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Discussion Starter #1
Background:
Purchased our MDX ~6 years ago with 110k. It had just received the 100k tune-up (timing belt etc). We paid ~$18k

Fast Forward:
It's been a great family car and been on many long road trips. Currently 194k miles. I do my own oil changes and brakes, but aside from that it has been maintenance free. (Maybe to it's demise?)

I had just entered the freeway and was doing 75mph when all the lights lit up and I went into limp home mode. Luckily I was only 2 miles from home and made it without much fuss. Turned out to be cylinder #3 and #5 misfiring. No worries, I have used this forum for 6 years and quickly ordered (6) new Denso Iridium plugs. No change. I then moved coil packs around and found that cylinder #5 continued to misfire no matter what.

Onto the dealership we go - After paying $480 for a valve adjustment they finally did a compression test and found <35PSI on cylinder #5.

We are now exploring options for motor swap, trade in value or scrap. I wonder what I did wrong? I wonder if adjusting the valves sooner could have prevented this? I'll update this thread as we progress down the worst scenario possible. #PoorMDX
 

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That is really sad! But you at least got 6 years and 84k maintenance free miles out of it. Not too bad. I paid $41k before tax 13 years ago and I am having only 103k miles as of now. If anything, I hope this can make you feel better.

I think the next step is to decide where the leak is. Down from piston or via head gasket etc. This should be a leak down test. There are many youtube videos on how to do it. Once you have an educated guess, you can also buy an el cheapo usb endoscope (?) to snake down the spark plug hole and take a look. Also you can do a coolant test to see whether exhaust gas is present in the coolant?

The worst that can happen is the piston ring failure. If it is a head gasket leak, it is actually not that bad.

Background:
Purchased our MDX ~6 years ago with 110k. It had just received the 100k tune-up (timing belt etc). We paid ~$18k

Fast Forward:
It's been a great family car and been on many long road trips. Currently 194k miles. I do my own oil changes and brakes, but aside from that it has been maintenance free. (Maybe to it's demise?)

I had just entered the freeway and was doing 75mph when all the lights lit up and I went into limp home mode. Luckily I was only 2 miles from home and made it without much fuss. Turned out to be cylinder #3 and #5 misfiring. No worries, I have used this forum for 6 years and quickly ordered (6) new Denso Iridium plugs. No change. I then moved coil packs around and found that cylinder #5 continued to misfire no matter what.

Onto the dealership we go - After paying $480 for a valve adjustment they finally did a compression test and found <35PSI on cylinder #5.

We are now exploring options for motor swap, trade in value or scrap. I wonder what I did wrong? I wonder if adjusting the valves sooner could have prevented this? I'll update this thread as we progress down the worst scenario possible. #PoorMDX
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Great information thanks! The dealership sent me a video of cylinder #5 during an engine crank pressure test and simply said, "time for new engine". It sounds like I should press them further and do a leak down test to ensure that an engine is the next step?


That is really sad! But you at least got 6 years and 84k maintenance free miles out of it. Not too bad. I paid $41k before tax 13 years ago and I am having only 103k miles as of now. If anything, I hope this can make you feel better.

I think the next step is to decide where the leak is. Down from piston or via head gasket etc. This should be a leak down test. There are many youtube videos on how to do it. Once you have an educated guess, you can also buy an el cheapo usb endoscope (?) to snake down the spark plug hole and take a look. Also you can do a coolant test to see whether exhaust gas is present in the coolant?

The worst that can happen is the piston ring failure. If it is a head gasket leak, it is actually not that bad.
 

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+1 on investigating a bit further unless you are ready to move on anyway. Given the recent TB investment if it could be repaired with a valve job on the one head and keep going it would be tempting, but the dealer is not the place for trying to sort this out. Their labor is way to expensive. Finding a good independent or side work mechanic could get you back on the road for 1/3 of what the dealer would charge. Where are you located?
 
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Yes I agree, however when my other fixes did not resolve I was worried it could be very bad and moved straight to the dealer.

The dealer has me over a barrel for $480 on a valve adjustment that did nothing for me unfortunately. I questioned why they wouldn't do a quick compression test before moving onto 2 hours in valve work.

Edit: I'm in SLC, UT. Trying to find a good mechanic all day......

+1 on investigating a bit further unless you are ready to move on anyway. Given the recent TB investment if it could be repaired with a valve job on the one head and keep going it would be tempting, but the dealer is not the place for trying to sort this out. Their labor is way to expensive. Finding a good independent or side work mechanic could get you back on the road for 1/3 of what the dealer would charge. Where are you located?
 

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+ 1 for the leak down test, at 195k it could be something simple as a little piece carbon stuck under a valve?
 

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I agree a proper leak down test to determine if it is rings, valves, or head gasket and the dealership is not the place to get it done! If they did a compression test they should have done a wet one also at the same time and have the results! So i question their test and their honesty as this is basic stuff for any mechanic! Time to pull it and spend money yourself on a compression gauge or leak down gauge and do it yourself or take it elsewhere at reduced hour costs and proper troubleshooting procedures. Not sure why they went for valve adjustment first other than to pad their bill? Nothing Like Acura Service gotta, love it!


It is a sad day for Acura Service Techs.
 

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Unless YOU requested the valve adjustment, I would speak with the Acura service manager and request a BIG discount of the valve adjustment bill. The tech should have known better and the fact that the valve adjustment did nothing to improve the condition of the engine. That is a bad troubleshooting.
 

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Ordered the new engine today. Took the car to an independent shop that knows what they are doing. Full leak down test revealed it was due for an engine unfortunately. Found one with 119,000 miles for $1,800. I'm going to have the shop go through it and get a new timing belt, water pump + anything else he recommends. Here's to hoping for 5 more years of trouble-free ownership....Hard $4,000 pill to swallow however. I will have a hard time buying another MDX in the future. :(

And yes - the dealership charged me for the valve job on the broken engine. So that was lovely.
 

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Ordered the new engine today. Took the car to an independent shop that knows what they are doing. Full leak down test revealed it was due for an engine unfortunately. Found one with 119,000 miles for $1,800. I'm going to have the shop go through it and get a new timing belt, water pump + anything else he recommends. Here's to hoping for 5 more years of trouble-free ownership....Hard $4,000 pill to swallow however. I will have a hard time buying another MDX in the future. :(

And yes - the dealership charged me for the valve job on the broken engine. So that was lovely.
Any ideas of the root cause of the cylinder/piston failure?


Please report back if you can
 

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I'll try to inquire more. I'm the type to expect 300k from all my cars, so I was kinda shocked it was the Honda to give up. I have a Maxima with 200k, a super duty with 250k and recently sold my 'old' maxima finally with 300k.

Shop thinks this is rare on the 07 - but suggested that the 07-09 cylinder walls are not good. I guess they fixed that in 2010? Either way, I'll keep this updated as I find more.


Any ideas of the root cause of the cylinder/piston failure?


Please report back if you can
 

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I would want to keep the old Engine and go through it myself! I have never heard of 07-09 MDX having bad/weak cylinder walls? Sounds a little absurd sounds more like oil starvation or broken ring land. I would hope you keep the old Engine and go through it yourself? It still has a bunch of parts you could use that are not cheap. Heck it may just need a new piston or set of rings? The heads in Used condition sell up to $600.00 U.S a piece, $1200.00 set is nothing to give away!


I hope they change out the rear main seal on the replacement engine prior to install!
 

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Sadly, I too have an old engine that shouldn’t have failed that I can’t let go of (different vehicle). My wife was “thrilled” I kept it. If you keep it, make sure to protect it from corrosion.
 

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OP, I have to ask, what was the oil change interval? Did you just follow the MID? Regular dino oil or synthetic? I get made fun of for my every 5K synthetic schedule, but it makes me feel better.
 

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Good question - I am still searching for answers as to why this happened. Here is what I did for oil:

-1st oil change in 2013 was performed by Acura dealer. They put in regular Dino and suggested no need for synthetic.
-2nd until now oil changes = performed by me when the oil life said due on dashboard.

I generally used Chevron Supreme 5W30 from Sams Club with a microguard filter from O'reilly. Sometimes substitute the oil to Phillips 66 5w30 when Chevron was out of stock.
https://www.samsclub.com/sams/chevron-supreme-5w-30-motor-oil-12-1qt/164233.ip?xid=plp_product_1_5
https://www.oreillyauto.com/detail/b/microgard-4265/filters-16470/oil-filter-12090/80c2d8dbb188/microgard-oil-filter/mgl57356/4444932/2008/acura/mdx?q=Oil+filter&pos=0

I did have an oil consumption issue that I read about on this very forum. I took it to Acura and they said it was within spec. (1 quart every 1,000 was ok to them!!) Mine seemed to need 1.5-2 quarts between oil changes. (What is the interval with dashboard light? 6,000 miles?)

When the motor blew, I noted I was roughly 1 quart low and immediately added a quart with the spark plug change. Now that my new motor is almost installed I wonder what I should do differently.......


OP, I have to ask, what was the oil change interval? Did you just follow the MID? Regular dino oil or synthetic? I get made fun of for my every 5K synthetic schedule, but it makes me feel better.
 

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Use FULL-SYNTHETIC oil 5W20 grade (or perhaps 0W20) as recommended. IMHO, the dealer recommendation of Dino oil at Maintenance Minder intervals is very questionable. I would not go with Dino oil beyond 3500 miles and use high quality oil filter. And of course, watch out for oil consumption.

This is probably the recommendation you will hear across this forum.

Good question - I am still searching for answers as to why this happened. Here is what I did for oil:

-1st oil change in 2013 was performed by Acura dealer. They put in regular Dino and suggested no need for synthetic.
-2nd until now oil changes = performed by me when the oil life said due on dashboard.

I generally used Chevron Supreme 5W30 from Sams Club with a microguard filter from O'reilly. Sometimes substitute the oil to Phillips 66 5w30 when Chevron was out of stock.
https://www.samsclub.com/sams/chevron-supreme-5w-30-motor-oil-12-1qt/164233.ip?xid=plp_product_1_5
https://www.oreillyauto.com/detail/b/microgard-4265/filters-16470/oil-filter-12090/80c2d8dbb188/microgard-oil-filter/mgl57356/4444932/2008/acura/mdx?q=Oil+filter&pos=0

I did have an oil consumption issue that I read about on this very forum. I took it to Acura and they said it was within spec. (1 quart every 1,000 was ok to them!!) Mine seemed to need 1.5-2 quarts between oil changes. (What is the interval with dashboard light? 6,000 miles?)

When the motor blew, I noted I was roughly 1 quart low and immediately added a quart with the spark plug change. Now that my new motor is almost installed I wonder what I should do differently.......
 

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Since a lot could have already happened in the 100k miles before you bought the car, I guess answer to this question would never be completely satisfactory. SLC is a place with EXTREME temperature variation. I think 5w30 in the summer is a good choice, not so in the winter when 5w20 is a better choice. Heck, in the really cold days, I think 0w20 might be good if you only use it for 3-4k miles.

Of course, fully synthetic oil is better than dino oil and I would recommend a better filter even though I have no idea whether filter is the culprit. Your case is very rare. I have been using this forum for 13 years after I bought mine in Nov. 2006. The only other case of catastrophic failure is one many years ago when the engine exploded to a 2008 MDX in extremely cold weather. If I am allowed to speculate, all the big problems happened to owners in cold places, including radiator failures. So folks in cold areas need to be more mindful of possible issues.


Good question - I am still searching for answers as to why this happened. Here is what I did for oil:

-1st oil change in 2013 was performed by Acura dealer. They put in regular Dino and suggested no need for synthetic.
-2nd until now oil changes = performed by me when the oil life said due on dashboard.

I generally used Chevron Supreme 5W30 from Sams Club with a microguard filter from O'reilly. Sometimes substitute the oil to Phillips 66 5w30 when Chevron was out of stock.
https://www.samsclub.com/sams/chevron-supreme-5w-30-motor-oil-12-1qt/164233.ip?xid=plp_product_1_5
https://www.oreillyauto.com/detail/b/microgard-4265/filters-16470/oil-filter-12090/80c2d8dbb188/microgard-oil-filter/mgl57356/4444932/2008/acura/mdx?q=Oil+filter&pos=0

I did have an oil consumption issue that I read about on this very forum. I took it to Acura and they said it was within spec. (1 quart every 1,000 was ok to them!!) Mine seemed to need 1.5-2 quarts between oil changes. (What is the interval with dashboard light? 6,000 miles?)

When the motor blew, I noted I was roughly 1 quart low and immediately added a quart with the spark plug change. Now that my new motor is almost installed I wonder what I should do differently.......
 
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It's possible I was using 5W-20. I for sure used exactly what the cap says in either that Chevron or Phillips 66 Sam's Club case.

I think 5w30 in the summer is a good choice, not so in the winter when 5w20 is a better choice. .
I felt like the microgard filter was of pretty high quality when I dis-assembled one. Better than a similar Fram in my opinion. I guess I will have to ponder on the new engine whether I need to pay the extra money for Synthetic. With how much extra oil these MDX's use, it's not an insignificant amount of extra $.

I should also mention (and will on my final recap when I get the car back) that I have been using regular gas for the last ~12 months. For the first few years it was ONLY 91 octane premium, but once the car got old and we cared less about it, I stopped following that recommendation and saved the money. There was never a difference in hand calculated gas mileage or pinging that others have reported. Just figured I would toss that out there for speculation ;)
 
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