1/2 second grinding sound at start.....Starter, Solenoid , VTC actuator? - Acura TSX Forum
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post #1 of 32 (permalink) Old 08-04-2016, 12:05 PM Thread Starter
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1/2 second grinding sound at start.....Starter, Solenoid , VTC actuator?

Hey guys,

Recently my 06 tsx (85,000 miles, automatic) starting making a 1/2 second grinding noise when I start it. It's scheduled to go in for a B1 service next weekend- was going to have them try to diagnose but....I'm not sure they'll be able to definitively say which issue it is?

It's normally on the first start of the day. But it doesn't do it every time.

My first thought was starter or it's solenoid sticking

Then on further research I ran across the VTC actuator issue

I don't want to end up spending $1000+ replacing both if the shop goes for one fix and it ends up being the other.

What's the best way to tell which of these issues is most likely making the noise? I can try to get a video of it to post tomorrow if that will help.

Any help/feedback would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!
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post #2 of 32 (permalink) Old 08-04-2016, 01:33 PM
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get a piece of hose and put on end onto the starter inside the intake mani and the other end to your ear and listen while someone cranks the car over. if the noise is coming from the solenoid on the starter that will be your culprit.
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post #3 of 32 (permalink) Old 08-04-2016, 08:58 PM
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I'm currently having the same issue. Replaced the starter and the grinding noise is still there. Exactly as you described it, usually on first start up(half a second)of the day then it's gone.

I haven't done much research on it but I'll look into the VTC actuator. I really hope it doesn't have something to do with it though because I've got the RBC VTC currently.

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post #4 of 32 (permalink) Old 08-05-2016, 12:37 PM Thread Starter
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I listened to....at least 50 different videos of VTC grind and starter grinds yesterday and I'm really thinking it's the VTC.

I think the difference is no strain on starting. Most of the times with a starter it seems it struggles...then starts and grinds.

If you google CRV, Accord, and TSX start up grinds, and VTC grinds.....there are a lot of videos of this sound. I think unfortunately that may be what it is.

I'm going to leave my car with a local mechanic for a few days so he can hopefully hear the noise and give me his opinion. He agreed with the VTC....the guy at the dealer suggested a valve adjustment and new plugs. I was like uh...$400 for something my car doesn't need for 20k more miles and my valves aren't ticking. This is unrelated. So....not taking it there.
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post #5 of 32 (permalink) Old 08-24-2016, 03:44 PM
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I have the same issue on my 05 TSX. What part did you end up replacing?
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post #6 of 32 (permalink) Old 09-30-2016, 12:41 AM
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OP: What grade oil are you using?

Spent a good week researching about the VTC grind and found a few mentions that switching to lighter cold grade (w) oil helped. I'd been running 10w-30 because I track my car 4-5 times a year.

I was due for an oil change two weeks ago and decided to give it a try and switched from my normal 10w-30 Valvoline Syn to 5w-20 Valvoline Syn.

It's been two weeks and I haven't heard the noise since. Conducted cold starts around 55 *F and still so far soo good.
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post #7 of 32 (permalink) Old 09-30-2016, 02:18 AM
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Had the same rattling issue 6 months ago, and haven't had it since. Before replacing your VTC, try switch to a different brand of motor oil. I used to run Mobil 1 synthetic 5W30, and switched to Castrol GTX 5W30. Also try switching to a different oil filter. Originally had the crappy Honda -A02 filter, and switched to the superior Honda -A01 oil filter.

After the oil change, it took about 2 days before the rattle stopped. Not entirely sure if this will help you, but it's worth a shot before replacing the VTC actuator.
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post #8 of 32 (permalink) Old 10-11-2016, 12:24 PM
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Hey OP here got locked out of my old account.

I was able to get a video to send to my mechanic and he said similar. He was thinking a bad oil filter causing some pressure for a second. In may tey switching oil and filter. Excellent ideas guys.

I'll have to check my dealership documents from its most recent service last month for oil type and filter.

I've attached a video of the noise.

Current thoughts/ plan of attack in order of things I will try....

- Switch to a better 5-20 maybe royal purple and honda's better filter

- Check timing chain tensioner (could be an oil pressure thing)

- Have an oil sample test done for $30...see if I've got any metal bits or any thing weird going on

- Swap vtc actuator since it's a known issue on the car any how

-Sell my soul for cost of repairs on my "new reliable honda" while I go sit in my 1998 civic that still runs like a champ and that's cost me $100 in repairs in the past 4years.

- Swap the starter since it would need that at some point any way


Thoughts?



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post #9 of 32 (permalink) Old 10-12-2016, 04:00 AM
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You're plan of action is spot on.

Not sure if I would go with 5w-20 though since it's less viscous than the recommended 5w-30 oil. My mechanic and I theorized that the rattling could be due to oil draining out of the VTC actuator when the car is sitting for long periods of time (which explains why the rattle does not occur when the car sits for < 3 hours). This causes a dry start to the VTC when you start the engine, and the rattling stops when enough oil pressure is built up to reach the VTC. Using a thinner oil may perpetuate the oil to drain out of the VTC faster... again, just a theory.

In pursuit of resolving the rattle in my TSX, I replaced the starter, auto tensioner, and even had John (from Hytech) inspect the VTC actuator that he modified for me. A few hundred dollars later, the rattling still occurred.

Both John and my mechanic then suggested the oil change with a high quality filter. One of them even suggested using a S2000 filter, but those are expensive. I opted to do use the -A01 Honda filters with 5w30 Castrol GTX conventional oil, and that seemed to do the trick. Haven't had any issues since.

If you got your oil changed at the dealership in the past, I am 99% certain that they're using the -A02 oil filters. These are crappy oil filters with shoddy construction and filtering capabilities, and I'm convinced was what caused the rattle to happen in my car. There's a really good post in the Honda Element forum that details their findings for several different filters, including the -A01 and -A02 Honda filters. Very good read if you have the time.

Comprehensive Oil Filter Survey - Honda Element Owners Club Forum
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post #10 of 32 (permalink) Old 10-12-2016, 11:35 AM
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Thank you so much for the reply. I called the dealer yesterday to ask what they'd put in and they said it would be 5-20. If it turns out this Hassel is from them choosing to run a different oil than recommended they're going to have the wrath of a woman scorned upon them.

Did you hypothesize at all with regard to it being a conventional? My car has always run synthetic as far as I know.
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post #11 of 32 (permalink) Old 10-13-2016, 12:31 AM
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Yeah, I know a few members here use 5w-20 oil without problems at all. However, I'm not sure why the dealership uses 5w-20 when the owners manual clearly recommends 5w-30. Wonder if they're confused with the 2nd gen TSXs as those use 5w-20.

As for conventional vs. synthetic oil, when I exclusively used Mobil 1 synthetic, I noticed about 0.5 quart burned between oil changes. Wanted to give conventional oil a try, and sure enough haven't witnessed any oil loss since. Not sure where the logic is on that, but I may try a different synthetic oil brand (maybe Royal Purple or Amsoil) for my next oil change to see if there's any difference.
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post #12 of 32 (permalink) Old 10-13-2016, 02:18 AM
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Got an update :

So the noise returns only on cold starts under 55*F. I've been monitoring it since mid September and it has occurred whenever the outside temp is under 55*F, above 55*F it is quiet. Going to try switching from my Wix to a s2k or a01 filter on my next change but that won't be for a few months easy.

Btw according to Acura Care and my Local dealer the updated oil grade for all model year TSXs is now 5w-20. They say it is for a minor increase in fuel economy, but i doubt anyone would ever notice. 5w-30 is still the way to go IMO.
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post #13 of 32 (permalink) Old 10-13-2016, 04:15 AM
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I had the same sound on my 06 tsx. Would only come sometimes. Eventually the car would not crank on the first go so So I had a feeling it was the starter. I decided to change the starter and its been gone since and the car cranks a bit quicker than before as well.
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post #14 of 32 (permalink) Old 10-13-2016, 12:15 PM
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Okay....

Ya...the Oil recommendation from Honda a few years back was 5-20 and that's what the dealer has been running.

I'm going to have my mechanic (not at the dealer, they normally only do my scheduled maintenance) swap out my oil to something else in a 5-30.

Do you guys have suggestions for what you run? I'll stick with Synthetic for now...but maybe royal purple, mobile 1?

Also- He said he was only aware of one filter for the TSX. it looks like the a02 is a newer version of the a01? Is there a concensus on which people think is better- or if there's an aftermarket that trumps all?
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post #15 of 32 (permalink) Old 10-14-2016, 03:41 AM
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Good point 2.2Lude. It's been pretty warm in SoCal still, so I'm curious if the rattling will return in my car when it does dip under 55*F. Will keep my ears out for that.

For oil filter recommendation, the analysis from the elements forum link I sent suggested that the -A01 filters the best while stating the latest -A02 filters are junk. The S2000 filters trumps the -A01, but you'll be paying a premium for those.

Couldn't find any local dealership that sells -A01 filters, but you can get them from handa.com or Amazon. They're still cheap to get at ~$5 each.

You can just stick with synthethic 5w-30 for now. Any synthethic should be fine, but my engine didn't like Mobil 1 for whatever reason. Many other members here use Mobil 1 just fine though.
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