Zen and The Art of Honda Maintenance: Part 2

images[1]It’s been a couple of weeks since my last installment, but I’m pleased to report that the maintenance project went very well!  Yes, it took me longer than I thought.  But I worked carefully, and learned a lot about the Honda B20B4 engine in the CR-V, how it is put together, and how to work on it in the future.  In my travels online, too, I picked up quite a few tips to make the job easier, and other tips to take care of a few other minor issues.  And saved a ton of money doing it myself!

The timing belt took me two tries.  The first time, I did not line up both camshafts–I was one tooth off on both of them.  Fortunately, I only had to loosen the tensioner, and was able to slip the belt off of both cam pulleys and slip it back on once I got them lined up properly.  While I had the valve cover off, I also adjusted the valves.  I need to redo them, though (more on that in a bit).  All three drive belts were replaced also.  A couple of the bolts are almost impossible to get to!

The thermostat was a bear, though: it is behind the engine, and you barely have any room to work!  I ended up disconnecting the coolant temperature sensor and a hose or two so I could get it apart and have room to turn a wrench.

Changing fluids was routine also.  Engine oil?  Good ol’ Mobil 1 10W30 synthetic, with the highly-rated Mobil 1 filter.  Transmission is a simple drain/refill procedure.  Ditto the rear differential, although the filler hole is hard to get to, even with a funnel.  Since I removed the power steering pump, I ended up putting in 12oz. of power steering fluid, effectively giving it a bit of a flush with new fluid.  When I work on the rear brakes, I will probably be flushing out the brake lines and putting new fluid in.

Thanks to the salty winter roads, I had two corroded door mechanisms.  The front passenger door lock was stiff–several good shots of white lithium grease and working it back and forth got it working again.  Ditto the rear hatch latch: it has given me problems for quite awhile–the pivot points were all rusted.  When I took it off, I could barely even move it.  Once I worked on it a bit and lubed it, it operated like new.  Although I do not expect it to last.

Online at the HondaSUV forum, I found several tips for the CR-V.  I noticed that while the engine ran well, it did not idle smoothly.  What you need to do is periodically clean the IACV (idle air control valve).  One of the ports has a screen in it, and you’ll find when you remove a hose, that the screen may be completely plugged with what appears to be soot.  Clean it out with a few shots of brake cleaner, and it will idle like new.  My idle speed is perfect again.

The range of my keyless entry/alarm system remote has always been awful.  Thanks to a tip, I went in and put a much longer wire on for an antenna.  I can now open it anywhere from 10 to 30 feet away; in the past, I often had to stand next to the driver’s door and press it once (sometimes twice) to get it to work.  Much better now!

I may need to redo my valves though.  The B20 engine has been known to burn valves if the valve clearance is not set correctly.  On this engine, you need to adjust them on the loose side, in other words, at the top of the tolerance range.  The exhaust valves, especially, tighten up over time; a non-seating valve will burn since the heat can’t dissipate to the cylinder head.

I also solved the clunk in the front of the CR-V: the sway bar bushings are worn out, and the bar is rattling around in there.  Cheap fix!  I also did notice that the right rear stabilizer link has come apart, so that needs replacing as well.

The cabin air filter had never been changed in 195,000 miles, so that was also on my list.  To get at the filter, you have to remove the lower part of the passenger side dashboard, along with a steel cross-member behind the glove compartment.  Once that is done, you can easily slide out the old filter and replace it with a new one.  Caution: the filter has a plastic frame around it with a foam rubber gasket–be sure not to throw it out with the old filter!  If you haven’t changed your filter, you’ll be surprised at how much more air comes out of it!

So in short, the CR-V rides again, with most of the maintenance caught up on it.  Nice peace of mind!


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