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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I replaced timing belt, idlers, and water pump on my son's 03 MDX. I have previously done this job w/ no big problems. Not this time. Following are major problems I had/resolved. Some problems are inevitable for DIY'r who does this job so rarely as to forget the knowledge gained from previous job.

1) Water pump Leak - I cleaned (w/ paper towel) the mating surface on the engine but did not polish w/ emery cloth. Only smart thing I did was test for leaks by refilling w/ coolant before replacing timing belt cover. Leak was spotted. So remove timing belt and water pump and redo pump prep work. I also applied an oring lube after polishing the mating surface. I started engine w/ timing covers and engine mount removed to inspect for leaks. Thankfully none.

2) Timing Belt Installation - I installed belt CCW from crankshaft sprocket as described but despite careful feeling wound up w/ no slack on the tensioner side to allow installation of tensioner and tensioner idler. Problem is failure to properly engage belt on back side of rear camshaft sprocket. It is easy to install improperly and wind up w/ no belt slack. If you can't install the tensioner idler the belt is not installed properly. Get a mirror and check rear sprocket engagement.

3) Accessory belt idler - I apparently dislodged the lower pulley from the tensioner and installed through bolt w/ pulley slightly cocked. Result was frozen pulley which smoked and burnt serpentine belt briefly on startup. I was not even aware the pulley can be easily dislodged. I replaced the belt and the tensioner as I was unsure whether I might have damaged the pulley by tightening through bolt while misaligned.

Houston weather as usual did not provide any assist. It was hot w/ oppressive humidity.

Good Wrenching!
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