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Discussion Starter #1
I have an 03 Accord Coupe with 125K miles and just recently with the colder morning temperatures I noticed some valvetrain noise. It's starting to sound just like any other four cylinder Honda with high mileage (at least the five D-series powered Hondas that I've owned or my family has owned, all of which lasted well over 250K miles without needing engine work). It's that typical Honda four cylinder diesel-like sound.

It's only heard at low RPMs (under 2000) when there's a light load, such as when I'm lightly accelerating. If I'm going 25 MPH steady speed on level ground there's no noise, but if I lightly accelerate I can hear the tick-tick-tick-tick. If I accelerate moderately instead of lightly, there's hardly any sound at all. On my daily commute I have a mile or two of traffic lights, then 30 miles on a highway, then a few more traffic lights. At the end of the highway drive when the engine is completely warmed up, in the stop and go traffic, this low RPM ticking is significantly quieter. It's almost gone, but not completely as I can still hear it.

I'm not worried about this noise since it sounds identical to every other Honda I've owned, however I'd like to know if there's something I can do to address it. I know the D series engines very well and know what to listen for, but the K series is completely new to me. Do I need a valve adjustment? Will it even make a difference? I plan on keeping this car another 5 years for another 100K miles and don't want any surprises.



I did most of the items for 110K mile service; specifically new accessory belt and idler pulley, new spark plugs (original plugs looked great; :thmsup: for Iridium!), new air filters, etc. but I want to know what else to look out for. Are the water pumps reliable on the 2.4 four cylinder? How about the starters and alternators? Should I even bother replacing them at any specific time as preventive maintenance?
 

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Old DriveAccord Soul
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Do you have a 5AT or 5MT? If you have a AT, have you done any services? Filter? Fluid?

What oil are you running? Conventional or Synthetic? Might want to switch over to Mobil 1 if you are still running conventional.

Did you Seafoam before changing the plugs? I would have suggested that along with a throttle body cleaning and MAF cleaning.

I've heard that the starters are a weak point on Hondas, but I've had starters fail in a low mileage Toyota.
 

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Don't forget to change out the pcv valve with a new oem one. The cheap aftermarket ones usually have thin spring in them that can break easily.

Using a good quality oil is very important. Are you consuming any oil btwn changes? Make sure the coolant and trans fluid are fresh.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I have the 5AT, and changed the fluid at 60K miles. I had forgotten about that. I never changed the filter, are they difficult to remove/replace?

After the first two dealer-provided oil changes with conventional oil and Honda filters, I switched immediately to Mobil 1 oil and Mobil 1 filters, changing the oil every 3000 miles. Was it overkill? Most likely. For the past two years I've been using Pennzoil Platinum full synthetic (and now Pennzoil Ultra) with the PureOne filters, changing it every 4000-5000 miles (driving 75% highway / 25% city), which is probably still too frequent. I'm not consuming any oil whatsoever, and my fuel economy is as good as always (just over 30MPG).

When I changed my transmission fluid I did a simple drain and refill, which took four quarts of fluid. I'm aware that this doesn't get all of the fluid out of the system; is it worth paying a shop $80 to do a flush of the system? I'm wondering the same thing about the engine coolant; drain, flush with the hose, and refill myself? Or does a shop use deionized water to flush?

I've seafoamed my truck several times and cleaned the TB and MAF, but never noticed any difference and therefore didn't bother with my Accord. I still have a can of MAF sensor cleaner and a spray can of seafoam, so maybe I'll just go ahead and use it.


I had an 89 civic wagon with almost 250K miles on it and did nothing but change the oil every 3000 miles with cheap fram filters and the cheapest oil I could buy, and it was still running great. The alternator failed and had to be rebuilt, but other than that there were no major problems.
 

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Engine Oil: Good :thmsup: 5k-7.5k ideal interval.

ATF: So you've had one drain and fill completed in 120k? What color is the fluid now? Red, brown, black? Suggestion: do more drain/fills. Never flush it since this can stir up metal particles which can clog up one of the many internal passages.

Coolant: Get some new Honda type II in there asap for optimal protection.

I know you asked some other questions but I'm not sure of the answers.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the info, I'm going to get new coolant and some new ATF.

My only question is about the transmission fluid filter; is it easy to replace?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thank you for the info! Very helpful.

Now what about my other question regarding the valvetrain noise? It does get quieter once the engine is up to normal operating temperature, but it's still there. Does the K24 need valve adjustments, and is that likely to clear up the noise? The only reason I ask is because the poor quality Haynes manual says they're self-adjusting.
 

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Old DriveAccord Soul
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Thank you for the info! Very helpful.

Now what about my other question regarding the valvetrain noise? It does get quieter once the engine is up to normal operating temperature, but it's still there. Does the K24 need valve adjustments, and is that likely to clear up the noise? The only reason I ask is because the poor quality Haynes manual says they're self-adjusting.
No problem. At 110K, you need to check and adjust, if needed, the valve clearance. This is in the maintenance schedule.

Don't forget to change your pollen filter too.
 

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The cold engine "diesel" sound isn't usually valves, it's piston slap.

The older they get, the more the sound is pronounced.

The valves should have been gone over at 110k. They usually stay pretty well in adjustment. *** Make sure the cams are in good shape, yours is an early one.

Did you change the coolant? (already mentioned by others) I'd also do the thermostat too.

The water pumps seem to hold up very well, I've seen one with a bad bearing, and a member on here had the pulley break up.

As long as you have a Denso alternator, they should hold up very well. The starters, well I've heard of some problems and they are a pita to change as the intake has to come off.
 
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