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Monday, November 28, 2016

For You Other Car #5 - 2007 Honda Odyssey Tailgate Strut Replacement

This post will take me longer to write than it took me to replace the struts.

As is our family tradition, we get our Christmas tree from a local tree farm (cut your own, of course) the day after Thanksgiving. This year was no different. Since we put the tree in our rather small living room, it is normally small and can fit in the back of the van with the seats down. After what felt like two hours walking around to find the "right" tree, we got it bailed and ready to go into the back. I lifted the hatch, bent down to lift the tree and came up to meet the descending tailgate with my head.

Like I said in my last post on my other car, things that are wearing out are starting to become rather annoying. The failure of the tailgate struts to hold the tailgate up are just another one of those things. Fortunately, I easily sourced replacements.

As with the door slide assemblies, Amazon was my source. I bought an OE quality aftermarket pair that had good reviews made by Maxpow. There were a few other choices on Amazon, but these were only $28 for the pair and the reviews were good enough for me. I got them today (ordered them Friday) and replaced them in about 5 minutes.

The two struts.

First, I had to support the tailgate while I removed the old struts. This was done with one of the kid's hockey sticks.

Not the safest method, but it worked.

Then I had to remove the old struts. I did one side at a time to provide some weight support for the tailgate just in case the hockey stick plan wasn't as sound as I thought. I simply inserted a small flathead screwdriver (about 1/4" blade width) into the spring retaining clips to open it up and allow it to be pulled off the retaining "nub".

Flathead pulling the spring retainer back. There is a convenient slot to place the screwdriver blade in.

There was a spring retaining clip at either end of the strut the captured a small ball, very similar to a the ball on a trailer hitch. Once the spring retainer was pulled away, a sharp tug on the respective end of the strut released it from the ball.

The capture end of a new strut. You can see how the spring clip would capture the ball (I hope you can, anyway).

For re-installation, I pulled the spring retainer back again with the flathead and  pressed the ends of the new struts onto the balls and pulled the screwdriver blade out. I gave a tug on the struts to make sure they were secure and tested the door. It operates a bit harder now with new struts, as expected, but it won't chop anyone's head off, that's for sure!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Triumph Spitfire Chassis Restoration #12 / Engine Rebuild #2

Been a little while since my last post of my garage tour. I had some technical difficulties (read, I don't know what I'm doing) with YouTube video permissions, but this is now fixed and the video is (should) available for everyone to watch.

I got some paint on the front of the frame. Unfortunately, I seriously underestimated the amount of paint I would need and ran out. I put as much down as I could and ordered several more cans. That arrived today so I'll be able to get the frame painted and pretty over the Thanksgiving holiday and start bolting chassis components back on <finally!>.

Ahhh, red!

More of a close up. Very happy with how the paint went on!

As I mentioned in my first engine refresh post, I got the head removed (with the help of my oldest) and discovered that the pistons were over-sized 0.020". Obviously some machine shop work on my engine has been done at some point.

I wasn't sure where how far I was going to go with the tear down, so I started small. With that, I decided to clean up the rocker arm assembly.

Not horrible, but it could stand a cleaning. All of the hardware looked good, integrity-wise.

I banged the pin out of one end and got to work. My biggest concern was that the oil passage was clean.

The start of tapping the pin out for that end. The identical arrangement exists on the other end, but I left that one on.

Close-up of where the countersunk locating screw attaches. Dirty!

I kept everything in the proper order and cleaned up the rocker arm adjustment screws and jam nuts with my handy thread restorer. To make sure the rocker shaft was clear for oil flow, I simply blew into the end of it. Though it didn't taste that great, I was able to see a clear path for oil flow to each of the rocker arm assemblies.

I cleaned the shaft, then blew. You can see the oil that came out of the rocker shaft.

Much better.

I also removed and inspected each of the tappets (or lifters, as we say on this side of the pond). They all looked good and were probably replaced with the machine work.

Keep them in order!

Nice and clean. Don't think there are many miles on this.

I knew I was going to measure the bearings, so I started that job with pulling the oil pan. This was just several bolts. At some point during the engine run, Triumph went from a screen on the oil pan (for the oil pump) to a screen on the oil pump itself. Those old-style oil pumps are no longer available, however. So, the PO's solution, after getting a new pump, was to remove the screen from it. Sounds good to me!

The large cutout is where the screen goes, held in by metal tabs. The hole on the left is where the oil pump suction pipe goes.

Close-up of the screen.

The oil pump. New to the motor. You can see the screen remnants on the suction pipe.

Removing the oil pan exposed the bottom of the motor, of course.

In all her glory. Pretty clean. Wish I knew how many miles since the machine work. My guess is not much!

With that, I decided I should just go all the way. With obvious indications that significant motor work had been done and with some questionable choices the PO had made in the past, I decided that a full inspection would probably be a good idea. Glad I did!

To get to a bare black, the oil pump, crankshaft, pistons and camshaft all had to come out. To start, I had to get the crankshaft pulley off. That required a 1-7/16" socket. I picked up Harbor Freight's 8 Piece 3/4" Drive SAE Impact Socket set that, among several others, included that size. 

Not too bad. $40 with a 20% coupon. Don't ever shop at HF without a coupon!

I already had a Tekton 1/2" to 3/4" adapter. Those, along with my 1/2"-drive breaker bar and a piece of wood to stop crankshaft rotation made short work of the bolt.

A 2x4 piece to stop crankshaft rotation. I made sure it was flat as possible against the crank to spread the pressure.

Ready to apply the pain! Not much, it turns out. Came off rather easily.

After that, I used a simple gear puller to pull the pulley all the way out.

Came right off with no problem.

The next trick was the several screws that hold the timing chain cover on. I've heard a few reasons for using screws vice bolts here. The main one being the minimize the torque applied. However, a few of the screws, at least on this motor. seems to go only into the front engine plate. Doesn't seem like you would really care about over-torquing that, so maybe it was because the screws were easier? I don't know.

Screw locations as I found it. Haven't verified if these are correct yet.

In any case, I didn't want to strip them, so I used a long-shank flat-head screwdriver that had a bolt fitting at the handle to provide for extra leverage. Worked like a champ!

The setup for wrench-assisted screwdriver.

Timing chain cover removed. I put the pulley nut back on to keep everything in place. Sorry it's blurry.

After that, I pulled the oil pump and the oil pressure relief valve because it was right there and easy. Three bolts for the oil pump and a large "nut" for the relief valve.

Oil pump out.

Oil pump with cover removed and rotor (there are more names for it) pushed out for viewing.

Oil pressure relief valve. The spring (left) fits over the plunger (middle) and this sets in the large bolt (right) and is screwed into the block near the oil pump.

Next up was removing the pistons. The earlier designs used locktabs for the big end bearing caps, while later designs did not require these. Not sure what the actual difference was as the installed bolts looked the "normal" bolts. But, I bent the tabs back and removed all of the big end bearing caps along with the respective pistons.

One tab bent back

Cap removed. Not perfect, but not horrible, either. New bearings are in order regardless.

This one, however, is a different story. Looks like something got under there.

I continued removing the big ends and also pulling the pistons. I found an improperly installed oil ring...

You can see the lower ring is not quite "right".

 ...and a busted compression ring.

Well, that's not right!

Otherwise, everything looked okay. Not sure if the PO put the engine back together or if he had his machine shop do it, but I don't think it was a great job. I have lots of measurements to take to verify sizes and all, but that's why I went for a complete tear down. Trust, but verify!

Next was pulling the camshaft. I took some locating pictures, bent the locktabs back and pulled it out intact.

Dot's aligned. Still will do timing when I install it, of course.

There's the hot cam!

Lastly, the crankshaft needed to come out. The front sealing block and the rear oil seal needed to get pulled, which was easily accomplished.

Front sealing block screws removed. This were not at all tight. Not too sure these screws should be different lenghts.

Front sealing block with unique wood seal at ends. Yes, that's wood. And, yes, they new wood will go in.

Once the front sealing block was removed, the front main bearing cap was accessible. I pulled all of main bearing caps to liberate the crankshaft from the block.

Front main bearing cap bolts.

One of the bearing caps. These look better than the connecting rod big end bearings.

Rear oil seal. This is the old, scroll-type seal. Wonder if these just always leak or what.

Crankshaft, with focus on rear scroll seal.

And that was about it. I used my new stud puller and got the head studs off the top of the block and pulled all of the oil passage bolts and...that was about it.

Pulling one of the head studs. These were grimy!

Much cleaning and many measurements and checks remains, but she's completely stripped. Well, except for the distributor bushing.

Bottom view. Some gasket removal is in order, obviously!
As I type this, I've accomplished more on the motor (all disassembly). But, in the interest of timely and shorter posts, I'm getting this out now. More soon!

Friday, November 11, 2016

For Your Other Car #4 - 2007 Honda Odyssey Slide Door Center Assembly Replacement - SUCCESS!

If you've already read this post, scroll down to ** SUCCESS ** for the final fix.

We've owned our 2007 Honda Odyssey since new, making it rather old on the average American car ownership time frame and she has in excess of 115,000 miles on her. Though the cost of ownership remains low, things are starting to show their age and becoming annoying. I've had the alternator and the starter replaced and have done the rest of the work myself.

Lately, the driver's side sliding door has been working intermittently. In the automatic mode, the door would sometimes fail to fully close, then open back up. Not a drive-able option. The door is attached and slides at the top, center and bottom. The middle slide assembly wears out and requires periodic replacement.

I called my local Honda dealership and they quoted about $300 to fix it, about $40 to $80 of that in parts. In my research, I've found that this is a labor intensive job due to the amount of interior panels that need to be removed to get to the door motor to release the cable tension. However, as you may suspect, YouTube has several videos with people doing the job without doing that. It looked relatively easy and, as I'd rather spend that money on the Triumph, I decided to go for it.

Sourcing the slide assembly was easy as I found genuine Honda replacements sold and shipped from Amazon. Amazon also sold aftermarket parts, for about half the price, but I decided to go with the Honda ones. I got one for both sides, just like I did when I replaced the rears hubs because it will only be a matter of time before the passenger's side door needs to be fixed as well.

In the interest of full disclosure, as I write this, the driver's side slide has been replaced, but the door will not open or shut in "remote" mode. It works fine doing it manually, but not automatically. I have to do adjustments and fully expect it to eventually work, but I wanted to get that out there first. Point being, dDon't be surprised if it doesn't work right after you are done. Disappointing, of course, but there you go.

Overall, the job was easy and required minimal tools. Specifically, you need a 10mm wrench (or ratchet/socket), a 12 mm wrench, a Phillips screwdriver (preferably with a long shank), a small flat head screwdriver and a pair of needle nose pliers (you could probably get away without using these). Another thing you need is something to support the weight of the door when you remove the slide. I used a floor jack, but anything that you have that can support the doors weight will suffice.

First, the rear light assembly needs to come of to allow access to a bolt that holds the vanity cover for the external slide rail.

Behind the top two covers are the screws that hold in the tail light assembly.

Open the rear hatch and remove the two small covers with a small flat head screw drivers to gain access to the two Phillips head screws that secure the tail light. Once these are removed, pull the assembly straight out. There is a post/hole thing going on in the front that's a bit tricky, but it will eventually release.

Use the small flat head screwdriver to pry the covers off.

Once the tail light assembly is removed, twist the two bulb holders about 90 degrees towards the center of the car and remove them. This leaves the glass bulbs exposed, but you aren't really doing any work back there, so you shouldn't need to worry about it.

The grey (top) and black (bottom) bulbs get rotated (to the left in this picture) out.

Once the tail light is out, remove the rear mounting bolt for the vanity cover of the door's external slide rail.

The 10mm bolt for the vanity cover.

The front side of the vanity cover is secured with a Phillips screw. This screw is a bit deep into the door and it is NOT magnetic, so it is easy to drop when you remove it. I opened the door fully to get at the screw.

The screw. I removed it and let it rest there. Then I used a pair of long needle nose pliers to get it out.

I then put the door in "manual" mode by sliding the mode switch (to the left of the steering wheel) to the left to cover the red dot.

The switch is in ON here. Slide it to the left to hide the red dot and you're all set.

I then shut the door about 6" from fully shut. I then carefully pushed forward on the vanity cover to slide it towards the front of the car to release it. It slide-locks to the car body and the locking tabs make it easy to scratch your paint, so be careful!

The vanity cover (inside view) removed.

What removal of the vanity cover reveals.

There are only two bolts that secure the slide to the door. Support the weight of the door with your weapon of choice before continuing.

The slide does NOT come with the hinged piece that connects to the door itself. You need to re-use this and the pin and c-clip that connect the hinge and the slide. There are two options here. You can use a Sharpie and mark the location of the hinge piece as it connects to the door, which is what I did...

Showing where I marked the hinge piece before removing it.

or you can remove the c-clip and bang out the pin, leaving the hinge connected to the door. Be aware that the pin is knurled and requires some good shots with a hammer.  You need a drift punch or something to contact the top of the pin and knock it down. If you chose to leave the hinge bolted to the door, you risk damaging the car. I chose to remove the entire assembly for this reason.

Once I marked the hinge position, I removed the two 12mm bolts securing it in place. Remember the door's weight needs to be supported BEFORE you do this. With the hinge unbolted from the door, I tilted the slide up, pulled it out to remove it and gently let it rest on the car. Because I forgot, I then got the rag and tape I meant to get in the first place to protect the paint. Not so important on removal, but very important when you fight with re-installation!

Nice and protected. If you'll notice, you can see the left roller is not "right".

The cable ends are a twist-lock thing (you'll see better in replacement pictures) where you have to rotate it so the cable falls out of the slot. You'll understand when you see it. Once I got that out, it was to the bench to remove and replace the hinged piece on the new slide.

It was rather obvious when I got the old slide to the bench that it was my problem.

One wheel just pulled right off. The other was very loose and I could have probably gotten it off if I tried.

Once the slide was on the bench, it was a quick matter to remove the c-clip, knock the pin out and reinstall both on the new slide.


Back to the car, I connected the rear cable to the slide and then fought with the front cable to get it reconnected. Hard to explain, but you just have to work at it. It took me about 15 minutes.

What a cable end looks like. The slide needs to not be installed on the rail, obviously, to install the cable.

Both cables installed. Whew!

Once the cables were installed, the slide was replaced on the track, going in opposite of removal. I then reversed the rest of the process to get the slide re-attached. You can put everything back together at this point since, unless you intend to remove the slide from the rail again, any adjustments you need to make are done using the two 12mm bolts.

Of course, the door didn't work. It would close until it was about a 6 inches from shut, then re-open. If I shut it manually, it would not open at all automatically. So, in my case, marking the hinge on the door was not sufficient to replicate placement.

One thing I would highly recommend is that you do this job on a level surface. I was in the parking lot of the garage which isn't very flat. While this should not have affected marking the hinge, maybe it did impact something. The door seems to be pretty sensitive to being properly aligned and operating with no resistance. If it doesn't like it, it cancels out and reopens (or refuses to open) itself. I suppose this is good so little kids don't get their arms chopped off.

I expect that I'll be able to get it with an hour or so of trial and error. Ultimately, though, I recommend doing this job for yourself since it really is easy and, even in the worst case as I have now, the door will still operate, albeit in manual mode. Good luck!

I played with the door for about an hour tonight with the car on a level surface. I adjusted the door all over the place from small increments to large ones. Regardless, in automatic operation, the door repeated the same symptoms mentioned above. Given the wide range of adjustments I was making, this led me to conclude that they were not making a difference and, therefore, something else must be wrong.

In researching the job, I found other posts about resetting the door mechanism. They were all in context of the door not operating in automatic mode at all or that the door failure warning on the dashboard was lit.

While the procedures I found varied, they were all similar. Essentially, the ignition key is "ON" (car is not running), then the automatic door function is turned off. Then, the motor fuse for the door you are having trouble with is removed. Next, open and shut the door manually a few times and then reinstall the motor fuse. I assume this procedure resets the brain for the door so it knows its location. Since I had nothing else to lose, I decided to give it a shot.

One major difference I found between my car (a 2007 EX-L) and the procedures I found was that the motor fuses called out were incorrect. My motor fuses are in the secondary fuse box in the engine compartment vice the passenger compartment.

Secondary fuse box. The two 40A are for each door. This thing is right up under the back of the compartment and a bit painful to get the cover off.

It worked and the door operates smoothly, with no shudders and jerks. Happy me! Now I can confidently do the other side when I get the time.