Timing belt/water pump; Distributor Cap.Rotor/Plug wires & plugs

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Hoosier96EX
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Timing belt/water pump; Distributor Cap.Rotor/Plug wires & plugs

Post by Hoosier96EX » Thu Aug 18, 2016 8:29 pm

Hi guys-

I'm looking at putting some money in my '96 Ex 4 cyl Wagon. It's got 176K on it and it's past time to get some work done since I've decided to keep it. The engine runs amazingly well considering it's all original, down to the spark plugs. Just had brakes, tires and alignment.

Now I'm looking at replacing the timing belt, tensioner and water pump (I think the parts come in a kit) as one job, and replacing the distributor cap, rotor, plug wires and plugs.

My regular service guy was going to give me an estimate but when I called I talked to some new person working for him who said she couldn't find it and she would prepare one. As soon as I heard that I just cringed. I'll give long odds she doesn't know jack and the estimate she came back with made my head spin. (For example, she says distributor cap/rotor/plus/wires will run $175 plus $75 labor and I think she's going with aftermarket junk from Advance auto. I'm not sure, I couldn't' locate the distributor cap she said cost $44 on the Advance web site, but I can get a Honda OEM cap from Amazon for $25 delivered. I can get all parts, including Honda rotor, Bosch premium stainless wires and NGK plugs for $91. I'm not interested in cheap aftermarket parts.)

At this point I'm already determined to get a couple of other estimates unless Chris bring her $1200 estimate into the realm of reality. I had some exhaust work done at another shop a while back and took the opportunity to look the place over. They did a professional job on the kinky exhaust and I was impressed with their professionalism and their shop. I'm also acquainted with a Honda dealer mechanic who does side jobs and who told me to look him up when I decided to do this work. I'm going to get an estimate from him too.

I'm going to wait and talk Chris, the owner and chief mechanic who I've done business with for may years before I pull the plug on him. I'm hoping this newb working for him just doesn't know what she's doing and worse, doesn't know she doesn't know. She said he would have her do the estimate anyway, but he told me HE would do it when I talked to him about it. In any case, I'm curious to know what you guys think this work should cost. I'm told the belt/tensioner/pump kit is $270, but I haven't looked that up yet. And I'm frankly giving serious thought to doing the distributor cap/rotor/wires/plugs myself and save the $75 labor for that.

What do you guys think? How much should this work cost?

John
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Re: Timing belt/water pump; Distributor Cap.Rotor/Plug wires & plugs

Post by John » Tue Aug 23, 2016 9:20 pm

Distributor cap/rotor/wires/plugs is very easy. Buy the parts you want and do it yourself. You will have a bit of trouble locating the 3 screws holding the cap on to the distributor, but the are located so you can get a standard 10 mm socket and extension on them. If your rotor comes with a screw on it (OEM style), make sure the screw is tight or put something on it to keep it tight. Mine backed out and caused a lot of damage within the distributor.

Belt/tensioner/pump is a far more difficult job. A reasonable cost for labor to replace the timing belt and water pump is about $400. This should be the same whether or not you have the water pump replaced, as there is virtually no additional labor to remove and reinstall the water pump.

Tensioners don't necessarily need to be replaced. I did my timing belt at 125,000 miles and the tensioner worked perfectly. The tensioner does nothing once it has placed the proper tension on the belt (there is a screw that is tightened down to hold the tensioner pulley), so as long as it works when the belt is replaced, there is no need to replace it.

You also have a belt for the balance shaft. Replacing this would be some additional cost. I just removed mine. You'll gain about 5 hp and I can't tell any difference in engine vibration except at idle (and even then it is small).

Your cost estimate for belt/tensioner/pump parts seems reasonable.
1997 Accord EX 5-speed wagon (auto to 5-speed swap)

Hoosier96EX
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Re: Timing belt/water pump; Distributor Cap.Rotor/Plug wires & plugs

Post by Hoosier96EX » Fri Aug 26, 2016 6:41 pm

Thanks, John. My only concern about doing the cap/rotor/wires/plugs is the plugs. I'm guessing they're the original plugs and I'm concerned they may be seized. I'm thinking I should apply some penetrating oil and let is soak for a while (like a couple of days) before I try to pull the plugs. What do you think?

Thanks for confirming on the parts costs. I'm pretty disappointed about the estimate I got from the guy I've done business with for so long. I'll discuss the tensioner/balancer stuff with whoever I choose to do the belt/pump job.

John
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Re: Timing belt/water pump; Distributor Cap.Rotor/Plug wires & plugs

Post by John » Fri Aug 26, 2016 8:25 pm

I've never had a problem with plugs coming out, although i have certainly read that others have. Penetrating oil can't hurt.
1997 Accord EX 5-speed wagon (auto to 5-speed swap)

Hoosier96EX
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Re: Timing belt/water pump; Distributor Cap.Rotor/Plug wires & plugs

Post by Hoosier96EX » Sat Aug 27, 2016 4:53 pm

I investigated the belts/pump kits. Looks like they are available online for less than $100, minus seals/gaskets. What appears to be a good quality set from Gates is less than $130. I don't know what the seals and gaskets should cost, but the total can't be $270.

I also checked the parts prices at Advance Auto, where my old mechanic's estimator said she got her parts prices. I didn't see any of the parts I need at prices resembling the prices she was quoting me. They just did my rear brakes, replacing rotors, calipers and pads and it cost me over $500. I'm going to pull out that bill and review those parts prices too.

The farther I get into this deal the more disturbed I am about it. I trusted this guy to work on my cars and my mom's cars for over 20 years and his work has always been good quality. I never felt like his prices were out of line before.

John
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Re: Timing belt/water pump; Distributor Cap.Rotor/Plug wires & plugs

Post by John » Sat Aug 27, 2016 7:32 pm

Unfortunately, you can't replace the rotors on 4th and 5th gen Accords without pulling the wheel bearings, which adds significantly to the cost. And most 4th and 5th gen Accords had rear drum brakes, so the rear rotors and calipers are more expensive than the front ones. Thus, $500 to replace rear rotors, calipers, and pads isn't too bad.

Unless, of course, you didn't need all of the parts replaced. Unlike rotors and pads, calipers are not a routine wear item and only need to be replaced when they go bad.
1997 Accord EX 5-speed wagon (auto to 5-speed swap)

Hoosier96EX
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Re: Timing belt/water pump; Distributor Cap.Rotor/Plug wires & plugs

Post by Hoosier96EX » Sat Sep 03, 2016 6:34 am

The Honda "dealer mechanic" I met at a local fishing hole and lifetime friend of one of my fishing buddies turns out to be a former trainer of Honda techs now running a shop specializing in exotic and racing cars. He's going to do the work I wanted done and more (like valve adjustments) for substantially less than the estimate I thought was excessive. his labor costs are less and so are his parts costs, and we're not talking aftermarket BS parts, either.

I'll let you know how it turns out.

John
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Re: Timing belt/water pump; Distributor Cap.Rotor/Plug wires & plugs

Post by John » Sat Sep 03, 2016 9:55 pm

Sounds great! Good luck.
1997 Accord EX 5-speed wagon (auto to 5-speed swap)

Hoosier96EX
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Re: Timing belt/water pump; Distributor Cap.Rotor/Plug wires & plugs

Post by Hoosier96EX » Tue Oct 04, 2016 12:10 am

UPDATE:

Well, the Honda tech trainer said he would get back to me in a week to schedule my work. 4 weeks later and now he won't return my calls.

Work is now scheduled for this week with option 3, the repair shop that impressed me with their work and their overall professionalism when I dropped in on them with an exhaust issue. Very, very highly reviewed on Yelp, turns out the owner and his son are both former Honda factory mechanics. Estimate for timing belt/water pump (Gates kit), rotor-cap-wires plugs (NAPA), and valve adjustment is right at $1000. That's very reasonable and the parts prices they quoted me are right in line with my own numbers. I have a bad gas line and they're going to do that too; they bend their own lines on site. Won't know the cost for that until they can see it.

I'll let you know how it goes.

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Ben
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Re: Timing belt/water pump; Distributor Cap.Rotor/Plug wires & plugs

Post by Ben » Tue Oct 04, 2016 3:42 pm

I've always been able to find mechanics that will install parts I order. I can research and purchase whatever I want/need and they will charge their standard rate to install. Might look into that in the future.
Golden Era Garage: 94 Accord EX wagon 5 speed/ 97 Integra LS hatch 5 speed

Hoosier96EX
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Re: Timing belt/water pump; Distributor Cap.Rotor/Plug wires & plugs

Post by Hoosier96EX » Mon Oct 10, 2016 9:14 pm

Well, the work is done and I'm very satisfied.

They did the timing belt/water pump and plugs/wires/rotor/cap. I asked them to do a valve adjustment while they were in there, but they advised against it saying the valves seemed to be fine and could be adjusted any time if there is good reason. I asked them to check the transmission, which as far as I know has never been serviced, and do whatever was necessary, but they said fluid looked fine & no reason to do anything now. Also checked the gas line and said it was NOT leaking, showed only surface rust, no reason to mess with that either. In the last few days I had the check engine light go on, which has never happened before in the life of the car as far as I know, but it went off after they did the work.

They also did a general inspection and found nothing else in need of attention.

Total cost: $853.40

Also, I asked them to diagnose two other issues, intermittent cruise control function and non-functional ABS. Traced both to a bad wheel speed sensor which they ordered.

I drove the car to the north side of Chicago and back on Saturday. With the new tires, brakes and engine work I'm really happy with it. Saturday evening I made a run to the grocery and the check engine light came back on, so I'll have them check that this week when they do the speed sensor.

So, they could have done a lot more work and charged me more but they didn't. And to top it off, the owner drove me home after I dropped the car off (20 minute drive) and they sent someone to pick me up when the car was finished.

Needless to say, I have found a new shop for my auto maintenance and repair work.

John
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Re: Timing belt/water pump; Distributor Cap.Rotor/Plug wires & plugs

Post by John » Mon Oct 10, 2016 9:56 pm

Glad to hear that you had a good outcome with your repairs. There are a lot of incompetent mechanics out there.
1997 Accord EX 5-speed wagon (auto to 5-speed swap)

Hoosier96EX
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Re: Timing belt/water pump; Distributor Cap.Rotor/Plug wires & plugs

Post by Hoosier96EX » Wed Oct 12, 2016 7:37 pm

Thanks John. I'm pretty relieved. I rely on this car and I really need to get it done right. It's good to know I've got a shop I can rely on.

Gjhans
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Re: Timing belt/water pump; Distributor Cap.Rotor/Plug wires & plugs

Post by Gjhans » Tue May 12, 2020 9:45 am

I know this is an old thread, but for anyone reading it in the future, I would recommend buying the OEM timing belt and water pump when doing this job. The real cost is labor and the incremental increase in cost over aftermarket parts is well worth it. Ask me how I know :P

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