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Discussion Starter #1
At 170,000 miles, our car appears to have either spun a bearing or broken a rod. The block seems to be OK (still has oil and coolant in appropriate places). We are still troubleshooting and are looking at options, but suspect that if the above is true, we are looking at a motor replacement. Has anyone else had a motor replaced? New or used? All info welcomed.

We've been too happy with this car to give up on the breed now.
 

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I'm sorry for your loss.

I haven't had any need to replace the engine, but there was someone on this list who was selling an Insight with rear end damage, if that might be useful to you.
 

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KTscharae said:
At 170,000 miles, our car appears to have either spun a bearing or broken a rod.

<snip>

We've been too happy with this car to give up on the breed now.
A definitive non destructive test is to drain the oil while filtering it through a paint strainer funnel to look for the big pieces. Then lightly stir the oil after draining and look for any "sparkle" (small ground metal bits in the oil).

With neither I'd doubt a spun bearing or thrown rod. Keep looking.

I'm assuming that your already familiar with the normal "cold" engine rattle.

If the damage proves out to be this severe used is the only way to go. You'd probably find that to rebuild your engine there are many other parts worn beyond tolerance. Its VERY unusual for this type of engine failure in a Honda. Usually extreme over revving or lack of maintenance is the problem and there _will_ be other "hidden" damage. :(

Please keep the group informed of your findings and results (in this thread) ;)

HTH! :)
 

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Discussion Starter #7
This is far beyond "engine rattle". We did experience that around 125K when we had the valve lash adjusted, which solved the problem other than a slight tick for the first few moments on startup. It is not running at all now. Jer was driving home and was coasting on a downslope when a loud "bang" occurred followed by an abrupt slowdown and loss of power. When he depressed the clutch, the autostop engaged (at a much higher than normal speed). He rolled it back in gear a bit to unload the engine, and we towed it home. It hasn't run since. When the key is turned, it attempts a normal start cycle, but only a harsh rattling noise results. The sound is coming from within the engine. This was determined both by ear and by stethescope. It is at the dealer now and we have given them the go-ahead to open it up. (and yes, they are saving everything they take off for us)
 

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Discussion Starter #8
An update: we have a preliminary diagnosis of a timing chain failure. The sound we were hearing was the pistons hitting the valves. The chain is still in place, but appears somewhat loose, as if it jumped out of position, then fell back. More as we know it...
 

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Ouch. At least Honda was smart enough to use a timing chain considering our engine is apparently of the interference type.
 

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KTscharae said:
An update:

<snip>

More as we know it...
Thank you VERY :!: :!: :!: much for your trouble in informing the group as your situation progresses. :D :D :D

But if I may trouble you, a question. Was there any warnings leading up to this apparent timing chain failure :?: E.g. noises :?: As the chain wears or tensioner(s) fail there is often (in chain driven OHV (Over Head Valve, Read: Long chain) an unusual "chatter" coming from the chain housing.

Also can you generally give us a good idea on how well the car has been maintained :?: (oil change intervals (average), and oil type (0W-20) / Brand (Genuine Honda) etc.)

Please :?:

Sincerely,
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I was not there when the failure occurred, but my husband says that the only warning was a split-second "squeee" sound right before the "bang" (which he now describes as more of a "clang").

We have not noticed any other performance changes or noises other than a slight decline in mileage over the last year or so. We attribute this primarily to drag: The car is sporting two extra antennas (XM radio and CB), a broken spoiler (now held on by gaffer's tape - it's a hard car to get a grip on to push in the snow - I broke one side off with my head), a missing underbody panel (an icy snowdrift), and a broken passenger side front-wheel spoiler (more gaffer's tape; a curb, I presume). We are now averaging 62-63MPG instead of the upper-60s and above that we frequently achieved in the first couple of years. My husband is a big guy, so we often operate over gross. Our best one-way trip was 92MPG and our LMPG is 59.7.

Oil change intervals have ranged from 3000-5000 miles over the life of the car, which we bought new. It has been run on Mobil-1 0W-20 synthetic since the first oil change, and we have used either Honda or Fram filters, depending on availability. The only exception was one dealer service, done at 120K, when we had the valve lash adjusted.

We live in the country on a dirt road and have a quarter mile of steep, rutted gravel driveway. It has been driven across the pasture on occasion when the driveway flooded and froze. Most of the car's miles are freeway driving to work (often 500-700 miles/week) and it has been on quite a few long road trips. It's on its third set of tires. We ran the first set WAY too long and narrowly missed a blow-out. Just try to buy tires for an Insight on a holiday-weekend Sunday. We got just under 70K out of the second set.

We have not had any other issues with it except an IMA control module failure early on, before the recall was issued. The dealer handled that very graciously, providing us with a rental car and a gas allowance to make up for the difference in mileage. Even without the IMA, the Insight got better mileage than anything else they had! When the part proved hard to acquire, they removed a module from a new car on their lot so that we would not have to wait or come back.
 

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Wow!!! You can definately say that you've gotten your money's worth out of that little car!
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Another update:

Definitely a timing chain failure. All of the valves are bent, one severely, the pistons are all damaged, and all three cylinders show minor scoring. Estimated cost to replace engine with a used motor with a lifetime parts and labor warranty: $4145.00. Decision to be made over turkey and stuffing...
 

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broken

"Lifetime warranty, Parts and Labor".....I would jump on it. GET IT IN WRITING!
 

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Chain vs. Belt

This is sad that the timing chain may be the weak link in long engine life.

It sounds like this car had the best maintenence possible ( mobil 1 from the begining ). What more can you do for long life?

I now question honda's choice of a chain instead of cam belt. Even with 100K mile belt and tensioner repacements, that's better than a 'no- warning' chain failure at 170K.

I have a bud with 1,250,000+ miles on a '92 Accord wagon with no major work on the engine/ trans. Just routine cam belt, water pump, alt., clutch replacements. He runs mobil 1, a block heater and a switch to cut out the injection until the oil pres. light goes out on start up. Other than that it's stock.

I hope to get max engine life too.
But 170K is horrible. That's not getting your money's worth.

I guess honda's going with a chain on newer engine models.

Good luck all. Only time (and miles) will tell.
 

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It does seem that Honda caved-in to the customer perception that a chain is better. :(

In most designs a chain has a slight friction disadvantage over a belt. And yes while belt "maintenance" is expensive chain as even mose so :!: And in the case of inferance engines (valves will impact pistons) catastrophic. :shock:

Hopefully this is just an anomaly. Most chains do give abnormal noise before failure.

[sp edit]
 

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Re: broken

Willie Williford said:
"Lifetime warranty, Parts and Labor".....I would jump on it. GET IT IN WRITING!
And ask if the warranty is void if you put a turbo on it :twisted:
 

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Discussion Starter #18
The latest news:

I don't know if the warranty can handle turbo-charging, but I know our insurance can't. We weren't expecting much by way of performance beyong good mileage when we bought the Insight, and Jer promptly got his first speeding ticket in 17 years.

We have decided to go ahead with the lifetime warranty engine replacement. We could get the work done for quite a bit less with no warranty (read: 30 days), but after this experience, we aren't so confident about getting 300K between major overhauls out of a Honda engine.

The specific terms of the warranty are lifetime parts (or engine) replacement for any mechanical failure and labor for one complete overhaul or replacement. Since the warranty cost is less than the cost of a used engine, we think a "perpetual motor" is a good investment. We have always planned to drive this car until nobody but the recyclers will want it.

I sincerely hope that our experience proves to be an isolated incident. The Insight is unique among production vehicles, and I would hate to see a critical flaw derail a great car.
 

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KTscharae said:
An update: we have a preliminary diagnosis of a timing chain failure. The sound we were hearing was the pistons hitting the valves. The chain is still in place, but appears somewhat loose, as if it jumped out of position, then fell back. More as we know it...
I had that happen with a Ford 302 V8. Chain jumped a tooth and ran awful. After I shut it down I was unable to restart it until I tore it down and replaced the sprockets and chain. Luckily, it wasn't a contact engine.

Is there a maintanence interval for the Insight chain?
 

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devin1955 said:
.
<snip>

Is there a maintanence interval for the Insight chain?
AFAIK & by the Factory SM Maintenance interval pages, no. Niether is any interval mentioned in the installation pages 6-16,20.

AFAI remember dfiore's original engine went over 230K without a chain "problem".

http://www.insightcentral.net/forum/vie ... hp?p=36023

HTH! :)
 
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