By on February 2, 2016

2016 Honda Civic Engine 2.0L-001

CivicX is reporting that Honda has ordered a stop sale on all 2-liter four-cylinder-equipped 2016 Honda Civics. To blame: piston pin snap rings, which may be incorrectly installed or not installed at all.

This is the first recall of Honda’s tenth-generation Civic and includes 33,735 units in the United States and an additional 8,000 units in Canada. The recall has not yet been disclosed by the National Traffic Highway Safety Administration or Transport Canada.

According to an official Honda communication to dealers, the missing or incorrectly installed piston pin snap rings “may cause engine stall or failure.”

The recalled K-series 2-liter engine is available in LX and EX trims, along with the Canada-only DX trim.

A stop sale on 2-liter Civics will continue until dealers have been given parts to address the issue.

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151 Comments on “Honda Orders Stop Sale of 2016 Civic, 2-liter Engine to Blame...”


  • avatar
    CoastieLenn

    Is a “Piston Pin” the same thing as a wrist pin? How does an oversight like this even happen?

    • 0 avatar
      MBella

      Yes, and no idea

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      That’s almost as bad as the time GM realized it might have sold up to 5,000 Sonic units without a complete set of front brake pads. Yes, one wonders how these kind of things happen.

      • 0 avatar

        Disgruntled workers and sabotage.

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        it’s worth considering how parts (and subassemblies) arrive in the plant. Automotive is a low-margin business, unless you’re a premium brand. So it’s beneficial to an automaker to be able to assemble a car as fast and as inexpensively as possible. Therefore, where sensible, major subassemblies come into the assembly plant already built. You know why changing the heater core is such a big job on a lot of cars? because the most efficient way to assemble the car is to have the HVAC manifold already installed in the instrument panel when it arrives at the plant. The downside is if the heater core or evaporator needs to be replaced, you pretty much have to remove the entire dash to get at it.

        So, it seems reasonable to me that GM sourced the calipers from a supplier with pads already installed. and said supplier could have effed up (for any number of reasons) and shipped unloaded calipers. They get to the plant, get put on the line, and the operator dutifully installs them on the car. before anyone catches the error (cars are driven at very low speed in the plant and on plant grounds, so the piston acting directly on the rotor can stop the car) they’ve built a few thousand cars some of which have already left on a rail car.

        and before you say “why didn’t that stupid union hydrocephalic drunk notice” you have to realize a few things:

        1) part changes happen all of the time, and if it doesn’t affect the assembly process the line operators won’t even know about it,
        2) their jobs are to get the parts installed on the cars as they’re continuously moving down the line, so they’ve got a very short window to get it done, and
        3) a lot of the folks assembling cars aren’t *car people,* and might not even understand the implications of missing brake pads. They pulled a caliper from the shipping container, bolted it on, it fit fine, so the car goes down the line.

        #3 is key. first because the whole “it fit fine” is the thing. An assembly line gets stopped for a “no build” condition, i.e. the operator physically can’t install the part on the car. Second, I know we’re all enthusiasts and have our noses rammed firmly up our own buttcracks and long for the days where cars were so finicky you needed to be a mechanic just to keep your car running, but the vast majority of people out there aren’t. So for someone whose job it is to install the brake calipers, missing pads are not a “no build” condition.

        • 0 avatar
          NormSV650

          Adeco is hiring engine aseemblers at Honda Lima, ohio , plant. Maybe they fired a bunch of them last month.

          • 0 avatar
            ffighter69

            It would be interesting to know how much robotics go into the engine builds and whether they play a part in the installation of the wrist pin clips then it would seem to me that it’s an inspector or computer programmer or who ever is responsible for being sure there is a constant supply of clips responsibility. Or it could be the assemblers job to be sure all the clips are in. Also is it a certain cylinder or cylinders that are missing the clips or is it all cylinders?

    • 0 avatar
      jadziasman

      Piston pin = wrist pin.

      Typically the piston/pin/conrod assembly is supplied as a complete unit which is installed directly into the cylinder bore during engine building. The only parts the automobile assembly plant workers or robots loosen and re-tighten are the bolts that fasten the cap to the conrod body.

      The snap ring a.k.a. the circlip can and very infrequently is incompletely installed or not installed at all into the piston by
      the parts supplier.

      If the pin walks out of the piston pin bore (because the circlip is missing or because it gets pushed out by the pin) far enough the piston/pin/conrod assembly disassembles itself as the engine runs – which, needless to say, creates a real mess and causes complete engine failure.

    • 0 avatar
      noelleo2112

      A wrist pin is what holds the piston to the connecting rod. missing clips are a huge mistake to be let out for honda, resulting in destroyed cylinders if they pop out, but they should,be pressed in and not come out if installed right, they are steadily loosing their quality reputation as the years go by. I love my 2003 civic, but the wife’s 2011 not as good, Honda really needs to get their act together.

  • avatar
    davewg

    They were dreaming about something else when assembling these…

  • avatar
    PeriSoft

    “piston pin snap rings, which may be… not installed at all”

    Eehh… *shrug*

    • 0 avatar
      shaker

      Shouldn’t the cylinder walls keep the “piston pins” from falling out?

      • 0 avatar

        I imagine that’s where the “may cause engine stall or failure” comes in. If the pin rubs against the cylinder wall as it wallows back and forth shards of metal may get created as it wears away itself or the cylinder and the engine could seize as a result.

        • 0 avatar
          shaker

          SORRY: I forgot to add this to my post…

          ;-)

          That said, immediate catastrophic engine failure or stalling isn’t likely in the short term – I think they’re just trying to scare owners into getting their cars serviced under warranty *before* the cylinder-wall scoring develops and makes the repair even more expensive for Honda.

        • 0 avatar
          pgcooldad

          Correct – The wrist pins are heat treated and very hard vs the soft cast iron cylinder walls.

      • 0 avatar
        sproc

        Properly secured they should be recessed enough to never touch the cylinder walls. If they shift and do, bad stuff can happen. Maybe not catastrophic failure, but I imagine it could score the wall and lead to a loss of compression and excessive oil consumption.

  • avatar
    Menloguy

    This looks like a very involved, complicated teardown and rebuild of the engine to inspect/replace piston pin snap rings. There are many possibilities of causing a secondary issue during engine reassembly, based on the skills of the technician. It’s probably faster and more surefire to drop in a new engine with known good piston pin snap rings.

    • 0 avatar
      cpu

      That was my thought too. 40,000 engines is a lot to ask dealer service to rebuild. Maybe swap in known good and rebuild at the factory?

      • 0 avatar
        MBella

        I too am surprised when manufacturers go this route. Especially with what dealers charge for labor

        • 0 avatar
          figuerc

          Honda doesn’t have an extra factory sitting around just to make more engines. These guys have just enough capacity to build as they expect is required based on sales.

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          What dealers charge the public and what a mfg will pay them for doing the same work can be drastically different. Something that they would charge a customer say 2hrs for the mfg may only pay as low as 1hr. They will also only reimburse at a fixed labor rate that is much lower than the retail charge. That too can be halved. So that 12hr job with the $1200 price tag to the consumer could mean 8hrs and a $500 payment to the dealer.

          Even at full retail what are their options? Scrap the car? Way too expensive. Ship it to their facility? Not only would shipping to a central location eat up any savings they don’t have a facility that is set up with the equipment and staff to do it in house.

          So yeah it will be expensive but still be the cheapest option in the long run.

          • 0 avatar
            MBella

            Yes, usually the public pays 30-50% more that still doesn’t make for a cheap scenario. 33,735 units is a very high number of engine teardowns. Companies like Roush perform these kind of repairs all the time, production line style. That’s where your capacity comes in.

            Thinking about it though, the pan might be easy to drop on these. Pull the pan, make sure each clip is in place and inspect for damage. Reinstall the pan. If issues are found that’s when engine swaps will likely come in.

          • 0 avatar
            Kyree S. Williams

            Does anyone want to speak on whether an engine swap is ever a good idea? It seems innocuous, but I’ve heard people complain that their cars never quite worked right afterward. I’ve always wondered is all.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            @MBella, dropping the pan won’t allow you to see if the retainer is on the piston pin you can only do that by pulling the piston and rod assembly out.

            I do see them paying well less than $1000 per car. 6 or 7 hours will suffice for pulling the head with manifolds attached, dropping the pan, popping out the pistons, fixing the issue with the pin retainer and putting it back together. The cars should only need a new head and pan gasket in addition to the missing retainers.

            Shipping the cars just doesn’t make financial sense as I doubt they can save more money on average than shipping it back and forth.

            @Kyree, lots of engines are replaced every day and while some end up with problems due to negligence or incompetence of the person doing the work many have no issues what so ever.

            I have literally done hundreds of engine replacements over the years and other than a couple of instances where there were problems with the rebuilt or used engine they all went out the door and stayed out, except for the normal oil changes ect that followed.

            On the other hand I’ve seen some botched jobs that I have had to fix the issues that were created.

            One would hope that most Honda dealers have a reasonably well trained and competent staff.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            Kyree,

            Generally an engine swap refers to removing one engine and replacing it with a different type of engine. Results vary with the capability of the people performing the swap and the complication of the swap. A NASCAR race mechanic replacing a Ford 302 V8 with a 351 Cleveland in his pickup? No problem. A guy who has experience changing his own oil and brake pads putting an LS in his MG? Problem.

            As for whether or not the procedure described in this article will lead to problems down the road, maybe not. Honda engines are made of very nice stuff and don’t require particular finesse assemble according to tuners I’ve talked to. I had a BMW with elastic head bolts. They stretched when it had about 5,000 miles, leading to a seized engine. The dealer rebuilt the engine, which didn’t make me very happy at the time. I sold the car after 155,000 miles of hard use, and it was still running just fine. It did use some oil, but less than any of the other eight German cars I’ve had. My fears at the time were unfounded.

          • 0 avatar
            05lgt

            @ scoutdude, how about “drop pan, insert boroscope, inspect for placement of snap pin”? For something this big a specialized tool to place the scope and compare the image to a standard automatically is worth designing and shipping to the service centers.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            @05lgt, even if such a scope could be made it would take several weeks if not months to design, manufacture and ship to those dealers who are paying the floor plan on cars sitting out back that they can’t sell.

            Not going to happen.

          • 0 avatar
            sgeffe

            Same as normal issues within the warranty, I’d guess.

        • 0 avatar

          Yeah but they didn’t detail what “parts” would be provided. The Parts could include a fully assembled engine block plus cylinder head by the factory.

          Still leaves plenty of opportunity to get something put on incorrectly, but at least it wouldn’t be a total rebuild.

      • 0 avatar
        VolandoBajo

        Shipping would probably cost more than paying the dealers to repair them, often at a steeply discounted flatrate that the dealers can do little about besides complain.

        I saw something like that done with VW years ago when a now defunct line had issues with A/C…a nightmare to service, double digit hours allocated, but the best A/C mechanic in a quality VW/MB shop went about 20 per cent over instead of his usual thirty per cent or more under the alleged fair flat rate.

    • 0 avatar
      qfrog

      I expect that the first step of the campaign will be to drop the oil pan, snake a borescope up in there with a 90 degree mirror and check for presence of the wrist pin clips. The engine will need to be manually rotated to get at all of the eight positions.

      • 0 avatar
        NickS

        qfrog, they can go in via the spark-plug hole. much less work.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        The wrist pin retainer can not bee seen until the piston and rod have been removed from the bore. Yes you can see the pin from the pan area but that doesn’t tell you anything and if the pin was missing they would have noticed when they fired it up to drive it off the assembly line.

      • 0 avatar
        sgeffe

        Free oil change–just hope the dealer has the special Honda synth-blend oil with the molybdenum and other “break-in” additives for at least part of the fill for each car.

    • 0 avatar
      NickS

      the labor cost for an engine R&R is not cheap either.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        They most likely will not R&R the engine they will do the fix “in-frame” and only pull the engine to replace it when they find damaged cylinder walls.

        If Honda would ship the dealers the engines as they are ready to install on the assembly line then R&R will be only 3-4 hrs. I’ve met very few engines that I couldn’t have on the ground in 1 to 1.5 hours.

        • 0 avatar
          NickS

          I meant to inspect for scoring obviously.

          Through the spark plug hole is the easiest first check that can be done to determine how bad it is. Scoring on the walls will put you at the front of the line for a new engine.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            I agree that they might start with a look at the cylinder walls to see if the engine can be repaired in the car.

            I do think that if they see scoring the car will get pushed out back to wait until they actually get engines.

            In the mean time they’ll find one that doesn’t have scoring and do the inspection and repair. They don’t want a ton of cars torn apart waiting for engines. Retainers are something that they can produce a decent run quickly enough.

          • 0 avatar
            ffighter69

            I ay that inspecting the engines is not that difficult from the bottom but if the clips are missing The engines will have to be removed which I believe you or maybe someone else stated the cost through the dealership wouldn’t be near as much for the regular consumer or especially if they bring or train mechanics so that all they do is repair these engines.

        • 0 avatar
          EAF

          Scout, how many “modern” VW engines have you had on the ground? The last Audi A6 engine I dropped took me the better part of a day and a whole lot of cursing. POS

          Anyway, with the scope you can check the piston walls for scoring; an obvious sign.

          The other thing you ***MAY*** be able to do is:

          1.Drop the pan
          2.Unbolt the rod bearing cap
          3.Rotate the crankshaft for clearance
          4.Pull the piston down just enough
          5.Scope whether the retaining clips are properly seated or missing.

          Sucks for HONDA but at least they are taking action. What would VW do? DENY, DENY, DENY!!!

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            You got me there I can’t say I’ve had the engine out of very recent VW product. I have had a lot of Honda engines out and the recent ones that I’ve seen pictures of look like a piece of cake, particularly if it is an AT like most cars now so you can leave the trans in the car. I’ve pulled engines only on lots of FWD vehicles that the book says to R&R the engine and trans as a unit.

          • 0 avatar
            ponchoman49

            What would VW do- lie lie lie!!!

          • 0 avatar
            sgeffe

            Yes — even as an admitted fanboy, I don’t disagree when folks state that Honda has been known to deny problems until they’re between a rock and a hard place.

          • 0 avatar
            noelleo2112

            I have yet to get an answer about the wife’s 2011 civic, even the sales girl at the dealer tells me her car feels like the back end is all squirmy and feeling like it wants to kick out on every bump. The redesign of the rear suspension that they did to gain a little more space inside sucks. I bought a 2003 and a 2011 brand new but I won’t buy another, they get more and more expensive to buy but the quality seems to go down. You would think after all the years of civics they have made they would not take steps backwards, that what used to make it such a good car.

  • avatar
    cpu

    Its a snap ring that keeps the wrist pin from sliding perpendicular to the bore. If the wrist pin moves far enough it would contact the cylinder wall and score the bore.

    They are almost certainly installed by a robot or dedicated machine that missed for whatever reason.

    • 0 avatar
      ffighter69

      What’s even worst is if the pin slides out when the piston is at bottom dead centre where the pin is below the cylinder skirt. That’s the real purpose of the snap rings. The engine will seize from the start mode if it happens to be extended out from the piston at that time or chip away at the cylinder skirt then wall during operation. There are engines where the pin never goes below the skirt and so snap rings aren’t used the keep the pins from floating. The pins have rounded, polished ends and are bathed in oil during operation so that they don’t scratch the walls.

      • 0 avatar
        RideHeight

        “The pins have rounded, polished ends and are bathed in oil during operation”

        “Ees it WARM oil, Steempy?”

        “Oh, yes, QUITE warm, Ren.”

        “Eeeeee!”

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        No, no and no.

        The area where the pin resides does not come below the cylinder wall. Yes the tips of piston skirt will do so but the rocking, binding and wear that would occur from that little of the piston being in the bore, means that the pin just doesn’t come that far down the bore.

        No piston pin has ends that are rounded to the shape of the piston, they are flat. There are two ways that piston pins are retained, one is a press fit in the piston and the other the retainer with a full floating pin. When they are not kept in the correct position they damage the wall quickly.

        • 0 avatar
          Wheeljack

          ^ This

        • 0 avatar
          TR4

          Small aircraft engines have no retaining rings on the piston pins. Instead, they have aluminum plugs pressed in both ends of the pin. The plugs are rounded with a radius somewhat smaller than the cylinder bore so that the center of the plug makes light contact with the cylinder wall.

          Another way piston pins are/were retained is by clamping them in the small end of the connecting rod by tightening a bolt. The Chevy 235 (and likely its predecessors) was like this.

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    Yikes! Always disconcerting when the ‘tried and true’ engine option has issues out of the blue, burning the cautious buyers who were sacrificing having the ‘latest and greatest’ in an effort to avoid these very issues. VW had a similar thing with the gen 3 EA888 1.8T motors, 92k recalled for shearing camshafts.

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      True. At least Honda is taking early, aggressive action to make it right.

      It’s an odd paradox of business that the most profitable companies are the ones that prioritize taking care of customers above making a quick buck.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        The early build motors of my R18 back in 2007 first year 8th gen Civics actually had a very serious issue with block porosity that lead to coolant leaks, scary stuff. It was pretty quickly recognized and corrected and didn’t really turn into a big fiasco. Mine ’12 R18 with a few low-friction revisions been fine for 50k, aside from some slight oil use (1/2 quart every 7.5k mile oil change) that seems to be endemic to the latest 0W20/low tension oil ring generation of fuel sipping engine design.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    So here’s probably a dumb question. On Honda Earth Dreams engines, what’s the bit at the front away from the block, which looks almost like an additional spark plug?

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      Upstream O2 sensor! C’mon Corey, you should know that!

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Well, I thought those were always underneath!

        • 0 avatar
          Fordson

          Why would an upstream (pre-cat) O2 sensor always be “underneath”? You want to get the cat as close to the exhaust manifold (which comes out the side of the head) as you can to enhance cat heat-up so it has fewer cold-start emissions, and the pre-cat sensor is between the manifold and the cat, or actually in the manifold.

          On an I-4, unless it’s tipped over on its side, the head is one of the highest parts of the engine.

          • 0 avatar
            Wheeljack

            He is probably thinking of the older systems where there was just one post-catalyst (or downstream) sensor used just for fuel trim. The newer cars all have upstream and downstream O2 sensors to monitor catalyst efficiency.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            @wheeljack, the down stream O2 sensor didn’t come along until OBDII and the upstream has been in existence since the dawn of feedback carbs.

            In earlier cars they were some times in the pipe after the manifold but with close couple cats to quicken up light off they have to be in the manifold.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            As far as I have noticed, Honda is the only one who puts that O2 sensor up top and visible.

          • 0 avatar
            ffighter69

            In my line of work I have torn apart plenty of cars over 32 years and have noticed a few other brands other than Honda having the O2 sensor up top where visible especially now that they are using two and sometimes three O2 sensors (usually applies two dual exhaust systems). GM comes to mind as one brand that has some vehicles with them up top .

          • 0 avatar
            Fordson

            On any recent Toyota V6 (transverse), the upstream front-side O2 sensor is accessed by raising the hood, bending over slightly with a ratchet and an O2 socket, and removing from the top of the exhaust manifold. The harness connection is on top of the intake manifold area.

          • 0 avatar
            CoastieLenn

            Corey- Hyundai has been using upstream (visible) pre-cat O2 sensors since the mid 90’s. Replaced a few of them on my cousin’s old Elantra. I’m sure other brands that use I4’s are the same way.
            https://i.ytimg.com/vi/1gfePNn6_68/maxresdefault.jpg

            I know some old Nissans looked nearly identical to the photo I linked.

  • avatar
    Scoutdude

    What a mess. Dealers are not going to want to tear down and engine to inspect, properly seat, or install the pin retainers. I’m also thinking that Honda doesn’t want the warranty liability of an engine that has had that kind of work done at the dealer level. So that means swapping the engine is probably going to make the most sense. That will take a bunch of money and time as they probably don’t have sufficient stock of engines that weren’t slated for a new car to do so. So Civic sales will almost certainly be down this year between the stop sale and the problems this creates upstream in the supply chain.

  • avatar
    NormSV650

    Ugh, made in Ohio? Smh…

  • avatar

    When I was at a Roush facility working on another story, I noticed that the building had thousands of brand new GM V6 engines on pallets. I was told that quality control procedures revealed that they’d been built with a defective part. Roush’s job was to disassemble them and ship everything but the bad parts back to the engine plant for reassembly.

    AS someone already pointed out, tearing down and rebuilding 40,000 engines is a lot of work at the dealer level. If there’s been any scoring of the cylinders, the engine will at the very least need honing. My guess is that the dealer techs will do a visual inspection of the cylinder walls with a scope and that any motor without the snap rings would almost certainly show damage. Those cars will likely get brand new crate motors.

    • 0 avatar
      ExPatBrit

      Unfortunately a lack of scoring does not really prove that the snap rings are not installed, the wrist pins might initially be a snug fit on a new motor.

      Pile on some higher miles and some wear and that could change very quickly.

      The only way to check is to unbolt the rods and check each piston and that is not practical with the motor in the car.

      • 0 avatar
        ffighter69

        Not so. Most engines the pin clears the cylinder skirt so it can visually be inspected by dropping the oil pan or engine cover that exposes the crank and rods section of the engine.

        • 0 avatar
          ExPatBrit

          I didn’t know that, on most of the much older engines I have ever worked on it was not that way.

          Still not trivial though. Probably several hours work.

          • 0 avatar
            ffighter69

            Its the more modern engines that have this to reduce engine weight and other factors for cooling and lubrication.

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          Again no, the pin does not leave the bore only the piston skirt drops that low.

          • 0 avatar
            Carlson Fan

            “Again no, the pin does not leave the bore only the piston skirt drops that low.”

            Yep, any engine designed to run like that wouldn’t last very long.

          • 0 avatar
            ffighter69

            THERE ARE PLENTY OF ENGINIES OUT THERE WHERE THE PIN CLEARS THE CYLINDER SKIRT. THE PISTON DOESN’T RIDE THE WALLS THE RINGS DO. THE PINS ARE WELL BELOW THE RINGS. TRY TEARING DOWN A VARIETY OF ENGINES NOT JUST ONE.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            @fighter name one, and show some proof.

            Just the fact that you keep saying cylinder skirt pretty much shows that your knowledge of engines is basically nil.

            The piston skirt exists for a reason and that is to minimze rocking in the bore and spread the load over a greater area. It does slide on the cylinder wall. That is the reason that many pistons now have Teflon coated skirts. It reduces friction, wear and increases engine life and mpg.

      • 0 avatar
        Wheeljack

        “the wrist pins might initially be a snug fit on a new motor.”

        Full-floating piston pins (like the ones installed in these Honda engines) will never be a snug fit. They should have very tight clearances, but if the surfaces are machined properly and have the proper finish, they should slide into their bores smoothly with no resistance. Once in their bores, they should rotate easily with no friction of any kind.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      “My guess is that the dealer techs will do a visual inspection of the cylinder walls with a scope …”

      Exactly! That’s what illuminated bore scopes are for. Pull the plug, insert scope, inspect for vertical scuff marks on the cyl wall.

      It’s like a colonoscopy or endoscopy on an engine.

      • 0 avatar
        ffighter69

        Not so. Most engines the pin clears the cylinder skirt so it can visually be inspected by dropping the oil pan or engine cover that exposes the crank and rods section of the engine. The scope my be used here. This is a better visual inspection than going through the plug or injector holes.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          I agree completely about the procedure you described because it is far more accurate, however…………

          there is cost (and time) involved, times 40000 engines.

          When I tore down and rebuilt my dad’s Chrysler 426 Hemi drag racer engines, that’s what we did — a complete tear down to check for scoring, often installing three new rings as part of the rebuilt.

          When I rebuilt GM 350 and 454 engines, I used the scope method if the rings did not need replaced.

          In my experience, rings in GM engines needed to be replaced at twice the rate of valves, probably due to the work-application of these engines in work trucks.

          In doing a complete ring and valve job, all this becomes a moot point. You do a complete disassembly, wash, bore polish, etc.

          But aside from Vo-Tech, who does complete engine rebuilds at home these days? It’s quicker, cheaper and easier to do a long-block crate-engine swap if anyone wants to keep the vehicle going and going and going.

          My guess would be that Honda will do the same; do a bore-scope inspection first, then supply a crate engine for the swap, if necessary.

          But don’t forget that the recall/swap remains in effect for the life of the vehicle if it turns out to be misdiagnosed.

          • 0 avatar
            ffighter69

            Odds are they will go from the top and if they don’t see scratches they will give it the OK and in some way or another increase the warranty time and/or mileage on the engine with a lifetime on the wrist pin clips.

          • 0 avatar
            Wheeljack

            ffighter69:

            If the clips are missing, no need for a lifetime warranty – the engine won’t last very long with missing circlips. Maybe a few thousand miles at the most, and that’s being generous.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            The recall will not remain in effect for the life of the vehicle. The reality is that the engine will grenade much sooner rather than after the basic warranty has run out. The new or repaired engine will be covered for the basic warranty period nothing more.

        • 0 avatar
          wmba

          @ ffighter69

          Not at all sure you’re correct about the wrist pin exiting the cylinder at BDC in most cases. I’d argue the exact opposite.

          Anyway, here’s a cutaway K20:

          http://www.k20a.org/upload/honda4.jpg

          Now you tell me how you’re going to see into the wrist pin bores from the bottom to see if a circlip is there. You’re going to need a magic endoscope.

          • 0 avatar
            ffighter69

            Take a look at the middle cylinder and try and tell me that the wrist pin is not below the skirt.

          • 0 avatar
            ffighter69

            Obviously you have never seen, used or owned an endoscope. Just by looking at the artist’s rendition of the engine it will be quite easy.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            @fighter, look again at that cutaway, the piston skirts don’t even drop low enough to come out of the bore. The pin is just below the rings and is clearly still in the bore. An engine like you describe just wouldn’t work unless the crown on the piston was very very tall and it still would be a very poor design that wouldn’t have long term durability.

          • 0 avatar
            shaker

            I thought to whole point of having piston skirts is that they remain inside the cylinder bore at all times.

            (Scratches head).

            You might be able to set the piston @ BDC, remove the connecting rod cap/bearing, then move the rod to the side and wiggle the piston down far enough to get a look at the wrist pin hole in the piston… or not.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      What you saw was almost certainly new engines that have never been in a vehicle or even ran yet. So in that case it could have made financial sense and technically all the parts were still new. That just doesn’t make sense as the engines in cars on dealer lots have already been run to get them off the line, on to the truck or train, off of the truck or train back onto a truck to head to the dealer and then off the truck and around the lot.

      So while they have been run it is limited and scoring may not be present but with time the pin could move and if it does when the engine is running at speed the block will likely be toast in short order.

      IF Honda wants to do it right that means they need to pull the pistons on all engines that have this potential or just replace them with new engines. The other problem is the dealers/technicians that think they can get away with using a bore-scope and putting the car up for sale only to have it grenade somewhere down the line.

      At my first job as a mechanic there was a guy who had worked at the local Ford dealer when the Pinto gas tank recall was underway. One day they found him taking a nap while a Pinto was up on the rack. They then found that he had a stack of the shields stashed away that he had never installed on the cars. The Pinto shield and filler pipe retainer install was a 30 minute affair and this guy couldn’t be bothered or didn’t think that anyone would notice.

      For the dealer the liability is high because if an engine lets go when the vehicle is still under warranty Honda will know which dealer was paid to do the work. For the tech if they are one of those that bounce around from shop to shop the risk is low as they may be betting that they are on to the next job before the car comes back.

  • avatar
    MBella

    Yeah, the scope through the bore won’t tell you much other than the walls not damaged yet.

  • avatar
    gasser

    This is very disconcerting. I always felt that part of the Honda price premium was insurance that I paid to avoid issues like this. I guess the old adage of not buying anything in the first year of production is right.

    • 0 avatar
      ffighter69

      Honda has hidden so many recalls that it would make your head spin. There has never been any time where they haven’t had issues with one of their engines. They do a lot of what they call dealers recalls where your car gets inspected without your knowledge for a specific issue and if found repaired without you knowing.

      • 0 avatar
        VoGo

        Your point is that Honda fixes problems before they get to consumers and this is a bad thing how?

        • 0 avatar
          ffighter69

          First of all its not before its during ownership and second what about all those thousands of owners who don’t take their cars to Honda dealerships and have those existing problems and/or third the problem arises before the owner ever takes his car back to a dealership and fourthly they not owning up to these issues as did all the other manufacturers did except Toyota. It’s only because the U.S. government is now handing out humongous fines that manufactures like Honda and Toyota are making voluntary recalls now

          • 0 avatar
            RideHeight

            Wow, you’ve got a real grudge against the J-car leaders of the industry.

            I’m as Honda loyal as can be for the segments they serve and this troubles me not at all for the reason VoGo mentions.

          • 0 avatar
            ffighter69

            That’s because I have several friends that because their first Honda served them well they bought another and then their new cars spent more time at the dealer in the first nine months than they had it.

          • 0 avatar
            RideHeight

            Anecdotes about other people are wonderfully stretchy. CR’s data and resale value are less so.

          • 0 avatar
            SC5door

            “Anecdotes about other people are wonderfully stretchy. CR’s data and resale value are less so.”

            Also doesn’t give you anymore credit claiming to be a Honda loyal and giving the ¯_(ツ)_/¯ as a response where a functioning poka-yoke should have prevented this.

            “CR’s data and resale value are less so.”

            Resale value doesn’t tell me that the car is going to be reliable. The Jeep Wrangler has very strong resale values, yet have plenty of quality issues.

          • 0 avatar
            RideHeight

            “poka-yoke”

            Like, OMG! Don’t you even know there’s an “l” in polka?

            Boże mój!

  • avatar
    mfgreen40

    Years ago I bought an old Jeep Wagoneer with the 6 cyl. Continental engine. They were noted for the pin banging on the snap ring until it broke, then the pin proceeded to make a track on the wall. My jeep had 3 cyls. that just barely cleaned up at .030 overbore. Yes, it had to be making a lot of noise for quite some time to get that bad. For awhile racers were using teflon buttons instead of snap rings, that must not have worked either.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      “They were noted for the pin banging on the snap ring until it broke”

      Yes, I remember. Ditto with the Grand Wagoneer V8 engines and the IHC TravelAll 392 and Scout 345.

      There was too much slop during the manufacturing process back then. But these days tolerances have been reduced quite a bit with a lot more precision engineered in.

  • avatar
    nels0300

    If I were in the market for one of these, I’d wait till next year.

    Who wants an engine that wasn’t factory installed?

  • avatar
    VW16v

    What about all those people that can sleep so easily when owning a Honda? Wait until the new civic transmissions start failing at 70,000 miles. Bottom line nothing is perfect, no matter what media says about Japanese made products.

    • 0 avatar
      ffighter69

      Japanese vehicles are fine if you take care of them. I mean stop or slow down for railway tracks or swerve to avoid the slightly low spot or bump in the road or avoid gravel roads. Things like that. The only Asian vehicle I have ever owned was an Infiniti AWD. Great car.

    • 0 avatar
      RideHeight

      “Bottom line nothing is perfect”

      Who knows better than a guy with VW in his handle?

      • 0 avatar
        VW16v

        I’ve actually had better luck with my vw’s over my Honda’s and Nissan’s. On the other hand my sister has had vw’s that were complete pieces of crap. Probably the most durable car was a Dodge Stratus. Just ran the crap out of it and never broke.

        • 0 avatar
          CJinSD

          I rented a new Plymouth Breeze in 1996 and was amazed how much better it was to drive than the usual Ford, GM, and Toyota rental cars I had much of the time during almost two years of continuous travel. Nonetheless, you having a good Stratus does not make the cloud cars reliable as a whole. A friend bought one with the 2.4 liter 4 cylinder, which was probably the least problematic of the engine choices. It still failed with less than 100K miles. They didn’t wind up on lists of used cars to avoid out of loyalty to other brands. Many of them broke, and the underhood packaging made working on them pretty miserable. Just changing a battery was an ordeal.

          • 0 avatar
            Wheeljack

            If you know what you are doing, you can change the battery on a JA or JR cloud car in 20-25 minutes. Just bring a floor jack and a lug wrench and pop off the L/F tire. Considering the OEM battery lasted 5 years (and was still working – I just got paranoid with our cold winters) in my ’03 Stratus, changing the battery isn’t that big of an imposition.

            The upside to the design is the battery is insulated from engine compartment heat, which in theory should make it last longer.

          • 0 avatar
            shaker

            “…changing the battery isn’t that big of an imposition.”

            The highly-paid counter person at your local Advance Auto Parts would like a word with you… :-)

    • 0 avatar
      Thatkat09

      Im sure there sleeping fine. This is what, 2 months of production? Im sure alot of these engines are still sitting on lots.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      Japanese products may not be perfect, but they generally have a better track record than American or especially European products. And I say that as someone who drivers Euro cars. Let’s not be ridiculous, now.

      • 0 avatar
        VW16v

        You are correct on European autos. Very rare to find someone that has a BMW with no issues. I have found many BMW drivers do not like admit the money and time spent keeping to their BMW rolling.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          It seems from early data like both Mercedes and VW/Audi may be improving a little bit with the latest generation of products. BMW has not displayed any such improvement. And their larger cars (5, 6, 7, X5/6) have some of the worst records in their segments.

        • 0 avatar
          Kyree S. Williams

          Well, I’m not one of them. I told you all how crappy my 2011 X5 was. Good thing I had that CarMax warranty…

          • 0 avatar
            dantes_inferno

            > Good thing I had that CarMax warranty…

            Otherwise you would’ve experienced the Break My Wallet post-warranty blues.

    • 0 avatar
      jthorner

      Our family experience with Honda products has been very good. 2003 Accord with 178,000 miles out in now without a major failure and still uses less than 1 quart of oil between 5,000 mile oil changes. I have recently had to replace the ABS/TCS module. That was an $800 part, but it lasted twice as long as did the similar unit on the 1996 Volvo I had previously. Our 2006 Acura TSX (Euro-Accord) is at almost 150,000 miles now with nothing but fluids, tires, brakes and wiper blades changes as needed over the years. We have other family members with Hondas who have likewise had great results.

      No car or car maker is perfect, but overall Honda does a better job than most.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Surely some of these 40k Civic owners traded a VW TDI for… this.

  • avatar
    dwford

    Honda has been building the K series for what, 15 years? Did they forget how over at the factory?

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      just because it’s still a K-series engine doesn’t mean it resembles anything they were building 15 years ago. You can have a radically different engine but still clearly trace its lineage back.

      it’s like the 5.0 liter Coyote in the Mustang. It’s still a Modular V8. when the dealer looks it up, it shows as “MOD 5.0L-4V DOHC SEFI NA.” They started with the aluminum-block 4.6 and changed just about everything. So it’s “all new” in that it shares practically nothing but some fasteners with the 4.6, but it wasn’t a clean-sheet design.

  • avatar
    johnny ro

    – I think it was Suzuki sent non-english speaking factory staff to the US on a recall which involved engine tear down. Some of their earlier 4 cyl bikes.

    The bike magazine explained how they showed up at the dealer, bikes lined up, and carried out the work with speed and repetitious precision. Wore silk headscarves.

    – I agree based on that K engine diagram, since the pin seems to be exposed below the piston wall, within the side cutouts that clear the crank weight, endoscopy imaging can probably identify presence or absence of the clips. Would not work on older style pistons without such cutouts. Clips in place but wrong, maybe. I kind of remember they are either in the groove or not, and proper orientation is important. Open side up or down not sideways where the Gs can sort of work to soften their grip.

    -Cycle recent issue had a view of a modern 15,000 rpm piston that looked more like a bottle cap than a cork. The K piston is halfway between that and my old VW bug pistons.

    – I imagine they have records of each engine build and based on that have statistics on whether to just open them all up all the way or not. Some sleuthing to match the records with what went wrong is needed.

    – At my company they call documenting a screwup an “incident report” and we all strive to not be involved in those.

    – I also remember reading how Ferrari sent a non-english speaking factory guy on a 747 to USA with a bunch of fabrics in a handbag for some defective convertibles. Cheaper than messing with dealer staff.

  • avatar
    zip89105

    I’m glad I only recommended the turbo engine to my friends. Whew!

  • avatar
    Mr. Monte

    This seems to be the new trend, new model comes out…Recalls shortly after, are they testing these things out as much as they should for a while before release anymore to catch some of this stuff!

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      In this case all the testing in the world wouldn’t have prevented the problem. When doing testing on something like a new engine they use engines that are assembled one by one. This is a production line problem that wouldn’t have been revealed during that process.

  • avatar
    don1967

    At least Honda is dealing with the problem.

    When our daughter’s low-mileage 2011 Elantra exhibited signs of a common sticking oil control ring issue (huge one-time blue smoke cloud under heavy acceleration) the official Hyundai response was to clean the engine ground connections and send her on her way as the warranty runs out. Not a warm ‘n fuzzy feeling.

  • avatar
    Corollaman

    The old fashioned belief of waiting for the next model year before buying an all new design is not so old fashioned after all, is it?

  • avatar
    mfgreen40

    If someone here comes up with the cause of Hondas problem and their fix , please let us know.

  • avatar
    ffighter69

    How about the Honda 2.0 litre engine. It’s the cylinder skirt we’re talking about. The piston skirt has nothing to do with viewing the wrist pin. Stopping being a donkey and actually go and look at a modern day engine and compare it to a 60’s or early 70’s engine and you’ll understand, but I doubt it very much. You like looking at pictures and throwing your own interpretations at it.

  • avatar
    April S

    This evening I stopped by one of the two local Honda dealers to inquire if they had any idea when they would resume selling the affected cars (I’m still in the market for a new car). The sales person I was dealing with got the service manager who told me it wasn’t an engine issue but a clip on the steering gear that needed replacing. No big deal. Business as usual. They offered me a test drive of a 2016 Civic LX with the 2.0 engine.

    Thanks but no thanks.

    • 0 avatar
      noelleo2112

      The sales people at the dealers are clueless from my experiences, can’t answer a single technical question. They can tell you that it has 4 wheels and a steering wheel but that’s about it.

  • avatar
    Cobrajet25

    I wonder how this problem was discovered? Did one of these engines actually grenade itself and get an autopsy or did some assembly line workers have wrist pins fall out onto the floor while assembling 2.0s?

    This seems like a pretty big screw-up for a company as vaunted as Honda.


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