.

You might also want to test fuses.

Wait, is your accessory belt intact? Wondering if it snapped and got the hose.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Well my mechanic is no help. Was supposed to diagnose it. All I get is I believe the timing belt jumped a couple teeth and trashed your motor. Didn?t remove serpentine belt or even read the check eng codes. I?m going to go get it and start doing the work myself
 

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If it?s the same mechanic that changed the head gaskets, he/she would have been the last to touch the timing belt. Might be something unrelated but I had asked earlier about how many miles since the gasket change did the stall/no start occur.

OTOH, I could see where the sludge could cause an oil blockage and then cause the engine to seize.

I would get a reader and read the codes.

You might want to pull the plugs and have a look at them. Then try to carefully turn the engine by hand with a 19mm socket on the crank bolt. Without plugs, it should turn pretty easily. But, if you feel metal to metal, stop.

Another thing you could do is move the rubber plugs away on the upper timing belt covers and crank the engine by hand to line up TDC. The crank pulley mark and two cam sprockets for no 1 should line up. (The rear can sprocket just has a line and doesn?t have 1 stamped on it). Also, I recall habbyguy posted a page from the service book that shows what TDC alignment looks like under a post with a title like ?timing belt broke but I?m hopeful?.
 
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