By June 10, 2010 2 Comments Read More →

Honda Odyssey Timing Belt Replacement

Reader Question: Austin,

I’ve greatly appreciated the guidance you’ve given in the past and have a few questions I need to run by you.

1. I’m looking to replace my timing belt on an ’03 Odyssey LX (85K mi). In that regard:
-Through my local auto store I have a choice of a Contitech or Dayco belt. Do you approve of either of these or would you recommend an alternative (to include an OEM belt from the dealer).
-I plan on replacing the water pump at the same time. Through my local store I have a choice of GMB (about $70) and Edelbrook (starting at $189) brands. Are these ok or do you have other recommendations?
-Would you recommend changing the belt tensioner and the belt idler at the same time?
2. What are your views on K&N flat air filters? Since I’ll be using this on a family car (’06 Accord) I’m not really concerned about performance. Rather I’m thinking of going this route since it appears to be an economically good decision versus continuing to purchase disposable paper filters. The only concerns I’ve heard concerning the K&N filters are:
-Potential damage to the Mass Air Flow Sensor (from the oil on the filter)…sometimes due to over oiling. The K&N site has a long discussion on this issue.
-The cotton in the filter breaking down in time, thereby lessening the effectiveness of the filter.
-Under oiling the filter, thereby lessening the effectiveness of the filter.
3. My ’06 Accord factory pads are semi-metallic. I’m thinking of replacing these with Ceramic pads. From what I hear, some of the virtues of these pads include:
-less dust
-longer lasting than other pads
-less wear on rotors
Would you recommend going with these. Also, I have a choice between Wagner and Akebono pads. The Akebono’s are more expensive. Are they worth paying the extra money?

As always, I thank you for your service and your ministry.

In Christ,


Hi Robert,

How are you?

I would call the Honda dealer parts department and get their prices, Honda usually is very competitive and if they are close to the aftermarket prices I would buy genuine Honda timing belt and water pump. Dayco is a very popular belt that is of high quality and I would have no problem using them.

Usually you don’t replace the tensioner unless there is visible wear on the pulley and same as the idler pulley. Sometimes I will replace the timing seals inside the timing cover for the cam seals when we do a timing belt job, then sometimes we just leave things alone.

I would not mess with a KN filter, it will not be of a benefit to this engine to warrant the cost and effort over a standard paper filter.

Ceramic might last longer, sometimes you get a noise issue using them…so there could be a trade off – noise for extended life, just seems to depend on the brake rotors and how they handle the ceramic.

I have had good luck with using Wagner and Bendix brake pads but I would bet the Honda pads are about the same price if not less. Honda brake pads are quiet and seem to last a long time.

Its just hard to be Honda at anything, parts or vehicles they have the system down.

Compare prices for installation at the dealership vs an independent garage, its probably not much more and you might get a better warranty and install.

Have a great day!

Austin Davis

Reader Follow up


As always, thank you for your thorough and prompt response.

When I buy genuine Honda parts, I always do it through the Internet. Generally the discounts are somewhere between 20-25% off retail. So, it does make it reasonably competitive with the aftermarket prices.

Just a follow-up on the K&N filter. I calulated that after 3 paper filters, I will have equaled the cost of the K&N filter. I know there really aren’t any mileage benefits. But, since I generally change out the filter approx. annually, that really doesn’t take long. And cleaning and charging the K&N filter is much of a problem (I had one in my older Accord). So, with cost being the main factor, are you still in favor of the paper filters?

Regarding the pads, Honda doesn’t sell a ceramic pad. So, are you saying the Honda semi-metallic should wear as long as the wagner or akebono ceramic pad? A footnote…I just found out my local parts dealer will do one free replacement on the Wagner Thermo Quiet ceramic pads. That’s a pretty hard deal to pass up.

One new question I failed to ask previously. I was at my local Merchant’s Tire getting my regular alignment. When they completed the alignment, they indicated all looked good on the car, but they indicated the passenger side motor mount and front motor mount needed replacing. I thought it curious that they diagnosed two of the four mounts as having failed. So, I initially changed out the easier of the two (I generally do my own work) mounts (the side one) Unfortunately, I failed to do a before and after check on how much the engine was rising when put into gear. I did check after and the engine is tourqing back somewhat. So, I’m trying to figure out if I need to change out the front mount. I did notice that it is shift back enough to (it seems) cause the AC compressor belt to tighten enough to cause it (the pulley to squeal a little). I did a physical inspection of the mount and I can’t tell if it needs replacing. It’s different than the side mount, which is a standard steel frame and rubber core. This one is more like cylinder shape with a slightly rounded top (I’ve included pic of the mount below…it’s #2 in the pic). The only rubber on the mount is on the top (through which the top bolt goes through). And from where I can see, it doesn’t appear to be ripped, seperated, etc. So, what are your thoughts on whether I need to replace this or not? If I need to replace, have you ever replaced one yourself? My Haynes manual suggests it’s an easy job that can be done from the top of the engine. To me it looks like there’s not enough room to work at that angle and that I’ll probably need to remove the header pipe to remove it. Agree?

As always, thanks for your witness to the car care community. In an industry where people often have to tread with a degree of skepticism, your influence and wisdom are a blessing…hopefully to many.

I will continue to pray God’s richest blessings on you Austin.

In His Grace,


Posted in: Timing Belts

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  • jackinthebox

    Just sell it and buy American!