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Old 03-27-2016, 10:37 PM   #1
fleetw00d
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fleetw00d: 2008 Honda Element for Daughter

Picked up a 2008 Honda Element LX (her money, her car) from a Chevy dealer in Indianapolis. Seemed to run and drive fine. Purchased as-is. Heard some noise from the engine during the short test drive, assumed it was just valves (like my F22s).

DSC01445_zpsdengq4ns by Paul Kemme, on Flickr

DSC01444_zpsxzq6kogk by Paul Kemme, on Flickr

After about a 20 minute drive to another of my daughter's home; the engine noise had changed to more of a knock. Long story short: Determined #4 piston had scored the cylinder wall and was slapping. The noise was reverse of what everyone expected; it didn't do it at start up, only after getting good and warmed up and it seemed to go away about about 2000 rpm. Wound up getting a used engine locally with a 3 year, unlimited mileage, they pay labor to replace warranty. The sister Honda dealer to the Chevy dealer did the install. Got it back yesterday.

Anyone got a use for a K24A8 engine with one bad cylinder? Think it's worth trying to repair or just try to get some money out of the parts?



Good thing it was stripped to the long block; I was able to wrestle it out of the van by myself.
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Last edited by fleetw00d; 09-12-2019 at 11:19 PM.
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Old 03-27-2016, 11:18 PM   #2
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nice pickup. should have put a k24a2 in it lol
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Old 03-29-2016, 07:23 PM   #3
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welcome to the E-Club
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93 Accord LX Sedan (sold)-01 Civic LX Sedan (sold)-93 Accord EX Wagon (totaled)
93 Accord SE Sedan (sold)-95 Accord LX Wagon (CURRENT)-92 Accord EX Sedan (sold)
93 Accord SE Coupe (sold)-97 Accord SiR Wagon (CURRENT)-05 Impreza WRX Sedan-(CURRENT)
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Old 04-02-2016, 05:27 PM   #4
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Drove it to Galveston overnight last night (11:00 AM Ohio to 8:15 AM Galveston). I'm getting too old for this. Got 28.5 mpg (over 1115 miles) for the trip (2.4 liter with 5 speed auto, 2WD) driving pretty much at the posted speed limits - pleasantly surprised.

Original plan was to meet my daughter half way and swap for my 92 EX coupe she's had for a couple weeks. Unfortunately, the TCM bit the dust this week so I came all the way down with a spare to get me home. Probably leave this evening for another overnight drive.

Last edited by fleetw00d; 04-05-2016 at 10:52 AM.
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Old 04-02-2016, 06:51 PM   #5
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not bad for a toaster shaped car lol
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93 Accord LX Sedan (sold)-01 Civic LX Sedan (sold)-93 Accord EX Wagon (totaled)
93 Accord SE Sedan (sold)-95 Accord LX Wagon (CURRENT)-92 Accord EX Sedan (sold)
93 Accord SE Coupe (sold)-97 Accord SiR Wagon (CURRENT)-05 Impreza WRX Sedan-(CURRENT)
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Old 04-03-2016, 08:46 PM   #6
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Left Galveston last night in the EX about 10 PM, arrived home this evening a little after 8 PM. Transmission operated fine all the way. 2300 miles in less than 2.5 days. I am now officially tired.
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Old 04-04-2016, 10:29 PM   #7
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holy hell man. i drove 1k miles in 1 day (duluth ga to jacksonville nc and back) and man i was tired. couldnt imagine that drive.
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Old 08-23-2016, 02:40 PM   #8
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Hey Fleetwood. Always getting new cars? I do not know that much about these Elements. I am interested to find out more about them. Any updates since this happened?
I'm guessing your daughter has it now?
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Old 04-28-2019, 07:38 PM   #9
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Three years later, warranty has expired, guess what - using a lot of oil. She hasn't kept good records on how much, so I don't know if I'd have been able to make much of a claim.

Temporarily traded her my remaining 92 EX coupe to drive while I deal with it.

It uses a quart of oil about every other tank of gas. The little I've driven it since I've gotten it doesn't show obvious smoke, no obvious external leaks.

Warmed it up a little today, pulled the plugs, #3 shows some black on the insulator, but not fouled with a lot of oil. Plugs: 4 - 3 - 2 - 1

20190428_162008 by Paul Kemme, on Flickr

Ran a dry compression test (ECM fuse pulled), five strokes per cylinder:

190, 190, 180, 180

Just for fun, ran #1 and #2 to about 7 strokes, both went to 210.

Ran #3 and #4 wet (1 teaspoon of oil in each cylinder, 5 strokes): #3 went to 185, #4 to 210
Note: put oil in both cylinders at the same time, then did #4, then #3.

04/29/2019: I still had the original engine that I had intended to rebuild in the last three year just in case. Pulled the head from that:

Cylinder 1

20190429_211514 by Paul Kemme, on Flickr

Cylinder 2

20190429_211618 by Paul Kemme, on Flickr

Cylinder 3

20190429_211605 by Paul Kemme, on Flickr

Cylinder 4

20190429_211459 by Paul Kemme, on Flickr

Can't feel the polished area with my fingernail. Would that be enough to make the engine knock? I'll drop the pan tomorrow and see what I can see on the bottom end.

May 17, 2019: Took the bottom end apart. Plastigaged the bearings, everything was within the service limits.

Got my leak down tester and endoscope. Cylinder #2 of the engine in the car leaks about 14%, can hear the air leaking into the crankcase and out the oil filler; others less than 5%. Both the tops of the pistons and the intake valves (looking in through the injector holes) look like they have oil on them. Lots of black stuff upstream of the injectors best I can tell - is this likely blowby being pushed form the crack case vent into the intake? The 45 degree viewer didn't work well to view where the valves come through the head.

20190516182448 by Paul Kemme, on Flickr

20190516184302 by Paul Kemme, on Flickr

20190516184236 by Paul Kemme, on Flickr

20190517182325 by Paul Kemme, on Flickr

20190517182133 by Paul Kemme, on Flickr

As much as I'd like to try and just replace valve seals in the engine in the car and hope for the best, I think this one needs to come out.

Last edited by fleetw00d; 05-17-2019 at 06:43 PM.
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Old 07-25-2019, 10:35 PM   #10
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My plan now is to refresh the engine in the vehicle. Got the head off and pistons out. Will hone the cylinders, install new rings, new rod bearings, and new valve seals in the head; then reassemble everything.

20190720_210345 by Paul Kemme, on Flickr

20190722_213039 by Paul Kemme, on Flickr

20190721_161255 by Paul Kemme, on Flickr

Tape to keep crap out of cooling jacket. Need to figure out a way to protect crank and bearings when honing the cylinders.

20190722_212822 by Paul Kemme, on Flickr
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Old 07-26-2019, 12:55 PM   #11
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fleetwood you're an animal! Quite the undertaking and all for saving that hard earned $$$. The 2000+ mile drives on top of it too, wow. Hope it turns out all good in the end.
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Old 08-14-2019, 09:08 PM   #12
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Parts arrived. And hone:

20190814_210508 by Paul Kemme, on Flickr
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Old 08-15-2019, 08:53 PM   #13
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Good luck with the rebuild Paul, these new engines are made for numbers but not quite for longevity anymore and seems ALL the makers are going in this direction. On the positive side, being a Honda parts will be cheap and abundant.
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Old 08-25-2019, 08:33 PM   #14
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Honed the cylinders yesterday, got two of the pistons ready to go back in - it is a bear cleaning all the carbon off, particularly getting it out of the ring grooves and the oil holes through to the inside of the piston (completely clogged with carbon).

20190824_174759 by Paul Kemme, on Flickr

20190826_205343 by Paul Kemme, on Flickr

20190824_140711 by Paul Kemme, on Flickr

Used a funnel that fit tight in the bottom of the cylinder to collect the honing residue and route it past the bearings and rod journals.

20190824_131800 by Paul Kemme, on Flickr

The glaze at the top didn't feel like it had any thickness and the pistons came out easily past them. It didn't come off as much during honing as I thought it would.

20190824_155750 by Paul Kemme, on Flickr

Aug. 27, 2019: Pistons installed. Is it normal for the crank to be a little stiff to turn with new rod bearings and piston rings?

20190827_204315 by Paul Kemme, on Flickr

Aug. 28, 2019: Little by little, installed the head.

20190828_212116 by Paul Kemme, on Flickr

Aug. 29, 2019: Installed oil pump and balance shaft assembly. Have to raise the engine to get the oil pan on. Anybody know a good way to remove Hondabond without tearing the paint up on the pan?

20190829_195439 by Paul Kemme, on Flickr

Sept. 2, 2019: Three steps forward, two steps back. The left ball joint boot was torn and I wanted to remove the left axle to make it easier to lift and maneuver the engine to get the pan on and get the mounts reinstalled. The ball joint wouldn't separate from the knuckle and I damaged the stud in the process (I notice some play in the joint anyway), so I had to remove the whole lower arm and knuckle together. The stabilizer linkage studs (have to use an allen wrench to hold the stud) were so rusted I had to cut it to disconnect it from the lower arm, then cut the covers off to grab the ball with a vice grips to get the nuts off. Biggest problem is that the ball joint is not replaceable (according to Honda), so I have to replace the whole knuckle and probably the bearing because it is pressed into the knuckle.

I did manage to get the engine raised enough to get the oil pan on. I used a gasket as well as some Hondabond on both sides because I didn't trust that I would get enough Hondabond only on the joint - I don't want to have to do this anytime soon again. Dropped the engine back in place and got the front, rear, and left mounts installed. Have to install the timing chain before the right mount can be installed.

20190902_162143 by Paul Kemme, on Flickr

Another step backward; I was cleaning the Hondabond off the timing chain cover and noticed one lower corner was broken off. I must have missed it during disassembly, then pried from the top thinking it was just difficult because the Hondabond was bonded well. DOH! You can see it in the photo of the oil pump chain tensioner at the lower right corner of the block. Luckily I have the cover from the original engine.

Sept. 3, 2019: Some good news. Honda doesn't sell a separate ball joint, but the aftermarket does. I have a press so I should be able to swap the ball joints.

Installed the timing chain, adjusted valves, remounted the AC compressor.

20190903_194719 by Paul Kemme, on Flickr

Sept. 6, 2019: Looking more like an engine. Intake and exhaust manifolds, timing cover, fourth engine mount, alternator, tensioner, PS pump, new battery cable installed. Ball joints arrived so I can change them tomorrow. Powder coated valve cover should be available tomorrow. If all goes well, I may be able to attempt to start it. What is the proper procedure for breaking in new rings and rod bearings? I plan to crank it on the starter without the plugs (and with injectors disconnected) to circulate oil and build pressure first. Then install the plugs and fire it.

20190906_212514 by Paul Kemme, on Flickr

Sept. 8, 2019: Marathon sessions Friday evening and yesterday to get the engine back together. Fired it last night, started and ran at idle for a while. A little more ticking from the valves than I'd like; I may pull the valve cover and double check the adjustment. Something was burning off the exhaust manifold; I may have spilled some oil when pouring some over the cam and rockers before installing the valve cover. I don't see any obvious leaks from the valve cover.

20190907_210503 by Paul Kemme, on Flickr

Sept. 9, 2019: Was able to fixture things in the press to remove the old ball joint, then used my ball joint/pitman arm separator to press the new one in.

Sept. 11, 2019: When I took the left side suspension apart, I couldn't separate the ball joint from the lower control arm, so I took the knuckle and lower control arm together. I was able to use a cutoff wheel to cut the ball joint stud. I replaced the ball joint in the knuckle, but with a 12 ton press and heating couldn't get the remains of the stud out of the control arm. Local machine shop was able to do it today and bead blasted the control arm (it was fairly rusty). The suspension is back together except for the control arm (letting the paint dry). Should be drive-able tomorrow.

Sept. 12, 2019: Painted the lower control arm (makes the rest of the suspension look bad). Suspension is all back together. Did a transmission drain and fill. My daughter reminded me that the plates have expired; it will take about a week to get a new sticker, so I have to be careful driving it anywhere. Just need to install the engine cover and the splash shield.

20190912_192237 (1) by Paul Kemme, on Flickr

20190912_212217 by Paul Kemme, on Flickr

Sept. 15, 2019: Installed flywheel cover, splash shield, and engine covers so it is essentially complete. Took it for a psuedo discrete test drive. Engine and trans feel fine. Brakes just a little soft (even though I didn't open the system at all); I'll bleed 'em and check the rears (lubed the front slide pins while I had them off the knuckles). Oh yeah, need to install a new LF ABS sensor.

Sept. 17, 2019: Installed new sensor; system reset itself this evening on a short test drive. Bled the front brakes, then moved to the rear - whoever did the rear brakes needs to be smacked up side of the head - there was no grease on the caliper slide pins. Wire brushed the bores and pins, then lubed them up. Brakes feel better. Gotta start driving it and monitoring oil consumption.

Sept. 18, 2019: Another step backward. Something was clunking in the rear end when going over bumps in the road. Lifted the rear end and the only thing I could find that clunked some was the sway bar; there was some play between the bushings and bar. I was going to try an experiment and put a thin spacer between the bushing and frame to increase the squeeze between the bushing and bar some then drive it to see if that stopped the clunking. If so, I'd install new bushings. First bolt I tried to remove broke. I was able to drill it out and retap the threads in the nut welded to the frame. Put a spacer in and installed a new bolt. Then I made the mistake of trying to do the other side; that bolt broke too. Now the drill bits I used were too dull to drill that one out. Tomorrow is another day.

Sept. 19, 2019: Bought a cobalt bit, still had trouble getting through the bolt (and crooked at that). Retapped the hole such as it was and installed a shim and new bolt. The shims cured the clunking. I may just leave it as is because I'm pretty sure the second bolt on each side will probably break as well if I wanted to try to remove and replace the bushings. Drove it 110 miles this evening - no noticeable change in oil level before and after.

Sept. 21, 2019: Spent yesterday evening and part of today cleaning the interior. Painted the fourth wheel that I didn't get to three years ago. Installed new plugs. I had used the old plugs just to make sure it ran; they appeared carboned up like the pistons (post #9 above), so I bought new ones. When I took them out today, all the carbon had been burned off and they didn't look too bad at all. Some noise from the front end that I can't decide whether it is just noisy tires or wheel bearings.

20190921_174042 by Paul Kemme, on Flickr

Sept. 22, 2019: With the front end in the air, I isolated the noise to the right side (engine running, transmission in gear; when I stopped the right front wheel, the noise stops, when I stop the left front wheel, the noise continues and follows wheel speed). There is no play that I can tell in the wheel bearing; the noise sounds more like it is coming from the inner CV joint and the axle shaft coming out of the joint doesn't run true. If a new axle tomorrow doesn't do the trick I guess a wheel bearing is next.

Sept. 23, 2019: Installed a new axle. Drove it 220 miles (delivered some Accord parts); oil level didn't change, 27.5 mpg. Less noise up front, but I'm not sure I can convince myself that it is just noisy tires. I'll try temporarily installing front tire from my wife's Pilot or daughter's TSX and see if that quiets things down. I may just find a set of knuckles, make sure I can install new bearings, then swap the assemblies when done.

Sept. 24, 2019: Installed the front wheels/tires from the TSX; the noise is still there. Took the wheels off again, left it jacked up, started it and let the wheels turn. The splash shield almost sings with the vibration of the bearing. One more repair to do.

Sept. 26, 2019: Installed a used knuckle assembly (with new ball joint) with a smooth feeling bearing - problem solved. I actually bought both sides from a salvage yard (knuckle with hub/bearing and ABS sensor). Ordered new bearings, so I'll rebuild these two loose assemblies with new bearings and have them on hand when needed for either Element. Just going to do a final oil & filter change, heater control bulb, and exhaust manifold bracket bolt then give it back to my daughter and get my 92 EX coupe back.

Last edited by fleetw00d; 09-26-2019 at 04:01 PM.
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Old 09-28-2019, 08:52 PM   #15
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Drove it to Indianapolis to trade my daughter for my 92 EX coupe.
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Old 09-29-2019, 07:50 AM   #16
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wow........... was that your vacation? D00d, you just worked on that vehicle day in and day out, but for your daughter so I hope she appreciates it!!

And ya... honing cyclinder walls is a huge thing! Good job man! I'm assuming the body on this vehicle is in really good shape
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Old 09-29-2019, 09:10 PM   #17
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Not quite day and night - evenings and weekends when the weather was nice (in the driveway).

Yeah, the body is in good shape. I'm not sure what Honda did with these, but I've never seen a rusty one - maybe hidden behind the plastic fenders. Only really rusty part was the trailer hitch. I was able to get two of the four main bolts out, but had to pay a shop to get the other two off to remove the hitch and retrieve the bolts from inside the frame boxes.
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