Honda has issued a recall for almost a quarter of a million Acura and Honda vehicles whose engines are at risk of damaging themselves. Some have improperly manufactured crankshafts that could spin a bearing, which could lead to catastrophic engine failure.
Honda outlined the problem and its origin in a recall report submitted to the NHTSA earlier this month. The issue concerns Acura and Honda utility vehicles from model years 2015 through 2020 with the 3.5-liter J-series V6 engines. Honda says "improper settings of equipment used to manufacture the engine crankshaft" mean that "the crank pin was improperly ground, resulting in crank pins with a crown or convex shape that are out of specification."
Crank pins, also known as rod bearing journals, are where the connecting rods are clamped over the crankshaft. Between them is a "big end" rod bearing that relies on a thin sheen of oil to stay lubricated. In this case, the apparently ovular bearing journals could cause high-friction zones that result in metal-on-metal contact. In that scenario, Honda says "the connecting rod bearing can prematurely wear and seize."
This is known as a spun bearing, which can cause terminal engine damage. It can ruin the crankshaft and break the connecting rod, which may then slam around the inside of the engine. In the worst-case scenario, this can eject the rod through the block, or send metal shavings throughout the engine. Sometimes though, spun bearings can be repaired if caught early enough.
Potentially affected vehicles number 248,999, and encompass the following model years, makes, and models:
2015-2020 Acura TLX
2016-2020 Acura MDX
2016, 2018-2019 Honda Pilot
2018-2019 Honda Odyssey
2017, 2019 Honda Ridgeline
Honda says it has received 1,450 warranty claims related to the problem, though it believes only approximately one percent of the recalled vehicles are defective. Owners are advised to seek inspection from a dealer, especially in the event of unusual engine noise, performance loss, or a check engine light.
All owners of affected vehicles will be invited by mail to visit a dealer for inspection. Vehicles found to have defects will be repaired, or have their engines replaced as needed. Honda says that owners who have previously paid for this service out-of-pocket may be eligible for reimbursement.
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