Honda Pilot Timing Belt Instructions

by Dan Ferrell

The timing belt on your Honda Pilot keeps the cylinders and ignition system synchronized for proper engine performance. However, the flexible toothed belt wears out over time, preventing your vehicle computer from making the correct air/fuel adjustments and creating drivability problems. Installing a new belt requires some special tools, concentration and time to resynchronize the engine for optimal performance.

Accessing the Timing Belt

Prepare your Honda engine for timing belt replacement by setting its cylinder number one to Top Dead Center. To do this, remove the passenger's side wheel and tire assembly and splash shield so that you can access the crankshaft pulley. Check that the white mark on the pulley is in line with the pointer on the cover. If not, turn the crankshaft to line up the marks using a breaker bar, ratchet extension and socket.

If piston number one is on Top Dead Center, the mark on the front camshaft pulley and the pointer in the upper cover should be aligned as well, says Ken Freund in “Honda Pilot, Acura MDX Haynes Repair Manual.” If not, turn the crankshaft pulley one more revolution.

With piston number one set at TDC, remove the drive belt and support the engine with a floor jack under the engine oil pan with a wooden block on the jack. To access the timing belt, remove the upper half of the side engine mount bracket, the crankshaft pulley, and the upper, rear and lower timing belt covers.

Removing the Timing Belt

Remove one of the hold-down battery bolts and grind the threaded tip into a conical shape, leaving a flat tip at the end. Use this bolt to hold the timing belt adjuster. Slightly above and to the left of this adjuster, you will see an arm protruding from the back cover of the timing belt. Screw the bolt by hand through the hole at the end of this arm until the tip rests against the belt adjuster to keep it from moving.

With the adjuster secured in place, you can remove the timing belt guide plate, the lower side engine mount bracket, the idler pulley and the timing belt. Make sure the crankshaft and camshaft remain in position. The new timing belt has to be installed with piston number one at TDC.

Installing the Timing Belt

When you are ready to install the new timing belt, remove the battery clamp-down bolt from the belt rear cover. Remove the auto-tensioner as well and prepare the tensioner for belt installation.

Using a vise, carefully compress the rod inside the tensioner until the holes in the rod and tensioner align. Then insert a 0.08-inch pin through both holes to keep them in position. Then install back the tensioner in place and make sure you have access to the pin for removal.

Reinstall the battery clamp-down bolt to hold the belt adjuster in place as you did before. Then install the idler pulley using a new bolt, but do not tighten it. The idler pulley should be able to move but should not come off. Now, install the timing belt in a counter-clockwise direction starting at the crankshaft sprocket. Once installed, tighten the idler pulley bolt to 33 ft. lbs. (44Nm) using a torque wrench and remove the pin from the auto-tensioner.

With the timing belt in place, you can remove the battery clamp-down bolt and install the lower half of the side engine mount bracket, the belt guide plate, the lower cover, the crankshaft pulley and the front and rear upper covers, in that order.

Before reinstalling the rest of the components, rotate the crankshaft pulley five revolutions clockwise and realign the marks on both the crankshaft and the camshaft pulleys to TDC.

After you finish replacing the rest of the components, perform the crankshaft position pattern learn procedure following the instructions on your car owner’s or service manual. You can perform this procedure with an appropriate scan tool. Once you connect the tool to the data link under the dashboard of your Pilot model, follow the scan tool instructions to properly set the control module.

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